Chance Made Us Friends, Surrogacy Made Us Family
Whether it be a surprise pregnancy at age 20, a life-changing conversation with Tina Dettlaff of The Surrogacy Experience (TSE), or giving birth this past July to a healthy baby boy for intended parents Jen and Jake, Stephanie deeply believes that everything happens for a reason. A single mother to five-year-old identical twin girls, Stephanie realized her passion for mothering the moment her daughters were born. But it wasn’t until she was watching an episode of Friends that she realized another passion buried inside of her. On the episode, two of the main characters found out they were infertile and Stephanie surprised herself by bursting into tears. Thinking about her two daughters, she couldn’t imagine anyone being deprived of the joys of parenthood, and in that moment she knew she had to pursue becoming a gestational carrier.
As Stephanie researched agencies, she began to feel discouraged and treated like a number, rather than a woman making a life-changing decision. It wasn’t until she called TSE and talked to Tina, TSE’s Director of Client Relations, that all of the pieces starting coming together. Stephanie and Tina’s initial conversation lasted over an hour; she never felt rushed and, at the conclusion of the discussion, she felt like she was TSE’s only client in the world. From that moment on, there was never a question that TSE would be her partner on this journey of a lifetime.
With a solid support system of family and friends already in place, Stephanie was soon matched with intended parents Jen and Jake. The fit couldn’t have been more perfect. Stephanie’s mother’s only initial concern about the process was who she would be carrying for, but as soon as she met Jen and Jake, she was thrilled and Stephanie felt everything coming together to make this family’s dream come true.
Stephanie also seized the opportunity to use her surrogacy experience as a learning tool for her then four-year-old daughters. “At age four, kids only know what they are told. I explained that Jen’s belly was broken so I was holding her baby for her, and I’d be giving him back after I was done helping,” Stephanie said. “It taught my girls about diversity, and that every family dynamic is different and God loves everyone no matter where they came from.”
Since giving birth in July, Stephanie looks back at her surrogacy journey as the most rewarding experience of her lifetime. She feels extremely blessed that she even qualified to be a surrogate, and gives the credit to good genes and God. She talks to Jen and Jake every day and continues to revel in the opportunity to see the pure joy first-time parenthood has provided their family. Hands down, Stephanie’s favorite part of the whole experience was seeing the new parents hold their son for the first time.
“It was the most wonderful moment ever, I can’t even begin to put it into words,” remembers Stephanie. “Watching Jen and Jake’s reactions was the best feeling in the world.”
Stephanie’s time as a surrogate allowed her to realize how big of a heart she has for people struggling with infertility. She learned so much about herself, including her desire to do it all over again. Recognizing a constant tugging on her heart to fulfill another family’s hope for new life, Stephanie is already in the process of being matched with new intendeds!
“Ultimately, surrogacy is not for everyone, but it is for me and I know this one hundred times over again,” she said. “I already can’t wait to hand another beautiful baby over and watch the new parents hold their child for the first time. This whole experience has been a blessing. Not only do I have life-long friends and a sense of great accomplishment but the financial compensation assisted me in purchasing a home for me and my children.”