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Do You Feel Like a Mother?


by Pamela MacPhee, Author, Delivering Hope: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom, June 9, 2011

I recently spoke on surrogacy at a family building conference to address the Intended Parents about the anxieties they may be facing when they are considering entering into a surrogacy journey. It takes courage to step into surrogacy, as it does any family building journey, and my hope in speaking and writing is to help make that journey easier and less anxious by sharing my personal experience.

One anxious, hopeful mother-to-be at that conference approached me, overwhelmed with concern about who bonds with the baby and feels like the mother in third party reproduction. It’s a concern I hear a lot. Is it the woman who donates the egg? The woman who carries the baby? The woman who wants the baby? I believe whether you use a donor egg, donor sperm, a surrogate, a donor embryo or some combination thereof, you, and only you, are the parents from the very beginning because it is your intention, your will, your desire to bring a baby into the world. Whether biologically related or not, whether you carry the baby or not, that baby belongs to you because you made it happen. Without you, your child would not exist. That is what makes you a parent, what bonds you with your baby and what counts.

As a gestational surrogate, I never ever felt like the mother of the baby I carried inside, because I knew I was simply the caretaker. And when I delivered her into the arms of the joyful couple standing next to me in the delivery room, there was absolutely no doubt who were the parents. While I felt privileged to have taken part in bringing her into the world, this had been their intention, their pregnancy, their journey. And it was truly amazing to watch them bond together as a family. I hope for the same joy for you.

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.