MS Coast woman shares her journey as a surrogate - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS Coast woman shares her journey as a surrogate

Keturah Maurice holding a baby she delivered through the surrogacy process. (Photo source: WLOX News) Keturah Maurice holding a baby she delivered through the surrogacy process. (Photo source: WLOX News)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Women deliver babies every day. But for one South Mississippi woman, her circumstances were different. She never took her baby home. Instead, she chose to give that gift of life to another couple. 

Keturah Maurice carried someone else's baby for them and has become the first surrogate to deliver at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport. She says the pains of her pregnancy made for the most rewarding experience and end result.

A busy mom of four, 38 year old Maurice is also a National Guardsman and a high school track coach. 

Maurice, 38, is a busy mom of four, she's a National Guardsman, a high school track coach, but she also spends nine months giving life to other people's babies.

Three months ago, she had her second baby through surrogacy at Memorial Hospital. Officials said she's the first surrogate to deliver at that hospital. But her first time as a gestational carrier made her think twice about it. 

"I said, 'Oh my God, this had to be the worst idea I ever came up with.' But when I saw them hold their baby and just crying and just so overwhelmed with joy, I knew at that point I would do it again," said Maurice. 

According to Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists -- the agency Maurice works for -- changes in state laws and medical advances mean more people are starting families through surrogacy. 

"The medical technology advances are making it easier for people to create embryos and store embryos and allow infertile couples to have children this way," said World Wide Surrogacy Specialists owner Victoria Ferrara. 

Early on, many of Maurice's loved ones were worried. 

"Once they saw that everything was fine, it was good," she said. " A lot of times people wonder about whether or not I'm going to bond, my kids bonding with them, being able to separate from the baby. Once the baby's born, I don't hold the baby at all. So, the parents are actually there for delivery. They are able to get the baby as soon as possible." 

For a couple to turn to surrogacy, Ferrara said it's usually a last resort. The average cost is $100,000 and parents must trust a total stranger with their embryo.

"It's really an amazing thing," said Ferrara. "They become a small group of people, a team if you will, and it's a really positive, really heartwarming thing if you experience it or participate in it."

"There's nothing like being able to touch someone's life," said Maurice. "You live for your children and you want to leave a mark on this planet and I feel like I've been able to do that."

Surrogates do not pay out of pocket for anything having to do with the pregnancy itself. They are also compensated. According to Maurice, the base pay ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 and up. Surrogates and parents must pass a background check, and surrogates must pass a health screening. New York, New Jersey and Louisiana don't allow compensated surrogacy.  

Maurice says she's only allowed to have three children through the surrogacy process. Worldwide Surrogates does not accept women on Medicaid to be surrogates. 

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