It’s something that’s become quite common throughout the world, and even in Canada over the past number of years, however it’s not something that’s heard of much here in this province.
In its simplest definition, Surrogacy is a situation where a woman agrees to have a baby for someone else. All parties enter into the agreement knowing full well of what the outcome will be, and plan for such moving forward.
It’s a sometimes complicated, emotional and very trying ordeal for everyone that’s involved in it. But for one lady from Springdale, she’s going through it to help a couple from Ontario, who didn’t even know who she was a year ago.
Clayton and Taryn Remedios of Ajax, Ontario tried to have children the natural way that so many couples dream of doing. Their dreams were dampened, however, after a couple of miscarriages proved that Taryn wasn’t able to carry a baby for the full term.
“We found out that I couldn’t carry past 23 weeks,” she explained. “The doctors told us there was no way we could have our own children naturally, so we started looking at other options.”
The Remedios’ discussed their situation with people around them, including friends, family, doctors and even their lawyer, to determine what the best course of action would be. After some consideration, it seemed that surrogacy was looking to be a viable option.
Surrogacy and In vitro fertilization (IVF) isn’t uncommon in Ontario. That province has 10 IVF Clinics, compared to Newfoundland’s zero. Remedios says because of this, Surrogacy seemed a more likely solution to them, being where they live, than it would be for someone in this province.
However, for Soraya Grothe of Springdale, she was well aware of what Surrogacy was, and says she’s been interested in it for quite some time.
“I’ve always dreamed of being a Surrogate,” she explained. “Even before we had our own children, it was something I knew I wanted to do. There’s something about helping someone who can’t have their own children, to experience that dream.”
Together with her husband, Fred, The Grothe’s have five children of their own. Now that they’ve determined their family is complete, Surrogacy could be an option.
Back in Ontario, the Remedios’ were pondering their next steps, and came upon a web site called Surrogacy in Canada Online.
The site, owned and operated by Sally Rhoads-Heinrich, is designed to be a bridge for those looking for Surrogates, and those willing to be a Surrogate. Little did Taryn Remedios know, a lady in Newfoundland had found the same site, and had already registered to carry out her dream of helping someone who needed it.
“We connected on the web site, and started communicating through there,” explains Remedios. “We especially connected with our strong religious backgrounds, and discovered we had a lot of the same values, so that was a big thing for us.”
Clayton and Taryn decided to ask Soraya to embark on the Surrogacy journey with them, to that the Newfie girl agreed. Thus began a tedious process that included intense physical and psychological reviews and tests of Soraya, her husband, and the Remedios’.
Grothe eventually went to Ontario to undergo the procedure for what’s a Gestational Surrogacy – meaning it was the egg and sperm of the Remedios’ that were implanted during the IVF.
“We were worried, because my eggs had been frozen after I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer,” explained Taryn. “But we implanted two, and one of them took, so we thank God for that.”
From there, Grothe returned home to Springdale to carry out most of her pregnancy, while the Remedios’ remained in Ontario.
All parties admit that their methods of bringing a life into the world are unconventional, and say they’ve all faced their fair share of questions.
“People ask us if the baby is going to be white,” says Remedios, who is of Indian descent. For Grothe, she says the question she gets faced with most is ‘how?’
“People say to me ‘how can you carry this baby and just give it up when it’s born,’” she said. “But I tell them – just like you know that this is something you can’t do, I knew it was something I could do.”
In fact, Grothe says making the Remedios’ dream of having a child is the whole reason she’s doing this.
“I can’t wait to give them their baby,” she explained. She also has opted not to find out the gender of the baby she’s carrying, because she wants to see the look on the parent’s faces when they find out when the baby is born.
“That’s a big thing for her – she wants to see our faces and our reactions,” explained Taryn. “I think that’s going to be the fulfillment for her – to see how happy we’re going to be in that moment.”
Aside from the psychological questions, though, Taryn and Soraya say they’ve received their share of logistical questions as well.
“People look at us and think that Soraya is doing this for the money,” said Taryn, “but that’s not the case at all.” In fact, it’s illegal in Canada to privatize Surrogacy. The only money the Remedios’ are allowed to pay Grothe is for out of pocket expenses for things related to the needs of the baby – of which, Grothe has to provide receipts.
“My doctor is in Grand Falls-Windsor, so I get gas money for going to appointments,” explained Grothe. “Plus they take care of medications, or if I can’t do things because of the pregnancy that costs money.” For example, explains Taryn, if the Grothe’s need a babysitter because they’re at the doctor’s appointment, the Remedios’ will see to that expense.
All the terms of the arrangement were laid out in the beginning in a formal contract between Grothe and the Remedios’, which highlighted the details of what would be expected of all parties.
“You’ve got to have your bases covered, because you really don’t know what could happen,” explained Remedios. “Everything has to be thought of, and a contingency has to be put in place for it.”
It’s the details and expectations required that makes the Remedios’ so thankful for what Grothe has done for them.
“What she’s put her body through, and what’s she’s faced for us, it unbelievable. We’re so thankful and so overwhelmed.”
The Remedios’ are now in Springdale, staying with the Grothe’s until the baby’s due date on March 4.
“Even allowing us to come here and stay with them, speaks to their generosity and the kind of people they are,” said Remedios.
As for where they go from here, Grothe says that while the baby she’s carrying was conceived from the biological means of others, legally, she still has claim to the baby – which is something the Remedios’ plan to take care of once the baby is born.
“Technically, I could change my mind and say I want to keep the baby,” she explained. “And the same could go the other way – they could change their mind, and say they don’t want the baby.” However, in this case, explains Remedios, that seems extremely unlikely.
“We’ve had such a connection with the Grothes, and connected with them in a big way,” she said. The two couples appear to be on the same wavelength throughout the journey, and want what’s best for everyone involved.
As for the future of their child, though, the Remedios’ say there’s no way their child is going to grow up and not know the woman who helped bring them into the world.
“All of our friends back home call Soraya ‘Tummy Mommy,’” she said. “I want to make sure that my child grows up still knowing Tummy Mommy for the rest of their lives.