If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, it might seem like everyone around you is having babies. But, in reality, one in eight couples experience infertility. 

Many go though years of expensive medical procedures, some adopt, and some – less than 800 each year – turn to surrogacy. One Siouxland woman, who’s done growing her own family, is now helping another family do the same.

Brittney Beldin isn’t even showing…

Brittney says, “So far, it’s gone really well.”

But, she’s beaming about the new life growing inside her.

Brittney says, “This will be my fourth pregnancy, so I have three of my own.”

Brittney is a nurse at Siouxland Obstetrics and Gynecology and has a heart for helping people. That’s why she’s committed these next six months and her own body to help a family who lives 1,000 miles away.

Brittney says, “They’re absolutely wonderful, they’re great parents, so it kind of breaks my heart that they’ve had to struggle this much to have their own children.”

Brittney is what’s called a gestational surrogate. She’s carrying a baby that’s not genetically hers in any way. She was able to become pregnancy through invitro fertilization with an embryo from another couple.

“My family and my husband and I, we all knew at the beginning that this isn’t our baby. We’re definitely done having our own children, so we thought, three is plenty for us, so we might as well help somebody else. I think there’s part of you that doesn’t want to get attached to this baby as much as your own children, but still, it’s so exciting, because you’re going to help somebody else, so I think that makes it just as rewarding as having your own children — and just as exciting, because every appointment, I’m like ‘I hope everything’s fine!’ and [with] ultrasounds, I’m like, ‘oh look, there’s the baby!'”

But, it’s not exactly a simple process. Brittney made the decision to become a surrogate a year and a half ago.

Brittney says, “The process is so long to get through screenings and medical appointments and we had lots of ultrasounds, lots of blood work, my husband had to be tested, we had to do a psych e-val, everything.”

What is the same: the wonder of bringing a new life into the world. This time, with a story unlike any other.

“I had just easy pregnancies and we got pregnant so easily, so it’s hard for me to not do this, because it just does not seem fair that their are people are there that should be able to have children and they can’t.”

One of Brittney’s physicians, Dr. Hannah Dewald, says medically, a pregnancy with a surrogate isn’t very different from any other.

Dr. Dewald says, “Certainly, you have to take into account the genetic mom’s age when you’re counseling women on their risk of genetic abnormalities in babies as opposed to the gestational carrier mom’s age. There is higher risk with getting pregnant when you have to do IVF transfer; there’s a risk of multiples, of ectopic [pregnancies], risk of miscarriage, that you don’t have in a routine pregnancy.”

Most people use a surrogacy agency to get this process started on either side. They all have slightly different criteria, but in general, surrogates have to be at least 21 years old, you have to have given birth to at least one healthy baby, and pass a psychological screening before a contract is signed between the parents and the surrogate.

Laws about surrogacy also vary from state to state, so if you’re thinking about this as an option, make sure you get specific information about your state.