In 2009, I learned that there was no realistic way my best friend would ever be able to become a father -- his greatest desire in life. I decided then that I would offer to be a surrogate for him (which didn’t sound realistic at the time). A year later, I made that offer. He accepted, and in Nov. 2011 I got pregnant.

I’m writing this blog because I’m not the typical surrogate. For one, in the terms of the trade, I’m an altruistic traditional surrogate (I’m unpaid and the egg is mine) with a totally open arrangement with the dads. Most importantly, though, this is my first pregnancy (NO ONE thinks this is a good idea; most surrogates already have their own kids).

Also, we’re all gay, so this is going to be the gayest baby ever.*

- The Deputy

*Except for the children of those many, many other sets of three or more gays who decided to combine their powers to procreate...

August 7, 2012

"Altruistic" vs. "Commercial" Surrogacy

Recently, a reader commented on my lecture on surrogacy pointing out that all surrogacy is altruistic, regardless of whether money is exchanged. The failings of the current terminology are not news to me, and I'd talked about them in the lecture, though they hadn't made it into the slides. But what's a girl to do when right from Reproductive Technology Council comes this definition:

Altruistic surrogacy: Altruistic surrogacy means a practice whereby a woman agrees, for no financial gain, to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons to whom she intends to transfer the child’s care at, or shortly after, the child’s birth. (Specific expenses incurred, associated with the pregnancy and birth, may be reimbursed).

The alternative term you can find floating around is compassionate surrogacy. OH! Well take a huge sigh of relief, because THAT's certainly better!!!

August 6, 2012

32-33 week fetus

While babycenter is calling it a pineapple or jicama (a vegetable - fruit?? - I'm not even familiar enough with to judge), I now say that you are carrying a chihuahua in your belly (at about 4 pounds 17 inches)
Isn't that cuter than a jicama???

August 4, 2012

30-31 week fetus

Babycenter really blew it this week. They couldn't even find a single fruit to misguidedly compare your fetus to - they had to settle for FOUR navel oranges! Lame!

My point of comparison is much more tangible (to me) than 4 navel oranges. So tangible that I am touching it right now. As I do every day. For what often seems like most hours of the day.

I am speaking, of course, of my lifeline. My 3lb 16" diameter MacBook Air:

July 10, 2012

Q: I'm considering volunteering for a family member, and it would be my first. Like you, I don't want children any time soon. Were you able to find resources about the possibility of losing your own fertility? I truly think I would be okay with it, but I obviously have no way of knowing for sure.

Hi there! Thanks so much for asking this question. I had frankly no idea how to answer this, so I asked for the help of Certified Nurse Midwife Colleen Kennedy, who was kind enough to offer her expertise! She writes:

As a Certified Nurse Midwife I think about only two things when it comes to fertility - age and underlying issues that cause infertility.  With that in mind, when I first heard that there was a question about future fertility when a woman chooses to be a surrogate for her first pregnancy I thought there wasn’t a whole lot tying the two together.  However, upon further thought and research these are the issues that could come up if surrogacy was chosen for your first pregnancy.

July 6, 2012

Lecture on Surrogacy

My good friend and doula, Mitsy, just happens to be teaching a course this summer on the Sociology of Human Reproduction at the university where she and I are grad students. She invited me to come talk about surrogacy (because how convenient - I happen to be a surrogate!!). She was just asking me talk a little about my personal experience, but the academic in me took over and I delved into the topic in a little more detail than... uh... she was expecting (I TALKED FOR 2 HOURS!!!).

It was a fantastic experience. I love the perspective I get from reading surrogacy blogs, but there's a part of me that yearns for large scale surveys and the numbers they produce. It turns out, these are out there. I strongly encourage anyone interested to check out the papers I list on my last slide (or contact me if you have trouble finding them).

Also, the response from the students was great. Mitsy had clearly nurtured a great academic environment, because the students were engaged, well-informed, interested and never hesitant to ask (even quite personal!) questions or express their opinions.

I'm indebted to several bloggers who let me use materials from their blogs:

Jeni, at Love Makes A Family
Michelle, at My Belly, Their Baby
Tiffany and Natalie at A Belly For Me, A Baby For You

July 3, 2012

NYC Pride 2012!!!

Welcome to my 15 minutes of fame! I had been pretty bummed about being pregnant for pride, because it meant that the usual partying festivities would be out of my reach. But after an hour or so of non-stop parade-side photo taking, hi-fiving, and belly rubbing, I decided I could get used to the attention!

June 23, 2012

28-29 week fetus

By this point, likens your fetus to a head of cauliflower or chinese cabbage. I give them some credit for cauliflower - that is one surprisingly consistently sized vegetable! Not sure I've ever seen a head of chinese cabbage in real life, so I'm not even going there. The problem is that they have COMPLETELY MISREPRESENTED the size of your fetus. Why would you put up a photo of a head of cauliflower, about 7" in diameter and 1lb or so, and then tell you your fetus is 14.5" and 2lbs??? Crazies!!

Well, at 29 weeks your fetus is 15" and 40oz. I know I put up a bottle of champagne last time, but I just couldn't help myself from continuing the alcohol trend, because who hears 40oz and thinks of anything other than malt liquor?! Not me, and I don't even drink that shit when I'm not pregnant.

June 1, 2012

Q: from a prospective surrogate

The Deputy,

I am so happy I found your blog.  My gay brother has asked me to be his (altruistic) surrogate.  I am very much interested however the 'fear of the unknown' is most certainly very much present, as this too will be my first pregnancy.  I'm 28 and do want kids on my own, however I've always said I will adopt as my view on kids is - why give birth when there are so many in need of parents already out there! Well anyway, I just wanted to see how your pregnancy is going, you should be around your 3rd trimester now, right? How are you feeling physically and emotionally?

Hi! Thanks for getting in touch! Sounds like you're very much in my boat. I really won't be able to give any advice until this is over (and my advice probably won't be any good until many years have gone by) but it doesn't sound like that's really what you're asking for. So I'll happily provide an update:

May 30, 2012

26-27 week fetus

Time for celebration? Not yet... but this week the fetus is the size of a bottle of champagne... exactly what's been on my mind....

May 20, 2012

Please let it be a pregnancy symptom when...

I feel like a spoiled, bratty, 3-year-old who knocks over large canned bean displays at the super market when he doesn't get what he wants (my id is a boy, btw). He's always there, but he's been making his presence known more lately. The worst part is the horror felt by his mom (my superego) upon seeing the carnage in the bean-aisle and then the pointless arguments that ensue.

oh well -- it's good to get in touch with your primal side, right???

May 17, 2012

Dating and surrogacy: Part II

When we left off, Hotshot Johnson and I had broken things off because of my impending surrogacy. My conviction that dating and surrogacy didn’t mix lasted a couple of weeks -- I didn’t even make an attempt to stop myself from pursuing Toasts. I still had a little time before the first insemination, after all, and who knew how many tries it would take? This was part of my justification, but moreover I had a feeling that my pregnancy wouldn’t be the issue for me and Toasts that it was for me and Hotshot. I was right, and the rest of this entry will be devoted to my musings on why that might be, though I admit it’s still a mystery to me.

May 2, 2012

24-25 week fetus

Though I've gained around 15lbs now, the fetus composes only about 1.5 of those at this point, according to (the rest is fluid... the rest is fluid...). At about 13 inches, this brings it up, apparently, to the size of a rutabaga. Growing up, rutabagas were a thanksgiving tradition in my family, though for years my mother was the only one who ate them. Though I swore it would never happen, I've grown very fond of them, too -- but let me tell you: the secret to good rutabagas is buying the SMALLEST ones possible, often no more than 3 inches in diameter. So once again, screw babycenter!! The fetus is about the size and weight of a loaf of banana bread (how is that fitting inside me????)

First Pregnancy Surrogacy: fear of the unknown

Many surrogates, when asked about their motivation, list how much they love being pregnant or how easy their pregnancies are. For first pregnancy surrogates, this is obviously not the case. I had no expectation that I would love pregnancy (though I was interested in experiencing it) and I was prepared for it to be a major annoyance. To my delight, it’s only been the most minor of annoyances. And really, that best sums up my feelings about being pregnant: it’s a lot like not being pregnant, plus a few minor bummers (not drinking is the main one at this point).

April 19, 2012

Q: Would you mind if I linked your blog through mine?

Hi! No, I'd be delighted to be linked up anywhere -- it gives me a nice feeling of validation :)

I have to post this as a blog entry because my little question box is anonymous, so this is my only way of getting back to people who contact me through it. So now I've put a note on it: leave your email if you want a private response -->

Also, this person was specifically asking about my 'fetus size' posts. They are all conveniently organized with a 'fetus size' label, and can be found grouped together here!

April 18, 2012

Pregnant and dating: Part I

This is part I in a three part installment of how surrogacy has affected my dating life. Think of this as the prequel.

Though I hatched this surrogacy plan a while back, it was nebulous for a long time and I wasn't taking it into account in my life plans, and definitely not in my dating plans. When I started seeing Hotshot a bit over a year ago, pregnancy was the last thing on my mind. I was fresh out of a frustrating relationship, and for a few months she and I epitomized casual dating. After a while, though, feelings took root and we started using the 'girlfriend' word. It was only a couple of months after that that Winchester, Wolfram and I finalized our plans. 

April 17, 2012

22-23 week fetus

This week I'm doing a combined entry, as says that at 22 weeks the fetus is slightly less than 11in, and at 23 weeks it's slightly more than 11in (and I can't think in increments that small) and weighs about a pound. They put this at about the length of a spaghetti squash, and then the weight of a large mango (but if you've ever seen an 11 inch mango let me know -- they are my favorite!!).
But any time you tell me 11 inches, all I can think of is what surrounds me in all of my student life. 8 1/2 x 11 paper. 100 sheets is a pound!

April 6, 2012

First pregnancy surrogacy: fertility loss

I've been scanning surrogacy forums looking for other women who have been surrogates for their first pregnancies, because I believe there are some unique and very interesting aspects to our experience. In my search, however, I've found that people, especially those with experience with surrogacy, have VERY strong feelings against first pregnancy surrogacies. I knew it was ill advised, but it seems people are personally, as well as professionally, against it. This post is the first in a series that will explore the arguments against first pregnancy surrogacy.

I think the very best argument against it is that among the many medical risks involved in any pregnancy, is fertility loss. Any woman who wants to be a surrogate must accept that this pregnancy could be her last.

I've said before that I want to preserve my last fertile years for myself, but I don't mean that to imply that I don't recognize how real the possibility is that I might lose my fertility in this first pregnancy, the fruit of which is not mine. This didn't stop me largely because I'm gay, and so my relationships all have two uteri!

April 5, 2012

21 week fetus

This week, compares the fetus to a carrot. A rather large, 12 oz & 10.5 inch carrot. I, however, prefer to imagine a size 9.5 men's shoe curled up sweetly in my uterus. 

March 30, 2012

20 week fetus

The fetus turned 20 weeks on Wednesday, but I decided to hold off on this post until my sonogram yesterday. Good thing I did -- the tech told me the fetus is 15 oz, which he said was normal, but my internet sources say is HUGE. I gotta admit, I'm not excited about this -- I've been hoping for a little one!

This week we also start measuring the fetus from head to heel instead of head to rump, so we have an additional change. says this week it's the size of a banana, 10 inches head to heel. With my whopping 15 oz fetus, I say it is now the size of an Eastern grey squirrel:

Wikipedia says Eastern grey squirrels' head & body length is 9.1 to 12 in, weighing in at between 14 - 20 oz. So the fetus-squirrel is only a wee one!

March 26, 2012

Ignoring and acknowledging pregnancy

Reason #53 why being a surrogate for your first pregnancy is different: my current lifestyle.

Sooo... you never see pregnant chicks out at bars. And definitely not at clubs. Ok, yeah, fine, we can't drink -- but I don't think that's why. People go out and don't drink all the time: they're driving, have to work early, they're broke... whatever. So why does pregnancy suddenly make them stop? 

A lot of pregnant ladies already have kids, and people with kids go out less, so there's one possible factor. But what about first timers? My only guess is that they're nesting -- getting ready for the Parenthood. I can see that happening with Winchester, even. He who used to stay up all night drinking whisky and smoking cigs is now in bed knitting at 10pm.

I'm not knitting, and I most certainly am not preparing for the Parenthood. So where does that leave me? As the only pregnant chick at the club. And it's kinda awesome -- going out sober is a totally worthwhile experiment (though I probably wouldn't make it a 9 month experiment if I had my druthers!). First, people watching becomes 1,000x funnier: drunk people are so silly! Second, dancing sober allows me to incorporate my work out routine into my social time: you see my awesome new dance move? Yeah, it's a hindu squat with calf raises. Drunk Deputy never would have pulled that off.

March 22, 2012

Q: How and/or Do you plan to co-parent in any way? What you're doing is incredible!

Right - I meant to address this at some point!

Winchester and Wolfram have the best attitude about my role that I could possibly hope for. They are open to any degree of involvement I want, and don't care when I decide. So, if I see that baby and decide to run for the hills, they won't come chasing me. Alternately, if I decide to move next door to them in Western Home State and be a third parent, they're cool with that, too.

Neither of those options appeal to me at all. I'm picturing something of a glorified aunt role - glorified really only by my initial contribution. But you can bet your ass I'm gonna give the best birthday presents!

So the short answer is no, I don't intend to co-parent. There are some things that I expect to change, though. Our really close friend Crono likes to talk about how friends are the family that you get to choose.  He, Winchester and I became 'family' a while back, but it seems likely that a little genetic gift will cement that bond (barring the possibility that Winchester and I end up hating each other).

Hey -  thanks a bunch for your support!

March 21, 2012

19 weeks

"you know your heirloom tomato is ripe when it's about the size of a 19 week fetus" says the fetus is the size of a large heirloom tomato this week, at 6 inches from head to bottom and 8.5 oz. Six inches?? When is the last time you saw a six inch tomato?? And even if a few do get that big, heirloom tomatoes are specifically "not engineered to be uniform in size or shape."

French's classic yellow mustard, on the other hand, can always be relied on to be 6 inches from cap to bottom, and 8 oz - just a tad lighter than your 19 week fetus.

March 20, 2012

Stretch mark phobia

It shouldn't be taken for granted that stretch marks are to be dreaded and avoided. While telling a friend about my stretch mark cream research, she said, without a trace of irony, "So wait you don't want stretch marks?" I looked at her like she had just offered me a recreational lobotomy.  Turns out she finds them sexy. She also finds pregnant women sexy in general - so go figure.

That's all fine and well, but I for one am looking forward to many future days of stretch-mark-free public semi-nudity, etc., so I did my research, and feel like it might be worthwhile to share it on the interweb.

Disclaimer: Don't trust me. I'm getting a PhD in a SOCIAL science. 

March 19, 2012

The quickening

The fetus just woke up while I was sitting here in seminar. I've felt it a bit before I think, but today it's making its presence known. And all I can think is, oh crap how claustrophobic must be to be stuck in a uterus for 9 months. Logically, I know it's cool with it... but I still find it easiest to interpret these movements as desperate pleas for more space. Sorry, bud.

March 14, 2012

18 week fetus

This week, tells me the fetus is 5.5", 7 oz: the size of a bell pepper. I say, fuck that. It is the size of liquid hand soap:

5.5", 7.5 oz

March 13, 2012

Q: Why did you choose to carry someone else's baby before having your own?

Oh hey! Thanks for asking!

This is a pretty big deal because I haven't run into any other surrogates on the internet who are having their first kid (I know you're out there!!! contact meeeee!). One big reason for this is that in order to work for a surrogacy agency you MUST have already had your own kids. I haven't seen any reasons given explicitly, but I assume it's because a) they want to make sure you know what you're getting yourself into and b) in theory this should lessen the chance you become attached to the kid? (Any pro surrogates want to chime in here?)

So, I guess you're assuming that I want my own kids... and you'd be very RIGHT. I've always wanted kids, and not for a moment -- in the midst of screaming children or bratty teenagers -- have I doubted that desire (despite being a member of a yuppie demographic that rejects the idea that a normal life trajectory requires kids).

March 12, 2012

And then I woke up...

I dreamt last night about giving birth.  A few moments after the big event, I turned to the male nurse next to me and said "Was that as easy as I think it was? Did I LOOK like I was in a lot of pain?" and then I watched Winchester nervously fling the bloody, shit covered baby against his bare chest. I turned to my doula and laughed with her at him. I then got up, a little woozy, and decided that it was time for me to eat! I walked down to the hospital cafeteria, randomly bumped into some friends from high school, and got some sushi.

Can it be like this please?

March 7, 2012

17 week fetus

I've mentioned before the insanity of comparing fetuses to fruits and vegetables (see here, and here, and here, for example). I don't like this system because 1) it's super imprecise - fruits and veggies range in size a lot more than fetuses 2) do you think I don't know how long an inch is??? and 3) it's a little sexist, no? Another blogger thought it was, and offered his own man chart.

If people insist on concrete objects to compare the fetus to, I propose we find some better standards, and I'm starting now. tells me my fetus is the size of a turnip: 5", head to bottom, and 5 oz. HELLOO??? Turnips, "...come in an astonishing range of shapes and sizes, depending on the age and variety, some have weighed 20 to 25 kilos, while others are the size of a golf ball." Let's get real. The fetus is the size of an iPhone: 4.5" long (5.09" diagonal), 4.9 oz.

March 5, 2012

Calling all surrogates!

Hi there!

I was wondering if you'd be so kind as to share with me stories of your hospital stay after the birth. Did the doctors put the baby on your chest right away? Did it stay in your room? Could you leave the hospital before the baby (please tell me yes!)? Where did the IPs keep themselves? Is there anything you think went really well or badly? Or, if you haven't given birth yet, what are your plans?

Cuz let me tell you: the idea of sharing a room with an infant is exhausting enough on my best days, but when I've just been through something as intense labor... eeks!!

- The Deputy

February 29, 2012

Shit people say when I tell them I'm a surrogate

The title of this post, borrowed from the popular internet meme, is misleading. The shit people say when I tell them I'm a surrogate isn't interesting - it's almost always something like, "What a wonderful thing you're doing!" "Wow! That's really amazing!" or "I can't even imagine! You're so impressive!"

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being showered in praise. I've had some seriously superlative sentiments expressed to me: that I'm the nicest person the speaker knows, that I have fulfilled my good-deed quota for life, and once even that I could now commit murder and still be a morally superior person. And to this I say, "Thank you. Indeed, I am awesome."

But this is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the friend or acquaintance who hears what I'm doing, looks at me and says, "Wow that's so great!" while their eyes tell a completely different story.

And what do I expect them to do?? Nothing else. For many of them it's the first time they've had any encounter with surrogacy, and there's simply no way for them to process their thoughts fast enough to give me an honest reaction.

February 28, 2012

What belly??

So, I intended to post this:

I'm at that unfortunate stage of development where people have begun to expect that I'll be showing, though I haven't actually started to show. This results in people exclaiming "OH! Look! You're getting a belly!!" and me begrudgingly responding with "oh... no... that's always been there..." 

But now enough people have said this that I'm beginning to doubt myself. Shouldn't I know my belly best?!?! I guess I know which of my friends pay too much attention to my body!

February 20, 2012

Miscarriage Shmiscarriage

I hit the second trimester mark this week (on the day before Winchester’s birthday, so he’s been saying for weeks that he gets the second trimester as a present!). Traditionally, this is also the point at which people start to talk openly about their pregnancy, as chances of a miscarriage drop significantly in the second trimester.

I think this tradition is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard of. Here’s my reasoning, feel free to tell me that I’M a load of bullshit*:

Until relatively recently in history, miscarriages were blamed on the woman. Sooo… if you were a 19th century broad, you’d do well to hide any miscarriages you had, for fear of retribution. These days, we know better, but the stigma still exists.  Modern-day chick isn’t really conscious of the history, and says “OH! But it’s not because we blame the woman! It’s just that it’s awkward. We don’t want to draw attention.” You know why it’s awkward??? Because your average joe has NO idea how common miscarriages are. And why does he not know how common they are? Because we actively hide the fact that they happen.

February 14, 2012

Ode to my belly

Oh dearly loved nearly flat abdomen,
I am counting the days till I see you again.
They say you are leaving,
Oh how I am grieving!
If you don't come back I'll hit a bitch.

February 13, 2012

Coming Out

It’s not a secret that I’m a surrogate. I mean, I’m not going to tell my very conservative grandparents who live in a far off land, but other than that it’ll be pretty hard to hide that I’m going to have a big pregnant belly followed by no kid. 

There are, however, some people I’ve been more hesitant to tell than others. I’m currently getting WIC  food stamps*, and I decided not to tell the nice employees at the WIC office in case it would somehow disqualify me or they would ask for Wolfram’s financial info. I’m not a very good liar, though, so I fed them a series of half truths until I found myself in a contorted pretzel of a story:

WIC Employee: Are you planning to breastfeed? 

The deputy: Um, I’m not sure yet. 

WIC Employee: Why not?

The deputy: Well, the baby’s going to go live with its dad in Western Home State

WIC Employee: Oh my god! Oh no, why???

The deputy: Well... I’m kind of busy here and wouldn’t really be able to support it… and he’s got a good support system there… so it just makes more sense…

WIC Employee (looking heartbroken for me): Oh no! And there’s no way he could live here???

The deputy: Um… well, you see, it’s ok… the dad’s actually going to raise the kid… I don’t really want a kid right now… 

WIC Employee: And he’s ok with that?? 

The deputy: OH yeah… 

February 12, 2012

"Side effects"

My nipples have been itchy, and I've decided to claim this as my first pregnancy side effect instead of correlating it with my generally dry winter skin.

February 9, 2012

“I hate to tell you this, but I think it’s peeing inside you now.”

Winchester always knows what to say to creep me the fuck out. My relationship to the fetus is obviously different from other expectant mothers. It’s really hard to tell how much of my attitude towards the creature is a result of the simple fact that I have no desire to raise it and how much of it is a carefully constructed defense mechanism. I like to think of it as a little, harmless parasite* growing inside me. Whenever Winchester attributes too much autonomy to it, though, I get uncomfortable. So when he turned to me while I was driving and said “it’s the size of a fig† and it’s flailing constantly, though you won’t be able to feel it for weeks. It’s a wiggling figgling” I almost drove off the road. Ok, not really, but I squealed and squirmed and flailed my arms a little. The thing is, I don’t FEEL pregnant - I haven’t had any ‘symptoms’ and my belly’s still flat -- I just haven’t had my period in a few months (AMAZING). So it’s really hard to conceive of a semi-autonomous fig dancing in my abdomen, and it’s really creepy.

Getting Pregnant

I LOVE the look that people give me when they want to ask if Wolfram and I had sex to conceive. They tilt their head down a little, look up at me through their brow, and start with some variant of “Um, I don’t know if I can ask this… but…” No one’s ever had to finish the question - I’m a super merciful conversationalist. Depending on the friend or the context, I cut them off with “GROSS!!!” or “HAHAHAHA NOOOOO” or, more formally, “Oh, we relied on the turkey baster method.”

I’m continually shocked by how little people understand reproduction. I’m a grad student working on a social-science PhD, so I hang out with a lot of overeducated people. So many of them think that you can only get knocked up by sticking a penis in a vagina or spending thousands of dollars at a fertility clinic. 

We did neither of those. Our first attempt was throughout the week after Wolfram and Winchester’s legal wedding in New York (they had their real, but unofficial wedding in Western Home State). I bought myself a clergy membership online in order to officiate the wedding. I encourage people to call me Clergy Member Deputy, but no one ever does. 

The operation is simple. Wolfram went into a room to procure his semen in privacy, where he then got it into an oral syringe. I think a plastic baggie was used in the process, but you’d have to ask him for the details. He then gave me the loaded up syringe, and I started my part. They say that one should let gravity help in the process -- but I probably took this to an extreme. I would get myself into a shoulder stand with most of my body perpendicular to my bed before inserting the sperm into me. Really, this was more about fun for me than about gravity. I’m not a flexible person, so I felt like a fucking acrobat hanging out in this position for, like, up to twenty minutes. EVEN BETTER: orgasms are supposed to be important for conception, so I also managed to masturbate upside down! I did need help from a vibrator though, as neither the position nor the context was particularly sexy. 

The first attempt didn’t work. Well, I got my period about 10 days early, so I suspect I had a chemical pregnancy (like a really really early miscarriage) but I don’t have any proof of that. After the honeymoon, Wolfram went back to Western Home State and Winchester stayed in New York, where he’s also a grad student in my program. Since they had decided that Wolfram would be the bio dad, I got shipped off to Western Home State for attempt #2 over Thanksgiving. 

Attempt #2 stuck.