Military Mom Turns to Surrogacy

Filed under: In The News

pregnant bellyAngel Howard was on the phone with her husband -- then stationed in Iraq -- when doctors called with the results of her first surrogate pregnancy test. She put her husband on hold.

Those results were negative, a huge disappointment. But the military mom of six wasn't ready to give up. She went back two more times to have the intended parents' embryos transferred into her uterus. The third time was a charm. "Getting the results that I was pregnant with the [intended parents'] baby was wonderful," Howard told ParentDish. "I was so happy for them and to know they will soon have a baby of their own. Finding out they will have two babies just makes it so much more special. I felt the joy and excitement for them as if it was one of my own."

Surrogate pregnancy might not seem like the natural choice for Howard, a mom of six who's husband, Brian, a Navy Seabee, was deployed overseas at the time. But Stephanie Caballero, Howard's surrogate agent, founder of Extraordinary Conceptions, says that military wives are often a natural fit. "These women are usually organized, committed and very non-nonsense," Caballero told ParentDish. "They have to run their home and take care of their children without their husbands, so they are used to handling a lot, and intended parents know that."

Another thing that used to draw intended parents to military moms was their insurance, Tricare. Tricare used to cover a surrogate's prenatal care, saving intended parents thousands of dollars in medical costs. A policy change has created controversy among military wives who want to be surrogates. "We have not seen as many applications for military wives as we did in the past," says Caballero, who says military moms make up about 20 to 30 percent of their surrogates. "Surrogates feel very strongly that they should be able to use their benefits as they see fit. These women do not take this lightly in any way."

In California, it's legal for intended parents to pay surrogates from their services. Howard could earn $20,000 to $30,000 for delivering the twins she's now carrying. But though the money will be a welcome addition to the $56,000 salary her husband draws, Howard says that surrogacy was never about the money for her. "The thing that drew me to being a surrogate was to help a family have a bit of what I have. All an (intended parent) wants is one baby and here I have six beautiful children. I am more than willing to help someone get what they want and need in their life, a baby."

The fraternal twins that Howard is carrying are due on October 15th. Howard says coping with a twin pregnancy while taking care of six children can be "draining," but that she wouldn't change a thing. In fact, she says she might consider surrogacy again in the future, "
I do believe I will do this again, this journey has been so great for me," says Howard. "I have met a wonderful couple and it really brings me so much joy to help them add to their family. This is a feeling not many people can have and I will want to do this again and help someone else have a baby."


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