PARENTHOOD AT LAST! Hope, Hurdles, and Happiness Part 2: Gestational Surrogate — Brittany
“Alex and Yoni are a wonderful, amazing, absolutely awesome couple. We hit it off really well, right from our very first phone conversation," Brittany reports. “We survived the hectic travel craziness, which is fun to talk about, but obviously was really stressful at the time. You really cannot even make up what we went through to get to Oregon Reproductive Medicine (ORM) and to make sure we followed all orders. It was shocking when our pilot advised he couldn't see the runway and had to be rerouted to a different state than intended."
Brittany remembers, “I think the lowest point for me during the travels was when a teenager on my turbulent flight into Seattle vomited on my medicine bag, and I had to retrieve all my medications out of it before they were ruined. Once we landed, we had to remain on the plane until airport personnel made room for our arrival. The bathroom was occupied and had a long waiting line. We decided to take out my hypodermic needle so my husband could help administer my last pre-transfer hormone injection, which was absolutely essential and time-sensitive. The look on the gentleman's face sitting on my other side was priceless, as my husband Steven administered my medication in my upper hind-end. It’s still a comical memory today.”
Brittany continues, “Alex's sister living close to the airport in Seattle was extremely fortunate. It must have been such a shock for her to get a random call late at night to pick up two strangers, bring them to her home to sleep for a few hours, and provide breakfast before returning them to the airport to rent a car and connect with Alex and Yoni who'd just arrived from California, so they could all then drive to Portland in three feet of snow Of course, you can’t imagine how stunned Meryl was when we filled her in on everything we had to overcome to continue with the embryo transfer under such extreme circumstances."
Was geography an issue? And what was it like working with a same-sex male couple? Is “gay surrogacy” different?
“Being across country was not an issue at all," Brittany explains. "Before the pregnancy began, I used a local fertility clinic for the pre-monitoring appointments. Once the pregnancy began, I was able to use my own OB/GYN office that I already used for pregnancy monitoring appointments. The only traveling I needed to do was the initial medical clearance, and the embryo transfer itself.”
“As for the same-sex question, it was pretty much a non-issue completely," Brittany answers. "I've always been an open-minded person. I've also been very truthful and honest with my own children, who are in tune with their emotions, and very sensitive beings. As I did with the first surrogate pregnancy, I made sure I explained what I was doing, and why. In this case, I told them we were helping two people who really loved each other, and wanted a family. That wasn't an exaggeration either, because Alex and Yoni are all about family. They’re possibly the most family-oriented couple I've ever met.”
So how did this surrogacy experience compare with your first?
“Actually the two were very different, and I’m unsure of the reason. My opinion is that it was the age difference — the first couple I worked with had more of an age gap with me than Alex and Yoni did. But every couple is different in their thoughts, feelings, and being able to bond with a complete stranger, to get to know them, and ask them to help achieve this huge goal. Both couples were absolutely wonderful to work with, and I was grateful to have the ability to help both couples in such a way.”
What about the birth?
“I thought the fact that Alex and Yoni wanted a maternity photo shoot was such a cute idea, and I was thrilled that they flew east early. Baby had other plans, though! Luckily we were able to complete the photo shoot before the baby decided to make an appearance. Both guys were so supportive — Alex and Yoni were both in the delivery room, holding my hands, one on each side, cheering me on. When Tom was delivered, fast and trouble-free, there was so much joy in the room it was contagious. The guys were so excited to hold baby Tom, they practically scrambled to the other side of the room to prepare for ‘skin-to-skin’ contact. It was the most wonderful moment to witness."
Brittany has advice for other women considering becoming a gestational surrogate.
“I’m in a few surrogate support groups on Facebook, and what I usually tell prospective surrogates is to make sure you do your research — there's a lot that goes into the process, there's lots to know about, but don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. Remember, it's all about relationships, and following your heart. While many surrogates claim they love the pregnancy process, for me my absolute favorite part of surrogacy is the birth itself. Watching parents meeting their baby for the first time, and seeing the pure love, joy, and happiness on their faces, is so gratifying. It's like nothing else.”