Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Loriahn Harden, and I'm 35 years old. I'm a real estate agent in the Atlanta area and love to travel, be outside, exercise, and eat good food. My oldest son is Levi, 11, and he is my little smarty pants. My middle son, Reeves, is 8 and he loves sports and being the sweetest, silliest person in the group. And my daughter, Londyn, is 5. She's my big personality who never meets a stranger. I had my first surrobaby in May of 2018, and he lives in NYC with his mom, dad, and big sister.
Tell us about your surrogacy story.
I had followed a friend of mine several years ago who went through ConceiveAblities, and had never really heard of surrogacy before she started posting. I knew that it was something I wanted to research and find out about a little more because my pregnancies were so easy and good. And truly, it's always been a life goal of mine to find a way to help someone in a way that couldn't help themselves. This seemed like an amazing way to do that. I got matched in March 2017, and immediately knew this couple was the right couple for me. We had a natural cycle transfer in September, which was successful the first time, and a healthy baby boy in May 2018. The moment they got to meet their son is a moment that is burned into my memory forever. It was honestly the most fulfilling moment of my life, even above birthing my own children. To know that this couple wouldn't have their baby without my help, it was just the highest honor to be a part of. I was matched with my 2nd family, who are just as amazing as my first family, in March 2021. We had our transfer in September 2021, and actually just got a great beta number to let me know this transfer was successful as well!
How did you know it was the right time for your family to embark on your surrogacy journey?
I knew it was the right time for me to do surrogacy because I had a huge peace in my heart about being done with my own children. I knew I didn't want to raise any more babies of my own, so the "handing over" part of birthing a surrogate baby would not be an issue for me. I also knew that I loved being pregnant, so the thought of not even being pregnant anymore was a little sad for me. I knew that this was something I could do without any kind of hesitation.
How did your partner, friends and family feel about your decision and how did they support you?
My partner the 1st time around was very supportive. Although we are no longer together, it was something he was good with. My partner this time has been amazing. Giving me shots and meds and just in general being very supportive of my desire to do this again. My family and friends have been incredibly happy for me and the families I have helped. They all think it's just the most generous thing, and while I agree that it is generous, I also just feel so blessed and honored that I'm able to help a family have a baby.
Tell us about matching with your intended parents.
Matching was the easiest part for me. I knew very quickly in our match meeting that the 2 couples I had in front of me were the right people. I just felt it in my heart that we connected and would be great partners in this journey. I know the matching process that ConceiveAbilities has in place is top notch.
How does it feel to be able to give the gift of family?
It feels incredible to be able to help a couple become a family. Like I said earlier, it has been the most fulfilling, rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. I think, for me, the most rewarding part of all of it was the moment this couple got to meet their baby for the first time. It was emotional and sweet and just the happiest day for everyone involved. Also, getting the privilege to watch this little baby become a toddler, and then a big kid, and just knowing that you helped this little person have this beautiful life...there is nothing else like it.
How did becoming a surrogate change your life?
I think becoming a surrogate changed my life because it brought a bigger meaning. We all get so wrapped up in our every day trivial issues, first world problems if you will. There are couples who literally have no hope of accomplishing this dream of having a family. And I, being an ordinary person, can make a difference. I can make the world a kinder, more generous, more fulfilled place, just by helping someone carry a baby. It doesn't seem like that big of a thing, but to these couples, it is everything.
What is something you wish you had known or was surprising to you about becoming a surrogate?
The surprising part of all of this to me was just the mind-blowing science behind all of this. It is absolutely incredible how these doctors can make these embryos, and how they can help your body get to the ideal point of putting this embryo inside of you. And then, it becomes an actual little baby. It's always impressed me how smart our world really is.
What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming a surrogate?
If someone was considering becoming a surrogate, I would absolutely encourage them to do this. Especially if they've had easy pregnancies and enjoyed carrying their own babies. Think of the difference you could make in a family's lives.
Thanks for sharing your stories with us, Loriahn!