Friday, November 13, 2009

Roll Call

Fortunately for us, Surrogacy India is one of a few clinics in India that allow intended parents to choose a carrier. Many have asked how we went about this very critical process and I would like to share it with you.

Once officially accepted into the Surrogacy India program, we were provided access to a password protected website with, among other things, a list of available surrogate profiles - sixteen to be exact! Profiles include the following personal information:
  • A variety of pictures of the surrogate and her family
  • Age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, diet, religion
  • Number of children, their ages and the pregnancy history for each child (any complications, natural delivery vs. cesarean...)
  • Menstruation and fertility details
  • Alcohol and drug (legal and non) history
  • Medical history
  • Surrogacy history (if any)
  • Personal comments about interests and motivations
Seems like a fair amount of information, but when we sat down to select the woman to carry our child it no longer seemed like a lot and the challenge was mammoth. Our first instinct was to analyze each detail and apply the only perspective we have - a Western perspective. To elaborate, one of the first women to catch our eye was separated from her husband. Unsure why, we invented our own theory, a theory falsely giving us confidence that she'd be a very good candidate. We figured that to separate from her husband in India, with two children, she must be a strong, independent woman motivated to have a healthy, successful pregnancy. She currently resides with her parents and therefore must be well taken care of. She had the highest level of education of all the carriers which we thought was commendable as well. Do you see where I'm going with this?

We were being asked to make a momentous decision using very little information about women with whom we have nothing in common. As you can imagine, the more we thought about it, the more we struggled with the process and the more obsessed we became. It seems as if we talked about it constantly over a four day span. In one breath Geoff was talking about how great dinner was and in the next breath he would blurt out, "I think X would be a good carrier because she has what looks like good childbearing hips!" For each profile we reviewed, we found ourselves trying to imagine why the woman answered the way she did and the meaning behind it. Then, we'd weigh the info we had - Is it better for her to have had two children or three? Does it matter whether or not she's married? Does weight and her diet matter? Is it a big deal if she does or does not tell her children? Does religion make a difference? Also, I know it sounds terrible, but I'd be lying if I said we didn't take looks into consideration. It's natural to subconsciously equate "pretty" with "healthy" and we were guilty as charged. If she looks pretty you think, well, she must take care of herself - and if she's taking care of herself then she'll take good care of our baby, right?

Out of our top two choices one was scooped up by another couple, taking the burden off us to make a further decision. R is our girl - yay!!! We are very happy with how it worked out and we can't wait to meet her in person in January! Not all agencies allow for the IPs to meet their surrogates, but Surrogacy India does. In fact, not only will we have a fact-to-face with her, but the doctors will easily arrange for us all to Skype when R is at the clinic for check-ups throughout the pregnancy. For everyone's privacy, we will not be contacting her directly nor will she be contacting us directly.

I can't imagine what it will be like to meet her and I get butterflies when I think about it! What does one say? Are there words with enough meaning to properly express our gratitude? I'm not so sure, but we will try. Like many, we will of course bring her a gift or two but it seems a bit shallow - "Thank you for carrying our baby. Here's some body cream and a bathrobe." Hhhmm, must think a bit further about that, but the good news is, we have until January to figure it out. ; )

[By the way, Geoff and I use the terms "surrogate" and "carrier" interchangeably in our blog. To be clear, we will be working with a gestational carrier to carry our biological child for us.]


  1. Glad you guys made your pick. This is usually a difficult part, although in the following months it will seem like one of the easiest things you have done this far. No, I am not saying that you are facing bigger challenges. Hopefully not… Its just that the process of surrogacy overseas is so full of raw emotions with uncertainty and fear (even if most of it is only in your head), that you will look back at every tough decision you have made so far and say “Gee, I’m glad that one is over.”

    Brace yourself for your meeting with the surrogate. I am convinced that until you have your baby, this is one of the most touching moments on this journey. It is sort of like saying your vows when getting married - both parties involved are extremely excited, nervous, full of joy and a little afraid at the same time. After all, this is a life-altering step! Rest assured that it will be great and you should definitely cherish this moment when it comes.

  2. Congrats! That is great accomplishment. The amount of faith you have to put in another human being to carrie something so precious to you, I cannot begin to imagine. The skype part is great, too. That will help you to not miss any moments. The internet is a great connector. This blog must field a lot of questions for you both. Of course, the baby talk always takes over, no matter what the course of conception, but at least you don't have to repeat all the "action" to the followers of this blog. So happy for you both...kiss kiss hug!

  3. Great Post!! It is a very difficult decision. I think ours was the Egg Donor. Then they would add more to the list and we would then second guess our choice. So we are happy for you both. We gave our surrogate lotion and coloring book and crayons to her children. It seems so little compared to the gift she is about to give us. You two have done your homework and I know you will make great parents. Again, Thanks for the update. I was getting worried. Blogging is such hard work when you already have a million things going on.

    Uncle Greg and Uncle Rob

  4. It is such a weird thing to have to do, isn't it? I remember when we were choosing our surrogate, we went with a woman because she laughed like my mum and had nice eyes.

    But after you've narrowed down the physical stuff, what else is there to go on?

    Good luck - I look forward to reading more about your journey.

    jojo x

  5. Thanks for a great post. It is indeed very daunting and we are all guilty of making choices in the manner you have said.

    Meeting your surrogate is an amazing experience and one we would not have changed for anything. Also having the internet and SKYPE at your fingertips is a powerful tool to keep you feeling closer to your pregnancy across the oceans.

    You must both be very excited, January is almost here.

    Savour the anticipation!