Born to Be a Surrogate Mom
By Jeremey Olshan, NY Post ,
April 30, 2009
Amie Cleaver's got a womb for rent.
The 29-year-old stay-at-home mom from Knoxville, Tenn., who last week gave birth to a baby boy for a couple in the New York area, says she's "ready to go another round."
Cleaver, who has three daughters, 4, 6 and 8, decided to become a surrogate after watching a friend struggle with infertility for several years.
"Yes, I was compensated for this, but that's not why I did it," she said. "My delivery was very difficult -- his head was a little too big -- but when I saw the look of joy on the intended mother's face, it was all worthwhile."
Through her pregnancy, Cleaver said she never thought of the baby boy as her own, but still, on some level, found it "a little hard to say goodbye."
"When he was inside, I talked to him and I played with him," she said. "And when he was born, I held him and got to feed him a bottle - but I never thought of him as my child."
Cleaver signed up on the Web site of attorney Melissa Brisman last year.
She was selected by the couple after a lengthy screening process, and an embryo was transferred into her uterus last August.
"They made me take several tests with something like 500 questions," she said.
Even though she lived more than 700 miles from the "intended parents," they kept in constant contact.
"We talked on the phone just about every week," Cleaver said. "We e-mailed all the time. I spoke with the intended mother after every doctor's appointment. They were just incredible people."
Cleaver said she explained to her own daughters from the beginning that she was having a baby for another mom and dad.
"They were very excited and told everyone we met that 'Mommy is going to have a baby for somebody,' " she said.
"They were extremely excited when they heard that it was a little boy, because he didn't have to come home."
As for the compensation, Cleaver said it was "a fair amount -- really more than I expected,"
Surrogate mothers typically are paid between $18,000 to $22,000, plus all their expenses.
The intended parents have continued to stay in touch, she said, adding, "They have already e-mailed me a bunch of pictures."