4 Surrogacy Facts That Everyone Should Know

Written by guest writer Janice Russell of Parentingdisasters.com

When you think about surrogate pregnancies, you may only think of this as an option for the wealthy. In reality, however, surrogacy is more commonplace than you think. This once rare method of assisted reproduction is rising in popularity, especially in the U.S. where more than 77,000 surrogate pregnancies were recorded in 2019 according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Even though surrogacy is indeed becoming more common, the mystery surrounding the process can be just as confusing as ever. If you’re curious about surrogacy and what to know more, Fit Dallas Mom outlines a few things to help. 

Working With an Agency Makes Surrogacy Simpler 

Before you get into the details of surrogacy, you need to know that actually being involved in the process can be complicated. For that reason, you should consider working with an agency to get a better understanding of surrogacy steps and surrogacy costs. 

Any reputable agency will be transparent and upfront about what is involved, for the intended parents or surrogate mother, and will be more than willing to provide this information in full. Working out details around cost can be especially helpful, since the expenses for average services are substantially different from those incurred by celebrities.

Finding a Surrogate Can Take Time for Intended Parents 

Surrogacy can be a wonderful option for hopeful parents who are experiencing fertility issues. One of the first steps in this lengthy process is finding a surrogate mother. For many, a friend or family member may be the best option and may lessen expenses as well as potential emotional complications. 

But even if a friend offers to be a surrogate, What To Expect suggests it’s still wise for both parties to work with an agency so that everyone involved is properly screened for health issues and emotional concerns that could lead to complications. Emotional assessments can be especially important since carrying someone else’s child can be a challenging experience for some surrogate mothers.

Figuring Out Which Form of Surrogacy to Use is Important 

There are two forms of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. Gestational surrogacy, the more common of the two, is when a surrogate is implanted (via in vitro fertilization) with a fertilized egg from the intended mother or an egg donor, meaning the surrogate has no biological link to the embryo. 

Traditional surrogacy is when a woman donates one of her own eggs as a surrogate; this is more complicated and less common due to the challenging legal nature of this scenario. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to enter this process with a clear understanding of the surrogacy laws in your state, and involving an attorney in this process will be beneficial for everyone.

Becoming a Surrogate Involves So Much More Than Payment 

For women who wish to become surrogates, financial considerations may come into play. It’s common for surrogate mothers to be paid a fee for their services, in addition to having all medical costs covered by the intended parents. But finances should not be your sole reason for wanting to be a surrogate. Having a deep desire to help other parents enjoy the beauty of parenthood should be a part of this decision.

There are also risks to consider. Pregnancy can carry complications for even healthy women. Aside from temporary effects, like morning sickness and weight gain, pregnancy can also have additional long-term consequences for the health of surrogates.

One way to ease the physical discomfort of pregnancy for the surrogate — before the baby is delivered and after — is by wearing comfortable clothes with fabrics that stretch throughout the pregnancy. Kindred Bravely’s lounge dress, for example, also serves as a nightgown and has a nursing panel, making feeding the newborn easy and convenient. But perhaps more than the physical effects, you also need to be fully prepared for the emotions that are involved with carrying and caring for someone else’s child for so many months.

As more people look to become parents, there’s no doubt that surrogacy will increase in popularity. That’s why it’s helpful for people to educate themselves around the steps involved, whether they are interested in using the services, providing services or simply want to know more. Surrogacy can be a wonderful way to experience the miracle of life, just be sure to enter it with a clear understanding. 

Photo credit: Pexels

The Fit Dallas Mom blog shares Stefanie Lopez’s ups and downs and things she’s learned along her new path of motherhood. Read more interesting posts today!

End of pregnancy struggles

I”m in month 8 of my pregnancy and the sleepless nights have kicked in. I have forgotten how hard the last few months can be. I’m so exhausted every day. The weight of the baby, chasing around 2 little ones and not sleeping at night is getting to me.

With my first baby I had only minor pregnancy insomnia, plus nightly leg pains. I had a few nights where I didn’t sleep well but it was never a full night. Maybe just a few hours where I couldn’t get to sleep. Second baby I had just nightly leg pains. With this third baby it’s major insomnia and leg pains at night.

This last week I had a run of about 48 hours without sleep. And yes I tried. It’s not like I’m up doing things. I’m literally laying in bed, tossing and turning, staring at the wall (I can only lay on my side). It makes the daytime brutal because I drag so much. I feel bad for the boys because I’m not at my best for them. I feel like I’m in a non functioning state. Basically a walking zombie. I’m sure I look just as terrible as I feel.

Last night my insomnia and leg pain was at its worst. I was up till 4am just trying to get the dull ache in my legs to go away long enough for me to try to sleep. It felt like I was checking the clock every 15 minutes. Time was moving so slowly. I literally paced the house to get my legs moving. I tried stretching and massage. I took Tylenol and drank a ton of water. Nothing worked. The water actually just made me need to pee more so I was getting up every 30 minutes to go. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Needless to say, I’m ready for Brody to be here. I know more sleepless nights will lie ahead when he is here, but at least the leg cramps, hip pain and heart burn will be gone!

Pregnancy leg day

I’m a little over 6 months pregnant now. My belly is getting bigger which means movements while working out are getting more difficult. However this isn’t stopping me from working out! Workouts are the one thing keeping up my strength and energy for the boys!

Today was a leg workout. 4 sets of 12! 💪🏻

Introducing your kids to a new baby

It’s hard to believe this was just 3 years ago! My little guy has gotten so big so fast. In a few short months we will be a family of 5! Fingers crossed Ryder handles baby #3 a little better than he did with Camden.😳

When I first brought Camden home from the hospital, if you were holding him, Ryder would just sit there and give you dirty looks. He would refuse to come near anyone that was holding Camden. He would actually tell me to put Camden down. He was not a fan. That first month was definitely one of the hardest I’d ever experienced. It broke my heart that Ryder had such a hard time.

Hopefully now that he’s been around Camden so long he understands that a new baby isn’t a “threat.” He’s so good with Camden now and even tries to share with him (sometimes).

I did screw up with Ryder in the beginning when I had Camden. I thought after Camden was born I needed to give Ryder a ton of attention to make up for the shared attention that was about to happen. People kept telling me Ryder was going to get jealous and would need a lot of individual attention. I shouldn’t have listened to them.

I had my mom spend a lot of time with Ryder as well thinking that individual attention was needed because of everyone’s comments. That actually made Ryders jealousy worse. When he actually did spend time around Camden and I, it was really bad. He just couldn’t handle it and would have melt downs and be extremely upset. What I should have done is let Ryder spend time around just me and Camden the minute I brought him home. I should have gotten him used to being around Camden right away so he could see he and baby will both get my attention. I think if I’d done that, it may have not taken so long for Ryder to adjust to Camden. By giving him too much individual attention, it’s what he expected all the time and wasn’t getting used to having to share.

Obviously now things are ok. We have our days where one kid needs more attention than the other. But for the most part they both understand they have to share moms attention and that they will both get the attention they need. I definitely learned a lot that first time around. I think I have the hang of it this second time. Fingers crossed!

Pregnancy workout

Im now a little over 5 months pregnant and I’m not supposed to do full on ab exercises. However, my doctor did encourage workouts that include some core! She said this will help with belly strain due to weight of baby as well as strength for labor! So I’m doing legs mixed with core. I haven’t used sliding discs in so long. They’re definitely harder to use when pregnant! I don’t have the stability I had pre baby.

For this workout I did 4 sets of 15 on each leg (30 total) for the toe point balance slides. 4 sets of 20 on each leg (40 total) for the mountain climbers. Then 4 sets of 15 on each leg (30 total) for the plank leg slides.

Pregnancy Amnesia

Well I’m officially at 17 weeks. But I feel like I’m 7 months. I must have pregnancy amnesia because I don’t remember feeling this big and bloated with my other two kids. When I think about it, I honestly have forgotten almost everything (discomfort wise) when I was pregnant with my first two. I sort of remember feeling achy and having to pee a lot. But that’s all I remember. I have literally forgotten everything. Maybe that’s why I was ok having a third. I had forgotten all the pain and discomfort that came with the first two.

I do understand what they say about pregnancy being more difficult as you get older. One thing I do remember is having more energy with the other two than I do now. I definitely feel like I’m moving a lot slower this time around. Granted I am chasing after two little ones while pregnant so that definitely adds to the exhaustion. I’m also getting up earlier and staying up later than I would like. So I’m getting less sleep as well.

The exhaustion is definitely taking a toll on my body and making it harder to do things like workout. I remember wanting and liking to go workout with my first two. I had no issues working out other than just comfortably moving around thanks to my big belly. The motivation was there. This time around I have zero want to workout. Just thinking about workout makes me tired and I swear I can already feel my muscles start to ache even before I start.

I still have 5 months to go. A long 5 months! Somehow I need to find more energy and the ability to sleep. Definitely sounds a lot easier than it really is.

What side to sleep on when pregnant

An interesting thing I learned in my first pregnancy is that it’s recommended that you sleep on your left side while pregnant. Why? Because your liver is on the right side of your body. Laying on your left side helps keep your uterus off that large organ, which takes the pressure off your liver and also your kidneys. This means more room to function properly, helping with swelling issues in your hands, ankles, and feet.

Sleeping on your left side also improves circulation to the heart and allows for better blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys. This is because your inferior vena cava (IVC), which is a large vein, runs parallel to your spin on the right side of your body.

If left is ideal, should you avoid sleeping on your right? No. It’s safe to sleep on your right. And depending on where your placenta attaches, it may actually be more comfortable. There’s a very slight risk of compression issues with the IVC when you sleep on the right, but it’s very slight. It just comes down to what’s more comfortable for you.

Working out when pregnant

Recently I was reading an article about current health and fitness statistics on pregnant women and I was a bit blown away. Less than 25% of pregnant women exercise regularly!

There have been so many proven health benefits to working out while pregnant. I think women take “rest while pregnant” too literally. Yes you should rest often while pregnant. But that doesn’t mean laying around all the time doing nothing. I notice a huge difference in my joints and muscles when I exercise vs when I don’t.

If your doctor hasn’t told you, then any google search will tell you there are so many health benefits to working out while pregnant. It helps reduce back ache, constipation, bloating and swelling. These are major things almost every pregnant woman battles with. I had minimal swelling while pregnant with both my kids and I credit that to workouts and drinking lots of water! Additionally working out can lower your blood pressure and help prevent gestational diabetes!

My doctor actually encouraged me to continue lifting weights through my pregnancy to keep my strength up. The only thing she discouraged me from is lifting an extreme amount that I’m not used to, or working out on my back. You shouldn’t workout on your back when pregnant because the uterus puts pressure on a vein that brings blood to your heart. Lying on your back can cause your blood pressure to drop and limit the flow of blood to your baby.

I understand some people don’t have access to a gym whether it be to cost or location. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do things at home. Walking, running, push-ups, body weight exercises, or dumbbell exercises (every sporting goods store sells them and you can get away with one or two sets).

I know there’s that one person who always says “I just don’t have the time.” Working out doesn’t have to be hours long. 20-30 minutes a day is all you need! Obviously it helps to eat a healthy diet as well. When you’re pregnant just the idea of working out may be exhausting. Of anything, a walk is better than nothing!

Food Aversions

This third baby is taking a toll on my diet. I swear I can’t eat anything without getting nauseous. With my second baby I was sick for maybe a month and it went away. But this time around it’s stretching a lot longer.

Strangely enough, the only things that don’t make me sick are: Ice cream, a tortilla with peanut butter, avocado toast, milk, pizza, cheese and vanilla cheerios. You’d think milk products wouldn’t be easy on the stomach and would make me sick. But weirdly enough they don’t bother it!

One strange food aversion I’m having that I had with our second baby is with chicken. I can’t eat chicken cooked at someone’s house. It literally makes me start gagging. I can’t even cook it myself without feeling sick. But I can eat chicken from a restaurant! There’s something about the smell of it cooking in the house that makes me sick. Since I can’t smell the chicken being cooked in the restaurant, it doesn’t bother me.

The first three months I was really battling with food. But now I’ve found a few items I can eat regularly with no major issue. So every day, I eat pretty much the exact same thing. I actually don’t mind it much because I’m a creature of habit and love schedules. I’ve always had my meals planned out days in advance so I’m not doing too much different than my usual other than being limited on foods.

This is definitely proof that every pregnancy is different! I’m learning as I go with each one!

Epidurals

Epidurals…..to have one or not. There’s a lot of mixed reviews. I was one who was adamant about having one. I have a decently high pain tolerance but childbirth was not a pain I wanted to endure. Plus I wanted to be able to have my full attention on what was happening. I wanted to be able to remember every second without something like debilitating pain blurring memories. 😖

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Everyone reacts differently to anesthesia. I have no major issues with it. It makes my belly itch a few hours after I’ve stopped being administered it, but that’s the only side effect I’ve ever gotten. Just because one person has a certain reaction to it, doesn’t mean you will too. Everyone’s body is different. 💪🏻

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The epidural itself was pretty quick and easy. I felt a little pressure and a small prick but I never felt any major pain when the doctor was administering it. When the medication hit my body I felt a small burn like a fresh sunburn. After that I began to feel a little tingling in my feet. Not the annoying tingling you get when your foot falls asleep. A manageable non annoying one. Within 30 minutes my legs were starting to numb, and I felt no more pain. I could feel pressure but no pain. After about an hour I could no longer move my legs on my own. I would wiggle my toes a little but I couldn’t actually feel them. 🦶🏻

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Again, everyone is different. I am a fan of epidurals and highly encourage it if your doctor gives the approval for you to have one. I was able to sleep, talk/text with people and remember every bit of the birth thanks to the epidural. Would I like to be able to say I was strong enough to endure a natural non medicated birth? Ya maybe. But I don’t know that I would have enjoyed the process and been able to relax and remember everything that I do if I hadn’t gotten medication. To each their own! Everyone is different. I am very happy with my decision and wouldn’t change anything about the process we went through. 💙