Tell us a little bit about you and your infertility journey: I was a mother to four beautiful children when I met my husband, Phillip. A few years before meeting the man that I would marry, I suffered from very large, painful uterine fibroids and elected to have a partial hysterectomy to rid myself of the pain. Not for one moment did I believe I would have any more children nor did I have a desire for anymore. Fast forward to the year that I met my husband. I explained that I did not want anymore children, as well as not being able to have anymore and he explained that he had always dreamed of having a child. At this point, I thought since the baby shop was closed, so our chance at life together. However, Phillip did not give up on us and remained faith filled that he would have a child and it would be with me. At the two year mark the baby talk began to happen. We met with several reproductive doctors and in a matter of fact tone, I was told that I was not a spring chicken and I needed to make a decision quickly about freezing my eggs and whether surrogacy was the route we would take on my husband’s journey to fatherhood. In short, when exploring our options and our finances, surrogacy did not seem possible. I never once dreamed that infertility would affect me. Growing up in the African American community there was no one speaking about infertility and definitely not secondary infertility. I felt so useless and empty, afraid of what others would say and lonely, confused and selfish.
After several conversations, my oldest daughter volunteered to be our surrogate. She refused to take any money from us and in our surrogacy contract you would find the allowance on everything is $10 because we had to put something. When I asked my daughter why she did it, her reply was that she sees how Phillip treats me, came in to our large family seamlessly and lovingly and that a man such as him deserves to have someone screaming daddy upon arriving home from work. We were blessed with an Altruistic Surrogacy Journey.
What led you to the decision of the route you are pursuing or pursued? The decision making factor was that my oldest daughter volunteered to be our surrogate with no expectations of anything in return.
What things helped you cope with infertility? Journaling, prayer and my daughter standing strong in her faith and belief that one of God’s purpose for her life was being fulfilled.
Infertility can often be very expensive, what have you done to help alleviate the costs? We exhausted our 401K accounts, was blessed with an altruistic surrogacy which saved us approx. $40K and had very supportive family give us money.
Are you going to share your infertility journey with your children? I have shared some parts of my journey with my children. Once our son gets older, we will share some of the journey with him, but not all.
What would you like couples or women who don’t struggle with infertility to know about infertility? That God says, yes, not right now and no. Having as much information around infertility, available options and a strong support group will help tremendously regardless of the answer. If the answer is no, one must remember that God still loves them and that it is written in the Bible that there will come a day when barren wombs are BLESSED!!!
What is/was the hardest part of this journey for you? Coming from a community where infertility was not talked about as if it was unheard of which left me alone in my journey.
In what ways has infertility changed you and affected your life? Infertility has changed my life in good ways and not so good ways. Infertility brought about awareness of infertility in both men and women as well as across all cultures. It has made me appreciate my children so much more ( didn’t think that was possible :)) and how God blessed me beyond imaginable. It has kicked my faith in to high gear. It caused me to launch a business that supports surrogates and intended parents. Sadly, it etched a scar in my heart that still today torments my mind because I am afraid that my son wont love me the same because I did not carry him and that I finally found the man that God sent to me and I wasn’t able to fulfill the one dream that he had. Sad, but okay because one smile from our son erases it all.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to share with our readers? Research, pray, research, pray, find a support group/person that understands the journey, pray and pray some more. Do not rush in to anything. Take the time to learn everything from the root cause of the infertility to the treatments/options available to how to choose the best medical practices to how to deal with the emotional and physical aspects of it. Most of all, never stop loving on your significant other because it is hard on all involved.