I Loved Being a Surrogate, and More People Need to Talk About It

Illustration: Kim Salt

Yessenia Latorre is a surrogacy educator and content creator. For PS’s Radical Honesty issue, she explains why she became a surrogate. Read more radically honest stories here.

I always wanted to be a young mom. I had my first son when I was just 19, and before he turned 1, I unexpectedly got pregnant again. But when I went to my initial doctor’s appointment and saw the ultrasound at eight weeks, the baby was only measuring four or five weeks, and I knew something was wrong.

Two weeks later, I started bleeding and I miscarried. It was so hard, emotionally and physically. I never knew a miscarriage could bring so much pain. I went through a bad depression and lost a crazy amount of weight. Even though my pregnancy wasn’t planned, I still wanted the baby. But soon after my miscarriage, I was lucky to get pregnant again with my youngest son. I felt so blessed because I know for most women that is not the case.

My miscarriage opened my eyes to the world of infertility, and I wanted to help another family. I missed the feeling of pregnancy, which is a beautiful time in a woman’s life, and I know I’m corny for this, but I also enjoyed all the doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and hearing the heartbeat. My pregnancies before were fairly easy – I didn’t throw up much or gain a lot of weight. I was also around 21, 22, and I was a stay-at-home mom, in college, and an eyelash technician. I was always hustling, trying to help out my family.

People should understand that us surrogates, we’re not being victimized. We’re choosing to do this.

At first, I became an egg donor because I wasn’t sure if my husband would be OK with me being a surrogate. I signed up and was chosen within two weeks, and then within four months I completed my egg donation. I had no complaints. I didn’t go through a lot of pain.

But I still felt the need to try surrogacy. At the time, I didn’t want to have another child of my own. I was happy with my two boys and felt blessed to have them. I sat my husband down and talked to him about why I wanted to do it, because a lot of husbands aren’t open to the idea of their wife carrying another person’s baby. But from the beginning, he was on board. He was so supportive, so I started moving forward with the surrogacy process.

Related: Not Everyone Has the Privilege of Being Radically Honest. Here’s Why.

I got pregnant from the first transfer. And about two weeks after, I got a beta blood test to officially confirm the pregnancy. My intended parents were so happy. They were like, “It’s a miracle that it worked the first try.” They couldn’t believe it.

The pregnancy was actually the easiest pregnancy I’ve ever had, but I was nervous because I wanted to make sure everything went right for the family. I talked to the baby, and my husband would even touch my belly. We would talk to him and be like, “You’re going to go see your family soon.” We didn’t treat him like he was our own, but we still cared for him. I ended up having him at 37 weeks.

Right after I had the baby, I secretly recorded the intended parents meeting their baby for the first time. I was so happy. I know I had just pushed the baby out, but in that moment I was just thinking about the parents. This was their moment where they became a family. We stayed in the hospital for a few days and then said our goodbyes. That was so bittersweet – that’s the best way to describe it.

I felt like I was on a high for weeks. I don’t know if it was just oxytocin running through my body, but I was so proud. I felt like, “Wow, I really did this.”

It was about an eight-month process and I made about $50,000. I received $40,000 in base compensation, and additional payments for medications, embryo transfers, and maternity clothes. Typically, you get your first payment when a heartbeat is confirmed, and then you get paid every four weeks. We are compensated for our pregnancy. Surrogates do deserve to be compensated.

People ask me if I miss him. I don’t really feel like I miss him, but I’m happy for him and happy I was a part of his journey. I can’t wait to meet him again one day. I don’t have a date yet, but I do plan on seeing him. The parents and I have stayed in touch. They text me every month with photos and videos, and I’m very appreciative because it definitely makes me feel good every time I see him.

I started sharing my surrogacy journey on social media, and now I actually work as a surrogacy educator.

I would like for there to be a nicer narrative around surrogacy, because we only see negativity in the news. There was this article about me that said I was “renting out my womb” for $40,000. I don’t feel rented. I don’t feel used. People should understand that us surrogates, we’re not being victimized. We’re choosing to do this. We want to do this.

Just because surrogates get paid, it doesn’t take away from what we are doing for the families. But I think we need to focus on the stories of why women are becoming surrogates, why these intended parents need surrogates, and the beautiful things surrounding surrogacy. I hope that by sharing this story people realize this is an option, that they can have a baby through surrogacy.

More people should talk about surrogacy so we can break down the barriers to make it more normalized. Infertility is common, and I believe everybody deserves a family. If we’re able to help somebody else, and we want to do it, we should be able to.

Jump back to the Radically Honest issue.

– As told to Yerin Kim

Yerin Kim is the features editor at POPSUGAR, where she helps shape the vision for special features and packages across the network. A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, she has over five years of experience in the pop culture and women’s lifestyle spaces. She’s passionate about spreading cultural sensitivity through the lenses of lifestyle, entertainment, and style.

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