Surrogate Stories: Danielle

 

Watching my cousin struggle with fertility was heartbreaking. Fertility came so easily to me, and watching her miscarry time and time again really kind of made me mad. I felt like she deserved to be a parent so much. Before I even knew what surrogacy was, I offered to carry her child. It wound up that she didn’t need my help, but at that point the seed was planted.

I started doing some research and ultimately wound up applying with Growing Generations. I was so excited to jump in and help someone start a family. But it turns out, surrogacy isn’t always what you expect it to be.

In my first journey I almost said no to my first family before even really considering them. They already had kids. I just didn’t think I was going to become a surrogate in order to help a couple who already had children. I never even considered that possibility. But then Growing Generation’s matching specialist said something that opened my mind. She told me that completing a family is just as important as starting one. So I said yes. Best decision ever.

I had so much love and support from the intended fathers. It was more than I could have ever asked for, or expected. I didn’t expect to meet people so eager for a child and to fall in love with the family. The moment that little boy was born, seeing that family completed, made surrogacy great.

Did I expect to be a repeat surrogate? No way! After my first journey, I never thought I would do surrogacy again. But, surrogacy surprised me again. About halfway into my first surrogate pregnancy, I was sure I wanted to do this again. And I knew for sure on delivery day that no matter what- I wanted one more time!

I also didn’t expect to have to deal with failure. Remember I said fertility came easily to me? My second journey started with three failed embryo transfers. This was incredibly difficult for me to deal with. I felt so sad. I felt like I had failed, even though I did everything I could to succeed. Ultimately, that family decided to move on from me, meaning I had to be re-matched. That was an experience I didn’t expect either. But, guess what, it worked out in the end.

Moving forward I asked to see profiles of gay men living in the USA. Yet again, I got something I didn’t expect. The matching specialist sent me a straight couple living in China. By now I had learned that the unexpected often worked out for me. So I read the profile. And when I read the profile, I felt like I belonged with them. So I made it work. I accepted and after a talk with them I was in love. I opened my heart to the unexpected and it worked out.

Perhaps the biggest thing I didn’t expect was the lifelong relationships. I seriously didn’t expect the family who let me go after the failed attempts to remain so close with me. We don’t talk everyday but we do talk. My first family has been amazingly great and I talk to them all the time. There is so much love from all of them.

I also didn’t expect to make friends in this process. Turns out there is a sisterhood of other surrogates out there. Through them, I’ve made lifelong friendships. They are always there no matter what. Need support? They are there. Need somebody to talk to in the middle of the night? They are there; and not just for surrogacy stuff. They are there for all of life- they are there for anything! It’s a real support team.

In the end, surrogacy wasn’t always what I expected, it’s more.

Dr. Kim Bergman

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 Fertility Counseling Services and 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 upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.