I’ve never met another person born via surrogacy. That’s not entirely true–I did meet a baby at a surrogacy conference in San Francisco about 8 years ago who was born via gestational surrogacy (I was born via traditional). She wasn’t even at the babbling age so it felt like a cruel twist that my kind of first meeting would be with someone I couldn’t converse with. It also drove home how much of a potential “elder” I am in the surrogacy space and the responsibility I might have to the next generation of surrogate kiddos to pave a way towards talking about being born in this way.
A few years ago I started a site called surrogacy-stories.com to both try to meet other surrogate kids and to have a place to share information my past self would have loved to stumble upon. I’ve long toyed with an idea of a book but have only managed to throw together 30-40 pages of mostly nonsense thus far since it exhausts me to dive too much into consistently.
I’m now trying something new after being inspired by an adoptee meetup I found online: I started a meetup group for adults born through surrogacy.
Yes, the name is terrible but, rather than embracing a more clever convention, it feels pretty crucial to be bland and clear. I would hate for someone to miss the group because it was called something more whimsical. I had to put down a location but, ultimately, I want this to be for anyone regardless of where they are. Of note, when I created the meetup page, surrogacy wasn’t a term I could even list for folks to search (adoption, infertility, infertility support for women, etc were all available). I had to suggest a new topic, similar to how difficult it is to find a therapist with specialization:
I don’t have a grand vision of what this might be. My sights are set on just one other person joining who might be able to understand some of the complexities I’ve grappled with my entire life. In an ideal world, it would be rad to recap our calls on surrogacy-stories.com (open source for the win), invite others to write posts on the site, and bring in experts to chat with. Perhaps in time, we could even create resources both for kiddos and for parents considering surrogacy.
For now, I just want to meet one other surrogate adult. I want to swap “how were you made” stories. I want to ask ways in which you could tell you were different. I want to know how it was explained to them and what impact that explanation might have had. I want to debate about the current surrogacy world.
When trying to think about why it’s been so hard to find someone else, a few things come to mind:
- Some don’t know they were born through surrogacy.
- Surrogacy is presented as only positive, unlike adoption. It’s a harder narrative to push against and to say you want to meet biological family.
- Unlike adoption, your surrogate mother (whether biologically related or not), signed up to intentionally give you away long before you were conceived. There aren’t big reunion stories baked into surrogacy, making it difficult to want to explore.
- Surrogacy isn’t well represented in media/movies/podcasts/etc. There are very little cultural stories and it’s easy to not discuss/not know how to think about it/etc.
- Surrogacy is illegal in many places and taboo as a result.
- You can often “pass” as a surrogate kid as you’re likely to blend in somewhat with your family, making it even less likely to come up.
Side note: I’m drawn to saying kid or baby rather than adult because that’s how we’re conceptualized by the fertility industry. Surrogacy gives people babies and it seems folks forget those babies turn into adults who then have a chance to consider how they were born. This is why I’m so adamant about saying “adult” in the meetup group yet titled this post with “kid”.
If you’re open to helping me, share the meetup page or share this post itself. It terrifies me in a sense to ask for amplification because it’s scary to face what might come up by creating a space like this where I regularly must confront this aspect of my life. At the same time, I’m tired of waiting and wondering. I’m tired of hoping to stumble into a space that I know I have the ability to create. More than anything, I’m afraid that no matter how much effort I put in I still won’t find anyone who is willing to join. Here goes nothing.