This will probably turn into a long rambling post that makes no sense. Just fair warning up front.
On the message board I belong to, there's a common misperception that surrogates have all the "power" in the surrogacy arrangement while the Intended Parents (IPs) have all the money in the relationship. Which in itself is a weird conclusion since in most of our society, money = power.
I, however, don't agree with either one of those perceptions. I don't consider myself to have any "power" in surrogacy. Nor do I see the IPs have having power. We are two (or three) people thrown together, by choice, into an awesome/frightening/incredible adventure. Now some would say that the IPs are not there by choice. But they are. Now granted, infertility is not a choice. Obviously they would prefer if they could in some way have their own child. Infertility bites. Having to use a surrogate to have your child bites. But that is just part of surrogacy and it is neither sides "fault". So yes, surrogacy is a choice by all parties. I could choose to not be a surrogate. IPs could choose adoption, childlessness, surrogacy, etc.
As to the common misconception that surrogates are poor and IPs are rich, what a stupid thing to assume. Perhaps the IPs have saved for years and years. And even if they are well off, 100,000 dollars is alot of money, and that is what the average surrogacy costs, once you add up the surrogate fee, clinic fees, medical copays, egg donor fees, medications, etc. Even if I had a million bucks in the bank, it would still hurt to part with 100,000 grand of it, even if it was to fulfill my dream of having a child. I have never thought of any of my IPs as rich. When we go out to eat, we take turns covering the ticket. It makes me uncomfortable to know that when I travel to the transfer, my IPs are picking up the tab. In fact the whole money issue makes me uncomfortable.
I also find it ridiculous that surrogates try to order what they want in a relationship up front. They sound like they are picking car accessories from a menu. "I want contact x number of times a year, and friendship, and a stereo." How can anyone know up front what the relationship will evolve into? I love my relationship with my Swedish guys but that relationship is the product of a lot of time spent together, a lot of texts, al ot of trust on both sides, and the fact that we are all decent people. I know how lucky I got when I matched with them and I dare say they know how lucky they got when they matched with me. My relationship with my first IF is not close at all but that is ok too. In reality, I am a stranger that grew his children. The Swedish guys and I chose to be family. My first and IF chose not to be. And that is ok. How will it be with my Canadian guys (assuming I ever get out of Lupron hell and move on to cycling?)? Who knows? How ridiculous it seems to me to try to force a relationship. Every time Circle asks me what kind of relationship I want after the surrogacy is completed I tell them the same thing. I am comfortable with whatever the relationship evolves into. And that is the only genuine answer that I think either party can give. If I end up with more family at the end of this journey, great. I can always use more family. If I end up with some close friends, great. If I end up with acquaintances, great. And if I end up with nothing, that is okay too. The only thing that all parties to a surrogacy can do is be honest, open, and hang on for the ride. There is no way to predict the end result or the relationship.
So what is the point of all this rambling? I don't know. I guess I'm just tired of this illusion that there is a divide in surrogacy, with the IPs on one side and the surrogates on the other. In most surrogacies, that is not the case at all. Most surrogates feel that they are receiving as much from surrogacy as they are giving (and no I'm not talking about compensation). I personally feel that surrogacy has enriched my life in so many ways that I'm the one that should be saying thank you to my all of my IFs. It makes me sad and angry to see how many people misunderstand surrogacy. It is such a beautiful thing.