Interview with Sister Surrogates:
Being an agency that works with many different clinics from all over the country, we don’t get to meet our amazing surrogates most of the time. When they are traveling for a screening or transfer visit, they don’t get much downtime (unless it’s post transfer rest! 😊) but luckily this week, we had sister surrogates here on an extended transfer trip who were sweet enough to come visit and meet us!
Typically, a transfer trip can be about 2-3 days depending on the travel distance, and the dr’s post transfer rest recommendation. This trip is a little longer (almost 5 days!) but there’s an exciting reason why… Brianna’s embryo transfer just happened to be scheduled during the same week as Michelle’s last surrobabies’ 1st birthday party! While here to help create a new family, they get to visit a family Michelle helped create which is amazing.
Happy birthday babies!
*Michelle also got to visit her first surrobabes on this visit. We can’t believe they’re already 3!
The Sisters: Michelle and Brianna are sisters from TX who are both surrogates for our RP families. Michelle, the older sister, has completed TWO twin surrogate journeys (second journey had complications and early delivery) and Brianna is here and had her first embryo transfer this week!
Michelle- 2x GC for 2 separate families, mom of 2, has donated over 10,000 oz of breast milk over the last year!
Brianna- 1st time GC (pregnant until proven otherwise!), mom of 1, best support system around!
We sat down with them to ask some questions about their experiences, and surrogacy in general. Keep reading for the full interview!
A: Michelle, how did you first hear about surrogacy?
M: Well… my friend could not carry and I was going to look into carrying for her. I didn’t know surrogacy was the name of it though.
A: And how old were you when you made the decision to commit to being a surrogate?
M: Umm, I was about 26.
A: How much research did you do on the process, agencies…just the whole thing?
M: Probably about a year’s time (before applying)… I looked at multiple different agencies, had to make sure my stuff was lined up, and make sure I was in a right place to do it.
A: Why us?
M: I liked the communication like it was real quick with responses. If I had questions, they were always answered quickly!
A: And Brianna! How old were you when Michelle did her first surrogacy?
B: It was how many years ago?
M: About 5 years ago
A: Wait, what’s the age difference with you two?
B/M: 10 years
A: How cute!
B: I think maybe I was 17.
A: Is that when you first got interested in it or were you just like, whoa- what is she doing?
B: That’s when it first opened the door, yes. That’s when I started researching and I was like, wow.
M: She didn’t want to have her own children at the time.
B: I thought there was only traditional surrogacy, where they used your eggs so I was like, ”WHAT”! That’s what had offset me to the idea. But then when she said “no it’s THEIR dna”, that’s when I was like, oh. That’s so cool.
A: Literally what you just said- so many people don’t realize that it’s not your child and it’s just not explained well enough.
A: So when did you decide that you were ready Brianna?
B: It was after her 2nd journey, that’s when I was most interested. I was like, I could do that!
A: That’s so interesting and actually one of my questions. Because Michelle had a rough 2nd journey, why did you still decide to pursue it?
B: I think it’s just an amazing thing to do. Like, I just think you’re giving a family something that they can’t have on their own and you’re completing a family for a couple who really wants a baby.
A: Regardless of any possible obstacles?
B: Yes, because it’s not always like that (a bad situation). It’s just something that can happen and it’s an amazing experience (overall).
A: Agreed. Did either of you, living in TX, think about our NJ location when it came to choosing an agency? Did you have a preference to be closer to home or did you not really care about that so much- the distance?
M: I didn’t really care about it…
B: I think I was used to Michelle traveling for both her journeys and so I thought that comes with it (hahaha).
A: That does make sense!
B: I didn’t even know there were agencies in TX but you guys are a great agency.
A: Well thank you! When you decided to do surrogacy did you come here just because Michelle did?
B: Haha, yes because she knew everything and firsthand experience is always the best.
A: 100%. What were some of your biggest concerns and fears about this- before you actually started?
B: Maybe a tough pregnancy… or something going wrong. Or being the one in very like… the odds of having something happen to you…
A: The one in a million kind of thing?
M: One of my biggest things is what a lot of people think. Like, how do you REALLY feel when the time comes to giving them back their baby and stuff like, are you really going to be OK with it? But you develop this mindset like, this is not my baby. This is their baby. It just becomes… like you can’t describe it! You know you’re going to care about those babies but-
B: In a different way!
M: It’s different! It’s definitely a different relationship. That was something that I worried about but it was because other people brought that on. Like “how are you going to give them back?” and “how are you going to give up the babies?” and you have to explain to them, “They’re not mine, I’m just carrying!” and then once you get that, you’re realize- this is a good thing! Seeing the parents so excited about everything- that was a GOOD thing.
A: As an agency, is there anything you would have preferred we did differently? Like, more of something or differently?
B: Umm, I don’t have any suggestions or complaints.
M: You know, I had a really good journey and then I had a really rough journey. Full of everything that could go wrong, I think did go wrong. But in the end we delivered and have 2 very special miracles.
B: Michelle was just saying earlier how y’all were really good about making sure she was ok.
M: Yeah, and y’alls job… y’all also went beyond. You know, above and beyond to check in on me, checked with my family while I was in surgery, like…. It made me have a different respect in that sense, too.
A: You didn’t feel like just a number…
M: They didn’t leave me, you know? They were there with me during that time because a lot of times, your relationship with the agency kind of ends once you’re matched and you’re carrying on. But the communication was still there.
A: Well, I’m glad… As far as your communication with your IPs, both during and after the journey, (Brianna) just during for yours, is there anything you would have chosen to do differently?
M: No. I think I went in with the mindset that it’s their baby, it’s their stuff, you know? If they choose to carry on (the relationship) later, that’s their thing but I know coming from my first to my second journey, that was something that was bigger to me. I knew that I did want them to at least try to maintain contact. That’s something that I hoped for and we achieved!
B: And I love how y’all ask during the screening process, what kind of communication would you like? They (Brianna’s IP’s) wanted open and I was happy because I prefer that as well.
A: Yeah, because there are some people that really do want that loving, birthday party invite kind of relationship but there are also some people that just aren’t that way. Whether it be that they’re afraid to get emotionally attached or… I’ve heard all different reasons! Brianna, how is your communication with your IPs so far?
B: It’s amazing!
A: Is there anything you would change?
B: No! They’ve been great and you’ve been great! Like I love the emails because I know the clinic said that I would receive a call from the pharmacy and I messaged Patricia, she was already on it. We were doing group messages and yeah… I think that’s great because you’re not alone like you know that you have the support here. It’s not just- oh, she’s a coordinator and this is her job. It goes deeper than that.
A: Right! If you could both pick one word to describe surrogacy as a whole- what would it be?
B: Mine would be amazing.
A: I like that!
*Michelle looks deep in thought*
A: You are at two completely different phases and perspectives in the process with Michelle delivering twice and Brianna just having her first embryo transfer so I can imagine that in your two surrogacy journeys with two very different experiences, it might be hard to sum it all up with one word.
M: I don’t know! Like it’s just… I think… I think it’s like a miracle! Like it’s just…
A: A cool thing… a really cool thing!
M: Yeah *smiles*
A: How has being a surrogate (and currently being one for you, Brianna) changed you personally? In your own lives?
M: It’s definitely one of my proudest things to do… to have done. It gave me just a different … I don’t know. Like when they tell me, “Look what my baby’s doing”, I’m like, “awwwww- I helped you do that!”. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than knowing that you made somebody a mom, that they should have been.
B: I’d say happy! Like if I’m feeling ehh about something, I’m like,” wait, wow! I’m on this journey to give someone a baby!”. Then I get all happy because it’s amazing!
A: Yes! Once you remember the ending, haha! The shots hurt, labor’s going to suck…
B: Yes! After my first shot I was like oh my goodness but it’s going to be so worth it and we’re one step closer!
A: That’s awesome. And would either of you have anything to say to someone considering becoming a surrogate?
M: I always put the risks out there for people because it’s very real. Like I talk to them first and foremost like don’t do it for money, you have to have your mindset in the right place. You know- make sure your ducks are all in a row in your life because you’re not just doing for you, you’re going to involve a lot of people. Your life is not private during the time that you’re doing this but the outcome definitely justifies the means. It’s a good thing!
A: That was an awesome answer. Thank you ladies so much!
It is so precious and valuable to get feedback from our GC’s. How can we improve if we don’t ask and take advice from these incredible women themselves?
Thank you so much for visiting again! Let our sticky thoughts carry you home 😊.