After trying to conceive for six months, I finally got pregnant. I was so excited and felt so blessed. Soon after, a close friend of mine told me she was also pregnant! I announced I was pregnant at 10 weeks during Easter lunch with family. Everyone was very excited for me. Little did I know, my close friend had suffered a miscarriage soon after she had told me. A few weeks later, I had my first ultrasound and found out it was twins! I was blessed with doubles and my friend was heartbroken. My twin pregnancy was very healthy. I delivered at 37 weeks and 1 day via scheduled C-section (due to baby A being breech and baby B being transverse).
The moment I held my twins for the first time, I experienced an overwhelming amount of joy and happiness. It was the most incredible moment of my life. I knew in that very moment, I had to give back! That was the beginning of my surrogacy journey.
I began researching surrogacy in order to understand the process. The entire surrogacy process can vary greatly based on surrogacy laws and individual circumstances. Surrogacy laws vary from state to state so I started by getting familiar with the laws in my state. Then I continued by researching the entire process from start to finish. These steps include screening, matching, legal contracts, medical screening, medication protocol, embryo transfer, pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. Then I examined the pros and cons of each phase carefully, considering the risks and the rewards of each. I reviewed the differences between being a traditional or gestational surrogate. For example:
Traditional surrogates use their own eggs and are artificially inseminated with the intended father's or donor sperm. A traditional surrogate is genetically related to the baby.
Whereas, a gestational surrogate (or gestational carrier) has no genetic connection to the baby. A gestational surrogate carries an embryo that has already been created by one of the following combinations:
- the intended mother’s egg with intended father’s sperm
- the intended mother’s egg with donor sperm
- the intended father’s sperm with a donor egg
- a donor egg with donor sperm.
Research was necessary for me to understand the emotional investment that I would be putting into this journey. When in doubt, if I still had questions or concerns I contacted my surrogacy agency. Many agencies offer consultations to explain the process and answer any additional questions you may have.
Choosing To Go With an Agency
I chose to go with International Assisted Reproduction Center as my surrogacy agency. I decided to go through a surrogacy agency for my journey because they provide me with support and guidance through the entire process. My agency is my advocate and will always have my back.
If I had chosen to enter into a surrogate agreement independently, I would solely be responsible for being my own advocate. I would have to be responsible for screening possible intended parents, finding a quality lawyer, and facilitating appointments.
The agency I work with has helped guide me through every single step of the surrogacy process including screening, matching, legal, medical screening, and medications and will continue to help me throughout my journey and beyond.
In order to become a surrogate, I have gone through an intensive screening process which included a background check (for both me and my partner), psychological screening (for both me and my partner), drug and STD testing (for both me and my partner), and evaluation of my health and medical records (including my prenatal and delivery records). In addition, I received a signed letter from my OB stating I was healthy to carry a baby, a clean pap smear, bloodwork to check hormones, and a saline ultrasound to make sure my uterus is healthy.
Once I passed the screening, my agency matched me with an amazing couple from Germany. I filled out a long questionnaire about my life, history, and desires in regards to surrogacy. It included a personal letter to my future intended parents with an introduction about me. The agency matched us based on desires and key personality traits. Then gave my intended parents my profile. After looking it over, they thought we would be a good match. A few days later, I received their profile and I read over it very carefully, considering the future that I could have with this couple. After reading and re-reading their profile and staring at their photos, I agreed to a match call. During our match call, we discussed everything we could think of and shortly after I knew they were the perfect match for me.
After we were matched, it was time to draw up the legal contracts. Each party had their own lawyers. My intended parents started with a base contract and made any changes they felt were necessary. Then, I received the contract and reviewed it with my lawyer and made changes I thought were important. Then my lawyer sent it back to my intended parents. We went back and forth until the contract was perfect for everyone involved. Once my legal contract was signed, notarized, and in the mail, we moved forward to medications.
My medication protocol as a gestational surrogate is very similar/same to a woman who goes through IVF and frozen embryo transfer. The reproductive endocrinologist (RE) wants to have complete control of my cycle. By taking specific medications at very specific times, the RE is able to shut down my regular cycle and simulate an artificial cycle using medications. My medications include subcutaneous injections, intramuscular injections, and pills.
Our first embryo transfer is coming up in a few days. My intended parents are so excited and looking forward to this incredible journey.
I have been on my journey for a little over a year and throughout the year I have noticed even more family, friends, and acquaintances struggling with infertility, miscarriages, and infant loss. This has solidified my decision to become a surrogate.
If you want to follow me on my surrogacy journey, you can find me on:
Tierra Nelson lives with her fiancé Martin and their one & half-year-old fraternal twin girls, Isabella & Claire, in Central Minnesota. As an avid photographer, Tierra enjoys capturing all of their adventures through the lens of her camera. In addition, she is a stay at home mother, full-time college student, writer, blogger, and so much more. As a member of the St. Cloud Area Mothers of Multiple Club, she loves meeting and learning from fellow mothers of multiples. When her twins were 3 months old, she decided to take on another great adventure, gestational surrogacy. Author of her personal blog, Sharing My Nest, Tierra writes about adventures as a twin mom and surrogate. You’ll also find Sharing My Nest on Instagram, and Pinterest.