My mother has given birth to eight children, but I only have two siblings. She carried a total of five children for other couples who could not conceive children on their own. These babies are not genetically related to her or anyone in my family but are instead related to their intended parents. It was my mother’s job to provide a safe place for these developing embryos for nine months and deliver them so they could go home to their parents. Throughout my mother’s time as a surrogate she successfully carried and delivered triplets, miscarried three fetuses, nearly died and created three happy families. Often when people hear about my mother’s story they immediately question her attachment to the babies she carried and how difficult it must have been to “give them up”. However, what people fail to recognize is that my mother was simply lending a hand (or a uterus) to a couple in need of one. By devoting just about a year of their time and energy to helping complete strangers a surrogate can effectively change someone’s life forever.
Even though only a few people have known or been a surrogate mother, hundreds of millions of people have been other types of surrogates. A surrogate is someone who acts on the behalf of another. An attorney speaks for their client and a prosecutor speaks for the victims of crimes. These people give voices in the courtroom to those who cannot advocate for themselves. Along the same lines, animal rights activists are surrogates for creatures who have no say in the activities of humans. Foster parents give a home to children in need, acting as surrogate parents. The police officers who dedicate their lives to protecting our communities are surrogates for our safety, acting on our behalves. The representatives elected to serve our country in Washington, D.C. are surrogates for our political involvement. In a less serious manner, a pinch-hitter in baseball is a surrogate, or replacement, as well.
The common thread with every form of surrogacy is the idea of helping others. Whether it’s by obligation or by choice the surrogates of the world give part of their bodies, minds and abilities to help others who cannot help themselves. There’s something to be said for truly helping another person, even if the act is as small as opening a door for someone whose hands are full. The thing that I like best about the idea of surrogacy is that it is entirely based on one person substituting him or herself for another person who is in need of assistance. Everyone needs help at some point, and by watching my mother help three couples create their families I was introduced to the idea of selfless giving. I believe in surrogacy.