There are many local couples who struggle with infertility. Some turn to doctors for assistance, while others reach out to people like Christa Lynch.

Lynch, 39, is a former surrogate who now works at Extraordinary Conceptions, an international egg donor and surrogate agency based in Carlsbad. There, Lynch serves as a surrogate specialist, where she educates, mentors and acts as “resident big sister” to people going through the sensitive process. Lynch, who was born on Camp Pendleton and now splits her time between Temecula and Oceanside, explains how surrogacy works.

Q: How did you first decide to become a surrogate?

A: I met two women when I was a young girl, and they explained their situation to me in very simple terms. One said how her tummy was broken and was borrowing another woman’s tummy. So when the baby was ready to be born, she would go home with the other lady and her husband who would be the daddy. It just made total sense to me. I always knew I would be a gestational surrogate from the time I was a young girl.

Q: What is the process like to become a surrogate?

A: The common guidelines to qualify as a surrogate is that a woman has had prior children with no complications during her pregnancy or birth, be between the ages of 21 to 40, have regular menstrual cycles, and be willing to complete a physical and psychological screening. When she is eligible, she can evaluate potential couples’ profiles whose criteria aligns with her personal needs in finding the couple that she wants to be matched with. There is a huge demand for surrogates to help national and international future parents.

Q: How many times have you been a surrogate? Can you tell us about the experiences?

A: I’ve been a surrogate three times. Baby K, born in 2008, is now 6 years old and lives with his family in Japan. My last two journeys were both for the same couple. In 2010, I delivered baby M, who is now 4 years old, growing leaps and bounds in Southern California. I then helped her become a big sister when I carried her brother and sister in a whirlwind twin pregnancy. The twins are now 2 years old.

Q: Is it difficult to give the baby up after carrying it for nine months?

A: No, not at all. You enter this process knowing that the embryos that you are attempting to carry are in no way related to you. Being a surrogate mother is to have a noble, charitable heart, generously blessing others with the gift of life.

Q: Why is surrogacy a good option for couples that can’t conceive?

A: It’s an amazing, hands-on approach for intended parents. They can experience the pregnancy alongside the surrogate by attending their doctor appointments. It’s also an excellent alternative for future parents who possibly want a genetic link to their child.

Q: Do you have your own children?

A: Yes, two daughters, ages 13 and 18, both of whom were my cheerleaders and were the sweetest mommy helpers each time I was pregnant. They tolerated my teary-eyed hormonal days and they rubbed my gigantically swollen feet and tried to make me laugh by calling my feet and ankles Shrek and Fiona! I truly loved having the ability to be an example of service in action and showing them that sometimes you have to sacrifice for others.