One year ago, an embryo belonging to a couple my surrogacy agency matched me with was implanted into my uterine lining, and three months ago, I gave birth to a baby that is not related to me genetically. It was an amazing experience, and it was surprisingly well paying. I would love to talk about it and answer any and (almost*) all questions!

Proof: https://imgur.com/KKsCiPs Me at 39 weeks, right before I left for the hospital for a scheduled induction. https://imgur.com/a/OZPU0WH Me today, just waking up on a Saturday morning.

*The couple I delivered the baby for has chosen to keep their use of a surrogate private, so I can't share any details that would reveal anything about them.

Comments: 1799 • Responses: 85  • Date: 

Frptwenty2327 karma

How much did you get paid?

rigabamboo4722 karma

There were some other things like travel and boarding reimbursement, but the total cash compensation came to around $50,000.

Maxim_Chicu3130 karma

That's kind of cheap, I'd say. Considering the detrimental effects pregnancy has and can have on woman's body/health (but even without that).

hyperproliferative2045 karma

That’s about market rate or above. I am balls deep in this right now... it’s stressful

rigabamboo1426 karma

You're in the middle of the surrogacy process? Are you on the parent side or the surrogacy side?

hyperproliferative1624 karma

Parent side - we are in the prepping stages. Trying to figure out all of our options, timing, pricing, risk... it’s a journey!!!! A journey we are not taking lightly nor quickly. I want to find the perfect match for everyone. We’re a young gay couple - doctor and yogi - in Atlanta and Palm Beach.

I don’t have specific questions for you, but I will be reading through all the answers you provide.

rigabamboo1060 karma

Best of luck! The prepping stages must be soooo stressful because you know it's going to be a long journey. Fingers crossed that a year from now, you are either a parent or going to become one very very soon!

BLMdidHarambe220 karma

Genuinely curious. Why go this route rather than adopt? It seems like such a hassle for the outcome to be that you have a child with half of your couple’s genetics.

rigabamboo322 karma

Adopting is also a long, stressful, difficult, and expensive process, so it's not just a matter of choosing surrogacy for genetic reasons. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding between surrogacy and adoption.

cjsmith87219 karma

Your balls deep in a surrogate?

rigabamboo389 karma

Highly recommended.

cryptorific-111 karma

Cheap?! A public school teacher makes a lot less than that for an equivalent time period of work. OP can still work or do a lot on top of being pregnant. What detrimental effects are you talking about? It's a process that a woman's body is actually designed to handle and one that literally everyone's mother had to go through.

rigabamboo57 karma

I'm sorry you're being downvoted, as I'm inclined to agree to a certain extent. While I was a surrogate, I continued working my regular full-time job, so it essentially doubled my earnings for that time.

I think the detrimental effects the above commenter is referring to are the pregnancy symptoms, which can be incredibly debilitating for many, and the risk of complications. Thanks to modern medicine, death in childbirth is rarer than it used to be, but there is still a non-zero chance that I could have died, and a slightly higher chance that I could have had permanent complications, like having to have a hysterectomy (which happened to my mother and my best friend).

stubept1500 karma

Obviously, when you ran into people on the street, they automatically assumed it was your baby in there. How did you handle that situation? (I always back to Phoebe from Friends, “Oh, they’re not mine, they’re my brothers’.”)

rigabamboo2024 karma

Oh yes, there's something about a pregnant woman that seems to encourage strangers to ask questions and/or make personal comments. I usually just smiled and said thank you for the congratulations, or answered whatever question, without bothering to correct the assumption that it was my baby because it wasn't worth going into the details with every grocery store cashier who wants to ask me if it's my first, is it a boy or girl, etc etc. My boyfriend would always get a kick out of being congratulated when people would assume he's the father.

Correct_My_Spelling672 karma

How was your bf's mindset towards the whole procedure? How has did the topic even come up?

rigabamboo1323 karma

He was amazingly supportive. And as someone who had been through the surrogacy process on the parent side, he understood a lot of what I was going through and was a great source of information and guidance.

I had started the application process before I met him. It was clear after our first date that we were going to be serious, so I disclosed it to him to let him decide whether he wanted to continue to date a woman who was going to be pregnant with someone else's baby. He stuck around... ;)

AceyAceyAcey1374 karma

Was it hard to give up this baby that had been a part of you for 9 months?

Did/will you breastfeed at all?

Are you staying in touch with the couple at all? Is this a good thing for you?

Will they raise the kid to know they were born via surrogate?

rigabamboo2318 karma

Not hard at all. The couple I delivered for are wonderful people, and it makes me happy knowing that the baby I carried is going to get loving care from them.

I didn't breastfeed. Many surrogates will elect to pump, freeze, and ship breast milk, but I don't like pumping, so I didn't do this. I did pump a little while at the hospital, but after that, the baby was fed formula.

I stay in touch the mom through texting. I check in every now and then to see how she and the baby are doing.

Their current plan is to not let the child or anyone else know they used a surrogate, but that is rare. Most are open about surrogacy use. And I wonder if they will change their mind and tell the child years down the line. I hope they do!

Smgt90735 karma

Did she have a fake pregnancy belly or how can they explain the new baby?

rigabamboo683 karma

Haha, no fake pregnancy belly (that I know of anyway!).

jcpmojo574 karma

Just wanted to thank you. My wife and I used a gestational surrogate (one of our friends), and it is an awesome thing you did. Our twin daughters are now seven and a half, and our family exists because of our surrogate. The world needs more people like you. Thank you!

rigabamboo218 karma

:)

AceyAceyAcey217 karma

You sound quite happy and contented with this. You ever have flashes of regret or post partum depression? You’re doing a wonderful thing for this other family, plus you got some money for it, but don’t feel like you have to be a superhuman! Look out for your own feelings too.

hugs if you want/need them!

rigabamboo509 karma

Thank you! I did have some PPD for about two months. I guess that’s why I didn’t post this until now, almost three months later. I’m finally starting to feel back to normal emotionally.

elezarfig665 karma

Besides the regular pregnancy limitations, what new limitations or restrictions changed your life by being a surrogate? Did you have to change your diet or lifestyle at all to fit the needs/wants for their family/baby?

rigabamboo1210 karma

Ohhhh, that's a great question!

Once I was at about 30 weeks, my contract required me to stay within my state and within 50 miles of the hospital where I planned to deliver. That was especially restrictive because my boyfriend and I were long distance at the time, so it prevented me from driving to see him during the last two months of the pregnancy. He had to come visit me in order for us to see each other.

About a month ago, I moved to his state, and we live together now, but this move would have happened much sooner if not for the surrogacy. The state where he lives doesn't have surrogacy friendly laws, so my contract wouldn't have allowed me to live here.

elezarfig343 karma

Thanks for the response! I didn’t know there were laws that weren’t friendly to surrogates. Can you expand on that more?

rigabamboo533 karma

Check this out: https://www.creativefamilyconnections.com/us-surrogacy-law-map/

The agency I used (and most likely all other surrogacy agencies) will only contract with surrogates in the dark green and light green states.

BongSlurper660 karma

This is a harsh question- but if for some reason the pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, was there a clause that you’d still get some sort of compensation for the time you did spend carrying?

rigabamboo973 karma

That's a great question. The agency sent me my compensation once a month. Had I miscarried, I would have been allowed to keep the monthly payments I'd received up to that point, but there wouldn't be additional payments.

BongSlurper127 karma

I see! Thank you.

Also what you did for that couple was an amazing gift, thank you for being you!

rigabamboo66 karma

Thanks!! <3

coop99953 karma

That's so great that you did this for them. About the payments - was it even payments ($50k / 9 or so months), or were they smaller during the pregnancy and a larger payment at the end when the baby was born?

rigabamboo144 karma

A few payments in the beginning for each stage of the process (like $X for getting medically cleared, $Y for doing the embryo transfer), and then it was a regular monthly payment for 9 months.

dnzprs503 karma

Did you feel any attachment to the baby? Was it hard to 'give it away'? Will you get to see it? Do you want to see it? How much money did you make? Did you pay for your own pregnancy expenses? How did your family (and partner if you have one) react?

rigabamboo1111 karma

Not a lot of attachment. Even when I had my own baby 4 years ago, I wasn't the type to feel that strong bond right away; it took a couple of weeks. So I felt confident going into the surrogacy that I would have little to no sadness "giving" her away.

As long as the couple wants to keep their use of a surrogate private, visits are out, but I do get pics! I'd love to visit sometime down the line, though, if they decide to open up about the surrogacy.

The total cash compensation came to around $50,000, and any pregnancy-related expenses were all covered by the intended parents. I didn't even have to use my own insurance; they paid for a health insurance for me that is specifically for surrogates.

My partner was extremely supportive throughout the entire process. We just started dating around the time I was getting the embryo transfer, so it was a... unique... way to begin a relationship!

blackvixen21314 karma

How did your own child react to your pregnancy followed by no sibling?

rigabamboo570 karma

She never mentioned it! Haha

I think she just didn't understand because of her age at the time (3 years old).

KatyDid74985 karma

Do you feel like you would have been more attached had you not already had your own baby first?

rigabamboo340 karma

I don't think so, but having my own baby first, where I didn't feel that magic bond during pregnancy that some woman say they had, made me more confident that I wouldn't have any emotional difficulties.

mamamia1001312 karma

When you gave birth did they bring the baby to you to hold? They normally do this so the mother can form a bond, but in your case I suppose they didn't want that? Did you form a bond? Were the genetic parents at the birth? Was it hard to give the baby away afterwards? Was the whole experience worth it?

rigabamboo752 karma

The intended parents were in the delivery room when the baby came out, and the mother did skin to skin. I got to lie down and rest! I held the baby for the first time the next morning, and I felt more of a bond than I would have if it was any other baby, but not so strongly that I felt any difficulty giving them the baby. They are going to give that baby so much love! And yes, the experience was so worth it! The pregnancy was occasionally tough (though overall I had an easier time than many do), but it's a good feeling to have helped the couple become parents as they always wanted.

hogger85166 karma

Did you express the collostrum milk for the other parents to bottle feed?

rigabamboo253 karma

Yes, I expressed colostrum for them while I was in the hospital.

Hellothereawesome-70 karma

Can you disclose anything about what was wrong with the mother, or was it a choice that she just didn't want to go through with?

rigabamboo60 karma

I didn't ask her to share the details with me because I didn't want to make her sad or uncomfortable, but I know that they went through some rounds of IVF themselves and had multiple miscarriages before deciding to try surrogacy.

Toad32307 karma

What did this do to your personal love life? What about life goals in general, did this get in the way?

rigabamboo1036 karma

Surprisingly, it was an overall positive for my personal love life. I had just started dating my current boyfriend about a month before the embryo transfer. Once it was clear we were going to be dating seriously, I told him all about my plan to be a surrogate, and he surprised me by telling me that his daughter had been carried and delivered by a surrogate as well! It was an incredible coincidence that we really bonded over.

It didn't get in the way of life goals. The opposite, actually - I used the payments to put my daughter in a Montessori preschool, pay off my student loans, and... a trip to Disneyworld. :)

Spiderbundles248 karma

Your daughter is quite young, but did she ask about the pregnancy or the baby? How did you explain it to her?

rigabamboo600 karma

She never asked. On two occasions I did sit down and explain things in a way I thought she might understand ("I'm making a baby to give to someone who wants to be a mommy") but I don't know if she got it.

smichlu246 karma

Did you meet and connect with the couple during the surrogacy process? Did they join you for things like doctor appointments? Did you join them for things like gender reveals, baby showers, etc.?

rigabamboo466 karma

They don't live in my state, so there wasn't much face to face interaction. We had an initial meeting over a Skype video call, arranged by the surrogacy agency, to see if we felt like we were a good match.

I met them in person during my medical workup at their fertility clinic, and again at the embryo transfer. After that, they came to my state for the 20 week ultrasound, and then I saw them at the hospital for the delivery.

Some surrogates get to participate in the baby shower and etc., but that wasn't the case for us because of the distance and their decision to keep their use of a surrogate private.

popular_with_my_mom238 karma

How did this effect your day job? Did your day job offer maternity benefits? Were you allowed to take them?

If your day was more physical, were you given lighter duties?

rigabamboo450 karma

I had to miss time occasionally at work for the prenatal appointments, but I have a remote job that gives me some flexibility in the hours I worked. I tried to schedule the appointments during my lunch break, and I could make up time by working a bit late as needed so that I wouldn't deplete my vacation time for surrogacy stuff.

I am a translator, so my job involves sitting at a desk at a computer. Very well suited to a tired pregnant woman with low energy!

I didn't qualify for maternity benefits. (Some surrogates do qualify at their companies, but the employee handbook at my company said you have to be a caregiver for the baby in order to get maternity leave.) I could have taken unpaid time off through FMLA, but the sick time I'd accumulated was all I needed for recovery because I didn't have any complications from the delivery.

coffeeblr223 karma

Is it easier to become a surrogate than to donate eggs? I dont ever want kids of my own so I figured I'd donate my eggs to someone who would appreciate them and I didnt even make it from the online questionnaire to the in person interview :|

rigabamboo389 karma

I think the selection requirements for surrogacy are more restrictive. You have to have had at least one successful pregnancy and there are age and BMI maximums and etc. Most who apply don’t qualify for one reason or another.

BlackbeltBread200 karma

How did it feel compared to how you gave birth the first time?

rigabamboo735 karma

Much much easier and faster the second time. And recovery was fantastic because I got to sleep at nights instead of constantly being woken up by a hungry newborn!

Go_Blue_198 karma

I don't really understand how someone can keep their use of a surrogate private. Did the parents say they adopted? Did the mother pretend to be pregnant for 9 months so it would seem like she's the one who gave birth?

tyrhannahsaurusrex270 karma

It's easy to pull off if you don't live near family and keep your mouth shut on social media. I've seen birth announcements after having no clue that anyone was pregnant before.

rigabamboo219 karma

Yep. I haven't been answering any questions about how they kept it private, but it's a lot easier than most think!

Worms_Tofu_Crackers179 karma

Did the couple pay for your medical costs, including delivery and check ups before you have birth?

rigabamboo274 karma

Yes, all medical costs were covered. I didn't even have to use my own health insurance; the parents purchased a policy in my name that covered all the pregnancy care and the delivery.

Goblinthrow178 karma

Do you have to pay the same tax rate on this as you would on a salery? I'm not from USA so i'm not familiar with tax laws

rigabamboo307 karma

The compensation is taxed as if it was independent contractor earnings, so come next tax season I'm sure I will owe quite a bit.

Roulbs104 karma

Were you allowed to deliver it any way you like?

rigabamboo163 karma

Yes, I got to call the shots for the birth plan.

LiteBriteKid100 karma

I’ve been curious about becoming a surrogate, but in Canada you can’t charge money to be a surrogate, you’re only reimbursed for actual expenses, which is basically nothing because we have universal health care. Would you have still become a surrogate for strangers in that situation?

rigabamboo214 karma

Honestly, probably not. While the money wasn't my only motivation, it was certainly a crucial one to convince me to go through the IVF process, pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.

philiaphily99 karma

My cousin can’t have kids. I’m considering offering my dusty uterus. She’d be a great mum, and I don’t think I’ll be using it for myself. Does that sound like a nuts idea?

rigabamboo96 karma

Nope! Clear out that dust and go for it. :)

LogicalTimber94 karma

I've read some things about small amounts of blood crossing the placental barrier (that's how they can check for chromosome disorders with just a blood draw now), and it leading to the fetus "inheriting" some things from the pregnant woman whether or not they're genetically related. Did this come up in screening or was it a concern for you at all?

leilaaliel29 karma

This is a cool question. Never considered that.

rigabamboo53 karma

Same! Wish I could answer it. This didn't come up in screening and was never mentioned to me.

Robots_Never_Die85 karma

Are you Kim & Kanye's surrogate?

rigabamboo157 karma

I neither confirm nor deny 😂

truthinlies77 karma

Do you consider yourself a mother of the child?

rigabamboo148 karma

Not at all!

Rkenne1672 karma

Worth it?

rigabamboo154 karma

For sure! I'm on the fence about whether I'll do it again, but I'm glad I did it once. Kinda like a bucket list thing. :)

_ser_kay_72 karma

How did you explain the pregnancy to your daughter?

rigabamboo347 karma

I told her I know someone who really wants to be a mommy, and I was making a baby to give her so she could be a mommy.

(Just in case a dad is thinking about chiming in to point out that I didn't mention the father, I should explain that my daughter's father isn't in her life, so she didn't have much of a concept of a "daddy" at that point in her life. I figured the "mommy" explanation would make the most sense to her.)

AreaLeftBlank63 karma

Even though the baby isn't yours, does it still have the increased risks associated with a pregnancy if you are older than "normal", like 35-40 years old?

rigabamboo88 karma

Ohhh, that's an interesting question. I'm actually not sure! I do know that surrogacy agencies typically have a cutoff age of 39, so maybe?

ProfessorScrappy62 karma

To what extent were lawyers involved in the process?

rigabamboo133 karma

Lawyers were involved at the stage of the journey after my medical testing but before the actual embryo transfer.

Both sides (the parents and me) had their own lawyer. The parents paid for both of the lawyers.

Once the surrogacy contract was finalized and signed, the legal stage of the journey was complete.

Lupot60 karma

Apart from compensation, what motivated you to do this process? I’m gay and am contemplating using a surrogate some day and would be curious if I’m creating a massive pain for someone or if they came at the process with more of a philosophical motivation for signing up for it. (Maybe it’s both hehe)

rigabamboo93 karma

Hmm, maybe both? Helping someone who wants a child and bringing into this world a wanted child who will receive lots of love were my motivation. But being pregnant is indeed a massive pain, literally and figuratively, so the financial compensation was needed to motivate me as well. ;)

robotBison57 karma

Would you still have been paid the full amount had the embryo transfer failed?

rigabamboo83 karma

I would have received some compensation, but not the full amount.

probably_llamas47 karma

I have been seriously considering becoming a surrogate but have been on the fence. My husband and I aren't sure if we can afford a second child, but could if I was a surrogate first. How did you explain to your child about the pregnancy? Do you get some maternity leave from your work? Thank you!

rigabamboo51 karma

I told her I was making a baby for someone who wants to be a mommy. She was only 3 at the time, though, so I don't think she understood well. (And she didn't care anyway, haha.) I wasn't able to qualify for my company's maternity leave, but I know other surrogates who have.

Best of luck if you decide to go through with it! Feel free to PM me down the line if you have questions about the process. :)

getsensitive46 karma

How old are you?

rigabamboo69 karma

34

Splattergoit46 karma

Was there prenatal testing for any particular conditions, such as Down Syndrome? If a test had come back positive, how would that have been handled - is that something negotiated in the contract with the bio-parents?

rigabamboo100 karma

The embryos are tested, and the healthiest one is selected for the implantation. During the pregnancy, the screenings are the same as for regular pregnancies.

If there had been a problem with the fetus, the parents could have elected to terminate the pregnancy. This sort of thing is discussed prior to a surrogate being matched to the parents, because obviously a surrogate can not be forced to abort against her will. During the matching process, I told the agency I would agree to abort if that was the parents' wish. If I had been against abortion, they would have matched me with parents who were also against abortion.

leilaaliel27 karma

What would your compensation have been if they elected an abortion for you?

Also, what if something occurred where your life was put in danger in order to continue to carry the fetus and needed a medically necessary abortion, would they have been able to seek legal recourse to prevent that or sue you after the fact?

rigabamboo90 karma

I don't remember the exact figure, but there would have been compensation if I had to get an abortion.

My contract stated that if termination was medically recommended for my sake, I was allowed to terminate the fetus. Similarly, if there was a complication during pregnancy or delivery where a decision had to made whether to prioritize saving my life or the child's, my life would be prioritized.

kettlebellkat40 karma

Good for you! I would love to do surrogacy! I’ve looked into it and as it turns out, I’m too fat and too depressed lol. Do you have plans to become a repeat surrogate?

rigabamboo34 karma

Oh damn, haha. Sorry to hear that. I'm not sure about doing it again. It went well, but I want to have another child of my own, and by that time, I'll probably be too old for any more pregnancies.

underthesealifeshit37 karma

Do you feel you got treated any differently by hospital staff when they found out you’re a surrogate?

rigabamboo76 karma

No, just occasional awkward moments when they would refer to the baby as mine or call me the mother out of habit.

Naomilikestorock36 karma

Are there rules when you are a surrogate ? Do they dictate what you eat or do ?

rigabamboo77 karma

Not really. My contract only required me to abstain from drinking, smoking, or doing drugs and to follow my doctor's instructions.

dwintaylor36 karma

Is the money you made considered work income or regarded as a different kind of revenue and are you taxed on it?

rigabamboo42 karma

It is taxed like independent contractor earnings.

Idrinkalittle34 karma

Just curious when giving birth to a surrogate. Walk us through the hospital birthing process. Hospital is notified that you are a surrogate?How do they know who the parents are or does it even matter?

rigabamboo52 karma

Yes, the hospital is notified. The intended parents and I went to the hospital in advance, when I was around 20 weeks, to take a tour and preregister. The parents also filled out some paperwork in advance for the birth certificate so that both of their names, and not my name, would be on it.

Other than that, the actual hospital birthing process was like any other, with the only difference being that the baby was given to them after being delivered instead of being given to the woman who just pushed it out.

natalie130731 karma

Have you ever thought about keeping the baby for yourself? That’s the biggest fear of the parents

rigabamboo58 karma

Nope, I never felt the least temptation to keep it.

I think that's more an issue for private surrogate arrangements done outside of a surrogacy agency. When you go through an agency, they require you to have a water tight contract that would prevent a surrogate from trying to keep the baby.

1phenylpropan-2amine30 karma

So was your egg used or was the mother's (the one that will be raising the child) egg fertilized then implanted in you? If it was yours, did you have to provide family history health info for the parents to provide the best care for their child?

Also, were there drug tests during the pregnancy? I'm not saying you would ever do this, but how do they prevent a surrogate from drinking alcohol / smoking etc. ?

rigabamboo73 karma

It was an embryo made from the mother's egg fertilized by the father's sperm, so genetically it was 100% theirs. Meanwhile, I was on medication (basically a form of birth control) that kept me from ovulating.

A drug test was part of my medical workup. My contract also stated that I could be randomly tested at any point.

myjawbepoppinnnn38 karma

It was an embryo made from the mother's egg fertilized by the father's sperm, so genetically it was 100% theirs.

This is soo mind-blowing to me.

rigabamboo39 karma

Me too! I love science. :)

HanaMay_B26 karma

Do you know if someone can have a surrogate for their baby even tho the mother is in theory able to carry her own child to term?

I am extremely scared of pregnancy and childbirth and never ever want to be in that situation. But I am not completely against having a child, so now I am unsure if I would just be called selfish? I get that there's infertile and gay couples with a baby wish, and people who are not able to carry due to medical reasons. I even deem them to be more important than me.

rigabamboo20 karma

I believe so, but someone in that situation might have to wait on the wait list a bit longer than others in order to be matched with a surrogate.

InappropriateTA24 karma

Sorry to be a negative Nancy but I have a few questions.

Is there any liability coverage if you weren’t able to carry to term?

What about liability coverage if the pregnancy caused complications resulting in your death? Or is that up to you to get term life insurance?

What about liability coverage for complications during the pregnancy that would have prevented you from conceiving or maintaining a future pregnancy?

rigabamboo35 karma

If I wasn't able to carry to term, the compensation payments would have stopped at that point, but I wouldn't have been required to pay back the amount I'd been compensated up to that point, so no need for liability coverage in that case.

Yes, the intended parents purchased a life insurance plan for me for the duration of the surrogacy in case of my death. I had my daughter as the beneficiary.

There are set payments for loss of uterine function or a hysterectomy.

Little_Tacos23 karma

This might be rather harsh, but what if the child ended up being born with any developmental disorders such as cleft palate or Down syndrome? Would that have affected things? Cheers for doing this very interesting AMA & for being a great person!

rigabamboo29 karma

No, my role and compensation are the same regardless of the outcome of the child, assuming I carry the baby to term. The embryo is tested for genetic disorders prior to implantation.

wallahmaybee22 karma

Was this your idea or something both you and your boyfriend thought of? How did you discuss and agree to do this with your boyfriend?

Did your contract stipulate that you had to remain in a monogamous relationship, did it place restrictions on your sex life (I mean for health reasons, not what you do privately in your bedroom)?

rigabamboo57 karma

It was my idea, something I'd been wanting to do for years. I actually met my boyfriend after I'd already started the application process, so all he had to agree to was to continue dating me after I told him I was going to be a surrogate. Thankfully he chose to stay. :)

My contract didn't restrict anything in my romantic life or sex life, but it did require me to disclose that I was dating someone, and my boyfriend had to go through a background test, a drug test, and an STD test, although I'm not sure what the result would have been had he failed any of those.

mangorape21 karma

Hey I'm a surrogate too! 21 weeks, and I'm in canada. You must be American?

rigabamboo16 karma

Awesome! Congrats on being over half way done with the pregnancy!!

Yes, I'm in the US.

SapphireZora19 karma

How does a couple looking for a surrogate go about finding one? My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant battling infertility, and I'm starting to consider surrogacy as an option but don't know where to start!

rigabamboo24 karma

The easiest way is to have a family member or good friend willing to do it for you. That would be incredibly lucky, though, so most use a surrogacy agency, which will match you with a surrogate. You can find an agency by doing a google search. I'll PM you the name of the one I used, as I highly recommend them.

chippinganimal15 karma

Whats the process of getting the egg implanted (if that’s the right term)?

rigabamboo19 karma

It was surprisingly easy. It was fast (the actual implantation didn't take more than 5 minutes), and I didn't feel anything more than I would have from, say, a routine pap smear. All I had to do was lie down and, well, let the doctor stick the embryo up in there.

Woolfpack15 karma

Were the parents bound by law to take the baby? I read about a case in Thailand where the Australian parents refused to accept one of twins because the child had Down’s Syndrome. Could that have happened to you?

rigabamboo33 karma

No, the contract our lawyers prepared for us very clearly stated that they have full parental rights. If they didn't take the baby, they would face the same consequences as any other parent attempting to abandon a child.

CastingPouch14 karma

So if the baby is not genetically yours, does that mean that a DNA test between the two of you wouldn't match?

Sorry if that's a dumb question,

rigabamboo14 karma

Correct! :)

605soul12 karma

Did you go into labor naturally or were you induced to ensure the parents were there for the birth?

If naturally, how did the parent make sure they didn’t miss it? I know labors typically go faster with each pregnancy.

rigabamboo13 karma

We were going to wait for it to happen naturally, but we got impatient and went in for an induction in week 39.

bakedwafer11 karma

Dee! Is that you?

rigabamboo12 karma

$CAMMIN!

astro_princess9 karma

How is the baby doing now? How old is she? What would have happened if you had a miscarriage?

rigabamboo11 karma

She is healthy and doing well!

The agency sent me my compensation once a month. Had I miscarried, I would have been allowed to keep the monthly payments I'd received up to that point, but there wouldn't be additional payments. The intended parents would then be given the choice to let me try again with a new embryo, or to go back to the wait list and wait for a different surrogate.

dougaall9 karma

What are you planning to do with the money you got for doing this? Did you work at any point during? :)

rigabamboo29 karma

I paid off my student loans, and the rest I'm keeping to put towards a down payment on a house (well, there was also a Disney World trip...). I continued working my regular full-time job throughout the process.

meatball4u9 karma

Did you breastfeed the baby? If so, how long? Is the baby being breastfed now?

rigabamboo12 karma

I expressed some milk for the baby while at the hospital, and after that they used formula.

BatPlack8 karma

If the baby was stillborn or passed at some point during pregnancy or soon after birth, what would follow? Are you still compensated the same?

rigabamboo10 karma

If the baby was stillborn or passed away after birth, I would still receive the full compensation. Had I miscarried, I would have been allowed to keep the monthly payments I'd received up to that point, but there wouldn't be additional payments.

Paddy_Mac7 karma

My wife’s best friend isn’t able to carry their own baby, and have two eggs left. Thank you for doing what you did, haven’t read too far down to see if you described what the couple’s situation was, why they couldn’t carry their own? I tell my wife from time to time that I’d be fine if she decided to carry for her friend.

rigabamboo5 karma

That's very generous of you! Not every partner would be willing to support their wife through the surrogacy process.

The couple's situation was basically a heartbreaking series of IVF attempts and miscarriages.

Al_in_the_family4 karma

As a man, I'd like to get into this field. What is the pay differential for males vs females?

Lol.

rigabamboo6 karma

The rare field where women make substantially more than men... ;)

StarsofSobek3 karma

What sort of screening process, if any, did you have to go through to qualify as a surrogate? I think it's amazing that you could do this for the new parents, by the way. I'm sure they are over the moon for that baby!

rigabamboo2 karma

Thank you!

The screening process is extensive. They checked my medical records from my previous pregnancy, ran a background check, flew me to their headquarters for an in-person psychological interview, and had me go through some medical testing.

KiwiAndKale3 karma

Were you a mother before this or have you given birth prior? I remember hearing surrogates already had to go through the birth process at least twice prior to being a surrogate, is this true?

rigabamboo4 karma

Yes, I was a mother before this. Surrogacy agencies do require surrogates to have had a successful and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, but I've never heard of an agency that requires two births to qualify!

foooood4thought3 karma

Which website did you use to meet them?

rigabamboo2 karma

That could potentially be identifying, so I PM'd you.

angry4nus2 karma

How old are you?

rigabamboo2 karma

34

Moonlight1502 karma

Just wanted to say I greatly admire those who do surrogacies. You ladies do amazing work.

Think you’d do another surrogacy? Or was this more of a one and done life experience?

And how did you get into the idea? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you just recently discovered to do?

rigabamboo2 karma

Thank you!

I'm open to the idea of another surrogacy, but I want to have another child of my own first. After that, I have a feeling I might be done with pregnancy!

It was something I'd wanted to do for a few years. It took me a few months to get pregnant with my own, and I remember being worried that I might not be able to get pregnant. Once I did, I realized how lucky I was, and that some are not as lucky as I am.

mbamoha-5 karma

How does it feel walking around in public with the baby?

rigabamboo14 karma

I don't have the baby because the parents took her home from the hospital. :)

mbamoha3 karma

Oh that’s one problem not to worry about lol :)

rigabamboo14 karma

Haha, right? I get asked a lot if it was hard to "give up" the baby, but honestly, I feel zero desire to care for a newborn at this time in my life. And pregnancy recovery is soooo much better when I actually get full nights of sleep!

WhalomPark-32 karma

You went one way down an irreversible street for money. Was it worth it?

rigabamboo1 karma

Well, yeah. If I'd regretted going down that street, I wouldn't be talking about it in such positive terms. ;)