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Surrogacy has a local face

Staff writer

Kim Klein believes she has the ability to give a couple the ultimate gift — a child.

It began more than a decade ago when she and husband Todd were friends with a couple who had problems conceiving.

“We watched them as they went through their difficulties,” Kim said. “It had always been in the back of my mind.”

When the Kleins had their third child six years ago, they knew their family was complete. But Kim still remembered the friends who couldn’t have children and wondered if she could help other couples in similar situations.

Months of research on the Internet resulted in the Kleins finding The Center for Surrogate Parenting, Inc. (CSPI) of Encino, Calif.

“I was impressed with the program because they work at bringing the surrogate mother and parents together,” Kim said. “That was really important to me.”

It was no easy fete to be accepted as a surrogate mother. Many hours of psychological testing, a rigorous screening process, and medical tests were conducted before Kim was accepted.

The process

Kim said couples can use the woman’s egg or the surrogate mother can use one of her own. For the Kleins, they chose the method of having another woman’s egg implanted.

A common method is in vitro fertilization pre-embryo transfer where a fertilized egg from a female is harvested and placed in the surrogate mother which then is carried until developed and the baby is delivered.

Another option would be for Kim to have one her own eggs artificially inseminated but that’s an option the couple chose not to do.

Kim has been a surrogate mother three times. With each situation, she and Todd had an opportunity to review profiles of various couples. The couples also review the Kleins’ profile and a suitable match was found.

The Kleins also include their three children, Madison, 12, Dakota, 9, and Dani, 6, in the process.

“The children also meet the parents,” Kim said.

The three times that parents have been chosen by the Kleins, all have resided in Kansas so meetings have been possible.

And how has the community reacted to this unusual situation?

“We have been pleasantly surprised with the support from the Hillsboro community,” Kim said. “It would have been more difficult to have done this without the support of my family and the community.”

Kim has delivered three babies, a girl, Jan. 9, 2005; a boy, Sept. 1, 2006; and a second boy, May 20, 2008.

All three of the experiences have been positive and rewarding for Kim and her family.

“I feel lucky to be a part of this journey — to be entrusted by these parents to carry their children,” Kim said. “I feel like I’m the lucky one.”

Dealing with the obvious

So, how does Kim carry a baby for nine months and then be willing to give him or her to their parents?

“All along I know and my family knows this is not our baby. None of my genes or Todd’s genes are involved,” she explained. “I feel an attachment but I don’t feel that my baby is being taken away. There’s no sense of loss.”

The Kleins are active with a support group. People who attend the meetings and serve as surrogates are normal, everyday people, Kim said.

“The image is not what some might imagine,” she said. “We’re middle class, soccer moms.”

People aren’t doing this for the money. All expenses are paid by the parents including traveling to the doctor and medical expenses but no other payouts are a part of the program.

After the baby is born, Kim knows she will remain in touch with the family just as she had during the pregnancy. On a regular basis, Kim receives photos of the children she’s carried.

For Kim, she is the care provider of the baby for a while until it is born.

“I feel blessed to be able to do this — to have the opportunity to give someone what I have,” she said.

Will she be a surrogate mother for a fourth time? Only time will tell.

Last modified Nov. 5, 2008

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