Mercedes Urbina lives in sunny California. At 33-years-old, she cares for her four children, has a doting boyfriend and has always dreamt of traveling the world. With the naked eye you can’t see the secret Mercedes cherishes, the joy she brings to the lives of hopeful couples who come to her for help. Inside of Mercedes lies the magic of life. She is the willing receptor of a dream deferred by couples who are unable to conceive; Mercedes is a surrogate Mom.
Life in South Bay wasn’t an easy, breezy ride for Mercedes, her four children and her (ex) husband. She first learned about Surrogacy through a book she read called Mutation” by Robin Cook. In the book a doctor injects his surrogate mother with an experimental liquid. The idea fascinated Mercedes and she often wondered if she could possess the magic of the surrogate.
While working at Kmart and seeking creative ways to supplement her income, Mercedes decided to do some research on surrogacy and the ins and outs. Since no birth control had worked for her in the past, she knew if she remained sexually active she would no doubt welcome the arrival of another baby to care for. This fact, coupled with the money she would earn as a result of her decision led her to give surrogacy a try.
“My first surrogacy journey happened rather quickly,” Mercedes remembers. “Since I had decided to do it for the compensation so that I could stay home more with my four little kids, I was matched rather quickly with an older couple.”
Mercedes conceived her first surrogacy through invitro fertilization. “Invitro is probably the hardest part of being a surrogate,” she admits. “The fertility doctor has to align your cycle with the IM (Intended Mom) or Egg Donor which means you have to have medication injected into you for a period of time. You usually start with Lupron Injections and then go to Delestrogen and Estrogen. You give yourself these injections and they make a calendar for you to follow which will tell you the egg retrieval date and the date of the transfer.”
The transfer date is the date they set to implant the embryo or embryos into the surrogate mother. While there is no pain associated with this procedure, Mercedes says it feels like a regular pap smear, you are sent home and placed on immediate bed rest for 3 days while you wait to see if the pregnancy as achieved.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about being a surrogate mother is that you are related to the child,” Mercedes explains. “Of course people believe that because that is how they did it years ago. That is called a traditional surrogacy. That is not really done these days. We do gestational surrogacy and baby is made with both parents DNA or one of them plus a donor.”
Everything went off without a hitch, Mercedes says. “I was pregnant on the first try. My pregnancy was completely normal without any problems and then Easter Sunday of 2004 I was in the hospital ready to deliver a baby boy for my IPs (Intended Parents).”
The baby boy was born with blue eyes and blonde hair, a strange sight for Mercedes since all of her other children were dark eyed and dark haired.
“My IPs (Intended Parents) missed the birth by 10 minutes,” Mercedes recalls. “So when they arrived Baby Boy was already in his warmer getting cleaned up. I remember looking over and seeing the happiness on the IM’s (Intended Mom’s) face and watched as her hands came up to her face with tears in her eyes looking at her new baby boy. At that moment it hit me, ‘THIS IS WHY I DID THIS’. To have been able to have brought that much joy and happiness into someone’s life was really fulfilling for me. I instantly knew that I wanted to do it again.”
And she has.
Mercedes has been a surrogate Mom 3 times. Each time she conceives she earns between $18,00 0 and $32,000. When people ask her to explain why she became a surrogate Mom, she tells them, “I have helped someone complete their family and I couldn’t be prouder of what I have done. If someone comes over to my house with flour, butter, yeast, a pan, and asks to use my oven to bake bread, at the end of the day, it’s their bread. I can’t say, ‘Hey that’s mine!’ They brought all the ingredients over, so they get to take their bread home to enjoy.”
The concept of surrogacy is one that is difficult to understand. Until a person is faced with the dilemma of not being able to conceive, can they really understand the need to want to help or the need to complete ones family?
“I am a mother, I was a surrogate mother, an egg donor, and have come full circle to wanting to have a child with the person that I love,” Mercedes explains. “I can no longer have children due to medical malpractice and if I ever wanted to have another child, this time with my boyfriend of 5 years, we would need a surrogate. So I love having helped families and love all of the woman who continue to do so.”
Mercedes currently works for Surrogate Alternatives, Inc. as a case manager, connecting hopeful couples with the children they so desire. If you would like more information about being a surrogate mother please feel free to contact Mercedes at Mercedes@surro.com or visit http://surrogatealternatives.wordpress.com/.