Gestational Carrier Amanda’s Story and New Mexico Surrogacy
When working with a surrogacy agency, and even in life, questions are the norm… What do you do for work? How did you get into this? You were a surrogate?!? I hear these questions and many more daily. I knew at a young age, even before I had my own kids, that I would probably be a surrogate. Why? How could you know that? My sister, due to health complications at a young age, was unlikely to be able to carry her own children. I always thought about that, knowing if she wanted a family and I could help her, I would! Ultimately, I was not a surrogate for my sister (their choice not to pursue the option), but it worked out that I was able to help a friend of mine. Yes, I was a surrogate! We were independently matched because they were friends of mine, which meant no agency, and she turns 3 in November. I can’t say that process or the experience was always easy, but the joy of creating a life and a family was worth it.
Another great outcome, other than creating a family, was meeting Ellen Trachman! She was a life saver toward the end of the journey and did way more than a lawyer normally does. While my journey was in Colorado, Ellen is also licensed to practice in New Mexico. A few months after the delivery I reached out to Ellen, wanting to continue to help others through this process. She told me about an agency she and her sister just started (What?!? There are agencies?!? I just did all of this hard work on my own??) and wondered if I wanted to do some admin work for them. Shortly after I was hired and working away. I have learned a lot, especially as I was independent and did not have the help of an agency; the adage is true, you don’t know what you don’t know! Here are some items I believe are need to know for anyone going through surrogacy.
● Each party, IPs and GC, must have their own attorney (one of the attorneys must be in the state in which the baby will be born) – A good lawyer would NEVER allow eitherparty to not have their own representation
● Baby needs to be born in a state in which IPs can legally be named the parents (through a pre-birth order or other judicial process, which in some states is a post birth order instead). New Mexico has a statute, and has historically been surrogacy friendly when granting parentage orders.
● Escrow/expense account should be established for any cost reimbursements. The surrogate should never have to ask or wait for money; many lawyers will require this.
● Health insurance review – the surrogate’s insurance should be surrogacy friendly and not have a lien or exclusionary clause. Professional reviews can be done to verify coverage.
The surrogacy industry is ever growing and education is key! The big question everyone ask me: How could you give up the baby? I was a gestational carrier, or gestational surrogate, not a traditional surrogate. The egg was not mine and the sperm was not my husband’s; there was no genetic relation to the baby. I was merely the oven, the long-term babysitter, a generous caregiver that gave her back to her parents when she was born. The baby was never mine; I never had any intention of keeping her, it’s similar to when your child goes to school; someone else cares for your child but are more than happy to give them back at the end of the day. Being a gestational carrier just takes a little longer ;-). You enter this process with the mindset that the baby is not yours, you are helping someone else’s dreams come true, and baby will be going home with the parents, which was not me! Not only is great to see the joy you helped create, but so is going home and sleeping through the night.
I love talking about my story and have written blogs and even been on a podcast about it! One of the best parts of working in this area is working with other people that are passionate about surrogacy, many of whom have been gestational carriers themselves. Jennifer and Ellen, two sisters who worked in the industry and saw a need for a local agency with a passion for helping people; hiring others with the same passion. Suzie, a wonderful woman who not only raised 4 children of her own but was a traditional and gestational surrogate twice, one with twins! Callie, super sweet, who has created a great bond with a couple after being their gestational carrier of twins! Amber, is strong beyond compare and she has shown her great strength being a gestational carrier twice! Patience, a doula with a heart of gold, who transferred 3 times; unfortunately a surrogacy pregnancy was not successful. Ashley, always wanting to help others had twins for a Chinese couple! Marsha, doula and person extraordinaire, created a beautiful baby for a single IP. Brei, loving learning a new industry and helping others achieve their dreams as the intake coordinator for New Mexico. We all have different stories with a common goal to give a gift that would otherwise not be possible. Some of us can no longer be surrogates, so instead we use our special powers working for an agency!
We are so excited to have New Mexico as part of our sister agencies, and especially to have Brei on the ground for local support! Jennifer, Ellen and I all grew up in NM, so don’t be surprised if you see one of us from time to time. We are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have - email us at email@example.com. If you think you are ready to be an Intended Parent please set up for a free consult to get started. If you think you are ready to be a Gestational Carrier and give the greatest gift, fill out our intake form and Brei will be in touch with you very soon! We look forward to hearing from you.