Book Review: Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family Family. It’s a simple word—with a lot of different, sometimes complicated, meanings. People have many ways of defining just what constitutes a family, and what being a part of a family means to them. As such, Mary Hoffman decided to take a closer look at the many different kind of families, through a children’s lens. Enter: “Welcome to the Family” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

The book’s vibrant illustrations depict a rainbow spectrum of families, including same-sex, blended, and single-parent. A green teddy bear serves as the book’s relatable narrator, thoughtfully guiding young readers through the brightly illustrated pages as they learn that  there are many different configurations of the modern family—and that no one family is better or worse than any other. The hard-to-broach topics of adoption, IVF, and other ways a baby can become part of a family are explained by Hoffman in words that children can understand, starting an important conversation without wandering into heavy-handed or overbearing territory.

Among the many topics the book broaches are natural birth within a nuclear family, adoption, fostering and same-sex families. Moreover, it offers information to both parents and kids that is currently underrepresented among today’s literature on similar topics.

A charming, whimsically illustrated tale for children, with a positive message parents will be happy to impart, “Welcome to the Family” is a must-add to your particular family’s bedtime story roster.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here.

State Spotlight: Surrogacy in Illinois

Circle is dedicated to informing intended parents and surrogates as much as possible about surrogacy, including the state laws addressing the practice.

Here we break down the legal framework on assisted reproduction in Illinois.

Illinois Law
Illinois is one of the only states in the nation that passed laws specifically addressing the surrogacy practice. The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act was passed in 2005 and provides a framework for surrogates and intended parents to pursue the least complicated processes possible.

Prior to a child’s birth through surrogacy, the gestational surrogate, intended parents, and an Illinois physician all sign consent forms to assign parentage to the intended parents. All parental rights of the intended parents have been established before a child is born so that the child’s birth certificate reflects the correct information. The courts are not involved in the process, which makes for an efficient and low-stress experience for surrogates and intended parents.

To learn more about pursuing surrogacy in Illinois, click here.

Photo credit:

Group Skype Session: Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Group Skype with a Former Surrogate

Join us for a live face-to-face group Skype session on March 9, 2014, 4:30pm EST, with former surrogate, Jamie G. Jamie is the perfect person to answer your questions about becoming a surrogate. The focus of the group discussion is what key things to look for when choosing an agency. Plus you’ll get to connect with other women who are also considering this incredible act of kindness.

Click here to register!

 Image courtesy of Skype


Circle Surrogacy to Hold Informational Meeting and Consultations in Switzerland

zurich surrogacy informationCircle Surrogacy travels around the world giving prospective parents the opportunity to meet with us in-person, either by a private consultation or attending an information session.

Our next scheduled trip is to Zurich, Switzerland, where we will be holding a free information session on surrogacy in the United States for prospective parents this Saturday, February 21st, 2015, at 6:30pm. For those that are interested in attending, we ask that you please register by clicking here. Location details will be given once registration is completed.

What is the difference between a private consultation and the information session? Our consultations are geared at those who have done their research and are ready to start their surrogacy journey within the next 12-18 months. Circle Surrogacy consultations are more focused on the individual’s or couple’s needs and questions, whereas the information session covers a broader range of topics— they are designed for those in the early stages of discovery (gathering information).

Who will be at this information session? The president and founder of our company, John Weltman, who is an expert in reproductive law will lead the discussion. He will be joined by Brett Griffin-Young, our International Outreach Associate, who is himself a parent through surrogacy. At the end there will be time dedicated to a question and answer session. More details will be given about the topics of discussion once registered.

To find out when our next European trip is scheduled, please visit our events page located on our website.  If none of these dates are convenient for you, Skype appointments are always available.

photo credit: Zurich via photopin (license)

Ireland to Consider Surrogacy Laws

surrogacy in ireland Ireland’s Cabinet has just authorized the country’s first drafting of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy laws. The Child and Family Relationships Bill, created by former minister for justice, Alan Shatter, no longer includes his proposed provisions on surrogacy. The proposed Bill for Assisted Reproduction and Stem Cell Research would now consider surrogacy and ART arrangements and practice under the watch of the Department of Health.

While Shatter’s concerns are worthy of consideration, the news from Ireland opens up the exciting possibility for surrogacy to soon be recognized by law. Among other things, the proposed bill would consider the transfer of parentage from a surrogate to an intended parent and would require at least one of the intended parents to be genetically related to the child born through surrogacy.

Frances Fitzgerald, Alan Shatter’s successor, describes this reform of family law “…[a]s a major step forward. It is a substantial and detailed response to the reality of family life in Ireland today.” While many steps will follow, the first has made a monumental stride in the right direction.


Are you living outside of the U.S. and interested in surrogacy? Learn more from our free guide.

international surrogacy

photo credit: Irish Tricolour via photopin (license)

The Surrogate Application: What is the Surrogate Portal?

Let’s face it. Applying to become a surrogate requires submitting a lot of information. There are questionnaires to complete, covering your health history; matching preferences and personal background; insurance intake forms; photos; and medical records. While there are a lot of things we ask potential surrogates when they apply, the answers to these questions help us make matches with intended parents who we think will be a good fit. All of this helps Circle maintain its unique relationship-focused surrogacy agency model.

The good news is we’re making things easier. Based on feedback from experienced surrogates, we’ve created Circle’s new Surrogate Portal. The Portal is a website where surrogate applicants can log in with a password and complete application forms online and at their own pace. So there’s no more need for printing forms, filling out PDFs, scanning, or faxing.

Prospective surrogates who complete our online surrogacy application now have automatic access to our portal. In addition to the ability to submit information with ease, the portal also includes:

– Access to informational guides and resources about the surrogacy process.

– Support to help you complete the forms

– A tracker to view your process and see status updates

– Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you’ll receive access to our private Facebook group for current and former surrogates. In the private group, women provide support to one another.

Apply to become a surrogate mother today and take advantage of our new, streamline Surrogate Portal application process. And be sure to let us know what you think!


Watch Circle’s New Surrogate Mother Video!

Circle’s NEW Surrogate Video is officially live on our website. We are so thrilled to have one of our surrogates thoughtfully describe her experience being a surrogate and helping intended parents bring life into this world. Click below to watch!!!

Surrogate Mother

Have questions about applying to become a surrogate? Email Mariya at

Surrogacy in Ireland: Former Justice Minister Calls for Legislation

Gay Adoption in Norther IrelandGood news from Ireland – It looks likely that Irish voters will vote in favor of marriage equality this coming May. An encouraging poll from the end of last year indicated that 71 percent of those surveyed would vote in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.  Marriage equality is a good first step, but Ireland will have to also put in place protections to ensure children of LGBT families are protected as well.

In an opinion piece for the Irish Examiner, former Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter seemed cautiously optimistic about the marriage equality vote’s chances. But Shatter, who resigned in May, expressed his concern that a bill protecting LGBT families and parents through surrogacy has yet to be passed.

The Children and Family Relationships Bill, which Mr. Shatter worked on during his time as minister, would include provisions protecting children of same-sex couples. An earlier draft would have also included measures on assisted reproduction and surrogacy. But the government has scrapped those provisions and the Department of Health now plans to publish a separate bill on surrogacy.

Citing the Supreme Court’s November judgment critical of the lack of clear law on surrogate parentage, as well as a belief that these issues should be tackled before May’s referendum, Mr. Shatter expressed disappointment. He says he wants to avoid these issues being “used by some to muddy the waters and mislead people into voting no” on marriage equality.

Notably, in France, opponents of marriage equality took the opportunity to introduce the topic of surrogacy into the French debate on gay marriage.

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State Spotlight: Colorado Surrogacy

colorado surrogacy Circle is dedicated to informing intended parents and surrogates as much as possible about surrogacy, including the state laws addressing the practice.

Here we break down the legal framework on surrogacy in Colorado.

With an active surrogate community, a central location, and favorable surrogacy law, Colorado is a great place to become a gestational surrogate. Prospective surrogates will find a thriving community of surrogates who are eager to meet each other and share their experiences.

Favorable Law
In general, Colorado surrogates have no need to ever appear in court. The legal procedures surrounding surrogacy in Colorado are simple and quick — in most cases [Read more…]