Surrogate, Parents and Baby! A Beautiful Journey

Join us in welcoming to the world Baby Jace.

With every new birth announcement emailed here at Circle, I start to wonder, “Can these photos of families be any cuter and more precious?” And every time I am answered with a resounding, “Yes, they can. Take a look at this.”

Parents Bo and Brent are wearing the most endearing t-shirts and smiles. We particularly love the photo of Bo, Brent, and Laura (Jace’s surrogate)–with Laura holding a snuggly Baby Jace.

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We think long-term and encourage building meaningful relationships that will continue to exist throughout the life of the child. Our relationship-focused approach has led to almost every surrogate agreeing to return to their couple for a second journey. Our knowledgeable attorneys and social workers understand the importance of these relationships. And as parents through surrogacy, former surrogates, and egg donors, many of our staff members have firsthand experience with the emotional journey of surrogacy.

Learn more about Circle Surrogacy and the process of becoming either a surrogate or an intended parent by reading one of our free guides.

Surrogacy Documentary Coming Soon! The Guys Next Door

THE GUYS NEXT DOOR (Trailer)

The feature-length documentary The Guys Next Door follows Erik, Sandro and Rachel on a surrogacy journey. Filmmaker Amy Gellar read an article one day about an extraordinary woman, Rachel, who offered to be a gestational carrier for her friends, Erik and Sandro, a same-sex couple. With three children of her own, Rachel has carried both of Erik and Sandro’s daughters. This film, which spans three years in the life of Erik, Sandro and Rachel, offers audiences an opportunity to learn from their family portrait.

I spoke with one of the The Guys Next Door filmmakers, Allie Humenuk, who is also the film’s cinematographer, to learn more about the film and the process. Even better, I asked her how we can see it!

First things first, you can see a screening of the film on Sunday, May 1 at 2:15 pm at the Somerville Theatre as part of the Independent Film Festival Boston 2016. You can purchase tickets here. You can also catch the film at the Maine International Film Festival coming up in July.

They have been accepted into another festival, however, the announcement could not be made public yet. (Allie promised to keep me updated!) Part of being on the festival circuit involves looking for distribution, so outside of the festivals, we’ll all have to wait.

After speaking with Allie, I’m sure the wait will be well worth it.

When we spoke about the creative process she was very candid in saying that as filmmakers they weren’t sure where the story would take them. Quickly they found out they didn’t have to guide the story because observing the reality was interesting enough.

“There is no big lead up to some dramatic moment,” she said.

For some viewers, they may be surprised to see that having a family through surrogacy brings up the same questions that having a family the traditional way does. Allie mentioned that the thought-provoking film shows both Sandro and Erik sharing their childhood memories as well as their dreams, hopes and deep love for their children.

We’re thrilled that this will bring audiences a greater sense of awareness about surrogacy. While there is more coverage of surrogacy in the media now, the more people are given access to see the possibilities surrogacy provides to same-sex couples and couples with infertility struggles, the better it is for everyone.

“We had a young production assistant helping us on the film who is only 23. He told us he had a hard time coming out to his parents. And after one day of working on this film, he cried. Because he didn’t know having children through surrogacy was even a possibility for him,” Allie said.

Here at Circle, we look forward to following Allie and Amy’s journey to bring this film to as many people as possible. To receive more information about the film, *LIKE* their facebook page.

Lots of Twins this Month for Circle Surrogacy

Join us in welcoming the beautiful Camilla and Rocco to the world.

To our Circle community:

We hope this exciting news brings joy to your life. And, that you are able to smile in delight no matter where you are along your journey. Join us in wishing these two little beautiful bundles a long and wonderful life filled with laughter, love and so much joy.

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Circle Intended Parents on Alternative Parenting Panel in NYC: May 1

intended parents through surrogacy

Join Gabe Manzon & Tony D’Angelo (Circle intended parents to two beautiful daughters, Eliana and Sonia) for the Second Annual Panel Discussion with LGBTQ Parents and Families on Sunday, May 1 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Here is the write-up:

In celebration of International Family Equality Day, Rutgers Presbyterian Church will host a free panel discussion to explore issues surrounding LGBTQ adoption and surrogacy.

Stella Gilgur-Cook, LCSW, and Director of Spence-Chapin’s Modern Family Center will lead the discussion. The Modern Family Center is committed to building and strengthening today’s families. Their knowledgeable counselors offer culturally sensitive, bi-lingual, LGBTQ-affirming care in an accepting, nonjudgmental environment.

From Rutgers Presbyterian Church, Gabriel Manzon and Anthony D’Angelo will offer first-hand observations and perspectives and Ashley Birt, Director of Christian Education at Rutgers Presbyterian Church, will introduce the discussion.

Refreshments will be served beginning at 12:30pm and the panel discussion will be from 2:00pm – 3:30pm.

Childcare will be provided free upon request.

RSVP to Ashley@rutgerschurch.org if childcare is needed. For more information, click here.

Welcome Baby Aniella Sarina!

We love birth announcements. To protect the privacy of intended parents and surrogates, we can’t always share very much but today we have heart-warming photos and these beautiful words from Aniella Sarina’s surrogate, Tasha:

She made her entrance into her daddy’s arms in the morning. That moment was so powerful and overwhelming for me. I cried like a baby, it was everything I imagined it would feel like to see him hold her for the first time. It was such a proud moment and made this journey that much more special. Aniella’s father was great the whole time. So respectful and caring of my comfort level. He made me feel so important and gave me all the privacy I needed at all the right times. I couldn’t have asked for a better delivery process. Aniella is beautiful and perfect in every way a mirror of her sister.  He’s definitely a very proud parent and she is certainly one lucky little girl. Also, she’s very alert. She was really observing her surroundings from the moment she came out until she slept. She’s just perfect in every way. The hospital has been great, they even got our rooms right next door to each other. It sounds like it may have been a long night. I heard Aniella’s sweet cries a few times.

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A Dream Realized: A Circle Surrogate Profile with Lauren Walker

Lauren Walker Surrogate

Lauren Walker first thought about becoming a surrogate when she was a high school student. “I knew I would have to wait a while before I could become a surrogate,” she admitted. “But I had close friends with fertility issues. At first, I wanted to help someone I knew. After doing some research, I learned about working with an agency to find a family who couldn’t have children on their own. My philosophy is if you have the opportunity to be a surrogate, there’s no greater way to help people.”

Lauren’s intended parents, Dag and Erik, met her in California for her first transfer and they hit it off immediately—even more so than their initial Skype call that occurred during the matching process. “It just felt like we had known each other for so long. We clicked,” she said. “Now they’re like my other husbands. We’re always in contact, not just about the surrogacy, we share general updates too.”

“Circle matched us so well, and they [Circle] have had my back throughout the whole process,” Lauren added.

Lauren began doing research to find an agency after she had her daughter last year. She looked at reviews from a variety of sites, spoke with surrogates from Circle as well as from other agencies, and read through our free guides in addition to our surrogate resources. Ultimately she said she picked Circle because we were the most inviting. (We are beaming with pride because that is our goal.)

Her husband was right by her side throughout her application process. He wasn’t surprised when she told him that she was going forward with applying to be a surrogate because he knew it was something she’d always wanted to do. Lauren added that he’s the most excited about appointments out of everyone.

As Lauren heads into her second trimester, she is looking forward to her journey with Dag and Erik as well as their relationship after the birth. They already have talked about taking a trip overseas once they settle in!

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New Song: Different by Craig Pomranz

 

Author of the children’s book “Made by Raffi” Craig Pomranz just released a new song called “Different.” Like his children’s book, his song talks about what it’s like to be an unconventional kid who doesn’t fit any of the typical stereotypes.

Feeling like you don’t belong is a struggle most people experience yet Pomranz manages to create art reminding us that our challenges can become our greatest strengths.

Here is an excerpt from an interview we wrote when he published his book in the summer of 2014:

“The book was inspired by my godson. As a little boy, he wasn’t so interested in sports or rough and tumble play. When he was about 9, he asked for knitting needles for his birthday, and I was delighted to supply. He really took to it and found it very peaceful and comforting. At some point, I guess he was teased. He then began to ask questions about why he was different.

I was fascinated when he came up with the term “tomgirl,” because it brought into focus the huge difference between a little girl who likes traditional boys’ activities – a tomboy – and a little boy who likes traditional girls’ activities. A tomboy is admired for her toughness and independence. But “tomgirl” connotes a negative idea: a little boy who is effeminate or weak. I thought to myself, this is huge. I can really help kids and parents by telling this story.”

Read the full interview about “Made by Raffi” here.

7 Things the Media Gets Wrong about Surrogacy in the United States

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1. Forgetting about the happy families created through surrogacy.

Intended parents, surrogates, and the wonderful children brought into this world because of their love are real people. Articles talking about the dangers of surrogacy are not only misleading but hurtful to the individuals who are proud of their amazing families.

2. Sensationalizing tragedy instead of making a positive impact.

Journalists have a responsibility to report an accurate reality. It breaks our heart every time we read a case about a family stuck in a foreign country unable to come home with their family. It breaks our heart when we hear that a surrogate wants to keep a child who is not hers to keep.

These heartbreaking stories could be used as opportunities to educate people about surrogacy, and the importance of research.

Imagine if every article about a tragic story in surrogacy explained how thousands of families have gone through successful, beautiful surrogacy journeys. Perhaps changes would come about such as a call for insurance companies to cover aspects of surrogacy. That would bring access to so many couples who can’t have children of their own, and can’t take on the cost.

3. Failing to discuss the real motivations of surrogates.

Many articles skip over the beauty and the selflessness behind becoming a gestational carrier.

The amazing women who come to Circle Surrogacy wanting to help another family are astounding. While the media generally focuses on compensation, there are many steps between thinking about becoming a surrogate and matching with intended parents to become a gestational carrier. The women who make this selfless, generous choice are often inspired by personal experiences where they’ve seen people close to them struggle with fertility. Other women have a strong desire to help the LGBT community.

While many women do extensive research before applying, we pride ourselves on providing carriers with as much information as possible so they are able to make the best decision them.

We have countless stories of gestational carriers who describe being a surrogate as one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.

Regularly we feature stories about our exceptional surrogates. In a recent post, current surrogate Ashley said, “Becoming a surrogate has been a wonderful learning experience and has been good for my family as well. I feel that I’m teaching my children to be good and kind individuals, and to give to those who need your help. As my surrogacy journey comes to a close in the next few months, I truly believe this has been a wonderful and life-changing experience.”

4. Failing to mention the importance of screening surrogates.

Working with an agency is valuable in part because of the extensive surrogate screening process. Several factors are considered before accepting surrogates into agency programs. Every agency is different. At Circle, each applicant’s mental health, physical health, support system, background, and financial situation are reviewed before moving forward. Additionally, our screening team evaluates each applicant’s motivation for becoming a surrogate.

Moreover, IVF clinics set strict requirements for gestational carriers to protect the carrier’s health and well-being. Stories create a distorted reality when they report on complications during pregnancy without mentioning that the gestational carrier wouldn’t have passed basic agency requirements.

5. Reporting on traditional surrogacy as if it’s the standard.

Traditional surrogacy, an arrangement in which the surrogate becomes pregnant through artificial insemination and thus contributes her own genetic material, was standard over a decade ago, but today very few agencies will arrange traditional surrogacies. The majority of today’s surrogacy arrangements involve gestational carriers, meaning the surrogate has no genetic relation to the child

Articles reporting on traditional surrogacy rarely make the distinction, and rarely inform readers how out of the ordinary this type of arrangement is now.

6. Reporting on independent surrogacies as if they are the standard.

While independent surrogacy arrangements can go well, many surrogates and intended parents choose to work with an agency instead because they know it’s the safest option. Yet press coverage of surrogacy relies heavily on independent surrogacy stories, which gives the false impression that finding a surrogate through online advertising or word-of-mouth is the norm.

If intended parents have done their research and spoken with agencies, they know that independent arrangements are risky. Often when intended parents look for a surrogate independently, they want to save money since surrogacy can cost between $100k and $150k. While we understand the cost is high, the risks and potential costs of independent surrogacy are much greater.

7. Using harmful language.

Many headlines use hurtful terminology like “womb for rent” or refer to gestational carriers as “breeders.” This distasteful language is disrespectful and inconsiderate to the community of families closely tied to surrogacy. Surrogates are women who are selfless and generous, who want to help other families in need of assistance to have children. These reports make the assumption that women are somehow being misinformed about the surrogacy process, or that they only want to make money. While in fact, agencies will not accept women with financial uncertainty. Plus, women who apply to become surrogates heavily research the process beforehand.

If you have any questions about the surrogacy process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.