Two years ago, I delivered twin boys; they were full-term, healthy, and welcomed into the world by loving intended parents. This year, I am carrying another child for a wonderful intended parent.
Not long after my second daughter was born, I longed to return to work part time. I teach at my local high school; I have a master’s degree in education and am in the processes of working on my second master’s. I wanted to work part time to engage with a career I love while also pursuing my education and caring for my children in the manner I felt was best for me.
But working part time also means we are not making as much money as we might like. We have a retirement plan, good health care, and can even afford camping vacations and the occasional splurges. But we also have hopes and goals that surrogacy has helped us realize.
As a compensated surrogate, my ability to carry a child for a deserving family is also serving to support my goals of starting college funds for my children, as well as paying for my coursework.
I have been blessed with many things in my life, but one of those quiet blessings is my ability to carry children. My two pregnancies with my daughters had been extremely uneventful — both girls carried to term (actually, both were over a week past term), and I had no issues with my health. I have also been graced with a generous husband, in addition to two lovely girls; they are full of compassion and caring, and are my greatest support system.
When I broached the idea of surrogacy with my husband, there were many aspects we discussed. We talked about the use of my body to carry another child, we discussed the potential challenges of raising our two girls while pregnant again, we reflected on the fact that two children completed our family dynamic, but also on how my pregnancies had been so good to me. We discussed the emotional and physical toll, as well as how we felt about compensation.
Ultimately, my husband supported my decision to become a surrogate. I did my research and found an agency that I liked, and began the application process.
Now in my second journey, I have no regrets about my choices (“Rein in surrogacy”; “How a surrogate allowed us to have a family,” Feb. 1).
When talking about the surrogacy with friends, students, or community members, I have often equated the process of carrying to that of the most glorified daycare. My body serves as a safe place for a child to grow and develop during the most important months of development. And just as a daycare provider offers sustenance, safety, and care, I offer the same to a child entrusted to my care. I am not selling my womb — I am renting it out to a deserving and vulnerable tenant. I am still the landlord of my choice and my body.
Make no mistake, no woman who goes into the act of surrogacy enters the decision lightly. Nor should they. I know I didn’t. Any inclination to paint all surrogates as victims or prey is nothing less than repugnant. I wholly agree that the act of surrogacy should work to avoid exploitation of women — and this is where agencies can be vital advocates for all the people they serve.
My agency has treated me with care, and with respect for my personal morals and humanity. I was never pressured to bend to the will of an intended parent, and I’ve been often given a place to voice concerns and have open discussion. I was allowed to express my views on abortion, multiple embryos, the families I would be willing to carry for, and the depth of relationship I wanted with the intended parents.
Families and healthy children are built by a range of circumstances. Adoption and foster parenting provide one route, biological children another, and surrogacy is an equally wonderful option. Children born of surrogacy are born with what all children who enter this world should enjoy — a world of hope and love.
Kathryn Tabke, of Shakopee, is an English teacher.