We've met @Andrea Brenes in this Chaotic Commute and Surrogacy in Miami profiles. Andrea, who is now a Surrogacy Engagement Coordinator with ConceiveAbilities, recently completed her surrogacy journey - and today we're pleased to share the update to her story!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
I am the youngest of 7 siblings, half Cuban and half Irish! My immediate family is huge, I have 20+ cousins and we all live in the same city! I've been with my husband since I was 18 and we're going on 13 years married this November. We have two kids, Juliette (11), Noah (8) and a 2-yr old pitbull, Pepper, who is like our third child! We never have a weekend free, there is always something to do with all of our family events.
What inspired you to become a surrogate?
I can remember from a very young age just wanting to do this. I guess I always imagined pregnancy to be awesome! My pregnancies were very easy and uneventful. Since my husband and I were done building our family, it just got me thinking about all of the people out there that couldn't have a family of their own. I had originally wanted to be a surrogate for a family member or friend, but they decided on other avenues.
How did you know it was the right time for your family to embark on your surrogacy journey?
When March 2020 rocked our world, I just knew it was the right time to apply! The world as we knew it was falling apart, there was so much sadness that I just needed to bring some light into our lives and someone else's.
How did your partner, friends and family feel about your decision and how did they support you?
My husband was a little apprehensive at first, I think just not knowing what everything would entail was a little scary. He quickly got onboard and was my biggest supporter throughout the journey. My family was ecstatic! They wanted to be a part of it just as much as I was.
Tell us about matching with your intended parents.
When I got that first email saying we had a potential match, I was overjoyed! I was so excited to meet them on our match call and we instantly clicked. We didn't get to meet in person until the day of our embryo transfer, and as weird as that may have been, we all just got along so well. Over the course of our journey we really bonded and they have become like extended family. We're going on vacation together this summer!
How does it feel to be able to give the gift of family?
I feel so blessed to have been able to give my IPs their little boy. The entire experience, ups and downs, made me appreciate my life so much more.
What has been the most rewarding part of your surrogate experience?
Getting to see all of the pictures and videos of my IPs as parents! It's so fun to watch them morph into the role of mom and dad. It makes my heart so filled with joy!
How did becoming a surrogate change your life?
I found a new found appreciation for all of the women who struggle with infertility and undergo IVF to start their families. Not only do you have the stress & uncertainty that a cycle will work, but all of the work that goes into it! They are definitely warriors.
What is something you wish you had known or was surprising about becoming a surrogate?
I did have some concerns that I would bond with the baby, I never thought in my mind that he was mine, but I guess it was just something in the back of my mind of how I was going to feel after delivery. Surprisingly enough, there were zero negative thoughts or emotions once I delivered! I just wanted to know that he was safe and healthy so that his parents could be with him and take him home!
What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a surrogate?
I can't tell you there won't be some not so fun parts (needles, yuk!) but, all of the not so fun parts don't even compare to the incredible experience it is to be a surrogate. You get the chance to make a real difference in someone else's life, we don't always get to do that in this world. And the added bonus of getting compensation to do whatever you want with, it's a win win! I got to redo my pool that needed some major help!
Tell us about your experience with ConceiveAbilities.
When I was looking for an agency, I didn't want to work with just anyone. My main goal wasn't to make a ton of money, that was never my driving factor. I wanted to know that I was helping a couple/single parent fulfill their dream of being a parent and I wanted an agency that was going to do everything in their power to match me with the right people! I didn't want this transactional relationship between me and IPs or me and the agency. From the moment I spoke with Laci, in the surrogacy acceptance team, I knew I had found the right agency to work with! It wasn't just a "sales" pitch to get me to apply, she wanted to know about me personally and make sure that I was comfortable taking the next step! She even set up a call with her husband to speak with my husband to ease his concerns! Then every step of the journey, I had support from so many people within the agency! Every time there was a hiccup or a scary situation, I had a phone call or text from someone checking in. What more could I have asked for!?
Any other wisdom on being a surrogate that you think would help someone on their journey that we didn’t ask?
Just that if being a surrogate has ever crossed your mind or you just think maybe this could be cool, reach out! Speak to someone, get more info! The last thing you want is to miss your opportunity to be someone's miracle.