Surrogate Stories: Monique

When I became a surrogate, I didn’t even know what HART was, or that science like this was even possible. In my heart, I wanted to help the people who, I thought, believed having their own biological children was impossible. And for me, helping HIV+ parents was as wide as my heart could open.

I began to look into the process with Growing Generations always at my side. I learned that the doctors had done all of the research and had preventative measures in place to protect everyone. I trusted that they wouldn’t knowingly put a surrogate at risk. Those facts and the knowledge that there have been zero cases of transmission to the surrogate made me and my husband comfortable enough to proceed.

That’s not to say there weren’t times when I was scared about my choice. I had moments when I thought, “What if I’M the first case?” “Am I being irresponsible and putting myself at risk?” “What am I thinking?” The signing of the waiver really scared me.

But I was never alone. GG is great about the blood tests during the pregnancy and even after birth. After the first trimester, the fact that I was carrying a baby for a HART client, as opposed to a non HART client, didn’t even cross my mind.

The process itself is really no different that carrying for a non HART client. I took one extra pill during my medical cycle. Even that was just one extra level of precaution. The labor and delivery were no different from my own, with the exception of one extra blood draw after the birth to confirm that I hadn’t contracted the virus. It’s a standard test, and I hadn’t contracted the virus.

Science has come so far. HIV+ people are living full and normal length lives with the right medications. The fact that one parent was HIV+ made the birth twice as rewarding!! To be able to give a family to someone who would have been assumed dead at diagnosis just 20 years ago was amazing.

I’d like to talk to women who are considering being in the HART program but are too scared to take the leap. To you I say- have an open mind! Don’t let the word HIV automatically scare you into not hearing all the facts. There is rigorous testing for potential HART intended parents to even be considered for the program. Their viral load has to be less than 1%, and even then the doctors “wash” the sperm several times to ensure no virus is detected.

There are several wonderful and deserving IPs who have the same dream of having children as other IPs. They just have to jump through a few extra hoops to get there.

I don’t regret my choice to help a HART couple become a family. I’m PROUD of that choice. So proud in fact that I’ve signed up to do it again.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last 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 of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, 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 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 created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.