May 14, 2010
Texas newspaper, The Dallas Voice, published an article on May 13, 2010 on Circle Surrogacy, the oldest gay-owned and gay-focused surrogate-parenting agency. The article was publish ahead of a seminar Circle hosted in Dallas on May 15th, 2010 on surrogacy for Texas same-sex and heterosexual couples and singles. The article focuses on the various steps involved with having a child via egg donor surrogacy as well as explores the various legal, emotional, and economic obstacles associated with having a child through this method. Interviewed for the article are John Weltman, Founder of Circle Surrogacy as well as Lura Stiller, a Dallas-area surrogate, who shares her experiences carrying a child for a same-sex couple. One of Weltman's two children, born via surrogacy, also shares his experience being raised by two dads. See below for excerpts from the article, and a link to the full online version.
Surrogacy offers some obstacles, especially for gay couples from Texas, but rewards can be huge
Excerpts from an article posted on 13 May 2010
By DAVID TAFFET
John Weltman founded Circle Surrogacy after he and his partner became one of the first gay couples to have a child with an egg-donor surrogate. After 14 years and almost 400 babies, Circle Surrogacy is now the oldest gay-owned and gay-focused surrogate-parenting agency. Gay couples are the target market of Weltman’s agency, but they have helped single men, straight couples and even lesbian couples have babies.
John Weltman, President of Circle Surrogacy said "that although there are plenty of surrogates available in Texas and the arrangement works fine in this state for heterosexual couples, he looks for someone in another state to match with gay Texans."
“We would find a surrogate in a state where we can get a second-parent adoption,” he said.
While many of Circle’s surrogates actually come from Texas, they end up carrying babies for single men or for gay couples from abroad.
Weltman mentions Massachusetts and California as good states for residency of surrogates to match with Texas couples. Those states will put both same-sex parents on a birth certificate and, unlike same-sex marriages, circuit courts around the country have ruled that other states must recognize it, he said.
If the birth mother is from another state and the child is born in that state, Texas cannot interfere in the issuance of the same-sex parent birth certificate. That state’s laws and regulations govern the issuance of the document, rather than those of Texas.
Circle Surrogacy specializes in egg donor rather than traditional surrogacy.
The traditional method involves impregnating a woman who will carry the baby. That process can take months of tries and has a high failure rate.
Egg donor surrogacy involves harvesting eggs from one donor, impregnating them in a Petri dish and implanting the embryo into a surrogate.
The egg donor and surrogate are normally two different women.
Using this method, Weltman said 70 percent of his clients get pregnant the first try and 98 percent get pregnant by the third attempt.
He called his the only guaranteed baby program.
“We’ll give you everything back if you don’t have a baby by the third try,” he said.
That excludes expenses such as medications, travel and donor fees for a total of 60 to 70 percent of overall costs refunded.
Also, if the couple would like to continue trying after a third failed attempt, there would be no additional charges.
Weltman said his agency also guides parents through the emotional ups and downs of having a baby. He has social workers who help deal with both the carrier and the parents. Problems range from the anxiety of waiting to find a surrogate, then hoping for impregnation, to a variety of control issues.
One case he mentioned included the concern of having triplets who had to remain in the hospital for five weeks after their birth. The couple’s anxiety was compounded by their out-of-state location.
“The relationship with the carrier is critical,” Weltman said. A social worker can negotiate that relationship.
“Being kind without overstepping boundaries,” he said, is sometimes a difficult balance to achieve.
“There isn’t a ‘most normal’ or ‘most healthy’ after the birth,” Weltman said. He and his partner are in touch with their surrogate a few times a year.
“I call mine on Mother’s Day each year to thank her,” he said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 14, 2010.