Jennifer is a 5 time surrogate, doula at the Modern Doula Center and surrogate recruitment manager at the Genesis Group.
Q: How did you learn about surrogacy?
A: After my daughter was born in 2005, my husband and I were done building a family. In 2007, I was in a routine GYN checkup and was asking about permanent birth control choices. My doctor mentioned to me that if I was really done having babies, that I should consider donating my eggs. The statement lingered in my brain. Once I got home that day, I jumped on my then AOL account and started to research. Knowing nothing about the process of donation or even less about surrogacy, I picked the first link I saw on the page and filled out an application. Within a few days, I received an email and phone call explaining that while I was not a great candidate for egg donation, I would be an ideal candidate for surrogacy.
Q: What was your experience with your first agency?
A: My first journey, which concluded in December 2008, had no hiccups, no problems – it was easier than I could have imagined. There really was not the support groups or social media outlets that surrogates have these days, so all I knew was the support and advice I got from the agency. Now, looking back, I realize how little my then agency did for me. The agency was poor with communication and the financial compensation payments were always delayed. This particular agency is no longer in business. As I was awaiting a new surrogacy journey with this agency, a mass email was sent out, explaining that the agency was under investigation by the FBI, the owner had been embezzling money through the trust company and had fled the state.
Jennifer’s Advice to Surrogates
“Fast forward through my five journeys (2008,2010,2012, 2014, 2015), now working for an agency who put my faith back into agencies, I have come full circle and now help other women become surrogates. So, offering advice is something I happily do every day. If I could go back to my past self, I would tell her to do more research. Truth be told, 2007 was 13 years ago and there were not many resources at the time, but I should have done my homework better and really taken the time to understand who I was working with.”
“Another piece of advice is to remember that every pregnancy is different. I feel that most women (myself included) believe that all our pregnancies will be the same and that just simply is not the case. My own pregnancy and my first surrogacy were pretty perfect in every way, but my third pregnancy (2nd journey) was very different. Everything turned out positive, and I was able to give them a healthy son, but I had very different symptoms and the pregnancy ended in my first c-section. My following third and forth pregnancies were similar but my final pregnancy was twins, and it was just more of everything – more belly, more pregnancy symptoms, more appointments, just more work – but completely worth every stretch mark to deliver two healthy babies in the end.”
Jennifer’s Advice to IPs
” I would offer that hope doesn’t necessarily come with a timeline. I would also mention that to surrogates as well. There are journeys that really transcend time, where everything goes according to plan and works out in a “timely fashion”. However, and these are much more common, are the journeys that need more time vested. IPs (and surrogates) add more stress and anxiety to themselves by putting a stopwatch on a journey. If you enter a surrogacy journey – you need to remember that hiccups happen. There are certain things (for example COVID) that are just not in anyone control that can slow the process down. If you accept the knowledge that your journey may take longer to complete, you will save yourself some frustrations (and heartache)”