My Story: The Challenge and Joy of Gestational Surrogacy
By Melissa Brisman, Esq., Reproductive
Fertility Today, July-August 2005
After many years of wondering if I would ever have a child,
my husband Daniel and I decided to embark upon a long journey.
We decided to pursue gestational surrogacy. Although I could
not carry a child myself, I produced healthy viable eggs
that could be fertilized with my husband’s sperm and
placed in a gestational carrier who would carry the baby
We began with a visit to the doctor’s office on Christmas
Eve. Dan and I listened as he explained the medical procedure.
The science, he told us, was the easy part. Our chances
were over 50 percent each cycle. However, we would need
to find a carrier who was both medically and psychologically
suitable. As we left the doctors office, my head was spinning.
There was so much to digest in one sitting. I began to do
research. As a lawyer, I knew there were serious considerations
when it came to selecting a carrier. The laws in each state
in which a carrier might be obtained had to be examined.
States have different laws with respect to the legality
of surrogacy and the legal rights of intended parents.
The carrier we eventually found met our expectations. She
had a family of her own with three children and a loving
relationship with her husband who was supportive. She passed
the psychological and medical screening that involved extensive
testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Still I worried:
would the carrier change her mind, who had control over
the medical decisions once the carrier was pregnant, whose
insurance policy would cover the pregnancy, whose policy
would cover the babied after they were born, whose decision
would it be to reduce the number of fetuses if our carrier
became pregnant with more than two fetuses or if one was
malformed, would the provisions in any contract be enforceable,
what if the carrier decided she wanted to keep the babies,
could we legally pay our carrier for carrying the babies?
All these questions needed to be answered before our carrier
Finally, these issues were resolved and the paperwork was
done. We were ready to begin. I was able to produce nine
healthy embryos. They were fertilized in vitro and three
were implanted in our carrier’s uterus. By the sixth
week of pregnancy two remained – one had miscarried.
We prayed these fetuses would develop into healthy babies.
The ultrasound at the twentieth week was one of the highlights
of the pregnancy. We drove up to Maine to observe and there
they were on the ultrasound screen – two healthy boys
kicking away in our carrier’s uterus. I will never
forget the day. As the birth approached, I tried to get
what is called a parentage order from the local court. This
would allow the biological parents, to be placed on the
birth certificate of the children, and would not force us
to adopt our own biological children. I was told this had
never been done in Maine and was not possible. I decided
to petition the court to see if the court would entertain
the possibility. I was successful. There were many other
small battles along the way. Our carrier’s health
insurance refused to cover her pregnancy when they found
out she was carrying the babes for another couple, a legally
impermissible tactic that took many painstaking hours for
me to resolve.
When our carrier was 37 weeks pregnant, the doctor told
us the babies were due. We packed our bags and drove to
Maine immediately. When we arrived, our carrier was induced
– with Dan, me, my carrier’s husband and two
teams of doctors in the room the place was a throbbing circus.
The birth came before we knew it, both little guys were
15 minutes apart. I cut the cord of my first-born son. Andrew
and Benjamin had finally arrived.
Five years later, the boys welcomed their sister into the
family. We wish anyone embarking on this journey all the
success and happiness we have enjoyed.