Last month I gave birth for the third time. Only this time, the baby wasn’t my husband’s. Nor was it mine. I gave birth to a gorgeous 9lb, 9oz baby boy with his parents standing by the hospital bed ready to hold him for the first time.
I screamed as he crowned, as my body forcibly pushed him from the only home he’d ever known out into the world. I looked down at his vernix covered face as he lay on my belly, and I could see his older brother in his gorgeous chubby cheeks. I had just helped complete another family.
I am a surrogate mother.
I decided in December of 2012 that I could be a surrogate. It was a combination of motivating factors – I knew the ache of infertility. My husband and I had been given next to no chance of ever conceiving naturally due to a host of serious medical issues we’d both faced in our teens. We were one of the lucky ones that beat the odds to have our children fairly easily though.
I also wanted to ‘give back’ and do something of substance in 2013, and I wanted to experience a pregnancy once more (my two children were born only 18 months apart and my second pregnancy seemed to have passed in the blink of an eye). My husband and I were 100 per cent sure that our family was complete, and those painful, sleepless nights with a newborn were all too fresh in my mind. I knew without a doubt that I could birth a surrogate baby and hand him to his parents.
Surrogacy within Australia is most definitely legal, but only if completed altruistically (unpaid), and only if the steps are followed as per the Australian Surrogacy Act. The baby is legally recognised as the child of the surrogate mother and her partner until a parentage order is applied for once the baby has been in the care of the his ‘Intending Parents’ (read ‘actual parents’) for 28 days straight. The process is scary and confronting when you’re at the beginning, with so many unknowns. But with a bit of hard work, a whole lot of trust and a touch of luck… we’re now at the other end. A family has a gorgeous baby boy who would otherwise have never existed.
I met the family I would come to help in this way completely by accident on Facebook while researching surrogacy at the start of 2013. We ‘clicked’ and decided to get together in person. It was seriously the most bizarre yet totally natural feeling lunch I’ve ever had. The conversation varied from the weather and traffic, to fertility, pregnancy, birth experiences and children all in the space of a few hours. I think we all just felt a very real and honest connection – we were all there with one goal in mind.