Donna's Story...My Experiences with a Closed Agency
I was ready, willing and
able to become a surrogate mother and not getting any younger. I applied at
several agencies. I already had a boy and a girl and I had planned to go back to
school. But in my heart, I knew I would be perfect for the job. I contacted
three agencies. Only one seemed interested in me. It is a "closed" agency where
the surrogates and parents do not meet or communicate, except through the
agency. It offered me a contract with a couple who lived out of the country.
This, unfortunately, did not work out. But the agency said not to worry...it had
plenty of other couples that wanted a child. They matched me with another couple
but, again, it did not work out. It was a year and a half before I was matched a
third time. In a closed agency, a surrogate is picked from a portfolio by a
couple they won't see until the delivery. When you become pregnant, the couple
may wish to call you or write. Phone calls are monitored and letters are
censored. I respected the rules. I also thought this was what the parents wanted
(not to be known). The third couple turned out to be one of a kind. After five
inseminations, I was pregnant. The prospective parents sent me letters, cards
and gifts. They were loving, caring, generous and appreciative. I thought I
could not have asked for a better couple! They were worth the years it took to
get the job done. I knew that this baby boy was meant for them. We were very
happy campers! Two weeks before the due date, the agency wanted me to check into
the hospital, so I could be induced. After talking to my physician, I had second
thoughts. However, the agency insisted, saying this was routine, to keep living
expenses down. Feeling guilty about expenses, I went along with their "routine."
The baby arrived a little reluctantly but very healthy! The parents were in the
delivery room with me. They were so helpful, kind and considerate, especially
the mother. She said she wasn't afraid of me and wanted me to have her address.
She said she felt (as I had all along) that we could trust each other. It was a
great and wonderful feeling. We didn't tell the agency that we exchanged
addresses and phone numbers. To this day, I receive beautiful letters, pictures
and updates on the child's progress. I was so lucky to have such a nice couple!
When the agency called again with another couple, I was ready, willing and able!
Superwoman could not have performed such an act! I had such a good feeling about
the first surrogacy. I wanted to do it again. The agency said I had been matched
with an older couple it thought I would like. After five inseminations, I was
pregnant again. I received a few (censored) letters and one monitored phone
call. I knew then that this couple would be very different from the first.
Communication would be the key in my situation now. Complications during the
pregnancy put me out of work in the fifth month. I applied for disability
benefits. I also did not receive my checks from the agency on time. These check
were reimbursement for medical fees, travel, long distance phone calls, lodging,
food and day-care for my children. I attempted to reason with the agency. I
truly needed the money to pay bills for the pregnancy. One time, the agency
bickered with me about a twenty dollar day care reimbursement. I gave up and
contacted my attorney. Even though the attorney works with the agency and didn't
want to cause friction, she helped me out. She sent my couple a letter I had
written to them, explaining my financial problems and letting them know that the
agency was not paying my bills. I asked them for their support in the matter. I
also told them the agency wanted me to be induced early because it would save
money on expenses. I did not want to be induced this time. I wanted a natural
labor. I asked my couple if that would be all right with them. I was no longer
talking with the agency because of the stress they had caused me. And I
certainly did not want their spokesperson at the delivery. I was hoping the
parents would help me out with the problems. I flat out refused to be induced.
I received a letter and phone call from the couple right away. They said they
were shocked because they had no idea what was going on. The correspondence I
received from the agency and the parents totally contradicted each other. The
parents said they were not aware of my situation.
I felt I was taking more control of my situation and not just going along with
the "routine." My due date was 10 days later. I flew into the agency's town and
waited for natural labor. The parents arrived in town a short time later. I was
hoping I'd be allowed to meet them before I went into labor. But the agency said
it was too busy to arrange a meeting. When I insisted, the agency finally made a
date for us to meet. But as luck would have it, I went into natural labor early!
Our first (and only) meeting took place while I was well into labor and about to
deliver their daughter.
The agency spokesperson had the nerve to show up at the hospital and act like
the perfect host. The parents were taken for coffee downstairs in the hospital
cafeteria and they missed their baby being born. This was very hard on me but I
feel they missed out a lot more than I did. They were very concerned and nervous
parents but they really looked happy. I did my job and all I asked for were some
pictures, at least once a year.
I have waited until the baby is a year old to write this story. Sadly, I have
never received even one picture of the baby in all this time. I do respect the
parents' privacy and I understand they may feel threatened by me. But they chose
me. I had a good portfolio and the experience.
I guess I have been spoiled by that first couple. I thought all couples were as
nice as they were. Still.... I'm ready, willing and able....but never, never
again in a closed agency.