Sunshine Hanson is not a typical woman. She’s a loving mother, a devoted wife, she runs her own business, and aside from that she also helped two couples grow their families.
How? By carrying their children through gestational surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is when a healthy woman carries a pregnancy on behalf of the intended parents through IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization. IVF is a type of assisted reproduction that helps women get pregnant and, in the case of gestational surrogacy, the child is not related to the surrogate at all.
It is quite a complicated process especially for those that are not familiar with it but surrogacy is widely practiced in the United States. In fact, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, between 1999 to 2013 there were 18,400 infants born via a surrogate 8,581 (64%) were single births, 4,566 (34%) were twins, and 233 (2%) were triplets or more.
Surrogacy is legally recognized in most states and only three states do not have friendly laws to enforce contracts for compensated gestational surrogacy.
When asked why she decided to help two couples start a family, Sunshine explained.
“My husband and I were both working full time in jobs that we loved, but we were still having a hard time saving up a down payment for a home. I was looking for creative ways to come up with an extra $20,000 in a year that wouldn’t take hours away from my family and career in the evenings and weekends, and that’s when I looked into surrogacy. (I found out surrogates can make between $40,000-$75,000, so that sounded perfect!) Although my first journey was mainly motivated by the compensation, it became so much more than that.
The other two were because I fell in love with the fact that I was helping couples start a family that they would not have been able to without the help of a surrogate.”
Based on the Childless Older Americans: 2018 report, 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. are childless. Of course not all of them are married, but it is such a huge number that even if single adults are factored in and removed from the equation, the numbers are still staggering. That is thousands upon thousands of childless couples.
Parenthood is one of the greatest gifts ever and one can just imagine the frustration, pain, and longing that these childless couples feel after years and years of trying to conceive.
According to Sunshine, her heart grew by leaps and bounds after seeing the intended parents hold their children for the first time. Tears were streaming down the parents’ faces and Sunshine and her own husband were filled with emotions too.
“At that point, I knew I would do it again. It’s hard to explain but the joy and fulfillment you feel is different. You have to experience it to understand what I’m saying,” Sunshine says.
Some women have zero problems getting pregnant but there are those that cannot, often because of health history or a medical condition that makes it either unsafe or impossible for them. Though surrogacy is still misunderstood by many people, one cannot deny the fact that, for many couples, it is the best way for them to start a family.
Sunshine’s experience as a three time surrogate has prompted her to start a free consultancy agency that helps other moms become surrogates too.
“I can no longer carry as a surrogate so this is the only way I know where I can continue helping others start the family they dream of and also help moms become surrogates and change the financial outlook of the families of amazing mamas who choose to become surrogates,” added Sunshine.