- I decided to go into surrogacy after seeing a family member struggle with fertility.
- I’m married and have two kids of my own.
- I’m starting my fourth surrogacy journey, and even though it’s hard, I love doing it.
Watching a family member struggle with fertility issues made me want to find a way to help other couples experiencing the same heartbreak of infertility. At age 30, I’ve now acted as a surrogate for three beautiful babies and am starting the process again. I’m also married and have two children of my own.
A quick Google search introduced me to the concept of surrogacy. I began researching what being a surrogate was like, and that’s when the Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute popped up. I submitted a form with some information on my background and anxiously waited.
Several steps helped prepare me for the surrogacy journey.
First, I had to go through background checks and medical-history examinations. Most reputable agencies want to make sure that people going through surrogacy fit certain criteria: that they’re 21 to 37 years old, have given birth or raised a child previously, have a BMI under 30, have reliable transportation, are in the country legally, and do not smoke or use drugs.
After my team created a profile for me — almost like a dating profile — I was matched with intended parents. From there, we set up an interview to see if we’d like to work together.
After that, we went into the legal side of surrogacy, making contracts that outlined everything from payment (surrogates in California can get paid $40,000 to $75,000 depending on experience) to what I would eat and what my relationship with the intended parents and the baby would be like (whether we would be in each other’s lives after the delivery, and, if so, how).
I started medications and injections a few weeks before the embryo transfer. The transfer is probably the most uncomfortable part because it is so personal — but the moment you get the first heartbeat is the most amazing thing and makes everything worth it.
Communicating with the intended parents is the easiest and the hardest part
During the process, you get to communicate with the family as much as they would like. I always wanted to make sure they knew this was their journey too. I invite them to all the ultrasounds and send picture updates so they feel included and aren’t just waiting for the birth.
I also want to be mindful that sometimes sharing too much reminds them of the pregnancy experience they’re missing.
While this process isn’t easy, I forget about it all when I see the look on the intended parents’ faces as they see their child for the first time. That’s what keeps me doing this.
You have to make sure you are prepared with a support system
Being a surrogate is hard. You need a good support system to remind you how good of a thing it is that you’ve just done.
I have a family of my own, so I know firsthand the feeling of becoming a mother and how beautiful it is. Surrogacy is a hard journey, but you’ve just helped someone get something they otherwise could not have gotten. You were their last hope and last option, and now, because of you, they are more complete.
Cynthia Ortiz is a surrogate mom based in Safford, Arizona, who worked with the Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute for all her surrogate pregnancies.
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