Congratulations to Tyra Banks and Erik Asla on the birth of their son, York Banks Asla. Reason to celebrate indeed.
If you've struggled with infertility, you know what it feels like when you want your baby. A roller coaster out of control. The ups and downs can be dramatic. Hopeful one moment with good news, diving into devastated the next with bad news.
If you're not getting pregnant as you had hoped, then your next hope is that you don't need much help. Just a little. Maybe a little medication and a procedure. Maybe just one more month of trying on your own.
Sometimes it works that way. You walk into a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist's office and three months later, you're walking out, happy and pregnant.
Sometimes it takes more than that. More time. More effort.
One little talked about face of infertility is recurrent miscarriage. It's the face that doesn't even rejoice with a pregnancy because of the dread that accompanies the good news about how long it will last. Yes, miscarriage is considered a "type" of infertility. The inability to carry a baby to term, regardless of how easy it is to become pregnant is another facet of fertility challenges.
When that is the problem, we often have to go further. Sometimes a lot further.
Tyra Banks Welcomes Baby Boy Born via Surrogate
Ms. Banks had to go further. She needed a gestational surrogate. We don't know why. (Not sure that it's any of our business even.) It's a lot to find out that you need a carrier- that you can't carry your baby within your own body. We won't presume to know what Tyra and Erik's journey was, it's enough for us to know that it takes a lot to take these steps.
And how you choose your surrogate, should you need one, makes a big difference in your experience. We've been talking about this a lot over on GayParentstoBe (GPTB) and we are now sharing some invaluable tips here with you, about how to pick a gestational carrier, as well as foster a communicative and comfortable relationship during the pregnancy.
As always, you are not alone. Even if you need more help than you can muster the strength for in this moment- you are not alone. We are here for you. Every step of the way on your path to become a parent.
Andrea Mechanick Braverman, PhD, is a respected and valued Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) team member. As a health psychologist, Dr. Braverman specializes in infertility counseling, third party reproduction issues, health management and diabetes care. She consults for many leading assisted reproductive technology programs and endocrinologists and has maintained her own private practice for over twenty years.
Dr. Braverman continued the conversation about surrogacy on GPTB just the other day by discussing how to have a successful relationship with a gestational surrogate or surrogate mother. This is a vitally important relationship to anyone who is interested in bringing a baby into the world. It’s a relationship that you will want enter into carefully and nourish appropriately to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and safe. The end result that is desired is for the gestational surrogate and baby-to-be to be healthy.
Tips For a Successful Surrogate & Intended Parent Relationship
Here are some suggestions that Dr. Braverman shares to reach that desired result. Three tips for working successfully with your gestational surrogate:
1 – What Type of Relationship Do You Want With Your Surrogate?
Discuss and be clear with yourself (and your partner if you have one) about what type of relationship you would like to have with your surrogate. Do you want your relationship to become a friendship or do you prefer a respectful but more independent relationship? There is no “right” or “wrong” type of relationship. But having similar expectations to your surrogate is the best set up for success for the relationship and reduces the possibility of hurt feelings or resentment. Thinking about and discussing this before you choose a gestational surrogate will also ensure that you are working with someone who wants the same thing that you do.
2 – Talk About Anything & Everything Related to the Surrogacy Journey
Which leads us to tip #2. Overcommunicate. Talk about anything and everything related to the surrogacy journey before you sign your contracts with your gestational surrogate. If you don’t have good communication to start with when working with your surrogate it is unlikely to improve over time. To establish trust and a collaborative approach you need to communicate and not be afraid that you can’t say what you need to or that your surrogate will hold back in saying or asking what she needs to. It’s like developing any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger and healthier it becomes, so to with communication. The more that you communicate and share openly, the easier it becomes and then it becomes the norm between you. The fewer misinterpretations or assumptions that are made, the more smoothly the process of bringing your baby into the world.
3 – Put Yourself in Your Surrogate’s Shoes
Always try to put yourself in your surrogate’s shoes and see if you can imagine a different way of experiencing whatever issue arises. Remember there is always another point of view and way to experience the same event. For example, if you want to call the obstetrician with a medical question, you may think nothing of it. Your surrogate may worry that you are “checking up” on her by talking to her doctor without letting her know. That may be the farthest thing from your mind and you are crystal clear that it’s a simple medical question that has nothing to do with trusting or distrusting your surrogate. From your surrogate’s point of view though, it can be experienced differently and she may feel as though her privacy has been disrupted. Which brings us back to tip #2 about always communicating. Don’t be afraid to ask your surrogate if she has any questions or concerns, the more that she feels free to discuss with you, the more comfortable you all will be. If she is clear on what you are doing and your motivation, then there is no hidden agenda, and you are all on the same page.