Questions are just part of life in general: What do you do for work? From there it can snowball! How did you get into this? You were a surrogate?!? I hear these questions, and many more daily.
I knew at a young age, even before I had my own kids, that I would probably be a surrogate. Why? How could you possibly know that? My sister, due to health complications at a young age, was unlikely to be able to carry her own children. I always thought about that, knowing that if she wanted a family and I could help her, I would! Ultimately, I was not a surrogate for my sister (it was their choice not to pursue this option), but it worked out that I was able to help a friend of mine. Yes, I was a surrogate! We were independently matched because they were friends of mine, which meant no agency. Surro-baby turns 3 in November! I can’t say that the process or the experience was always easy, but the joy of creating a life and a family were worth it.
Another great outcome, other than creating a family, was meeting my lawyer, Ellen Trachman! She was a life saver toward the end of our journey and went above and beyond what most attorneys do. A few months after the delivery I reached out to Ellen, wanting to do more to help others through this process.
Ellen told me about an agency she and her sister just started (What?!? There are agencies?!? I just did all of this work on my own and it was TOUGH!!) and wondered if I wanted to do some admin work for them. Shortly after I was hired and working away. I have learned a lot, especially as I was independent and did not have the help of an agency. The adage is true: You don’t know what you don’t know. And wow, there was a lot we didn’t know! Here are some items I believe are need to know for anyone going through surrogacy.
Each party, both IPs and GC, must have their own attorney (generally, at least one of the attorneys should be licensed to practice law in the state in which the baby will be born) – A good lawyer would NEVER allow either party to not have their own representation.
Escrow/expense account should be established for any cost reimbursements. The surrogate should never have to ask or wait for money, many lawyers will require this. This is a standard part of our program here at New England Surrogacy.
Health insurance review – the surrogate’s insurance should be surrogacy friendly and not have a lien or exclusionary clause. Professional reviews can be done to verify coverage. New England Surrogacy will help get this insurance review accomplished.
The surrogacy realm is ever growing and education is key!
Another huge question everyone asks me: How could you give up the baby? I was a gestational carrier, or gestational surrogate, not a traditional surrogate. The egg was not mine, the sperm was not from my husband, and there was no genetic relation to the baby. I was merely the oven, the long-term babysitter, a generous care giver that gave her back to her parents when she was born. The baby was never mine and I never had any thought or intention of keeping her. It’s similar to when your child goes to school; someone else cares for your child but are more than happy to give them back at the end of the day. Being a gestational carrier just takes a little longer ;-). You enter this process with the mindset that the baby is not yours; you are helping someone else’s dreams come true, and baby will be going home with the parents! Not only is great to see the joy you helped create, so is going home and sleeping through the night afterwards!
I love talking about my story and have written blogs and even been on a podcast about it! One of the best parts of working in this area is working with other people that are passionate about surrogacy, many of which have been gestational carriers or parents through assisted reproductive technology themselves. Jennifer and Ellen are two sisters who worked in the industry and saw a need for local support in agencies and have a passion for helping people; as well as finding others with the same passion. Catherine is an ART lawyer licensed to practice law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and is our on the ground go-to for New England surrogacy as one of the Co-Directors. Amber is strong beyond compare and has shown her great strength being a gestational carrier twice! She is also the intake coordinator for Montana Surrogacy but pitches in for New England Surrogacy as well. Suzie is a wonderful woman who not only raised 4 children of her own but was a traditional and gestational surrogate twice, one with twins! Callie is so gentle and sweet; she created an incredible bond with a couple after being their gestational carrier of twins! Patience, a doula with a heart of gold, transferred 3 times, unfortunately a surrogacy pregnancy was not successful. It gives her an incredible amount of insight and compassion into the process. Ashley always wants to help others and had twins for a Chinese couple! Marsha is a doula and person extraordinaire, who carried a beautiful baby for a single IP. We all have different stories with a common goal: to give a gift that would otherwise not be possible. Some of us can no longer be surrogates so we use our special powers and energy working for an agency!
We are excited to have New England Surrogacy as part of our sister agencies and to have Catherine on the ground for local support! We are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think you are ready to be an Intended Parent please set up a free consult to get started. If you think you are ready to be a Gestational Carrier and give the greatest gift, fill out our intake form and one of our intake coordinators will be in touch with you very soon! We look forward to hearing from you.