There are still so many aspects of motherhood that are hush-hush, spoken about in confidence and with sheepishness (or worse, shame). Infertility is more common than our not talking about it would suggest, and that’s why I love Claire. She’s upfront and outspoken about her family’s experience with surrogacy and how she built her family with the help of this method, something I recently spoke with her about. Find the full interview in the video below!
What do you think is still getting in the way of talking more openly about surrogacy?
There is a quietness that surrounds all matters of infertility, and that quietness is magnified by the relatively low number of people who experience surrogacy first-hand. At first, the thought of everyone we know finding out such intimate details of our life was overwhelming. I felt like I had failed. Telling the first person was tough, but telling the second was a little less so and soon it wasn’t tough at all. Every person we told was unwaveringly supportive and positive.
Why did the idea of surrogacy not come into consideration right away?
We know people who have adopted children, have stepkids, are single mothers or fathers, you name it – but we didn’t know a single family who had experience with surrogacy so it didn’t even register as a possibility. Our fertility doctor was the one who brought surrogacy to our attention as a good option for us, and we decided to pursue it that same day. That’s one of the reasons we are so open about it – we feel it’s very important to normalize surrogacy and that starts with talking about it.
Are there options other than agencies to aid in finding a surrogate?
Working through an agency, you are exposed to women who are primarily motivated by the desire to be a surrogate. I have also read of individuals who become surrogates to help a specific person or couple they know who can’t carry a pregnancy, who might not otherwise have chosen to be a surrogate.
Considering legal fees, therapy fees, and additional support to the surrogate mother, how much of a financial impact does surrogacy leave?
We were told to assume $70,000 or $80,000 for all costs associated with a single birth, which is a fair estimate. Like many people, before that count started running we had already also invested considerably in fertility treatments. We would do it all again in a heartbeat, but we know that we are privileged that the option was available to us.
You spoke about supporting the surrogate mother throughout her pregnancy, but is there also a legal obligation, on your part, to support her recovery after delivery, so far as health complications, or postpartum depression?
Our contract stipulated that we would reimburse all lost wages before and after the birth, which ultimately covered our surrogate’s period of bed rest in the months leading up to the birth and her recovery period afterward. We also took out additional medical insurance and life insurance for our surrogate to ensure she and her family were financially protected.