Crystal lives in Central Oregon and gave birth to 4 surro babies over 3 surrogacy journeys! She has 3 children and owns her own breast milk company, Save the Milk.
Q: Could you describe your path to surrogacy?
A: I was a teen mom and one day, while I was pregnant in high school, our life skills teacher handed out an assignment reading about surrogacy. Back in 2001/2002, surrogacy was still relatively new and a subject I had never heard about so the moment I finished that article I knew I wanted to become a surrogate. It became my first item on my bucket list.
Q: Independent vs. agency-managed journeys?
A: A mix of both. For the first journey, I wanted to make a true connection with a family and so I chose to do an independent journey. I posted an ad online on a website dedicated to matching surrogates. Within 3 weeks, I connected with a OBGYN in Oregon who was looking to complete her family after having a number of still-births. In November 2014, I transferred two embryos. I delivered a single girl in July of 2015.
In 2016, I went on to quickly match with a couple in California independently. We had three transfers that all failed. It ended up coming out after that the lady who had donated her eggs to a couple of families all turned out to be failed transfers. In 2017, I ended up going with an agency, SurroConnection. I had done a lot of research and it was the best agency I had seen reviews for and the agency owner had a “one of a kind story” herself. I was put on their matching list and I matched within 2 weeks! I matched with a gay couple in Washington, just 4 hours away from me. We transferred one of each of their sperm/embryos so they each would have a chance at a son, which they ended up getting.
In the mix of this I was diagnosed with third degree cervical cancer. I had some things done to clear it up and I was able to be cleared to continue carrying for families.
In 2018, I matched independently with another couple in Oregon. The journey was wonderful although the delivery was a little rough because of the issues with my cervix not dilating from the prior scar tissue. The family was not done with their family so now I am 6dpt with a positive pregnancy test with another boy.
Q: You own your own business – Save the Milk. Could you describe how you became passionate about breast milk?
Naturally every time I had a baby I had milk. Not every family wanted the milk so I either stopped pumping or was donating and selling it. In 2017, I was pumping and in a lot of FB groups dedicated to pumping. The community started to come to me for advice and moms were giving me some financial donations. It was just coffee money at first but soon it became more serious. The moms kept coming for help and advice. The moms then said I should make a business from this. Soon enough, that is what I did. January 2018, I opened up the only fitting name I could think of – Save The Milk. It has now grown and I have made significant strides in raising awareness among all moms and even pumping companies that flange sizing is critical for breast pumping journeys.
Q: What overlap does your business have with surrogacy or vice versa?
A: Breast pumping for me helped me transition from the “break up” with surrogacy. It became a way to focus on the next task now that I was done and didn’t have all the medical appointments and the parents checking in on me. I turned to helping other families nurture their children. I have always been an undersuppier but I did a lot of research on my surro pumping journeys and that focus and drive to help others, any way my body could, helped drive me through all these transitions.
Crystal’s Advice to Surrogates
- Take the time to pick your couples. You should just *click* with them.
- Your significant other should be on board 100%.
- Be open with yourself on your stance on abortion, selective reduction or anything else you are just not sure about.
- Don’t bend on your beliefs just to get a contract signed.
- If you know what you want and you know what you are looking for, there should be no reason why you can’t match quickly.