After birth, Gloria desired privacy away from anyone besides her own family. It was here that a nurse hesitantly approached Gloria with a post -it note, “she handed it to me and it just said, ‘thank you’ and that was it.” 

 From then on “the agency never came to see me. They called here and there, but again, I wasn’t really their issue anymore. They got their money.”

 Gloria continued to bleed for 19 weeks after delivery. “We’re talking huge blood clots, the kind that they tell you if you’re passing these, you need to come to the hospital immediately.” She struggled to get proper care. That is, until the IPs needed something from her: her birth certificate.

“I was turned away every time… It felt like ‘look, you delivered, you’re not our issue anymore’… I was begging for permission to go see an out of network OB and was denied every time. Until the issue of the birth certificate came up. The parents decided halfway through my pregnancy that after the baby was born, they were going to move to Spain and because the father is a Spanish citizen, the baby qualifies for dual citizenship.” However, in Spain, surrogacy is illegal. The IPs needed Gloria’s original birth certificate for the Spanish Embassy. She refused. It wasn’t in her contract and not something she felt comfortable giving to the IPs.  Then, the IP’s lawyer offered Gloria the money she needed for a second opinion, that is if she handed over her birth certificate immediately. 

 Gloria refused, and her mental health declined. 

Throughout her entire “journey” Gloria was pressured and gaslit and now she was denied access to support networks and support meetings. She was used, silenced, and ignored. 

 “It actually destroyed me… Once I delivered, once the bleeding finally stopped, it’s almost like the world caved in on me. I had this moment of realization of, ‘oh my God, what the hell just happened to me?’ I was dismissed. I was treated like garbage. I was talked to in such a disgusting way. I was sent pictures of my house by the intended mother. I lived in a state of, ‘Is she watching me right now? Is she stalking me?’ I absolutely snapped and I had to check myself into a mental health facility because I stopped functioning.”

 Gloria tells me: 

 When I was disappearing into the hospitals, my youngest child, who was five at the time, kept running into the room every morning to check if I was still there… I felt horrible that I would do this to my family. I felt like I was contributing to an industry that might not have the best interest of the surrogates, regardless of how they paint it to you and how they sell it to you. I just felt so lost and I was terrified to speak out because I know the heat that comes from this multi-billion-dollar industry when you try to stand up against it.

 My marriage went through the ringer. And then to have this thought of, okay, when I deliver, it’ll be over. And that wasn’t the case. I am still dealing with medical bills and, and you know, my mental health. I will forever be impacted by this. I’m on antidepressants. I’m on mood stabilizers. I go to therapy once a week. Um, my children are in therapy. It just feels like I can’t move on from that. And it’s, it’s like I’m being crushed slowly.

When I asked Gloria if she felt like the agency or anyone else adequately informed her of what could happen during a surrogate pregnancy, Gloria responded: 

 Absolutely not. Absolutely not. One of the things that they do go over is the risk of losing your life, the risk of possibly losing your reproductive organs. And there’s a set price list for any reproductive organ that you lose. I think it’s crazy because how do you really put a price on your fallopian tubes, your ovary? How do you put a price on a full hysterectomy? The intended parents are required in the state of California to pull out an insurance policy for you in case of death. However, what they don’t tell you is the intended parents can add themselves to that policy. So your family will not get the full amount of money that that policy is worth sometimes.

Finally, I asked Gloria what she would want those mothers considering becoming a surrogate mother to know about the industry. We’ll end on her response as it should be echoed through the world and deserves a standing ovation: 

I would want them to know that it’s not just you going through this. It’s your entire family. Your body is going to change forever. Whether it’s a good experience or a bad experience… Everything in your life is now controlled by the [intended] parents and because agencies are so terrified of looking bad, they will scare you into compliance. And you have to be ready to be nothing but a womb, and I don’t think women are told the reality of that. You do not exist… You might possibly be putting your family and children through the ringer for the sake of, you know, a few thousand dollars and it’s just ultimately, you can’t put a price on it.

I am irreplaceable. You are irreplaceable to the role that you play for your family. You are a mother before you are a surrogate. 

Watch the full interview with Gloria on our YouTube channel.

This is part five of a five part series. Over the several weeks we will be releasing a write-up based off of our exclusive interview with Gloria. 

Author Profile

Kallie Fell, Executive Director
Kallie Fell, Executive Director
Kallie Fell, MS, BSN, RN, started her professional career as a scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center utilizing a Master of Science degree in Animal Sciences with an emphasis on Reproductive Physiology and Molecular Biology from Purdue University. While assisting in the investigation of endometriosis and pre-term birth, Kallie simultaneously pursued a degree in nursing with hopes of working with women as a perinatal nurse. After meeting Jennifer at a conference, Kallie became interested in the work of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and started volunteering with the organization. It is obvious that Kallie is passionate about women’s health. She continues to work, as she has for the past 6 years, as a perinatal nurse and has worked with the CBC since 2018, first as a volunteer writer, then as our staff Research Associate, and now as the Executive Director. In 2021, Kallie co-directed the CBC’s newest documentary, Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender? Kallie also hosts the popular podcast Venus Rising and is the Program Director for the Paul Ramsey Institute.