Embarking on a surrogacy journey is not only a big decision, it’s one that requires quite a bit of research. What does the process look like? How can you compare costs? What should you look for in an agency? Circle Surrogacy sat down with Eran Amir, parent through surrogacy and founder of GoStork – a platform designed to greatly simplify the beginning of the surrogacy process and reduce the complexities and time researching and selecting providers – to talk about choosing surrogacy to grow his family, putting his hope into one embryo, and why he created a platform to educate other intended parents about the complex process and the agencies available to them.
Why did you consider surrogacy to grow your family?
I knew for many years that I wanted to be a father and I’m so grateful now to have my amazing, two year old, Ariel! While adoption is a wonderful option, surrogacy was my first choice as I hoped for her to be my biological child.
How did you go about choosing a surrogacy agency? What was important to you?
I didn’t have friends or family who had gone through surrogacy so I began with Google. I researched for weeks – I lost track of the countless hours – trying to find information about all the agencies out there. To be honest, I had a really hard time, it was overwhelming to try to figure out which was the best agency for me, the road map ahead, the costs and all the key decisions I needed to make. In the end, I really wanted a well established, full-service agency with a strong track record, including great reviews from intended parents about their experience. I also wanted a team I could trust and build a relationship with.
Why did you choose Circle Surrogacy?
At the same time as all of my research and all the work I put into vetting options, I was also telling the people in my life about the difficult decision-making journey I was on. Eventually I was connected with other Intended Parents (friends of friends) who used Circle Surrogacy and highly recommended them. That really helped me finally make the decision to move forward.
What was the surrogate matching process like? How was the first meeting with your surrogate?
The agency asked me – as they do with all intended parents – to create a profile about myself, It’s essentially my story, to be presented to carriers they feel may be a good fit for me. The carriers then decide which intended parents they’d like to work with. I also told the agency a few preferences I had for a carrier to help them facilitate a match.
Then I waited with a LOT of anticipation…
Once my carrier selected me, a video call was facilitated. We got to know each other, shared more details about our lives and what we were looking for in the surrogacy journey, and decided to move forwards to the drafting of the contract. From then on, we had a great relationship, and still do.
Describe the beginning of your surrogacy journey – was there a moment that stands out?
Our egg donor produced 17 eggs but only four were fertilized. Of the four embryos created by the IVF clinic; after five days only one embryo survived. Having only one chance to do a transfer was really scary and stressful as you can imagine. But of course, the rest is history… the transfer was a success and we now call Ariel “The Survivor” because of this story.
What was your relationship with your surrogate like? How did you communicate and keep in touch?
We really loved her and we communicated frequently via FaceTime. We are so grateful to her for everything — we are still in touch and she will always be part of our lives!
Were you able to be at the birth of your baby? What was it like being there and holding your baby for the first time?
I wasn’t there for the birth, though I hoped and planned to be. Ariel was scheduled for delivery via induction on June 20th. I had a June 12th flight booked to Ohio. Then, on June 11th my carrier called me on her way to the hospital with the news that her water broke! In those moments I had to think quickly, I grabbed my bag, jumped in a car without a ticket, booked a flight from the road, ran through the airport to my new flight only to find out the doors close a minute before I got there. Then I received the call that Ariel had arrived. So, despite all my best intentions I missed the birth by a day, but the most important thing was that I had a healthy baby girl.
I arrived the next day to meet my daughter.
It’s hard to put into words what it meant to hold Ariel for the first time after so much anticipation – all I can say is that I’m so grateful to have her and that feeling grows more and more every day as she grows up.
What made you start GoStork? What do you hope GoStork will accomplish?
After a great deal of consideration, about a year after Ariel was born I decided to leave my 20-year career in technology to create a solution to the various issues I experienced when I began my journey. As I mentioned, researching options for surrogacy agencies can be overwhelming – if you’re brand new to the process it’s really difficult to know what information to look for or how to process all of the information you find. It’s almost impossible to compare different options side by side/point by point to make a really informed decision. It’s even difficult to calculate and plan for the costs up front as it’s actually pretty hard to even find all of the fees published anywhere. In addition to the research process, I also experienced a bit of difficulty finding an egg donor – I had very specific criteria that I was looking for, so I had to go to three different agencies before I found the right egg donor for me.
So, after a nine-month labor of love, I launched GoStork earlier in 2020 and we’re excited about what we’ve accomplished so far. It is the only platform where intended parents can find, compare, and connect with top fertility providers across the US. We have over 5,000 egg donors on our platform (from various different agencies combined), which is the largest online database. Intended Parents can search and filter by their preferences, review and compare detailed profiles of each, select the ones they’re most interested in and get connected directly with their agencies. We also work with top surrogacy agencies across the US, enabling intended parents to browse and filter by preferences, compare side by side and even book their first appointment directly with any agency they’re interested in. IVF Clinics will be launching soon on GoStork and we have many more exciting plans from there!
All of this is 100% free for intended parents to use – I created this to support others with the platform I wished I had. We’re thrilled to already be helping hundreds of intended parents start their journey and we look forward to helping many more as well as hearing their stories unfold.
What would your advice be to others who are considering surrogacy?
It’s an amazing journey – always keep that in mind even if the first few steps feel difficult. It may be hard to find the perfect egg donor (if you need one), the perfect agency, or the perfect surrogate for you, but being selective is worth it in the end. I can’t tell any individual person what is best for them, but in general, we do recommend using a surrogacy agency so that you have a team of experts supporting you through every step of the process. I also believe that every great agency should be transparent about their process, ratings and reviews, costs, and more, so that you feel really comfortable with your final decision. And of course, I’d have to say that I suggest you take advantage of starting your research on gostork.com (where you will of course find Circle Surrogacy among many others). I wish you the best of luck!
Circle is proud to have partnered with Eran on his journey to parenthood! If you’re interested in speaking with a member of our parent team, simply fill out this form or email us.