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Delivering Hope


by Pamela MacPhee, Author, Delivering Hope: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom, October 29, 2010

You can find out how surrogates are screened from surrogacy agencies, learn about embryo transfers from your fertility doc, and research the legal requirements in your state or country.

But after I made an offer to my cousin and his wife to carry a baby as their surrogate mom, what we really wanted to know before we made a decision was how it would actually feel and how that relationship would work. How would we navigate sharing a pregnancy, what would the emotional and physical challenges be, and what kind of relationship could we create to support a successful journey?

So What Is Surrogacy Really Like?

I want to address the biggest anxiety intended parents may have first, so let’s start today with the end.

Delivering baby Hope to my cousin and his wife was the single most fulfilling moment of my life. I have absolutely no regrets and only a wealth of gratitude for having the privilege of sharing such an intimate journey with another couple.

But Wasn’t It Hard to Give Her Up?

No. Absolutely not. I was not giving her up, because she was never mine to begin with, I was just giving her back.

We had a visceral connection from nine months of nurturing her inside me, but I did not bond with her. In truth I bonded with her parents in our mutual desire to bring her into the world so they could be a family. If you have a reliable, strong and caring surrogate — which, by all means you should take care to ensure through psychological screenings by a family therapist with expertise in third party reproduction — then this should simply not be an issue.

That is not to say a surrogate will not be emotional, lonely and tearful after the birth. She most likely will. I was. But let me explain my tears. I had just given up a year of my life focused on the joy of bringing a new baby into the world for a couple who was desperately waiting for her. Suddenly, abruptly that journey ended. The excitement and anticipation was gone. The rush of giving was over. My hormones were on a rollercoaster ride from the pregnancy and delivery and I was trying to recover from the pain and discomfort of childbirth. It is completely natural for a surrogate to be emotional, to shed tears, to miss the pregnancy. And it is O.K.

Here Is the Key.

A surrogate just wants to share in your joy, to have the privilege of watching you become a family, and to feel appreciated for her choice to make that sacrifice and take that journey with you. The baby a surrogate carries is not hers, and she knows that. And she is perfectly okay with that. In fact, she can’t wait to deliver that baby into the arms of the intended parents, to see how her gift can bring joy to a couple where there was fear and devastation and longing.

That was my reward and continues to fulfill me to this day: to know that I made it possible for my cousin and his wife to wake to the unconditional love of a little girl who brings them joy every time she giggles, or wraps them in a hug or tells a silly story.

Pamela MacPhee graduated from Stanford University in 1986 with a degree in Human Biology. When her cousin’s wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer and subsequent infertility, she wanted to do something to help. After some serious research and internal soul searching, she knew in her heart she wanted to be their surrogate mom. Her offer became extraordinary surrogacy journey which ended 18 months later with the birth of a baby girl, Hope. MacPhee is the author of Delivering Hope: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom, published in 2009.