Surrogacy Ukraine: Relationships Between Surrogate Mothers and the Intended Parents

I was terrified, absolutely terrified about meeting my surrogate for the first time. When my husband and I found out that I wasn’t able to have children, I felt hollow. Like I was broken in some way. I can’t explain what it feels like to have a doctor tell you that you are unable to have children, it’s like a gut punch followed by someone telling you that you’re unfit to be a parent. I was born with a malformed uterus and polycystic ovaries, I had struggled with painful and irregular periods throughout my life, but it didn’t seem like much more than a monthly hassle until I met my husband and we decided to have a family. We had been trying for months to get pregnant- following ovulation cycles, trying fad diets, using “researched” sexual techniques, meditation… It felt like we tried every piece of reasonable advice the internet had to offer. Finally we went to a fertility clinic because I couldn’t take the guessing game and disappointment any more. That’s when we discovered that I was physically incapable of carrying a child.

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After months of depression and a million different suggestions from friends and family, my husband and I finally decided on pursuing a surrogate through a local agency. We live in California, so there were loads (possibly too many!) options available to us. Eventually, with the help of our agency, we finally decided to go with surrogacy in Ukraine. The price, compared to other options we browsed, was by far the most affordable and I personally really enjoyed all of the things I had read about the way surrogates in Ukraine are treated. The laws are pretty firm and really well established. Even with all of this and continued reassurance from our agency, when I was on the plane to meet my surrogate, I felt nauseous. I wasn’t concerned about the surrogacy per say. It wasn’t like I was afraid for the surrogate mother. Everything I had read and all of the information we received from the agency convinced me that she was going to be lovely, and the perfect belly for our baby… but what if she didn’t like me? Embarrassingly, I still thought of the Ukraine as some worn torn country with permanently overcast skies and crumbling concrete buildings left to ruin. Was I making the right choice in selecting surrogacy in Ukraine? Would my baby be happy? How could I not be seethingly jealous that this woman got to carry my child? How was I expected to interact with my surrogate mother? What part would she play in our family?

So many questions swirled around my head. Our agency suggested that if we decided that our potential surrogate mother was a good fit, that we take all the time we needed to get to know her and spend time with her. Some of the best information that I received on how to interact with our surrogate was just that, get to know her! Spend time with her and remember that even though I desperately wanted to be pregnant, the process isn’t always a bed of roses. I had to keep in my mind what a beautiful and life changing thing this woman was doing for me. She was willingly sacrificing her body, time, and possibly health, to help bring joy into my and my husbands life.

Another big factor in choosing surrogacy in Ukraine, for us at least, was the fact that I couldn’t be physically present throughout the pregnancy. As crazy as that sounds, I knew that it would be hard for me to watch another woman carrying my baby, that my personal empathy and joy could only be stretched so far. Of course I was excited to get updates, be present for the birth, maybe even place my hand on her expectant belly once or twice, but I just don’t think that I could stand by for nine months and watch another women perform the sacred task that I myself was denied. The guilt over this level of selfishness was crippling, but I had to be honest with myself, and honestly- I knew that it was true. Selfish or not, I just didn’t want to be there physically the whole time.

Because of that reality, my husband (who’s absolutely amazing) reminded me that I had to trust and be comfortable with whomever we decided our surrogate mother should be. He also reminded me that the first woman we met may not be the perfect match, and to keep in mind not to force a connection. Wise words honey! I tried to imagine her in my mind. What she would be like, things she would enjoy, little ticks of personality. Would I be able to attribute these to our future child (turns out, no sadly, our surrogate was the most amazing woman, but Zoe has no discernible qualities from her). The flight seemed to take forever and I was so excited and nervous that I didn’t sleep at all.

When we got off the plane, Ukraine astounded me. I was dumbfounded. It was nothing like I expected. It was green and warm with a light breeze. There were trees and shrubs and flowers everywhere! The buildings were modest, but really we kept. Everyone we met was so incredibly nice, helpful, and welcoming. Suddenly it felt like I was on vacation and for a minute, I forgot all of my worries that I had had throughout the flight. Once we got to the agency, all of the fears and questions had rolled back into my mind and my stomach. Speaking with our agency contact was almost difficult. She was wonderful, but I found myself so shaky! I almost couldn’t talk! We were given an itinerary for the following day, including our scheduled meeting with our potential surrogate, until then my husband and I were encouraged to enjoy Ukraine. When we left the agency, I was so physically and mentally exhausted, we went straight back to our hotel and I slept for almost 18 hours.

Then next day was a blur, we met our surrogate (who preferred not to be named) and there was an instant connection! She was so warm and fun! I immediately adored her. Our agency suggested that we take the next week to get to know her and decide, but I think that somewhere in me I had already made the decision. We spent the next week with her. My husband was really comfortable with her and even ended up going to have drinks with her husband. I stayed with our surrogate at her home and even met her little boy. He was an absolute angel and one of the most gorgeous children I had ever met. She was so wonderful with him. I think seeing their interaction really set me at ease. She truly was a wonderful mother, and in that moment, I trusted her completely to carry our child. The week blew by, and I was a little sad to go, but also really confident in our decision with surrogacy Ukraine.  At the end of our trip, we went through the surrogacy agreement and it couldn’t have been more smooth.

As the months ticked by, my husband and I were allowed to check in through the agency and were always updated on Zoe’s progress. It was so exciting to get the information every time. We were given the dates and times of check-ups in advance, so we even had little office parties and family get-togethers surrounding the times of the updates. It was sometimes difficult, being so far away, but I knew that Zoe was in good hands. Our agency was really incredible with any and all of our fears, concerns, excitements, and questions. Our Ukraine surrogate delivered our beautiful baby girl in December. We were present for the birth and even that was a perfect experience. They treated me like any other expectant mother, getting my own hospital room and everything. We were able to with our surrogate before and during the birth. Once I had Zoe in my arms (and out of her incubator) the need to further contact our surrogate had diminished. I was so happy to have our little girl, that how she was brought into this world didn’t really matter any more, what mattered was that she was in it and she was ours.

I can’t now, and don’t think I’ll ever be able to, find the words to express my gratitude to our surrogate. Knowing the joy that she brought into our lives is something that just can’t be expressed. But I think she knows it.

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