It’s true…15 babies! What a blessing this woman, Meredith Olafson, has been to so many families. I think we are all here for special reasons, and her life’s purpose includes having babies and giving the gift of life to others. I can’t think of a more blessed gift anyone could give to another person. This is the gift that keeps on giving, in that a baby is a gift to the parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends. These babies would not be here were it not for this amazing surrogate. I saw Merideth on TV, and here is the link to read more.
She says she is retiring her uterus, and it has worked hard growing miracle babies through the years. In my infertility counseling work, I have counseled with surrogates and couples for almost 20 years. I remain in awe of these giving and compassionate women who offer to grow a baby for another couple. I know there are a few sad, disappointing, and horrific stories about surrogacy arrangements, but the truth is, there are also many heart warming success stories.
I think the foundation for a successful surrogacy arrangement has 3 main components: 1) Choose an expert doctor for the medical care. 2) Choose an expert attorney for the legal advice and documents. 3) Choose an expert psychotherapist for the psychological evaluation. These professionals should specialize in surrogacy arrangements, and it’s wise to follow their recommendations and advice. They are interested in protecting the best interests of the intended parents, the unborn child, and the surrogate.
Many couples who have decided to work with a surrogate are depleted emotionally and financially due to unsuccessful infertility treatment cycles and/ or pregnancy losses. As a result, they are often frustrated and are anxious to become parents. This can put them at risk of moving too quickly and cutting corners to save money.
If you are the intended parents, do NOT work with your friend who is an attorney (with no surrogacy experience) and offers to do the legal paperwork for a cheap price. Do NOT choose a counselor who is covered by your medical insurance plan who will “sign off” and recommend you proceed with the surrogacy arrangement if the counselor has no expertise or experience with the important issues which should be addressed before proceeding. I am shocked several times a year when I get a call from a clinic or agency asking me to do the psychological evaluation and recommend whether a surrogate is mentally and emotionally healthy to proceed. While a surrogate may be wanting to do this for appropriate reasons, and may appear to be mentally and emotionally healthy based on personal history, marital history, family history, psychosexual history, and psychological testing, this doesn’t necessarily mean she will be a good fit for the couple she is planning to carry the baby for. This is a unique and involved relationship between the surrogate, her partner, and the intended parents. They will be intimately involved in each others lives for a minimum of a year, and possibly for the rest of their lives.
It may take time to connect with a surrogate who is a good fit for you. Be thoughtful as you do your homework to find a doctor, an attorney, and a psychotherapist who are experts in in their fields and experienced in surrogacy arrangements. These professionals know each other and can help you with referrals. You will find this is money well spent, and these professionals are there to help you manage the many complex steps needed to embark on a successful surrogacy arrangement.