I did not want to disappoint him again, he had been trying to have lunch with me for about a week. We ate, gossiped about our respective co-workers and rambled through several topics. Then it came up. “I am not getting any younger, uhm, and I would like to have a child down the road….” At this point my usual playful grin disappeared. He continued “…I would like you to carry my child…., you know…. be a surrogate mother for me.” My silence was clearly unanticipated because he quickly added, “….I’ll pay you. I have really had this in mind for a long time now. And you know I think very highly of you.”
I mentally replayed the first part of his last statement. How long is this “long time”? Since we met or since what?
Our conversation lasted about forty minutes. He wants (us) to use my eggs and, as though to calm my nerves, emphasized on artificial insemination. Eventually I said, “When you are actually ready, let me know”. “Is that a no?” he asked looking bemused. My ‘shmuck’ish grin returned, “It’s a maybe.”
That is the beginning of what might just become my surrogacy story.
For the benefit of all, a surrogate mother is a woman who offers to conceive an embryo and carry the pregnancy to term on behalf of the biological parent(s) or mother, who may be unable to fulfill this role due to some form of infertility or by choice. Typically during the pregnancy, the surrogate mother is nurtured and cared for by the biological parent(s). Her parental relationship with the child typically ends at delivery. There are all sorts of surrogacy arrangements but it is most common where e.g. the wife can’t carry a baby in her womb due to health complications, or in gay marriages.
You see I have no issues with being a surrogate mother. Infact I have had constant premonitions of being one, but to a couple, a man and wife unable to have kids on their own, not to a single (and I must add, darnnnn good looking) man who has simply chosen to not settle into a relationship. Relax, he is exclusively straight. Let’s stick to the topic. My only hesitation: Those premonitions were not envisioned using my eggs.
Surrogacy has become increasingly common in developing countries like India, though almost all of the cases I read about were done in secrecy, just between the (usually financially-strapped) woman, and the couple in need (mostly people living in the diasporas). In some cases the surrogate’s husband is in on the process so they would cook up some hyped story to their kids and extended family on why she has to be away from home for a while. Even China has a growing ‘womb-outsourcing’ market, but its open practice is seriously hampered by the country strict civil laws that label surrogacy as illegal. But let’s bring this topic closer home now.
Do you think there is anything ethically, religiously or morally wrong with surrogacy? Have you ever considered being one, maybe for your sibling, relative, close friend or a complete stranger? What if they approached you to be one?
Most of us know at least one couple, married for so long, looking and praying for ‘the fruit of the womb’ and claiming it by fire (I kid you not, I just felt some modified MFM vibes zoom through my body…amen and amen…). Do you think they should consider a surrogate? Not that it’s your call, but what do you think?
If you are open to surrogacy, then the price is right at $_______ (N________).
Or are you thinking, “enkay biko what’s this talk about price??? It is not our culture!” Reallyyyy? So what are your concerns? On a related yet random note, I guess it’s also safe to say that an African man will almost never agree to use a sperm donor if his sperm count is low. As far as he is concerned that child is not his. Period. I can already picture him chasing his wife down Alimosho Road accusing her of sleeping around even after it was a consensual decision to use a sperm donor.
There’s always the good old proudly-African perspective to such unspoken topics. Call me the taboo queen. I’m talking about it.
To my potential client ……it’s still a maybe.
Photo credit: pregnancy pictures