I am registered on the International Bone Marrow Donor List. I'm sure you are shocked. I mean...someone who's been a Gestational Carrier wouldn't also want to give her bone marrow, would she? Honestly, I was on the bone marrow donor list looonnnnggggg before I was ever a surrogate or even entertained the thought of surrogacy. I actually started giving blood at age 18 because 'they' said that my A- blood type was needed...and I have been giving it on and off since then.

Back to my bone marrow...some poor kid in my old home town of Rochester, New York needed a bone marrow transplant at some point in the 90's and were having a donor drive where you could be tested to see if you were a match. So I decided to go for it and see if I could be of any help. If you were not a match, you had the option to be included in the International Registry and I said sure....needless to say, finding a bone marrow donor match seems like hunting for a needle in a haystack and I was NOT a match....

HOWEVER, fast forward to December 2004. I am about 33 weeks pregnant with twins for my couple. Huge, uncomfortable but quite healthy. BP ok, weight ok, borderline gestational diabetes but, hey, what do you want? And I get THE CALL! Apparently the initial search through the donor bank pinged on yours truly. I was floored. Seriously. YEARS and YEARS had gone by...maybe a decade even, before this call and now I am soooo pregnant and am saying things like 'can she hang on for a few more weeks?' The woman on the other end of the phone, you see, painted the story for a 9 year old girl looking for a donor...in India or somewhere...and then there was me...in Florida. Erika was about to turn 9 and so my heart went out to those parents...parents somewhere trying desperately to save their child....and yet I was pregnant....for someone else...with twins!

I was considered an initial match and because they only test for 6 HLA markers when you join the NMDP Registry, additional testing needed to be done in my case. By testing for a basic level of HLA (Human leukocyte antigens )markers, they keep tissue typing costs low - so that they can add as many donors as possible to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry. I decided that I would give my permission to go ahead and order any additional testing that would potentially allow me to donate for this little girl. I figured that if I was going to be a match I would deal with that issue when I was contacted the next time.

As things turned out, I wasn't the best match for this 9 year old girl. Figuring that I wouldn't be able to donate ASAP due to the pregnancy and with the health needs of the potential recipient, the NMDP had to find someone else. (which was a little sad for me, however, ONE thing at a TIME PLEASE!) Because I had the additional testing done I am now in another category and am probably one of the potential donors that are looked at first for a match. Some day I do hope to be able to save a life in this very special way.

The reason I've decided to share this story with you is two fold. I think that it's an interesting experience to be put in the middle of bringing a life or two into this world as a surrogate and being asked to save the life of someone who is already living. Secondly, I encourage all who qualify to be a part of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry. You could be the one that is a perfect match for another. YOU can make a difference!

Author's Bio: 

Sharon LaMothe is the Co-Founder of Infertility Answers, Inc., the Creator of the blogs Surrogacy 101 and The Third Party and is owner of LaMothe Services, LLC, a Reproductive Industry Consulting Company, and writes about starting and maintaining an Infertility Industry Business in the blog 'The Agency Angle'.

Sharon co-owned and operated Surrogacy Consultants of Florida, LLC, the first successful independent surrogacy agency in Florida. Sharon's responsibilities as an agency owner included interviewing new Surrogates, educating and assisting Intended Parents and Surrogates on Third Party Reproduction, managing relationships, finding clinics, reproductive attorneys and psychologists to work with her clients along with writing packet forms, intake sheets, brochures and website content, marketing and advertising. Prior to owning SCF, Sharon worked with an adoption/surrogacy attorney.

Sharon is also a Co-Founder of Egg Donor & Surrogacy Professional Association and currently holds the Surrogacy Chair. She is also an Advisor of the OBGYN.net Women's Health Forum and serves on the Parents Via Egg Donation Advisory Board as well as being a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Mental Health Professional Group.

A past 2x Gestational Surrogate Sharon gave birth to twin girls in March of 2000 for a Florida couple, and in January 2005, gave birth to girl/boy twins for a same sex New York couple.

Sharon's educational background includes a Social Service major which encompassed classes in Crisis Identification and Intervention, Interviewing and Counseling, Communication in Groups and Organizations. Sharon's continuing education classes include Total Quality Management (TQM) and Shared Decision Making. She has offered her unique perspectives and expertise by holding round table discussions and speaking on the topic of Surrogacy for SMART ART, RESOLVE, American Fertility Association, Fertile Dreams and by arranging staff development luncheons and meetings with various clinics, hospitals and law offices. Sharon also offers individual consulting for those needing guidance at any point in their research of Third Party Family Building for both Surrogates/Carriers and Intended Parents.

Sharon is married with two children and currently resides in Seattle, WA.

Specialties: Owned & operated a successful Surrogacy agency ~ Recruiting ~ Liaison between clinic, psychologist, attorneys & clients ~ Mentoring & team building ~ Assisting w/ contract content & agreement negotiation ~ Conflict resolution ~ Staff development for ART Professionals & risk management teams ~ Online family formation & third-party reproduction education ~ Website content development & design ~ Strategic planning & niche development ~ Sales & marketing strategy ~ Customer satisfaction & loyalty