Thursday, February 3, 2011

I am and always will be a Mormon Surrogate (my thoughts and opinions on the 2)

I have been approached time and time again through email and my blog about being a Mormon Surrogate. I am asked advice on the combo at least once a week. I am not complaining, I just feel it obviously is something I should address.

I feel like I keep repeating myself over and over, so here it goes:

When I was first starting out as a surrogate I felt very strongly about it. I felt that I was actually led to it, that it was something I was supposed to do. I was not active in the church at the time (2005), however, I still considered myself a good little Mormon girl and was curious what the church would think. My mom was the most spiritual person I knew. She goes to the temple weekly. She was living with me at the time and I discussed it with her. She was supportive even though she wasn't sure what to think at first. She finally came to the conclusion that there are all these babies that still need to be born in this time and someone needs to help bring down those babies. That has always stuck with me. These babies need to get here somehow.

Shortly after our conversation I moved to San Diego to be with my Navy hubby. We went to church a few times and went to some of the activities. Right away I met another surrogate in the ward. Everyone seemed supportive of surrogacy and surrogates. Most people I talked to in San Diego or back in Utah felt it was a very spiritual, positive thing to do. I knew some very influential and/or respectable people within the church and they seemed supportive. No one ever said otherwise. Sure I had a friend or two who didn't understand it but actually they weren't even LDS, it wasn't a religious thing with them. They just didn't get it.

I moved back to Utah in 2006, about 2 weeks after my first surrobaby was born. A few people in the ward knew and acted supportive.  People started to approach me and compliment me and be in awe of such a selfless act. During this time I was matched again, got pregnant, but sadly miscarried.  A year later I was matched again and after 2 transfers, I was pregnant with twins. We went to church a few times here and there and slowly got to know our ward. For the most part, people were extremely supportive. Only a few people didn't seem to know what to think.

After the birth of the twins in 2009, my husband initiated us to go back to church full time. Sure, why not? So our journey began. We were on a fast-track. I believe it was May that we really started going back. (although we had been a few times during the twin pregnancy) I remember still healing from the c-section and falling dead asleep in sacrament because I was on Lortab and it knocked me on my butt. I remember thinking, "this is not good to be drugged out at church".  But I'm getting sidetracked.
We had the missionaries come over and start teaching us the lessons. We had 2 children older than 8 who hadn't been baptized yet. That was our first goal. That goal soon became doubled with my husband being challenged to be the one to baptize the kids. He hesitated but it ended up working out. They were baptized in July 2009. Somewhere along the way as we soon were challenged to go through the temple, I became curious about how surrogacy would fit into it all. I wasn't done being a surrogate and I didn't want it to be an issue. So I Googled  LDS surrogate, etc. I came across something that seemed to suggest that the church didn't exactly agree with it. I was confused, so I asked the bishop. He knew exactly where to look and pulled out the church handbook. "The church strongly discourages surrogacy" I believe it used to just be "discourages surrogacy" , but is now strongly discouraged?

I have not received a straight forward answer on why it's discouraged or what about it is discouraged. Like everything else in the church, it all seems to depend on your ward/stake leaders.

This is my opinion on the whole issue. I believe it is traditional surrogacy that the church frowns upon. (using your own eggs as a surrogate) I also believe that there are things that go along with surrogacy that wouldn't fit in with church standards, for example: selective reduction, aborting because of abnormalities, being a surrogate for a single parent or same sex parent since the church is all about FAMILY as husband and wife with their children.  That being said, it is my understanding that being a gestational surrogate as long as you follow church standards is okey dokey. I also believe that the church might not want to condone it because it's not for everyone. Some women  might have a hard time being a surrogate. I've also heard that some people frown upon the fact that surrogates are compensated, and yet it's totally fine for a mother to give her child up for adoption and be compensated. I think there is so much involved with surrogacy that it would be hard for the church to specifically say this is ok and this is not. It is discouraged, not absolutely forbidden. I have never been approached and told I should not be a surrogate. I will always consider myself a surrogate even if I never do it again. It would crush me if I was ever told I couldn't do something that was so much a part of who I am. Not only that but I believe that being a surrogate brought me closer to God and I still feel good about being a surrogate. So if it's absolutely wrong in the church's eyes, then the most spiritual, uplifting times of my life were not valid. That does not sit well with me. I know plenty of LDS surrogates who got the ok from their Bishop/Stake President. If you are in doubt, I would suggest talking to them. I am only sharing my personal opinion of my experience and how I feel about it all.

What's interesting is the fact that my blog began as a spiritual journal as we prepared to go through the temple. Mormon Surrogate is what described me best. I knew it wasn't an extremely common combination, that there weren't a TON of us out there, but I didn't know that it was controversial or that so many people would be reaching out to me as they search for answers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If you have come here looking for answers and are wanting to be a surrogate, I wish you the best of luck!

25 comments:

  1. This is truly a selfless act. I'm not LDS, but I'm Catholic. I do my very best to follow the Church's teachings but there are some things concerning our stance on fertility that I question. Sometimes you must follow your heart, and I think that is what you are doing.

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  2. Thank you for your support! :)
    I agree, some things are just personal and not everyone can fit into the same mold.

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  3. My friends and I were just talking about this last night...thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate them! And I do think you are a remarkably selfless person.

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  4. Thank you so much for posting this. I feel exactly the same way you do. I am just beginning my first journey. I have not told a lot of people at church and I have not talked to my bishop, I haven't felt like I needed to. Like you said I felt drawn to surrogacy, it's just something that deep in my heart I know I need to do. I never questioned it until one day I mentioned it to a lady at church and she said that she had wanted to do it a couple of years ago and she did go talk to the bishop at the time (it's a different bishop now) and he pulled out the book and showed her where it is "strongly discouraged." She asked me if I had talked to the bishop about it and I told her "no, I didn't feel like I needed to." I still don't question my need to do this but now I have this fear about what might happen after I have done it, could they possibly take away my temple blessings because of it? I just keep thinking that no matter what happens ultimately it is between me and the Lord.
    Thanks again for relating your story!

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  5. Good luck to you! Glad you stopped by and found this helpful.

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  6. You mean, you are a Mormon? I am just wondering if that is correct.
    www.phenterminehcl375.org

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  7. Thanks for this, I enjoyed reading it!
    I had the privilege of seeing some gorgeous surrogate photos today:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=883085570&ref=ts#!/media/set/?set=a.10150264667741968.329760.197197721967
    Think you might like them :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Oh my gosh, those are awesome! What a neat story.

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  8. Wow. So glad you posted this. Do you know of any LDS Intended Parents who have gone through the process and are willing to share their experience? We are looking into this and learning from them might be informative.

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    1. I'd suggest doing a Google search. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Thank you so much for your BLOG! Funny enough, I just emailed you earlier with my story in hopes that you could lend me some wisdom! I have yet to make the big decision, but I think having a connection to at least someone who has done this before would be an incredible resource!

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    1. I'm more than happy to be that connection. Glad you enjoy the blog!

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  10. I'm a Mormong Surrogate too :3.

    Just happened to see your post and thought I'd slip in and fill in the blanks.

    Both Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy are frowned upon.

    Why? Answers:

    * Surrogacy is still not on solid ground as far as legalities go. It's risky. A gamble. as I'm sure you're aware...the church frowns upon gambling or doing anything that can be potentially damaging to your finances and stability.

    * The entire point of being 'Mormon' is to go to the celestial kingdom with your -family-. So...are the parents you are birthing these children for temple going members of the church that can be sealed to their children for time and all eternity?


    I do both traditional and gestational surrogacy's, and of course have the full support of everyone. Including the church. but I also -only- do Surrogacy's for LDS members with a current temple recommend. and of course I always use a lawyer, and follow the law of the land. I know if something goes wrong that I have a backup.


    Anyway, hope this brings you some clarity. Good luck!

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    1. I'm not sure why I didn't see this until now. Thank you for your insight and comments. I am very surprised that you are doing traditional and gestational surrogacy with full support from the church! Wow! Good for you! :) I have not done a surrogacy for an LDS couple and I don't feel like I need to. The families I helped were well deserving and loving. I was actually matched for a short time with an LDS parent and it was a bad experience that left an awful taste in my mouth. My personal opinion is that religion alone should not be a basis for finding the right IP or surrogate. I agree it is extremely important to use a lawyer.

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  11. I somehow stumbled on you blog and must admit it choked me up a bit. It is Christmas Eve- my son is with his Dad for the holiday and it is interesting to have him gone when we are otherwise connected at the hip.
    I am divorced. I suffer from a terrible disease that eventually required me to make a choice to have a hysterectomy. It was a relief- no more painful, unusually long periods that kicked my immune system into overdrive and caused havic on my body.
    I love my son. I kept my ovaries for various reasons and in the back of my mind thought: "Maybe one day I will remarry and maybe- just maybe- I could see what a little girl of mine would look like.
    It is discouraging to battle this illness. And I just can't do the carrying part- it made me so ill and almost took my life.
    Yet sometimes I feel guilty for even "wanting" that when so many children could be adopted. Am I being selfish?
    It's hard to just put it all in God's hands.
    But the idea of having to wait until the next life to have another child of my own. Is saddening. I don't understand all of the ramifications of this all but it seems hopeful. It seems like the most Christ-like thing someone could do. Bless your heart.
    Thank you.
    You have even inspired me to blog more about my religion- I am LDS, as well. Born and raised. Served a mission- mini mission because of the auto-immune disease I had and it was undiagnosed.
    That is another draw back- I would wonder if people would look at me if I had a baby (when I marry of course) and wonder if I had any right to do so because of my disease.
    This blog also made me realize I have a lot to offer, need to quit thinking in selfish single mode, and stop being complacent about marriage. I have too much love in my heart to not allow another person into me and my son's wonderful "sphere".
    I am really going to start praying about this. Thanks

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    1. I'm just now seeing this comment. Thank you so much for your sweet reply. I'm touched that you enjoyed my blog and that I inspired you. I stopped by your blog and it is awesome! I love it! I'm sorry to hear of your disease and struggles and I hope that you find what you are looking for.

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  12. Thank you for your blog! I appreciate your honesty and candor in sharing your opinion about surrogacy. I feel that it is a case-by-case situation, as you explained, and that is why the church may be so brief in their stand on this. What a blessing that you can help other families-- as you described to "help bring babies to this world." Pretty special that you have found part of your mission and purpose!

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  13. Thank you for writing about this! I like yourself am currently inactive but looking into surrogacy and wondered what the churches perspective would be, thank you for your insight!

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  14. Can anyone tell me if a couple's biological child born via a surrogate need to be sealed to them?

    We have our first baby due in December thanks to our angel surrogate. We have waited 18 years for this little girl to come to our family and cannot understand people that take issue with our method of building our family; or make judgments on what is right for our particular situation.

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    1. I think we already spoke through email. But just in case and to help anyone else who may wonder the same thing, I will address this. It is my understanding that everything within the church in regards to surrogacy depends on your stake and or your bishop. The best thing I can tell you is to talk to your bishop or state leaders about it. And when in doubt, do the sealing.

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  15. I know this is several years old, but I just had to thank you for sharing your journey. I find myself in am incredibly similar place, married with young children, semi active in church, and feeling 100% led to surrogacy. I'm certain I'm supposed to take this path, and have mostly been encouraged, but never addressed it with a church leader. Thank you sough for your perspective!

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Thank you for your comments! I'll try to return the favor.