Thursday, July 3, 2014

Surrogacy: Why I'm NOT with an Agency

I have been blogging and vlogging this topic in my head for some time, and now that I feel I have the main topics I want to dscuss ironed out... I figure I'll start.

If you haven't read my blog, I'll do a really quick recap of why with my first journey, I decided to go with an agency. 

After talking extensively with my husband in 2011, just two months after our son, Cody, was born, I decided to become a surrogate. I knew VERY little about the whole idea, but I new the general concept and I knew that it not only intrigued me, but I felt that without a doubt I was meant to do it. 

A quick google search showed me that there was basically two ways to go about being a surrogate. You could either sign on with an agency, or you could go "Indy". The idea of using an agency seemed so odd. It felt formal and business like and I didn't want that when it came to helping a family have a baby. So with several more nights of searching... I found a few websites that I thought could help me along. The first one was All Things Surrogacy. Between that one, and a similar one at Surro Moms Online, I found their "classifieds" sections. They were exactly what you are thinking, a place to place an ad for/offering-to-be a surrogate. So I did.

Lonnnnng story short, I matched with a couple in the US who sounded seemed perfect. You can't tell a lot about a person from an ad, but I sent and email, and waited for them to email me back. I was over the moon when they wrote back.  After months of random comunication and me doing a ton of leg work... I found out that they were "leading on" several surros and would basically pick one when it was time to transfer. BATTLE OF THE UTERUS STYLE. Of course I would have won, because I have an EPIC uterus... but who need that worry right? So... I ended things.

After that, when the agency I used with twins responded back to me... I was SOOOO ready for someone else to take over the trouble. 

Through that agency I met, matched with, and carried twins for a beautiful, wonderful couple. For that experience, I have to give the agency kudos. They took care of everything and as long as I showed up where they told me, jabbed needles into my butt and didn't die... everything else was taken care of!

Somewhere along the way, I decided to check out the costs of surrogacy for the parents. I almost fell off my chair. Really. My agency was one of the higher costing agencies, but to give you a ballpark-- I didn't see any agency below 100k, and most were nearing 200k. 

You read right. $200,000.00. OUCH! My wallet hurts and it's not even my money. 

It made me realize that surrogacy isn't as readily available to people as I would like to believe. There are a lot of couples that can afford that, but there are soooooooo many more couples who can't. 

Let's take Glen and I for example... if we were to need a surrogate ourself and basing it off the money we made when we were both employed full time... We'd have to save up for YEEEEEEAAARRRSSSS (like...10-15) if we wanted to also eat and have a roof over our head at the same time. By that time we'd be old and not wanting kids!

So, I made the choice that if I carried again I'd look harder into going indy (especially if it were for a sibling journey for the same couple). That was still aways off and I placed it at the back of my mind. 

After I had the twins, the agency contacted me and asked if I would carry for a friend of the twins' parents. I was on board. Not so much with the agency, but the fact that they specifically asked for me, and that the twins' parents must have said good things. So... I said yes.

Due to the state I live in, and the fact that I had elevated blood pressure with the twins, they eventually decided they didn't want me (the agency-- not the couple). So I was "free" again and now I had to decide what to do.

I won't lie, the agency definitely made the whole experience smoother and less complicated, but I still felt my self drawn to finding an indy match since NOW I knew what was supposed to happen and I was better prepared. 

I went back to those classifieds and found the couple I talked about in this blog post. Basically things became apparent that made me realize they weren't the people I thought they were or wanted to be matched with, and I found myself looking.... AGAIN.

I reached out to a gentleman known in the surro-world in my state and asked if he had any couple looking. He's not an agency, but does facilitate matches. I can't say for sure if he gets paid for that service, but I'm assuming yes. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that it's SIGNIFICANTLY less than the agencies. 

There, I found the couple I am not matched and in the middle of legal with. Things are different, maybe a little more awkward this time around. It's weird to send the mother bills or bring up money, we had an accountant that did all that for us at the agency. I didn't have to bring up bill to the twins' parents until after the pregnancy was over. It was somehow less awkward at that point. Maybe because they saw me half dressed with my guts on display in the OR....

I don't want to say I'm lumping all agencies into the "charge too much" category, because I don't have knowledge of them all. I think it just sucks in general that surrogacy is not an option for anyone that should, but can't, have a baby.

If this was WAAAYYYY to long, and you're just skipping to the end. Feel free to listen/watch me ramble on about the same stuff on the video below!

XX- Michelle



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