Any guy who supports his wife through a pregnancy can expect a major reward: a baby. His baby. But what happens when that child actually belongs to someone else? One man share’s his family’s journey to help another couple have a baby and his wife’s brave choice to become a surrogate mother.
How could a man be okay with the idea of his wife carrying another man’s child? What sane, adoring husband would hold her hand through a pregnancy and delivery, all to make someone else a father? The questions dogged me as I picked up the phone to call Jeremy Wallace, a 35-year-old former Air Force staff sergeant who helped his wife fulfill her dream of becoming a surrogate mother. It was easier than I expected to find Jeremy and other husbands in his position: The number of men who’ve helped their wives give birth to children for other families, while certainly small, is growing. In 2008, there were 1,395 children born by gestational surrogacy (in which the woman carries the child, but is not the egg donor) in the United States. That’s nearly double the number from 2004, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. And many surrogates are married.
What Are Surrogate’s Husbands Like?
The husbands of these women tend to be middle-class, Midwestern fathers in their 30s, experts say. They are “confident and supportive,” says Elaine Gordon, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who has worked with surrogates for over 20 years and wrote a book for children born through surrogacy, Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy? John Weltman of Circle Surrogacy, an agency in Boston, goes one step further, describing these husbands as “some of the most remarkable men you will ever meet.”
Certainly, they are crucial to helping thousands of couples have children. No reputable agency will let a married woman become a surrogate unless her husband–who has to undergo psychological and financial screening–gives his written consent. His involvement is too important to the process for him to be anything less than fully on board, says Weltman: “I’ve heard extraordinary stories of men who have literally saved the day. He has to be in it.” There can be medical emergencies and months of bed rest, in addition to givens like the twice-daily hormone shots these guys have to inject into their wives before they even get pregnant.
How This Couple Met
My knee-jerk suspicions melted away the more I talked to Jeremy, who comes across as not only sane, but sincere and well-adjusted. With broad shoulders and a charming Southern drawl, he still has the steady demeanor of a soldier (he served in the Air Force for 10 years). Jeremy left military life in 2006, and since then, he’s worked at a variety of jobs, ultimately starting an appliance-repair business in San Antonio, where he lives with his wife, Dawn. They met when Dawn moved to Texas 16 years ago, and have been together ever since. It was a whirlwind romance, he tells me: They met in August, were engaged by Christmas, pregnant (surprise!) by January, and married in June. Today they have two daughters–Alexis, 14, and Rae-Lynn, 10–plus a niece (Amanda, 15) whom they adopted from Dawn’s brother. Clearly, the Wallaces believe in family.
Photo credit: Jill Hunter
If you would like more information about becoming a surrogate mother or about surrogacy in general, please contact Surrogates Across America.