The first major step in a surrogacy journey, after the medical screenings and tracking down the birth records of previously born children, is to choose the person or couple to embark on this journey with. But even before doing that, I had to decide how to go about finding who to match with. I learned that I really had two choices: use an agency or find someone independently. So, I started researching different surrogacy agencies, while reading through intended parent(s) introductions on the various Facebook groups I was now a part of, to decide which way to go.
Many surrogates choose to use an agency to act as liaison between themselves and the Intended Parent(s). An agency will guide you through contracts, medical appointments, financial discussions, birthing details, and, perhaps most importantly, screening intended parent(s). On the flip side, from the intended parent(s) perspective, the agency will also help screen and vet the surrogate! I quickly realized that I did not have a preference as to whether I used an agency or not. I feel comfortable advocating for myself and my needs and, with an attorney for a husband, I knew that all of the little details, including contracts, would be checked, double checked, and checked again! At the end of the day, either option seemed like a good one to me.
During this research phase, a friend that had just completed a surrogacy journey, and who had introduced me to a handful of surrogacy-focused Facebook groups, tagged me on Jonathan’s post. His introduction to the surrogacy group was genuine, open, and honest, all qualities I admire in anyone I interact with. I also saw genuine happiness in his face, and I could immediately tell that he was a person full of joy and love for life. I also felt drawn back to his introduction time and time again because he had lived a life of service here and abroad, a path I had imagined for myself back in high school and college, before pivoting to a young marriage and the birth of our first child a year later.
With his permission, I am sharing Jonathan’s (slightly redacted) introduction here.
November 8, 2019
Seeking an independent GC…
I am a 42-year-old single man from _______ currently working as a nonprofit administrator for a wetlands-based education organization for K-12 students in _______. Before this, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga in the SouthPacific. I later worked for an NGO in Bangladesh serving people with disabilities, which led to a brief contract with the United Nations in the Asia Pacific region. I also serve on several nonprofit boards including a regional arts organization, a group home for foster children, and an organization working with underserved populations. I have a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Although most of my life has been in the service of others and my community, I’m ready to transition that focus to building my own family and working to instill those values within my children.
I have worked with Dr. Goldstein at The Fertility Specialists of Texas in Frisco, TX to create 4 PGS tested embryos (3 girls and 1 boy) that are awaiting transfer. As expected, you would have to be cleared by Dr. Goldstein in order for the single embryo transfer to take place.
I have an attorney lined up to review medical insurance, execute the contract, and hold the escrow account for payment for your help. Compensation will be consistent with ordinary and reasonable surrogacy fees. I also have a psychologist lined up for the necessary phycological review for both of us.
I’m interested to begin this process as soon as we agree upon terms and we both feel like this is a good
partnership. Although certainly not a requirement, I’m open to maintaining contact with the GC once the baby is born. If this is a rewarding experience for us both, and I believe it will be, I would love for you to consider going on another journey in the future to help me with a second child.
If you feel like this may be a good partnership for you, please feel free to private message me so that we can set up a time to speak to each other. Thanks for your consideration!
Within minutes of reading his introduction and showing my husband, Kevin, I sent a direct message. And so began our journey.
Jonathan and I got to know each other through face-time chats and messaging, sometimes including Kevin on the face-to-face chats. I also spent some time “stalking” all of his social media accounts, reading the comments and seeing what his friends had to say to and about him (don’t worry – I told him that I did this). I even spent some time talking to other intended parents, but I came away from every conversation circling back to Jonathan and his story. I became more and more comfortable with my choice to carry a baby for him the further I dug and the more conversations we had. COVID-19 prevented us from meeting in person, but I could tell, even from far away, that he and I would have become great friends had we met under different circumstances as well.
My choice to become Jonathan’s surrogate led me to the fertility clinic for an initial screening, where I met his case worker and the doctor, who had previously met him. Listening to their experiences of getting to know him during the process of creating the embryos, reinforced what I already knew, that Jonathan is a great person; exactly the type of man that should be raising the next generation!
Of course, choosing Jonathan meant that I was choosing an independent journey. Through our conversations, that grew more and more comfortable and easy with time, I became increasingly more confident that he and I would be able to discuss all the nitty-gritty details of birth, labor, delivery, including the less glamorous ones like breastmilk, screaming during labor and placentas, without an agency as a go-between.
In one of our conversations, Jonathan and I discussed our desire to keep in touch following delivery, and both of us loved the idea. I could tell that our family would benefit from having a person like Jonathan in our life, including the wonderful example of service and kindness that he would represent to my children. During our marriage, Kevin and I have lived all over the world, and each time we settle into a new place we meet beautiful people that we remain close to and cherish to this day, so “adopting” Jonathan into our family would be familiar territory for us.
As I embarked on this journey, I kept thinking about what a unique adventure it would be. At times, it can be scary, and overwhelming given all of the unknowns, especially as we navigate the strange world of COVID-19, but I knew with Kevin and my children by my side and Jonathan as the intended father, this would be an adventure worth having.