After two easy, back-to-back pregnancies, 34-year-old Bri Buck felt compelled to help others who didn’t experience the same luck expanding their families and become a gestational surrogate.
Why it matters: Roughly 6.7 million couples in the U.S. struggle to get pregnant each year, and many pursue other options like IVF, adoption or surrogacy in order to start their families.
- Yet many people only associate surrogacy with A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian or the comedy movie “Baby Mama.”
Buck’s story: Buck and her husband, Jeff, decided they were done having children after the births of their son Hudson (4) and daughter Josie (3).
“I had pretty easy pregnancies, all things considered, and came to know a lot of people who struggled with infertility,” she tells me. “It’s heartbreaking to watch.”
After extensive research, Buck decided to register with an agency called ConceiveAbilities.
How it works: Each agency has different requirements for potential surrogates.
For Buck’s agency, some of these requirements included:
- Successfully giving birth before.
- Having those children live at home with her.
- Not receiving financial support from the government.
Once Buck was matched with a couple in Miami, both parties had to agree to the match before they moved forward with the process. They met in person to ensure that everyone had the same expectations for the pregnancy and spent three hours with a psychologist to ensure that everyone was mentally capable of handling a surrogacy arrangement.
The pay: Surrogates get paid, with packages varying depending on the agency and the individual’s circumstances. Buck will receive $52,000 throughout her pregnancy.
- This covers maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins and other essentials.
The birth: The “intended parents” (as they’re called in the surrogacy world) will be present for baby boy’s birth. Once the baby is cleared to travel, the new parents will take him home.
Buck says she fields a few common questions when people find out she’s a surrogate.
Will you have a hard time saying goodbye to the baby? “The way I see it, it’s not my baby at all. This child has none of my genes. I care for this child and want to do everything I can to build him the best that I can. But the real joy for me will be getting to see the parents’ faces when they meet him,” she says.
Has this pregnancy been different? “I look at it like I’m doing a service for someone and I want to give them a good product, so to speak. I think this has been my healthiest pregnancy. I’m working with a nutritionist. I’ve worked out the entire time. Not that I was unhealthy by any means during my other pregnancies, but I’ve definitely stepped it up this time.”
How did you explain the situation to your children? “We say, ‘This isn’t our baby. Mommy is building this baby and then we’re going to give him back to his family.’ When you’re putting it into its simplest terms, it’s like if your neighbor has all of the ingredients to make a cake but their oven is broken. They can bring them over to your house and use yours.”
Will you have a relationship with the baby once he’s born? “That’s something you talk about with the parents during the initial matching phase. I don’t want to be a part of the child’s daily life, but I’d like to see him grow up. The baby’s mom and I have a good relationship, so I’m sure I’ll get pictures occasionally. And I do want my kids to get to see him after he’s born.”
Were you hesitant to be a surrogate during a pandemic? “Once we started with the process, I was so excited that not even a pandemic could have stopped me. Though it actually is a good time to be pregnant in terms of lack of FOMO.”
Buck is passionate about educating others on this topic, so if you’re reading this and want to know more, she’s happy to connect through her Instagram, where she frequently shares details about her surrogacy experience.