Adrienne Van Ardsall joins Dr. Fox to discuss her experience as a gestational carrier. Adrienne was the carrier for Simon and Adina Brief, who told their side of the story in a previous episode. She explains why she chose to be a gestational carrier, advice for women who are interested, and how she felt about the experience.
“Gestational Carriers: The Choice to Help Another Family” – with Adrienne Van Ardsall
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Adrienne Van Ardsall, who was a gestational carrier for Simon and Adina Brief, explains her experience with the process. Overall, she says that her experience was very positive, and that “I couldn’t have asked for a better match, it really worked out well for us.”
Adrienne has two children of her own, who were seven and five years old at the time that she was a gestational carrier. She explains that she loved being pregnant, and had very few issues or symptoms. She thought that because she loved the experience, she should help others have babies who couldn’t do it alone. Her husband had initial hesitations but was at-ease after speaking with an agency.
Adrienne explains that she connected with an agency after filling out a questionnaire from a Facebook ad. She says that the timing for her decision was good, as she had one child who was already in school full time, another who had just started preschool, and she hadn’t gone back to work yet.
Adrienne chose to work with an agency because it was easier to deal with logistics and legal issues this way. She explains that some choose to do gestational carrying independently by being a gestational carrier for family or friends or connecting with others through social media. While she read others’ stories on Facebook, she ultimately chose to connect with an agency.
When connecting with intended parents, Adrienne explains that she had very few disqualifiers aside from overseas couples or language barriers. She also says that it’s typical for carriers to be open with the parents and to invite them to various appointments and that Adina and Simon attended her 20-week ultrasound. Dr. Fox adds that there is a common misconception that for gestational carriers, the experience is treated as “just a job,” but this is typically not the case. Adrienne agrees, and says that “if you’re going into it for a payout or anything other than trying to help another family, it’s not worth it.”
Adrienne also explains that she didn’t have any emotional issues throughout the experience, and never felt like the baby was “hers.” “Even after I had him, there were never any emotional issues from him going away with his family.” She says this is also how she explained the situation to her young children, and told them it was like they were babysitting for another family. By the end of the pregnancy, she says that she was happy to no longer be pregnant, and felt it was freeing that the baby was taken care of by his parents and that she could take care of herself. She explains that “emotionally, I could do it again,” but because the birth was her third C-section it would pose a health risk and she knew this was a one-time experience.
Adrienne says that she’s happy that the experience lead to a lasting relationship with the Brief’s, and while she was hoping for this to be the outcome she “wasn’t going to push it.” She recommends that people who are interested in being gestational carriers read others’ stories online and speak with an agency. She says “I think if you’ve even considered it, it’s worth giving it a try and seeing if you would be able to do it, because in the end, the result is amazing.”