I don't think anyone chooses to use a gestational carrier. And it's not like you have some wine, one thing leads to another, you wake up the next morning "Oh, did I just sign a gestational carrier agreement?", and 9 months later you have a baby. For me, I had two miscarriages; the doctors ran every test they had and could come up with no reason as to why it was happening. So when I got pregnant the third time, I was really scared. My doctor told me that once he hears the heartbeat on the Doppler, there is less than 5% chance of miscarriage. Before I had never gotten that far. “Ecstatic is the only word that describes how I felt. I fell in love with my son Parker in the womb and at 24 weeks I gave birth to him. He was in distress at birth, but the doctors were able to resuscitate him. Parker’s chance of survival was very low- he had many health problems due to his size, including brain damage and internal bleeding throughout. At best, he was looking at a life sentence as a prisoner in his own body. Before Parker passed, we held him in our arms, we sang to him, we kissed him, and when it was time to go he knew he was loved. We took away his suffering, and gave ourselves the most unimaginable pain- a life without him.
The Doctors could not give a reason as to why this happened. Because Parker was so small and his position at birth required a surgery that made subsequent pregnancies life-threatening to both myself and our future babies, they suggested that a gestational surrogate could be a solution. I could consider undertaking the risk if it was just myself, but how could I do that with our children’s lives?
What we did not expect about this process was how complicated, emotional, or expensive it was going to be. Given that our fertility is quickly declining, time to save the money is just not on our side. Surrogacy in the US is expensive, complicated, and in cases where parentage is disputed, the courts tend to side with the birth mother even if no biological link exists. With various scenarios involving egg donors and sperm donors, defining who is a parent can get intensely complicated.
We both are really comfortable with international travel and wondered if IVF and surrogacy was an option somewhere else in the world. Well, it so happens it is...We looked into various other countries such as Thailand, Georgia, and Panama, before deciding on India.
The critisism of surrogacy abroad is often focused on the possibility of exploitation. If in any way, we felt we were taking advantage of someone who is vulnerable to exploitation, we would pursue other options – Period- End OF Discussion- Full Stop!
After six months of extensive research, we have found that Indian surrogates are paid between $6,000 and $10,000. In most cases, this kind of money is life changing to the surrogate; it is often more money than their family makes in 10 years. Imagine what you could do with an additional 10 years of your salary- Secure you children’s education? Buy your dream home? Start a business? Go back to school? They do all the things we would do with 10 years’ salary.
In the US, a surrogate mother is paid between $15,000 and $65,000. Although this is still a great deal of money, it is in no way as impactful. Since the woman who carries our child will make such a difference in our life, it is comforting to know that her life will be changed for the better as well.