The greatest gift: why I chose to become a surrogate – Laura Clarke
When I tell people I have been a surrogate not once, not twice, but currently carrying twins for my third journey, the reaction is normally sheer bewilderment or amazement. Sometimes people actually look at me as some sort of elusive unicorn that they have never encountered before! In reality, I am just a normal 36 year old single mum of two girls, with a career, a dog and house to run just like everyone else. I am a surrogate because before I had my own children I thought I might have a brood of kids (as I was one of four myself) but after having my own two children I actually found that bringing up the children was the hard bit! I could do the pregnancy and birth bit every day of the week, but trying to raise more than two children of my own was something I knew I couldn’t do.
So when my youngest daughter was 3, I started the process of becoming a surrogate, maybe because I was feeling broody for a pregnant belly again, or maybe because I craved giving birth again; all of these selfish reasons I understand. But knowing that I could curb these cravings for myself and also at the same time help another family come to be was just something I simply couldn’t not do.
As a gestational carrier, I am host to the intended parents’ (IPs’) embryo, so the resulting child has no genetic connection to me or my family. For me this is my way of being able to keep that distance.
Preparation is key when embarking on something as big as this, so the right guidance and time taken to do things properly and ethically is one of the most important steps. The bond a surrogate builds during pregnancy is not with the baby, but with the IPs. It is a huge emotional roller coaster of a journey you are embarking on together, so the right match for you and your family is incredibly important. You find yourselves becoming close, invested in the journey together and for the surrogate, that want and need to give your IPs their dream of a family becomes all-consuming. Yes, any surrogate needs a very good support network around her, because it does take time, and it does take juggling with your own family life, so it is really important that not only you and your children are invested in this, but the people around you also know what you are going through in order to be there for you when you need them.
The absolute pinnacle of the journey for any surrogate is seeing her IPs meet their baby for the first time! There are tears, many tears – of joy, happiness, relief, excitement, nerves, worry and the list goes on – basically there are a huge amount of tears from everyone, and I’ll give a medal to any medical professional in that room who doesn’t shed a tear too, for the sheer amount of love and happiness that is brought in to the world at that very moment. It is a gift like no other, and for some people one they wouldn’t even consider giving, but for a few of us it’s the greatest gift we could ever offer, and we do it with love and joy in our hearts.
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