I would like to take you through my personal journey that led me to make the profound decision to not only become a Surrogate Mother but to go on and help hundreds of Couples achieve their dream of parenthood with the aid of wonderful Surrogate Mothers through my company, Building Families, Inc.
Even as a child of 10 years, I was already affected by the issues of infertility within my own family. Considering the statistics that 1 of every 6 Couples will be affected by infertility, it was inevitable that someone in my family would suffer this fate. At that time, I was the 7th child of 7 kids. One of my older brothers and his wife were unable to conceive and sought adoption to build their family. After a failed adoption and tremendous heartbreak, they were successful in adopting two beautiful babies who are now two beautiful adults of whom I am a very proud Aunt.
Having lived this experience with my brother and sister-in-law I became acutely aware of the existence of Couples desperate to have a family and that not everyone had a happy ending like theirs. Adoption was and remains a good option for many Couples. Fortunately, now there are several avenues that an Infertile Couple can consider to build their family.
Fast forward some years, I’m married to my wonderful husband John and living in El Paso, Texas. When I married John we became an instant family as he had a daughter, Laura, from a previous marriage. I learned first-hand that you do not need to give birth to a child to love them unconditionally. Laura became “our” daughter and she showed me the wonders of motherhood and I looked forward to the day we would have more children.
In the early 1980’s I came across an article in Life magazine. It was about two different women who with the help of family members, achieved motherhood. One story was a mother helping her daughter and the other was a sister helping her sister. Both stories were about surrogacy, but they didn’t call it that. They didn’t label it at all, but they described it so beautifully. I was so moved by their experiences I knew it would stay with me forever.
Then in the mid-1980’s, a co-worker and his wife were going through infertility treatments and we were all super supportive of their quest. John & I decided it was time to add to our family and we became pregnant quickly and 9 months later on June 18, 1986 our baby girl, Jenny, was born weighing a perfect 6lb 8oz. Soon thereafter, everyone at work celebrated another pregnancy confirmation for our mutual friend & co-worker, but sadly they suffered a miscarriage at 19 weeks and had to have a hysterectomy to save her life. It was so tragic. Suddenly I recalled the stories I had read in the Life magazine a few years earlier and told my husband that we should help them in this way. John was taken by surprise by my proposal and needed time to consider it. In a short while he agreed that it would be great to help them, however he pointed out that they had suffered so much already that we should be sure it was something we could do before bringing it up. Unfortunately, Texas law prohibited us from going forward. Fortunately, they too have a happy ending where they were successful in adopting two boys a few months apart. Then John and I decided we would complete our family. On November 16, 1988 we were blessed with our son, Johnny, who weighed a whopping 9lb 3oz!!
I have a strong faith in the Lord so in retrospect, it is not surprising that I was put on this path way back in the early 1980’s and eventually would find myself living in the Surrogacy Capital of the World. When I realized that I could be a Surrogate Mom and help a Couple in this incredible way, I discussed it with my husband again. Although he offered his support, he admitted he was nervous about it. He explained that he saw how much love there was between me and our kids and he was concerned that it would be difficult for me to not keep the baby. I did my best to explain something that I had no personal knowledge of; but yet it seemed very clear in my mind and heart. He said he didn’t fully understand, but that he trusted me and would support me 100%. The kids were still young so I explained to them in very basic terms that Mommy was going to help another woman whose tummy was broken to become a Mommy too. Everyone was excited!!
The quest to become a Surrogate Mom and starting my agency actually became a twin mission. I had difficulty finding an agency that offered Surrogacy with the personal aspects I was looking to experience. Finally I found one and worked side by side with the director for a couple of years before becoming a Surrogate Mother, making our agency into a successful and beneficial program for many.
My Couple had premature deliveries and suffered the loss of a baby girl around 23 weeks of pregnancy. I became pregnant with one baby after receiving 7 embryos (this is back in the day where this was very common!). We were thrilled!! The pregnancy was very similar to when I was pregnant with my kids, except I had a Mom that I shared with all of the things her baby was doing. She came to the doctor’s appointments and shared in every aspect that she could. I knew she was scared for the first 30 weeks that something would go wrong. But each appointment when she heard her baby’s strong heartbeat gave her the assurance that all was well.
John didn’t attend the doctor’s appointments, but he showed his support in so many ways. And when we were all together in the labor and delivery room, I think I saw a sign of relief on his face that I had someone else’s hand to squeeze during labor. I told my OB that I wanted the Mom to hold her baby first. She had never been able to do that as they whisked her babies away trying to save their life after the birth. So, when their baby girl was born my OB went to pass her to her Mom. The Mom & Dad’s faces were so incredible. Tears were streaming down their faces as they looked at their little miracle, but she said she couldn’t hold her yet. She thought she needed a sterile gown as this was required when she saw her baby before. The doctor told her all she needed was two arms, so she placed her in her mother’s arms. It was the most beautiful sight. At that moment my husband, John, leans over to me and whispers in my ear, “I get it. I now understand what you were talking about.” That was a turning point in our lives. I knew then that somehow this had to become my life’s work.
And so it has. Building Families, Inc. is a family business in so many ways. My kids have been a part of it for as long as they can remember. Laura befriended so many of the Couples especially the ones from Spain. Jenny wanted to take me for show and tell at her elementary school because she was so proud of my work. Johnny won a poetry contest “Why My Mom Deserves a Diamond” when he was in the 4th grade as he wrote about my surrogacy program. Now they are all adults and still appreciate and help me with my work by being supportive in every way they can. John and I are blessed to have the life we do and we are proud to have shared it with so many and look forward to the many years of sharing to come.
Carol Weathers has been facilitating surrogacy arrangements since 1991. Carol is the Founding Owner and Program Director of Building Families, Inc. She is the first contact for the Intended Parents when they begin their journey into the Surrogacy Process. Carol is involved in and supervises every surrogacy case. In her many years of practice, Carol has established long standing relationships with reproductive endocrinologists, psychologists and attorneys whom are leaders in the field of third party reproduction. Her association with these and other professionals has assisted her in offering a comprehensive surrogacy program as well as receiving up-to-date information on any changes in the industry that could affect the Intended Parents and their Surrogate Mother. Carol was a Surrogate Mom herself, delivering a baby girl in July 1993.