Surrogate Stories: Toni


Once upon a time I was at a Barnes and Noble waiting in line. I saw a Time magazine- the front it said, “More Military Wives Choosing to be Surrogates”. I thought to myself, hey, I’m a military wife, and I think I’d be able to do that. And the rest, as they say, is history.

My husband’s immediate response to the idea was no. His idea of surrogacy was traditional surrogacy, wherein the child would be biologically my own, and he wasn’t comfortable having half of me out there with other parents. When I explained to him the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy, and assured him that the child would not share my DNA, he was just fine with it.

Some in my support network were disappointed by our choice. Mostly because they wanted us to have more children of our own. However, my husband and I only wanted one child, and I had a perfectly healthy uterus that wasn’t going to be used for us anymore! If anyone else ever had other reservations, they didn’t voice them. My friends and family know darn well that I am a very strong-willed, independent individual, and that I was going to go forward with this- with or without their support.

I applied with Growing Generations and was accepted as a surrogate on my 23rd birthday. What a gift it turned out to be!

My first match was in March 2011, almost right after applying, to a gay couple in Texas. Tim was funny, with a wicked sense of humor that matched my own. Though his partner John was more reserved, he’s a kind and wonderful person. We kept in contact throughout the pregnancy, especially since Tim was an OB. I enjoyed our conversations, and our lives were enriched from having them in them.

Everything played out like clockwork. We had our first transfer in May 2011, and I became pregnant with their first daughter. I gave birth to her in January 2012.  It didn’t take long for more plans to take shape. We moved almost immediately into the sibling journey. The first transfer did not take, but the second one did. I gave them another daughter in October of 2013. Unfortunately, Tim passed away that December. I was glad for the fact that I was able to help him complete his family before he passed, but at the same time I was sad he didn’t get to be more of a part of their lives.

Ultimately I would go on to have one more journey, carrying twins for an international couple.

I’m a laid back person. For everything throughout the entire process, I’ve taken the approach of: whatever the parents want. While I’m the one that’s pregnant, it’s not my child, or my life that will be affected post-pregnancy. I do everything in my power to keep the parents’ preferences and wishes in mind. Not only because it’s their child(ren), but to give them peace of mind. How trusting does a person have to be to have someone else carry the most precious thing in their life?

­ In surrogacy you kind of have to put aside your personal opinions on certain subjects, or you need to find parents who believe as you do. Most of the time it’s not a big issue; GG does its best to match people that get along fabulously. But sometimes things come up as the pregnancy goes on, tough subjects, and the parents will have enough worry on their minds without having to also worry about the surrogate fighting them every step. To me, there are no opinions or beliefs I hold that trump the parents’ opinions and beliefs, especially when it concerns their children.

I would say to incoming surrogates to be patient, just as the parents are trying to be with you. The process is exciting, and an emotional rush, but try to not gush about everything at them. Open communication and appropriate boundaries can create some incredibly special relationships as a result of surrogacy.

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.