HIV+ Surrogacy: Match, Maybe?

It took some work, but I was finally able to convince my husband to do a second journey. In discussing, I really came to understand his perspective of the whole journey. My husband has always been very supportive of me and my endeavors, as I have been with him. We don’t always agree with each other, and we most certainly don’t always understand why the heck the other wants to do something, but we always manage to compromise and support each other in the things that mean the most to one another.

Of course compensation is a factor for me as well—I know women who have done surrogacy for little or no compensation and I believe those women have met their karma quota for life—but it’s a much bigger factor for my husband than it is for me. For this second journey, I had considered reducing the base compensation fee. It’s gone up considerably since I first signed on as a surrogate, and it is augmented for experienced surrogates as well.

To that proposal, my husband quickly responded “Hell No!” Although I knew that my being a surrogate was a stressor for our entire family, I didn’t fully comprehend the extent until we were discussing a second journey. After some consideration on what it meant to both of us, we agreed on one more journey.

MichellePine&Husband

In February, not quite a month after we met in San Francisco, I reached out to J & A on Facebook through a personal message. Considering that I only had their first names and that they lived in San Francisco, it’s really rather scary how easy it was to find them. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. The thing about Facebook PM is that if you’re not friends with the person, the message filters into a separate inbox and it’s likely the person will never ever see it.

One week later and I decided to risk looking like a complete crazy stalker and sent them a friend request. Much to my relief, within the hour they accepted my friend request, read my message, and responded—positively. Phew!!

Then I waited.

A week later I checked in, letting them know I had reached out to Northwest Surrogacy Center, the agency I previously used, and asked some questions, mainly about how it would work if we signed with them already having a match.

Then I waited.

We were FB friends, and I found myself with a slight obsession on their pages. I think it’s common for the surrogate-IP relationship to be a little awkward at first, neither side wanting to come off too strong or too needy or too high-maintenance. Without the agency middle-man, this feels even more true. I swear I’m not crazy, but the more I proclaim that, the more crazy I sound.

A month later, J contacted me and said they’d like to talk soon. I sent them a list of questions to think about, along with my perspective on each idea. They were all things an agency would look at when doing an initial match—number of embryos to transfer, thoughts on selective reduction, relationship during and after the process, breastfeeding and nursing, and the publicity of their journey. We set up a time to talk two weeks later.

Then I waited.

For our initial Skype meeting with the potential match for my first journey, I was nervous. But nowhere near as nervous as I was for this FaceTime meeting. In one regard, having met them on my own and initiating my own match felt so much more personal and connected. On the other hand, that means if things aren’t what you want, you have to be the one to say so, and there’s no reassurance—from a team of people analyzing both sides—that you’re right for each other. After our conversation, I felt really great about the possibility of us working together. I really like them. They’re laid back and fun, but still thoughtful and respectful. I could see how this relationship would be completely different than my first journey, and not that my first journey wasn’t fantastic, but different in a good way.

Then I waited.

And I waited.

The initial match process is similar to the first couple of dates—each one assessing the other, trying to show their best side but still trying to maintain a clear level of honesty and authenticity, neither entirely sure of what the other thinks and always second guessing how the other really feels. And much like that other relationship, I still get a little flurry of butterflies anytime I get a message from them, and even still from my first IFs.

A little over a week after our conversation, I drafted a message in my Notes. A clever and witty rhetorical about why I thought we would be a good match and why I wanted to work with them, but clear enough that if it didn’t work out I wouldn’t be hurt and wouldn’t show up on their doorstep and boil their pet bunny. Luckily, they saved me from having to send it and a couple days later I got a message from them that they’d like to talk.

About Michelle:

MichellePineNOH8Michelle is a thirty-something married mother of three. She teaches special education at an alternative high school in rural Southern Oregon. Her first surrogacy was for a same-sex couple from Israel. When she’s not taking care of her own children or birthing them for someone else, she enjoys reading and writing and exploring Oregon.

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