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!

Lauren W

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

surrogacy

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.

Share Your Surrogacy Journey Story

share your story

Surrogates amaze us every day. Throughout the office we share anecdotes from our individual conversations with surrogates—their stories, their backgrounds, their journeys—undoubtedly they inspire us.

We want to share those stories with others so that as many people as possible know the tremendous women who make families possible for the LGBT community and couples who struggled with infertility.

We’ve done stories in the past featuring surrogates, but we’d love the opportunity to do more. If you would like to share your journey with us to post our Circle Blog and social media (Facebook and Twitter), there are three options:

1. Interview: Set up a time to speak with me for an interview.

Read past stories here.

2. Write it: Write your story and send it in. Don’t worry about your grammar, we will do a spell check and a grammar check for you.

Note: Please include photos if you can. Remember to get permission from IPs if they are in the photo, or if their child is in the photo.

3. Film it: Writing isn’t always the best format to tell a story. If you have a web cam on your computer, you can film your story and send it in. We had an intended parent, Tara Carr, do the same—take a look here.

You may also reach out to me for tips and suggestions for filming content.

  • Make sure the computer is on a solid surface.
  • If you film with your phone, film horizontally.
  • Have the camera face you head on. Tilting the screening up can accentuate your chin and neck.

To set up an interview, submit your story, or send up a video file, please contact me (Lauren, Marketing Coordinator) at lmuscarella@circlesurrogacy.com, or 617-439-9900, ext. 222. Also, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Today’s Birth Announcement from Circle Surrogacy

If you are reading this, you are a kind person who knows the importance of surrogacy. Whether you are an Intended Parent beginning your journey, a parent through surrogacy, a surrogate starting your journey, a former surrogate, or someone who works in surrogacy (hopefully some Circle employees!!), there’s nothing that warms your heart quite like seeing a family the moment they hold their newborn baby for the first time.

We are lucky enough to be able to share these photos with you from one of our recent journeys.

First Family Portrait

surrogacy birth announcement

Dane Driving to Our Room

Dane Feeding Brandt Quiet

Enthusiastic Hands

Just Born with Dane

The Inspiration Behind Circle Surrogate Jacquelyn

surrogate profile

Earlier this week we published a blog post about a Circle Surrogate named Ashley who was inspired to become a surrogate after seeing a photo of a Canadian couple that had gone viral. The photo depicted a same-sex couple holding their baby born via surrogacy and the surrogate who gave birth to their child.

The photo is emotional so we can see why kind and wonderful individuals were moved by the photo. But not everyone would see a photo and take action, which is why we wanted to learn more about the women who did take action. If you haven’t had a chance, read about Ashley’s journey from seeing the photo to applying with Circle until now–she is currently 23 weeks along as a gestational carrier.

And here, read about Jacquelyn (pictured above with her beautiful family) and her journey–from seeing the photo on social media to applying with Circle Surrogacy and giving birth to a healthy, happy baby girl.

What about the photo of the same-sex couple holding their baby inspired you to become a surrogate?

I feel compassion for the LGBT community.  I also feel compassion for anyone that struggles with fertility.  The desire to become a parent can be overwhelming and emotional.  For obvious reasons, I know that it’s very special struggle to be a gay man desiring to become a parent.  Add in the desire to have offspring that is genetically related to you, and there is a very emotional and overwhelming position to be in.  Seeing two men overcome all of those obstacles and being blessed with their first child captured in a photo was moving to say the least.  I wanted to be a part of such a magical journey.

What made you select Circle Surrogacy for your surrogacy journey? 

I sought out a reputable agency that I felt I could trust to protect the interests of me and my IP(s).  When I discovered that Circle is a gay-owned company, I was thrilled.  When I contacted the agency, I was immediately greeted with helpful and friendly staff.  That’s when I knew that Circle would be a good fit for me.

How would you describe your experience as a surrogate in your journey ? 

Almost 2 months ago, I delivered a healthy baby girl.  She is the daughter of two men that have become very dear friends of mine.  From the time we were matched until the present, I have felt so lucky to have been matched with such awesome people. They couldn’t be more deserving of their beautiful family.  Along the way, Circle continued to meet and exceed my expectations.  I plan to reapply as a surrogate next month and hope to begin another journey as soon as possible.

We know that many people were inspired by the photo but we are inspired by our surrogates. Their hearts and overwhelming generosity is admirable and moving.

The Photo that Inspired Circle Surrogate Ashley

 

Last week we posted a photo that was trending last June. The photo showed a same-sex couple from Toronto holding their baby born via surrogacy along with their surrogate. We were astounded to find that the picture inspired some of our Circle Surrogates to look into surrogacy! Ashley was the first to comment on the photo. From there, we had to know more.

Below Ashley shares her experience from the moment she was inspired to apply with Circle up to today. She’s currently 23 weeks pregnant.
surrogate content

116

What about the photo of the same-sex couple holding their baby inspired you to become a surrogate?

The photo of the same-sex couple holding their baby is one of the most emotional photos I’ve ever seen. The look on the new fathers’ faces captured my attention first, and it absolutely tugged at my heartstrings. You can really see from one photo that the baby was so wanted and is so loved. I was inspired by the amazing gift the gestational carrier, who is also in the photo, was able to give this family.

To be able to nurture and grow a baby for these men is one of the most selfless acts I’d ever seen. I was immediately inspired, and felt if this woman could do that for someone, why couldn’t I? To me, the photo encapsulated raw emotion and true love and I wanted to be able to make that love possible for someone. I began my research that very day and became a surrogate not long after.

What made you select Circle Surrogacy for your surrogacy journey?

I began researching surrogacy mostly using social media. I became a member of a couple surrogate mother Facebook groups, and started following several gestational carriers on Instagram. I then discovered several blogs where I could read individual journeys from start to finish. Throughout my research, I encountered many carriers who used Circle Surrogacy and had nothing but positive experiences. I applied with Circle first, and had such a great initial meeting that I never felt the need to apply anywhere else. Circle Surrogacy was so welcoming and always made me feel appreciated. I’ve been with them for almost a year and a half now and have not once regretted my decision.

How would you describe your experience as a surrogate in your journey so far?

My journey has been wonderful. I immediately felt a strong connection with my intended fathers. Circle did an excellent job pairing us by our lifestyles, wants, hopes and beliefs. I truly feel that I will forever maintain a friendship with them and their growing family. The application/screening/matching process was seamless, and I felt well-informed throughout everything. This journey has had its ups and downs though. We dealt with the heartbreak of a failed transfer, and had to be patient while we waited for an egg donor. But it all paid off in the end, and I’m happily 23 weeks pregnant today. My pregnancies have historically been easy, and I’m happy to report this one is no different. 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.

The photo that inspired so many:

couple surrogacy