Embracing the Unexpected: Sueann’s Surrogacy Story

Ever wonder what would happen if you combined an international family building journey with a global pandemic and a surprise delivery? If so, this story is for you!

Growing Generations surrogate Sueann never imagined so many challenges and changes would arise during the process. Still, she found herself with amazing relationships and plenty of meaningful moments to celebrate. We spoke with Sueann about her experience and what she’ll remember most about her surrogacy.

Sueann at her embryo transfer with Dr. Kolb and her husband

Embryo transfer time with Dr. Kolb

While there were some COVID-19 protocols to adjust to, Sueann found that the actual process of becoming pregnant and giving birth wasn’t much different from her previous experiences. “There were a few extra tests, because it was an IVF pregnancy,” she explained. “But, pandemic or not, there was no difference.” 

With the baby’s intended parents located in England, Sueann was well-prepared for virtual communication. Despite their physical distance she and her intended parents got to know each other well as they navigated their first embryo transfer, then another, and finally a third (and successful) attempt. They stayed in touch using WhatsApp and started a regular Saturday phone chat. The intended parents were even able to video chat with Sueann during many of the doctor’s appointments. 

“My relationship with the dads was [and] is amazing!” she enthused. “This journey took us two years, so we got to know each other and our families. We send each other flowers for big milestones.”

Sueann at 12 weeks of pregnancy.

12 weeks pregnant

Sueann recalls the excitement and setbacks of IVF as unforgettable parts of the process. ”The first — and sometimes additional — time you have an embryo transfer,” she said. “There is such build-up before with meds, and tests, and screening. Then, you get to the big day and it’s so wonderful and amazing. I cried every time, because it’s the hope that in that moment we all are creating life. It’s very powerful.” Of course, she added, the post-transfer acupuncture, food, and pampering by her partner also contributed to the specialness of the day.

Like the pandemic itself, Sueann’s delivery day was filled with the unexpected. “My water broke two months early,” she explained. The intended parents had only just turned in their paperwork to enter the country two days prior. “Luckily, the embassy was able to accommodate them, and they were here in California later that week.”

The hospital’s visitor policy provided yet another challenge. “At first, the hospital said they couldn’t come in until birth and then only one,” Sueann recalled. “After talking to a few people, I was able to have both of them in.”

Sueann spent 12 days in the hospital bonding with the intended parents before delivering via an urgent C-section. “I was able to have one of the dads with me and he was able to see the baby being born,” she remembered. “He held my hand the whole time and was so supportive.”

Sueann baby bump photo with belly buds

Belly buds and a belly bump

After delivery, the intended parents spent time with their new baby in the NICU, while Sueann spent additional time in the hospital to recover from a sudden onset of infection. Once she was well-enough, she visited the family regularly to deliver breastmilk. 

“I didn’t meet him until he was out a month later,” Sueann explained. “I totally didn’t mind, because both of his dads were there and couldn’t have asked for more.”

While the birthing experience didn’t go according to plan, “the moment they pulled the baby out, both me and one of the dads had a moment of, ‘He’s here! He is really here!’” Sueann shared. “Getting to see how happy both of them are and how much love they have for their son makes everything worth it.”

When asked to describe what she’ll remember most about her surrogacy experience, Sueann singled out a treasured moment in the first time that she was able to see the baby’s heartbeat. “It took us three transfers to get to that point, so I didn’t believe or dare get excited until I could see a heartbeat,” she explained. “We did at 6 weeks! I was able to video with the dads, and I bawled my eyes out. All of us were so emotional. Like, finally, we did it.”

Sueann’s advice for surrogates, she said, is simply patience. “Easier said than done, but be patient with yourself,” she said. “Be patient with the process and enjoy all the little milestones that happen during the journey. It may take a while to get pregnant and deliver, but once it does it feels like it happens so fast!”

Oh, she added, and there is just one more quick tip: “Pads!” she implored. “Invest in lots and lots of pads!” 

Growing Generations has adjusted our protocols throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to continue providing safe and memorable journeys for everyone involved. Whether you’re a surrogate, egg donor, or intended parent, we’re here for you.  Contact us today to learn more or to get started.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.