One Woman's Surrogacy Journey
TIMNA RUTLEDGE | POSTED ON MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015 AT 08:48PM
Rene (26) and Mark (30) had had three healthy pregnancies and delivered three healthy babies, and though they felt happy and blessed, they believed God had more for them to offer. Rene loved being pregnant, and her doctor had referred to her as a “textbook” patient. She began to feel as if God was leading her to be a surrogate mother for a husband and wife who were fertile, yet unable to bring a pregnancy to term, due to health issues.
“I watched an episode of The Little Couple, where they hired a Surrogate and I thought to myself, these are really wonderful people. A married husband and wife who love each other and would make amazing parents and don’t struggle with fertility. The only thing holding them back is her physical restrictions (i.e. size, in this case) that prevent her from being able to carry a healthy pregnancy. I thought I could totally do this for people! I carry children very well and I would love to help people like that. It was at that point that I talked to Mark about it and he told me that he would support me no matter what, he loved me, and if I felt that God had laid it on my heart, I should do some more research on it,” Rene explained.
Seeking information about surrogacy, Rene went online to research the process and eventually, after consultation with her husband and much prayer, chose to work with the Simple Surrogacy agency and Fort Worth Fertility clinic. After submitting an application and subsequent approval, Rene reviewed profiles to find “Intended Parents” who met her own criteria for acceptance.
“I began to pray very fervently for a very specific couple. God had laid it on my heart that I was looking for a married husband and wife that couldn’t have children for medical issues. Somehow I just knew that I would know who it was when I saw them. I read through a couple of profiles before Steven and Marie’s came across my desk and immediately I told Mark, ‘I really like them. I’d like to talk to them if possible.’ Mark had read through the profiles with me and we had both agreed that based on my criteria, that they were exactly what I had been praying for…” The agency “…gave my Intended Parents my profile and gave me theirs.” Both couples agreed to meet.
“They had specific criteria they were looking for,” said Rene, “and I had what I was looking for. For them, I believe it was a stay-at-home mom. For me, it was a married husband and wife that couldn’t have children for medical reasons and refused to terminate for any reason, and I preferred them to be Christians. What stood out about Steven and Marie to me was that they fit all of my criteria. They were Christians, which was something I was really focused on…”.
“We talked on the phone for a phone interview; I picked them; they picked me and, Voila! Here we are today,” said Rene. “I had prayed all along that if there was a reason that God felt that I was being selfish and that this was not my path to please put a stumbling block in my way and to give me the peace to understand that this was just not His will.”
Believing God is ordering her steps, Rene is also excited about the fact that her Intended Parents are from Germany because she too, claims German roots. “…they lived in Germany, so we had that in common because I’m part German, I speak German and I went to Germany as a foreign exchange student in high school for 3 weeks and I really, really loved it there,” said Rene.
Explanation of this undertaking, that to Rene is more like a mission, has yielded a variety of responses from family and friends. “For my kids I was just very honest. I told them that Steven and Marie could not have a baby by themselves and that they needed someone to carry their baby for them and that Mommy was going to be that person; but I assured them that it was not our baby and that once the baby was born, we would not get to bring it home. My five-year-old really gets it. She knows that the medicine I take is for the baby and she asks me every morning if I’ve taken my ‘baby medicine.’ She tells all of her friends very excitedly how I’m taking these medications to help Steven and Marie have a baby. She’s very excited about it.”
“As far as reactions from my friends and family members go, my friends have been for the most part, extremely positive. I’ve received lots of kind words from my friends and most of them seem to think it’s great. My Mom and Sister have been an incredible support system. They think what I’m doing is amazing. There have been members of my family who have expressed their dislike of what I am doing. One of my family members actually made the comment “I hope you haven’t told anyone.” Originally it really hurt my feelings. I just didn’t understand how they couldn’t understand what I was trying to do… Now their comments don’t really phase me. I wish they were more supportive, but the fact of the matter is that everyone is just not going to support everything I do and that’s ok with me, because at the end of the day I’m the one who has to live with myself, not them. As long as my husband and my children are ok with my decisions, I’m good,” said Rene.
She explained that the Intended Parents have tried unsuccessfully, more than once, to carry their own pregnancy. For Rene, this is a labor of love, literally. “The amount of excitement I feel for them is immeasurable. They are so in love and it’s toxic. You can’t help but feel the love between them when you’re around them and I know that a child is just going to multiply that love. Over the years they have experienced heartbreak with trying to get pregnant on their own and we all feel that we were put in each other’s paths by God. I cannot wait to see them become parents and I pray to God that this process results in a successful, healthy pregnancy for them.” When asked if she and her family plan to stay in communication with the Intended Parents, Steven and Marie, and the baby, Rene answered, “Yes. Absolutely.”
After weeks of hormone therapy injections to prepare Rene to carry her Intended Parents’ previously frozen embryo, the transfer will take place May 1. The clinic will monitor her closely. Ten days after transfer Rene will go in for Beta testing to determine the HCG levels in her blood, which will reveal if she is indeed, pregnant. Provided everything goes smoothly, the surrogate mother is expected to be released to her Obstetrician’s care within a few weeks after a successful transfer.
Simple Surrogacy Co-Owner and Executive Program Director Stephanie Scott said, “I am thrilled to have Rene in our program. She is compassionate, generous, detail oriented, has a wonderful family of her own and truly cares about the life she is helping create and the lives of those she is going to bless forever. This is exactly the kind of person we hope to engage as a surrogate.”
In the 13 years Simple Surrogacy has been in business, more than 350 babies to date have been born because of their program. “For me,” said Scott, “there is no better job on the planet I could be prevailed to do. I touch lives and create them with a BIG help from the wonderful women who choose to become surrogate mothers through my program. Sometimes people need a helping hand to realize their dreams of becoming parents. That’s where I and the generous women around the country step in. For those who have never been a surrogate or been on the receiving end, it is hard to create a picture of why these women do what they do. When you are laying back waiting for your first ultrasound and your Intended Parents are holding your hand in tears waiting to find out whether or not they have a baby on the way, it does something to you. All of their hopes and dreams become your hopes and dreams for them. The vulnerability comes out and all you want to do as a surrogate is make it happen for them.”