Standing in Through Surrogacy, Part Two

So, what are the nuts and bolts of surrogacy? What led Cori to take that big step from interest to action? She explains:

James 2:14 says that faith without works is dead. I have always been a practical Christian; if I see a need, I will fill it if I can. To me, that is not a case of praying and asking for God’s leading. He tells us several times in the Word that if we see someone hungry, feed them, if downcast, cheer them up and so on. I do pregnancy well; I have easy and quick deliveries — why not use that ability to help a hurting couple?

I have had people, Christians and non-Christians alike tell me that it must be God’s will that a couple is infertile, but I don’t see that in the Bible. God told us to be fruitful and multiply. He opened the wombs of the barren, and He is the giver of all good gifts. … Some women who have had cancer cannot carry their own babies. Some women are born without a uterus, but they have ovaries (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome).

2876_80028222546_760039_nSo that is the main reason it appealed to me — I wanted to do something practical to help a family that wanted to have a genetic piece of themselves in this world, just like I do with my five kids.

How do you choose what families to work with?

When I first became a carrier, I worked through an agency in Dallas. I sent them my full profile (very long questionnaire) and, based on my answers, they looked at the Intended Parent (IPs) profiles and selected someone they thought I would like to work with. They organized what is known as a match meeting, where both couples meet in a neutral location, and you get to talk about everything and anything. The agency matches based on criteria like termination, selective reduction and shared values. If at any time I did not think I had a good match, I could call time. But the agency did a wonderful job the first two times, and then after that I founded my own agency, and so selected my couples personally after that.

On a personal level the couples I chose to work with had to be Christian first and foremost. They do not have to believe exactly as I do, and in fact none of the couples I carried for are non-denominational. But they all have deep levels of faith. I also looked for couples with common interests – you can only talk about a baby for so long before it gets boring!

They had to be pro-life and against selective reduction (that is when there are multiple babies, and lives are taken to reduce the number of babies). I was never ok with that, and I had to be sure the couples I carried for had the same values. At the end of the day the decision to abort or not comes down to the surrogate, even though biologically the baby is not hers, and I never wanted to be placed in a position where I would breach contract by refusing to have one.

How many families have you been surrogate to?

In total I have carried for 5 families (six pregnancies), but unfortunately one of those ended in a miscarriage of high risk mono-mono twins at 13 weeks.

I carried twins in 2005 for W&L
I carried a boy in 2007 for F&L
I carried a boy in 2008 for J&C
I carried a girl in 2010 for J&C (a sister to the one carried in 2008)
I carried twin boys in 2011 for J&L – these are the ones I tragically lost
I carried a boy in 2012 for C&A

How do the families respond to your decision and when they see their child?

These two photos say it all:

cori's surrogate families

Most couples, when they meet me, or any carrier, cannot believe we’d be willing to do this, but I can’t think of a greater gift!

I notice you don’t refer to the families or children by name on your sites, but I have noticed that you know all their birthdays and refer to them with an alias. Do you keep in touch with the families?

The contract I have in place with all the couples does not allow me to name them. Although if you are observant enough on Facebook, you’ll notice I ‘like’ photos of two of the kids that I carried, and their parents comment often on my statues. I have kept in touch with all the families – I am particularly close to the couple I carried for twice, but that is a geographical thing too – we live one mile away from each other. Four of my five couples live locally and I see them, call them or email them periodically and see the kids a few times a year. One of the couples lives in California (they were transferred from TX while I was pregnant with their son) but they send me photos.

Tomorrow our final installment tackles the emotional aspect of surrogacy and gives us information about Cori’s organization, Surrogate Angels of San Antonio. Stay tuned!

cori and terryCori and Terry Smelker and their family.cori's kids

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