“You fight your battles in the world, but you close your door and there’s comfort,” she said. “Now there was no door to close. I wanted to meet another family with a dwarf child, and I wanted to meet a happy adult. I kept in constant motion until I found them. Then I began to breathe again.” Excerpt from Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon
I’m a surrogate baby. To be specific, a traditional surrogate baby meaning that my birthmom is my genetic mother. I’ve never met another surrogate who knew that they were surrogate babies. I have, on one occasion, met someone who I was told was a surrogate but didn’t know. Having spoken with a variety of adopted people turned friends, I realized there’s a lot in common between the two but… it’s different. Reading this quote made me realize that I should write about this more because there are probably people out there who want to use surrogacy to have kids but are in “constant motion” as well trying to find and meet a happy adult. Well, here I am and I have a lot to say.
In a world where nature vs. nurture is discussed extensively, it’s hard to know where I fit in. Do I get this trait from my dad who I am genetically related to or is this learned from my mom who raised me or is this a genetic trait from my birthmom? The three options swirl in my head along with the concept that I only know a handful of facts about my birthmom and even those are hard to remember. Am I Norwegian on her side of the family or is it Swedish? I can never remember and, come to think of it, I actually think I’m a bit Polish as well.
Why do I bring this up? Why write about it? Surrogacy has only been around since 1986 or so (I’ve read 1987). My parents started working with a surrogate in 1989. After one miscarriage by the birthmom, they miraculously had my brother in 1991. Despite my brother being born, they worked with my birthmom to have me in 1993. Pause: For 4 years they worked with basically a stranger to have a child. It’s incredible and hard to conceptualize. At least for me it is.
You’d think after spending 15 years in school, I would have tried to research this at some point. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago I read an article that mentioned a researcher who studied surrogacy. It all of a sudden dawned on me that “hey, I could read about this and study myself!”. Through my limited research, I was able to connect with the same researcher and get access to about 10 long PDFs of detailed research. Throughout all of it, it struck me how low the numbers are for surrogacy:
“Based on a report from the Council for Responsible Genetics, as of 2008, there are no surrogacy statistics that are available to the public. Yet, while it is known that the use of a surrogate has become quite popular over the years, it is not known exactly how many children have been carried in such a manner. However, between the years 2004 and 2008, it is approximated that the number of children is over 5,000.” – Modern Family Surrogacy Center
Not only that but I’m a bit older in terms of surrogate babies as most are still quite young. Through pure luck and serendipity, I may have a chance to meet another surrogate baby soon who is around my age. I’m not sure how to even feel about this but I know I’m excited nonetheless. Beyond that, what are the differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy? The numbers are so low that it seems impossible to do research yet I can’t help but theorize and question.
Each family is unique and mine is no different. I have a brother who is fully my parent’s child. I have a mom who raised me (when I say “mom” I mean the one who raised me) and a mom who birthed me. I have a dad who I’m fully related to.
My mom once told me something powerful: “You can never have too many people who love you”. I met a blogger recently who has twins through a surrogate and I shared this with him. Again, this was the first person I had met who had surrogate kids and openly talked about it. This quote is something that I think perfectly sums up how one should approach surrogacy. If approached in this way, how can you go wrong?