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Topic: Being a surrogate for your known donor?

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Subject: Being a surrogate for your known donor?
Date Posted: 12/2/2008 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Would ya, could ya, should ya?

So, I'm mega-simplifying things here, but if you had a potential known donor (PKD) who had asked (before you asked him to consider being your donor) if you would consider carrying a baby for him... would you consider proposing a, uhm, swap, of sorts? (I'm trying to keep this post short. :P )

You and PKD attend the same church and have largely the same social circle.

I'm pretty set on the pros, but if you have any to offer, that's fine. Mainly though, I am looking for the cons and the why nots.

TIA!

Date Posted: 12/2/2008 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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You really need to define the legal and emotional relationships ahead of time.  Will there be a role, like uncle or aunt?  What about wills and custody?  Will the kids know that they are related?  Do you really want a donor who has no role or relationship?  And keep in mind, being a surrogate is much more of an emotional, fiscal, and hormonal role than being a donor.  Could you do it?  Could you hand over the child?  And bite your tongue if you disagreed with their parenting methods?  Maybe not offer until after you have experienced the hormones?  What about being an egg donor, which involves lots of hormones but not hearing the heartbeat?  

And think about the option of jointly raising a child or two.

Date Posted: 12/3/2008 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 7,581
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I've heard of this before. I think as far as a con, it's a LOT more work for you to be a surrogate than for him to donate some semen.  You're looking at at least 40 weeks of the pregnancy, plus the emotional investment you would put into trying (and medical intervention if there are issues...).  While I don't want to downplay the role that a known donor plays (obviously - I am forever in debt to ours), I do think you would be playing a MUCH different, more involved role.  That's the main con that I can think of.

You said you are set on the pros, of which there are many I agree!

Date Posted: 12/3/2008 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2007
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I agree with the previous posts.

To me the biggest thing would be giving up the child. Going through all the emotional and physical aspects of being pregnant, then labor are very hard, even when you have the reward of having a child afterwards. How would you feel if you had to give that child up?

# 2 on cons would be what Emily said about being involved. If you both were not involved in the parenting of the other child could you bite your tongue when they were doing something you didn't like? What about if he were to say something to you that he didn't like while you were pregnant? He wants you to eat something or not eat something all the time. Wants you to go through labor with out meds but you think it'll be easier with meds (since you're giving the child up). Things like this could get sticky.

What about if you have a boy and then when you get pregnant for him its a girl (or vice versa). How would you feel about that?

I think if you do decide to do this you need to have your own child first. Then wait at least a year until you try for his child. I don't know if there are time limits for either of you but I think by a year old you will know if you want more kids, if you could give one up, etc. I think if you are able to go into the situation with the mindet that this is not your child and you don't have to see the child all the time then it'd be easier. However, for me pesonally I think if I saw the child it would be hard.

I have always thought it'd be wonderful to be a surrogate, but then I wouldn't be biologically connected with the child. . .

Good luck in whatever you decide.

Date Posted: 12/5/2008 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2006
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1.  If you have your own child first, what will be the impact on your child of seeing Mom pregnant and then giving away a baby?  That's a huge thing for a child to integrate at any age -- how do you explain giving away a "sibling?"  Even if your child is pre-verbal s/he will absorb a sense of loss around your involvement in the 2nd pregnancy and giving up the baby. 

And then there are the potential medical outcomes -- what if the 2nd pregnancy was difficult?  Even in today's day and age, mothers can have serious medical complications to pregnancy.  I honestly could never be a surrogate and risk being less than 100% present for my own daughter.  Just speaking as a mom here.

2.  If you have the surrogate child first, how will you feel giving away "your" firstborn?  And dittoing the other concerns raised above about being involved yet not involved (seeing their parenting, coping with differences, what if the child has "issues" of various kinds. . . ).

 

Overall, I'm a big one for kids having simpler situations to contend with -- life is complicated enough without having to explain "parents" that aren't really parents, but are "friends" or "aunts/uncles."  It all sounds good on paper, but in my experience, in real life it gets awfully complicated. . . . . .

Date Posted: 12/6/2008 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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I can't stress enough that the legal tangle potential needs to be very thoroughly explored before you attempt this sort of "donor" relationship.

Like anything in today's world trying to honestly predict the future is a little crazy making, but when children and their welfare are involved, you owe it to the KIDS and yourself to cover all the bases.  What if there is a difference of opinion about child rearing practices?  What if you want to move to a far away place and this other non-family member is legally able to halt those types of decisions?  What about wills and custody if the worst happens - death, prision, illness.......And I mean get it all in writing.  If you are mature enough for this, you are probably ready to weather any storm life has in store.

Good luck!  Having children is the ultimate act of faith and belief that there is good in the world.  I admire and respect anyone who chooses this in life thoughtfully.



Last Edited on: 12/6/08 2:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/6/2008 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2007
Posts: 1,453
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Courtney - I am interested to hear your thoughts on this. What have you come up with con wise? I can think of my biggest pro if it were me, however what's yours?

Of course you don't have to share at all - or here, I'm just really interested.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 12/6/2008 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Just want to say, from the standpoint of someone in an adoption triad, a child *will* be curious about his bio parents, regardless of his relationship with you.  Some may not wish to seek them out, but they will ask questions and want to know about it.  From my perspective, the more you know about the bio parents, the better.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Thanks for all the responses everyone. It has given us more to talk about. Sorry it took me so long to get back to this -- I can't get on PBS at work anymore, it always crashes my computer (no other website is having problems)... it is putting a serious cramp in my web surfing time. ;)

I'm going to respond more directly in a moment, but I wanted to update slightly. We have another potential donor in the works (7 months of not finding anyone, and now all of a sudden we have choices!), so all this may well be a moot point. But we're continuing the discussion, b/c there are a lot of pros with this particular donor. So I am definitely still open to any further advice.

Thanks again for everything you've offered so far.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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You really need to define the legal... ahead of time. 

We will definitely take care of the legal stuff, no matter what sort of arrangement we end up deciding on.

Will there be a role, like uncle or aunt?  And think about the option of jointly raising a child or two.

I am really very much not interested in any sort of co-parent relationship, or any sort of defined roles in one another's lives, other than just basic friends of the family.

What about wills and custody? 

I would expect (and we would discuss legally) that he would make his own custody arrangements/will stuff that would not involve us, and vice versa.

Will the kids know that they are related? 

This is not my preference, particularly early on. But I do expect questions in their older childhood/teen years. One thing, we are not expecting to stay in this area long term, so by the time they are of an age that they may be able to recognize any relational similarities between themselves, we will hopefully not be here any longer. However, I realize that things happen, and it is a contingency that I realize we may not have much control over.

Do you really want a donor who has no role or relationship? 

Official role? Yes, I do not want that. Relationship? Well, one of the biggest factors of wanting a known donor for us is that there will be a sort of family friendship thing. And that when baby grows up, there is a real life person there who he/she can talk to about the paternal genes or whatever. So yes, I do want some degree of relationship, just not any sort of co-parenting situation.

And keep in mind, being a surrogate is much more of an emotional, fiscal, and hormonal role than being a donor.  Could you do it? Could you hand over the child?

I think so. I *think* so. We are definitely thinking this through very carefully and discussing it quite a bit.

 And bite your tongue if you disagreed with their parenting methods? 

This is a biggie for me, and high on my list of potential cons. But I know on several of my biggies, we are similar enough. But on some of my other biggies -- well, I realize how *un*-mainstream I am, and I suspect he is a lot more mainstream. But at the end of the day, yes, I think I could -- b/c it would very definitely be *his* child, and I know he would be a loving, gentle, responsible parent, and at the end of the day *that* is what is important -- much more so than the *details* of our individual parenting choices.

Maybe not offer until after you have experienced the hormones? 

That was our original plan, and still the most likely. In some ways I do think it would be best. But I can see pros to having his first, and it is something Kim and I are discussing.

What about being an egg donor, which involves lots of hormones but not hearing the heartbeat?  

It is important to him to have a known surrogate. I can certainly understand that -- it is why I want a known donor. It is possible he could have another friend be the carrier, but good golly, talk about being complicated to work out!

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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I've heard of this before. I think as far as a con, it's a LOT more work for you to be a surrogate than for him to donate some semen.  You're looking at at least 40 weeks of the pregnancy, plus the emotional investment you would put into trying (and medical intervention if there are issues...).  While I don't want to downplay the role that a known donor plays (obviously - I am forever in debt to ours), I do think you would be playing a MUCH different, more involved role.  That's the main con that I can think of.

You said you are set on the pros, of which there are many I agree!

Thanks Jessie, I really appreciate you popping in to offer your thoughts. We have considered the difference in what we each have to offer. I think if we do decide to go this route, we would want, to put it in really simplistic terms, a 2-for-1 swap. I want a minimum of two kids anyway, so I think, given how much *more* difficult it is t be a surrogate, we would definitely want to go that route.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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What about if he were to say something to you that he didn't like while you were pregnant? He wants you to eat something or not eat something all the time. Wants you to go through labor with out meds but you think it'll be easier with meds (since you're giving the child up). Things like this could get sticky.

Definitely the potential for stickiness here, I agree! Here is how I would want it: prenatally -- I'll do pretty much whatever he wants (within certain limits of course, but, yeah... pretty flexible), I'll do an ob over a midwife if he prefers, we'll do whatever testings/screenings/ultrasounds/whatever that he wants, I would be willing to go with pretty much whatever diet he thought best (within limits); delivery -- this is mine. input from him would definitely be considered, but since I'm the one bringing this kid into the world, I'm gonna want the most say on how it happens; postnatally -- back in his court for the most part, my body is now *mine*, but baby is now *all his*.

What about if you have a boy and then when you get pregnant for him its a girl (or vice versa). How would you feel about that?

I'm planning to *try* for a specific gender. I will offer to do the same for him. If it doesn't work out, *shrug* I'll figure the universe knows what it is doing.

I think if you do decide to do this you need to have your own child first. Then wait at least a year until you try for his child. I don't know if there are time limits for either of you but I think by a year old you will know if you want more kids, if you could give one up, etc. I think if you are able to go into the situation with the mindset that this is not your child and you don't have to see the child all the time then it'd be easier. However, for me personally I think if I saw the child it would be hard.

Originally, we were planning on doing mine first. Haven't completely ruled that out, but we have started considering doing it the other way first. 1. so he doesn't have to wait so long, and 2. I'm a bit concerned about sibling confusion.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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1.  If you have your own child first, what will be the impact on your child of seeing Mom pregnant and then giving away a baby?  That's a huge thing for a child to integrate at any age -- how do you explain giving away a "sibling?"  Even if your child is pre-verbal s/he will absorb a sense of loss around your involvement in the 2nd pregnancy and giving up the baby. 

And then there are the potential medical outcomes -- what if the 2nd pregnancy was difficult?  Even in today's day and age, mothers can have serious medical complications to pregnancy.  I honestly could never be a surrogate and risk being less than 100% present for my own daughter.  Just speaking as a mom here.

2.  If you have the surrogate child first, how will you feel giving away "your" firstborn?  And dittoing the other concerns raised above about being involved yet not involved (seeing their parenting, coping with differences, what if the child has "issues" of various kinds. . . ).

 

Overall, I'm a big one for kids having simpler situations to contend with -- life is complicated enough without having to explain "parents" that aren't really parents, but are "friends" or "aunts/uncles."  It all sounds good on paper, but in my experience, in real life it gets awfully complicated. . . . . .

You have quite well summed up two of our biggest concerns, depending on which way we decided to go with it. 1. I have definite concerns about sibling issues and 2. I have waited a loooong time for a baby, finally being pregnant only to have it not be mine would be quite difficult.

As far as your overall though, honestly, it is going to be a complicated situation for us/baby period -- even putting aside the potential surrogate issue. If we do have a known donor, we will def. want him involved in baby's life as a good friend. If we don't have a known donor, well then baby is going to have those complications, plus good friends who are involved in his life still. *shrug* It is going to be somewhat complicated no matter how you slice the details.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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I can't stress enough that the legal tangle potential needs to be very thoroughly explored before you attempt this sort of "donor" relationship.

We are definitely on top of the legal issues and will be dotting all of our i's and crossing all of our t's; no matter what exact donor relationship we end up going with. We will cover all our bases legally.

Good luck!  Having children is the ultimate act of faith and belief that there is good in the world.  I admire and respect anyone who chooses this in life thoughtfully.

Thanks!!

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 1:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Courtney - I am interested to hear your thoughts on this. What have you come up with con wise? I can think of my biggest pro if it were me, however what's yours?

Of course you don't have to share at all - or here, I'm just really interested.

Thanks Sarah.

Cons:

*I'm not sure I could handle being a surrogate, emotionally.
*Although we (meaning Kim and I, but also meaning this discussion), haven't touched on this much, I'm not sure Kim could handle me being a surrogate, emotionally. We have talked a lot about *me*... but she would have to also deal with having a pregnant wife, *and* knowing that it was not our baby I was growing.
*Weirdness. Just plain and simple weirdness. We attend a very small church. Everyone would obviously be able to figure out I was pregnant. 9 months later when I'm not preggers anymore and have no baby in hand, but he shows up with one... yeah, weirdness. We run in the same (smallish) social circle. Having kids who are full biological siblings, but socially are not being raised as siblings. Yeah.

Pros:

*In a lot of ways, it seems a real win-win situation to me. I get my known donor. He gets his known surrogate. He knows it is going to be very, very hard to get a known surrogate, this is our chance to help him out. He is a *wonderful* man. Even if we end up having some differences in our parenting styles, I know he will be an awesome, kind, loving, gentle, fun father. Seriously. There are very, very, very few people I would ever even consider doing this with. Kids *will* have full bio siblings -- even if they won't be *raised* that way, it is a relationship they could pursue to deepen as adults. Those are my biggies.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 1:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Just want to say, from the standpoint of someone in an adoption triad, a child *will* be curious about his bio parents, regardless of his relationship with you.  Some may not wish to seek them out, but they will ask questions and want to know about it.  From my perspective, the more you know about the bio parents, the better.

Thanks for your input L. I know you're right. And (the bolded part) is one of the biggest reasons Kim and I *really* want a known donor situation.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 609
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Courtney,

May I ask what insemination process you are considering? Having gone thru fertility treatments myself (first Clomid then Gonal F, both with IUI), I'm wondering if you've thought about the chance of conceiving multiples as a result of stimulation drugs.

 

 

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Hi Kathy,

May I ask what insemination process you are considering? Having gone thru fertility treatments myself (first Clomid then Gonal F, both with IUI), I'm wondering if you've thought about the chance of conceiving multiples as a result of stimulation drugs.

The, uh, do-it-yourself method. ;) We're planning four months of trying (Aug. - Nov.) with no fertility treatments or other intervention methods. If none of those work, we'll be taking a break till Julyish of 2010 and then trying again. At that point, we will likely consider going the intervention route.

We have thought of the chance of multiples -- I'm especially prone due to PCOS. It isn't something we have discussed with our donor yet though.

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2006
Posts: 609
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Good luck!!

Date Posted: 12/7/2008 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2007
Posts: 1,453
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Courtney! I think your hearts will tell you what to do; at the end of the "day" you'll know.

Whatever you two choose to do I wish you the best of luck. This is a hard decision either way.

Date Posted: 12/8/2008 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2006
Posts: 226
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All the best to you and your family, Courtney.

I ended up using a cryobank to conceive my daughter, with a "willing to be known when the child is 18" donor -- it was my way of mitigating the various issues as they were for me/us. . . .  But that doesn't address your situation, I know.  Just wanted to say that I am with you on the journey of creating our families in the way that works FOR US.  That's reproductive freedom!  Yay! 

Happy holidays!

Date Posted: 12/9/2008 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2006
Posts: 440
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Thanks for all the input and the good luck wishes. I'll keep you all updated!