“Infertility stinks. It is the worst thing in the world.”
Giuliana Rancic, television personality and guest co-host of last Friday’s special episode of The View, expressed the opinion of so many when she shared her own struggle to have a child. In an hour that focused primarily on surrogacy, the show took a look at alternative approaches to family building and included experts, celebrities, and every day couples sharing their advice and stories. Co-host Sherri Shepherd even disclosed that she is considering using a surrogate in the future after a difficult first pregnancy, when she delivered her son nearly four months prematurely.
After a five year attempt to become pregnant with IVF, Alexis Stewart discussed the difficult decision to turn to surrogacy. Her sage advice? “Someone else should do the screening,” she said. Sanford Bernardo, an east coast surrogacy legal expert, agreed and encouraged intended parents to work with a responsible program in order to find a suitable candidate. In spite of frustrating, inevitable “ups and downs” along the way, Stewart’s journey led to the birth of her daughter earlier this year.
Later in the show, Melanie and Michael Thernstrom introduced us to their “twiblings.” With the help of an egg donor and not one but two different gestational surrogates, the brother and sister were born just days apart. Another unique aspect of their story is the fact that they remain close with both surrogates a couple of years later. “Our kids wouldn’t exist without the generosity of these women,” Melanie said. “They exist because of the generosity of strangers, and they too can do something to really help other people.”
Michael admitted that it is a “strange thing to bring strangers into this very intimate part of your life. By far the scariest part was the part before we met them. Once we met them – this is true with the egg donor too – they’re wonderful people. The kind of people you’d want to entrust this incredible trust to.”
Both of the Thernstrom’s surrogates shared a bit about their experiences as well. “It’s been a blessing,” Fie said. “It’s added something special to our lives.”
The hosts did pose an important question to the Thernstroms, something that all intended parents using third party assistance will likely face – jealousy. “Maybe I would feel this way,” Rancic admitted. “I’m missing from this equation.”
Melanie’s response? “I had come to terms with my infertility. I had a long period of failure to do that,” she explained. “I think once you do that, feeling jealous is like – you’re drowning and someone’s rescuing you. Are you jealous that they’re a better swimmer? They’re saving your life.” What an amazing analogy for the selfless gift of life surrogates and egg donors provide!
We thought it was a job well done, sharing different perspectives and attitudes on a very complex, highly emotional and controversial topic. What do you think? Was it an accurate depiction of what recipients and surrogates go through during this process? Could it change the average viewer's idea of what surrogacy is all about? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.