The Family Circle

Episode 2: Circle Surrogate Panel

March 24, 2022 Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation Season 1 Episode 2
The Family Circle
Episode 2: Circle Surrogate Panel
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Content Warning: This episode mentions a failed embryo transfer. If that is going to be upsetting or triggering, we recommending skipping over the question about what can go wrong during a surrogacy journey. There is also an explanation of infertility in an age appropriate way for a small child. The reference to "having a sick belly" is in no way referenced to invalidate or demean the struggle with infertility and was specific to the situation. We hope you enjoy the episode! 

In our second episode, Kristin Marsoli, Director of Marketing at Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, chats with three gestational carriers on our surrogate panel about their experience carrying for multiple sets of intended parents both domestically and internationally. 

Megan, Heather, and Sarah talk about all things surrogacy from what piqued their interest in surrogacy, what it's like to match with intended parents, and muse about the craziest places they've ever given themselves their shots. 

Whether they're sharing about how they told their kids about surrogacy, or what their first video call was like with their intended parents, these women speak truthfully and from the heart about their incredible, and not always perfect surrogacy journeys. 

Interested in learning more about surrogacy? Check out our website at www.circlesurrogacy.com! 

Before we begin, we'd like to provide a quick content warning. In this episode there is mention of a failed embryo transfer. If that's going to be triggering or upsetting to you, we suggest that you skipped over the question about what could go wrong during a surrogacy journey. Enjoy
Hello, and welcome to the family circle brought to you by circle, surrogacy and egg donation. I'm going to be your host. My name is Kristen, I'm the Marketing Director at Circle surrogacy and egg donation, and I'm also a parent through surrogacy. So I'm very excited to be speaking to not one, not two, but three amazing experienced surrogates who also happen to work on the circle surrogacy team. So I would like to welcome Megan, Heather and Sarah, I'm going to ask each of you to introduce yourselves so our listeners can get to know your voices. And if you can just share not only your name, but what your job at Circle is and what your experience as a surrogate has been. Megan, why don't we start with you? I'm Megan, and I'm a program manager here at circle. So I work with both intended parents and surrogates throughout their journey, guiding them from step to step all the way from matching to baby at the end of the journey. I have been a surrogate three times. I carried twice for an international couple from Spain. And then I carried once for a domestic couple from Chicago. That's great. Heather, how about you?
My name is Heather and I am the surrogate matching manager here at Circle surrogacy. I work with both intended parents and surrogates once they reach the matching phase here at circle. It's so fun to see what intended parents are looking for in a match and what surrogates are looking for in a match and see those come together and meld together to be able to start a journey for both surrogates and intended parents. I have done two surrogacy journeys. My first dream was for a domestic single dad and my second journey was for a same sex couple based out of Australia. And rounding out our panel is Sara. Sara, you want to introduce yourself. Hi everybody. My name is Sarah. I work as a Senior surrogate advisor here on the pre screening team at circle I just started my fifth year and still have to pinch myself that this is my job. I am a three time experience carrier just like Megan I carried for an international couple of my first and then to domestic intended parents are my second and third journey. Well welcome to each of you. I'm so excited to be the one to be able to host this episode and chat with you ladies I think surrogacy is such an amazing experience and to enable people to hear firsthand from women who are experienced gestational carriers, it really opens their eyes to not only what the surrogacy process is but what it's like to be a surrogate because I have to imagine you guys have gotten tons of questions during your journeys and then probably at your time working at circle so hopefully we can answer some of those questions on this episode we'll be going through and you guys will get to share some of your personal surrogacy stories which I know you all love talking about. And I never ever get tired of hearing. But I think a good place for us to start is probably at the very, very beginning. And just to ask you what brought you to surrogacy? What put the little surrogacy seed in your brain? Megan, let's start with you. What brought me to circusy was following one of my friends blog on her journey through IVF. She and her husband were struggling to get pregnant and we're going the IVF route. And I was following along her experience. And then in amongst that, having a discussion with my sister in law, who told me that she was told from an early age she would never be able to carry a pregnancy of her own really got me thinking so well. I would definitely help my sister in law if I could. And I've helped my friend too. So what I helped somebody that I didn't know, and the answer was a resounding yes. So that's when I started searching surrogacy. I didn't know what to search for. So I just searched for surrogacy agency closest to me, which just happened to be Chicago. I'm based out of the Midwest here in Iowa. So
Chicago was the closest one to me. So I started researching and then reached out to the agency to apply and how I got it started. Megan, I'm so glad that you brought that up about one of the first things you thought of was to look for a surrogacy agency that is near where you live, because I do think a lot of women start at that point thinking they need to find an agency that's close to their house, when in reality, your agency can be anywhere because you're never going to travel to your agency. The only travel that the carriers we'll be doing is to the intended parents clinic for their medical screening and their embryo transfer. And then the wonderful thing about being a surrogate is the rest of your appointments are local to where you live. All right, Heather, what brought you to surrogacy? I remember being in college and I was in a microbiology class, and my lab partner would talk about how someday she wanted to be a surrogate. And at the time, she didn't have any kids. And she knew a lot of the criteria about being a surrogate, and she knew that she couldn't be a surrogate until after she had kids. And so that started to get me interested. It was a thought that I had and then it left for a while. A few years later, I actually met somebody that was a surrogate, and we met apart in our neighborhood, our kiddos played together and we went to have a playdate at her house. And I remember we were in the kitchen. We were cooking, getting ready to eat dinner, and I saw a giant sharps container sitting on her kitchen counter. And I was thinking maybe she had a medical condition or something going on with that. And I think she could tell that I was trying to figure out what was going on. And so she told me that those are my needles from surrogacy. So she obviously had questions, I started picking her brain about it. And the more I got to learn more about it, the more interested I became, the more I started to learn about surrogacy, the more I felt drawn to look into becoming a surrogate right away started to do my research, my friend actually had gone through several, but I tend to be the review queen of sorts. Whenever I buy something on Amazon, I'm always looking at the reviews and always researching the reviews to make sure that they're actually legitimate reviews too, because I don't want any fake reviews. And so that's what I did. I researched I researched and I just kept coming back to circle. So that was when I decided to take the plunge and fill out the application to become a circle surrogate. I love that you had somebody in your biology class in college thinking about surrogacy, I don't even think surrogacy would have ever crossed my brain in college. I know how in kind of how serendipitous is that to everything happens for a reason, I think right? You were paired up that you were paired up with her for a reason. Totally. Sarah, how did you come to start looking into surrogacy? So I grew up in Canada. And there was a mother figure, like a second kind of mother figure to us at the time that was struggling with fertility. And at the time, I really didn't realize how bad the struggle was. But I would see glimpses of some tears and just venting about her process. And I asked my mom one day and I said, you know, what's that about? And she said, Well, she can't have a baby. They're trying and not working. And so I moved to the United States when I was 17. But then went back for a visit to Canada. And in the time that we had moved and come back, that same mother figure had adopted a child, and someone had put together a video for them. So she showed us that and I just was a sobbing mess. And my memories of her as a child were this woman needed to be a mother. And the fact that she finally was was just amazing. So I knew that I wanted one more child, I had one child at that point, I wanted one more, and I thought, okay, you know, when I'm done having my own babies, I will I will do this. But I got really patient. And I thought for sure this process is going to entail a whole bunch of things. And so I'm just gonna go ahead and get a headstart. And so I applied when I was six months pregnant with my daughter, and I thought, Okay, I'm just gonna get this going, and we'll see what happens. And so I applied that morning, and I got a call that same afternoon, and they were like, congratulations, you're pre approved today, surrogate and I was like, oh, okay, I should probably mention that I'm six months pregnant at this point. And so they're like, Yeah, that's great information to know. Thank you so much. You know, do you plan on breastfeed?
Getting referred as and so they're like, Okay, just get back to us when when you're done. And we'll go from there.
I love that the circle team was like, pump the brakes a little bit, get through your pregnancy, and then please come back and see us which you obviously did not want that.
Yep. So I love that you each have a different story on how you discovered surrogacy and the desire to be a surrogate. And I'm sure if we had five other carriers on here, their stories would all be a little bit different too. And I think that's what makes surrogacy and surrogates so special is there's always that personal connection in their lives that bring women to surrogacy and have that desire to help somebody else grow their family. Alright, so Heather mentioned that she is a matching manager at circle. And I think that matching part of the journey can be the most nerve racking, it's really one of those early very big milestones for both surrogates and intended parents. So I'd love to hear how you guys went into the matching process? Do you have any preferences for the types of intended parents that you wanted to work with? Did you even know what to think? Or, you know, know what to ask for when you were talking with the agency about your match? Megan, can you share how you went into the matching process?
When I went into this process, I had no preconceptions of any type. I really just went into it wanting to help somebody have a baby, but wasn't sure did I want to match with domestic couple international same sex heterosexual couple, I didn't even know. So that agency gave me two profiles to review. So I started to review them. And I was looking at the first one, and it was a domestic couple, their heterosexual couple and I was reading through their profile. And while they were great, I just didn't get the feeling that they were the right fit for me. I then started looking at the second profile that was given to me, they were asked same sex couple out of Spain. And I immediately got all the feelings their profile was just tugging at my heartstrings. I was reading through it. And I said, you know, they sound exactly like my husband and I, they have the same beliefs that we do. They are looking to have the same type of family that we have. And I just knew these were my people. These were the guys that I was going to help. Oh, that's so sweet. Sarah, you have a special story on how you knew that your intended parents were the ones for you. Can you share a little bit about what types of preferences you had and how you got to the point where you knew you found the couple that you wanted to help? Yeah, I was presented with a match for a hetero couple. For my family. That was the match the type of match that made the most sense. I think, for everybody's support, everybody being on board with what I was doing a hetero match was the best option. And I was presented with a match. They were international from France. And they were just the sweetest couple that presented on file you could tell they had been through a lot, I realized after counting up the amount of times that they had been through either an IUI cycle or an IVF cycle. I was there 17 To try to have a baby. And so that just really struck me and just brought me back to the reason I was doing this in the first place was mom trying to conceive and trying to have a baby and just couldn't. And because I had grown up in Canada, I spoke some French and so on intendant parent couple from France and speaking French was kind of right up my alley. And so I knew these were like Megan said, these are my people and I could see myself caring for them. I literally got chills when you said that you were their 17th Try because I sympathize with their heartbreak. And I love that connection that you had to France and speaking French. I know that sometimes that's what's going on behind the scenes at agencies, especially circle when they're matching surrogates in intended parents. It's Yes, here's what's on paper, but they've spent so much time talking to the surrogates and so much time talking to the intended parents that and really getting to know them that it's also sort of like this personality match, you know, beyond the paper and just knowing that there are certain things about certain people that are just going to be that really special connection. Absolutely. All right, so you get presented with a possible match. The next step in the process is the first video call between surrogates and potential IPs. We like to call it the first date. That's what it feels like for a lot of parents and surrogates and circle as an agency when they make that
that potential match and then you guys go off and have your video call circle is not on the call with you. So you guys are sort of flying solo, you're on your own. Heather, can you share what it was like when you got your profile? And what that first phone call that first video call was like with your potential intended dad? Yes, absolutely. This is one of my favorite stories to tell, because I remember when I first got the profile, it was at the end of the work day, and I had opened up my email and saw that I had an intended parent profile in there. So my really good co worker, I had called her over and we were looking at the profile together and we were just so excited. We were literally screaming, my manager came out of her office to see if everything was okay. She also knew that I was doing surrogacy, and she actually suffered from infertility herself. So she was super supportive of surrogacy, we were just all excited, all celebrating. And I got back to circle immediately and said, I absolutely love this profile, very interested in video chatting tells me the next steps from here. So the circle got back to me. And we set up the video chat. And I remember our video chat was scheduled on a Sunday. So that meant that I had to suffer through the entire weekend with this anticipation, the longest weekend ever. Right? Exactly, exactly. It was prep for the two week wait for betas. But we had that way. And we had our call on Sunday. On the morning of that I was so nervous, I was anxious and excited. And when I am nervous, I am a chronic cleaner. So I go through and I clean my entire house from top to bottom is a little bit of an illness. It scares my husband from time to time. But that's what I did. And when it came time to do the video chat, my entire house was clean. So that was a bonus. And it was funny because when I met you know, for the video chat, we were talking started off a little awkward and we're just trying to break the ice. And part of what I said was I just have to break the eyes hear a little bit and say that I have been so nervous. I've been cleaning my house all day because that's what I do when I'm nervous. And I just I just have to put that out there you know, as a as a confession. And it was hilarious, because the intended father said that he had that same affliction and that when he is nervous or worried, he also cleans and so we were bonding over the fact that we both had clean apartment from top to bottom. Sounds like a natural match for you. And by the way, the next time you're nervous, you can come and clean my house. I am not a nervous cleaner. But I love that you were able to get everything ready in the background for your video meeting. Yes, exactly. So that was great. It was one of those things to where I don't know if you would call it love at first sight. But I knew literally on the video call that I was going to move forward with this match. We had such a connection. And I remember saying on the video chat, I don't know if this is legal or not. But I just have to say I'm definitely ready to move forward. And then after I said it, I was worried that I had said something that gave too much pressure. And so then I found myself trying to backtrack, I love you, you're Gray, I would love to match. But also at the same time if you don't feel the same, I completely respect that. So no pressure. And it was honestly we were like laughing about it the whole time. So we obviously felt like we were a great match. And we did match. Did he let on on the call that he was ready to move forward with the match to? Yes, so he didn't say the exact words of oh, I absolutely want to match. So that did kind of have me on the edge of my seat. But he did say in our call. He was saying I've loved our time talking today. And I can't wait to see where this goes. So it wasn't the exact words of I want to match with you too. So it was still a little bit of suspense while I was waiting to hear back from circle. He was playing it cool. Yes. So you knew in the middle of your first session with him that you wanted to move forward. So how long did it take for the match to officiate from there didn't move pretty quickly. So you entered your call. You immediately picked up the phone and called circle and said yes, please. I want to match with him. And then how long did it take before you heard back that he was into and he wanted to match with you? Less than 24 hours because we spoke on Sunday and on
Monday, I already had confirmation that he felt the same way and that we were a match. Oh, that's awesome. Yes. So all three of you have shared that you were gestational carriers for international intended parents. So the special thing about surrogacy is there are no boundaries. So you know, circle helps intended parents who live in the United States. And they also help intended parents who live around the world. And gestational carriers have the option to have a preference if they want to help a domestic single or a couple or someone who does live abroad, each of you matched with someone who lived internationally. So I would love for you to share a little bit of what that experience was like, because I do know that we get questions from women who are interested in being surrogates, especially around matching with an international intended parent or a set of international intended parents. They might worry about any kind of language barrier or a cultural difference, or honestly even a timezone. So I'd love for you each share where your intended parents were from and what that international match was like. Megan, do you want to share first. So my intended parents were from Spain, and I had taken several years of Spanish all throughout full. So I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to dig into the depths of my memory to remember anything to be able to communicate with them. And I was pleasantly surprised that one of them spoke English really well. The other one would always remind me, my English very bad, very bad. No, it's not that bad. I'm like, I can understand what you're saying you can understand what I'm saying. He said, If at any time, you can't remember the English word, just say it in Spanish, I might know it speak a little Spanish, I said when poquito. They thought that was hilarious. Because I can only remember a few words here and there. When we first met, we did have a translator on our call with us, we then ended up meeting her at all. So that was nice. And throughout our journey, we communicated mostly via email, and then we would meet weekly via Skype to talk with one another. Our first couple of Skype meetings were a little bit awkward, because we weren't sure, we're going to talk in Spanish. And then I'm going to try and translate are we going to talk in English, we ended up speaking English the whole time, because they both of them understood English, it was just the one didn't speak English very well. But at the end of the journey, they both were able to communicate clearly in English. And in Spanish, if they needed to, we were planning ahead. And we had a very full delivery room. I think almost all of labor and delivery were in there. Because it's one of the first surrogate deliveries at the hospital. We had a translator in there just in case, they forgot English words, and only could communicate with us in Spanish, because there was a lot of emotions. And it was a lot of the emotions in that room. But all happy emotions. And I'm very thankful we had a translator there because there were times where they're like, We don't know the English word to this. And so she was able to help communicate what they were trying to get across. I can only imagine I mean, I do speak English. And I was in a delivery room situation just like that. And they're using terms and not ever having given birth. I didn't even know what they were talking about. So I can only imagine if English is your second language, how some of those terms or questions might not translate. Yes, in the medical field is like a whole nother language. So it's like a third language going on in that delivery room there. Oh, absolutely. And I bet you never thought your high school Spanish would come in so handy, huh? Never. I never did. But you know, at least I got to share the good news with them in Spanish because I could say I'm pregnant in Spanish was a soy embarrassed. Oh, when we had that call. I actually got to say that. And immediately everybody started crying. I'm like, Okay, we're done.
I feel like no matter what language it is, those emotions that you go through on this journey, they they translate in any language.
So Sarah, you talked a little bit about the connection that you had with your intended parents, because they were from France and you had lived in Canada and you spoke some French so you had that connection. But it must have been amazing to be able to have something so special between you you're now living in the US and then living in France. They must have really loved the fact that you did know a little bit of their language. I imagine that created some kind of a connection for you guys. Yeah, it did.
I remember their first Zoom meeting. And they immediately just, I think, as their icebreaker was to go to something that we had in common, which was French. And so, you know, they wanted to know specifically where I had grown up in Canada and what my experience was with the French language. And I'd been in the United States for a couple of years at that point. So I had not necessarily lost the French, but I was a lot more timid and shy to actually speak with them in French. But the more they spoke, the more I felt more comfortable in speaking with them. And so it made it a lot easier, but there's not so much get an accent difference. But Parisian French is very formal, the way they speak. And so my French and in Canada is a little bit different, random little expressions that Canadian French uses is different than British and French. And so anytime I would say something, they would laugh at me. And I would also find such that they would say kind of funny too. And so we would have good laughs about that. But that was our kind of initial icebreaker and talking in that way. And then from there, they shared where they had been and how they had gotten to this point. And they were just so happy to even be at this point. And so we hit it off really well, from there. And everybody acknowledged the same like Heather, we were all nervous, and everybody was like, I don't know what to say. But I think once that initial conversation was had, I think the conversation moved a lot smoothly, I think from there. So Heather, you shared the story about matching with your first intended parent who lived in the US. But your second journey was an international journey, you were matched with international intended parents who could not have lived farther away from you in Australia. Can you share a little bit about that journey? And what that time difference was like, was there anything different culturally, did you share with your kids that you were helping grow a family that lived in a whole nother country? Can you share a little bit about that journey? Yes, absolutely. It was so unique. And that is one of the things that I love so much about my surrogacy experience, it was really neat, because when I first saw the intended parents profile, I saw that they were from Australia. And so that really intrigued me, because Australia is one of my bucket list trips that I hope to take some day. And so I thought it was really neat to connect with somebody that was living in Australia. And there was this extra layer to the experience and that while they lived in Australia, they were actually originally from Kazakhstan. So that was a whole other cultural experience. Their first language was Russian. And they just had a lot of interesting cultural background that I didn't know about, though, it was really great to get to know more about them and to share that culture with my children because it was something different. And I remember during my journey, one of the intended fathers, he came to visit me and we were in downtown Phoenix, and we were grabbing lunch, and he had happened into a shop. And when he was in there, the shopkeeper also spoke Russian. And so it was kind of cool for him to have like this little piece of who he was. It was really neat to just see his face light up and see the excitement from that. So yeah, it was really great to because we did not only did we learn about his his main culture, we also learn what their life was like in Australia. And they always got really sweet little trinkets for my kiddos. I remember them getting a little kangaroo for my oldest daughter. And then they also got a little koala, and my kids just loved it. I remember going to the library with my kiddos and they would get books on Australia, on kangaroos. They were just all about learning about it. And it was really sweet. And it was definitely a really great experience. I know for international matches. The main question that I get when I'm talking to surrogates is a worry about the connection, a worry about the time frame. And it's always interesting to me because I was close with my first match from surrogacy and we were close and we chatted there was about a three hour time difference. But it was so interesting to me because actually during my second journey with international intended parents, we spoke even more during my first journey. It tended to just be text here and there and updates and catching up when I did my journey with the International car
Apple, we were just really intentional about our communication, especially the IPs. And so we made sure that we were doing weekly video chats. And we would also utilize an app for international texting. And it's called WhatsApp. And we've just had this understanding that there may be a time where I text them at two in the afternoon, my time and I fully acknowledge it's in the middle of the night, and they aren't going to get it until later in the morning, when they wake up, it was the same for them as well, sometimes they would send a message and they knew that I might not necessarily get back to them right away. But it was great to have intention with our relationship with our connection. And we just had it worked into our regular routine.
I imagine if you were texting them after your doctor's appointments, and it came in in the middle of the night when they were sleeping, that they had all of these wonderful mornings of good news texts that they were waking up to. So that must have been really nice for them to wake up and see good news or even ultrasound pictures or whatever it might be that you sent. But those are probably nice little surprises in the mornings for them I imagined. Yes. And it was really sweet. They would send audio clips of music that they listen to. And they would also send audio clips of them reading to their baby and Russian and so Absolutely, it was fun to be able to share. Look what your baby's doing. Look how you're connected already to this sweet baby of yours. I love that they sent recordings of them reading to their baby and Russian I love that you were able to give that connection to your Soro baby from your intended parents. I think that's amazing.
It was so special. I'm glad that I got to be a part of that. So Heather, you brought something up when you were sharing your story about your international parents. And that was how special that journey was for your kiddos. And I think surrogates go on these surrogacy journeys, but they don't do it alone. They have either a partner or primary support person that is their main support. We also ask them to have the support of their community and their family. And most importantly, they all have kids, you need to have given birth and be parenting a child in order to be a surrogate. So there's kids in the home, and mom is doing something amazing. And I love to hear the stories on how carriers share surrogacy with their kids because they can be babies or some surrogates have kids that are a little older and have more recognition of what's going on. So I definitely think there's an age appropriate way to share surrogacy with your kids. But I'd love to hear how you each talked about one of your surrogacy journeys with your kids are how you would involve them in the journey or what they thought about the journey, because they're part of it, too. Your whole family is on this journey with you. Megan, why don't you start? So my daughters were on the younger side, when I started, they were two and five at the time when I started my first journey. And right away from the start. I talked to my girls about what I was going to be doing and the types of families that would need help. Sometimes, you know, a mom and a dad can't have a baby without help from somebody else, or their two dads that wants to have a baby. And they need help from somebody on the outside to help make that happen. So from the very beginning, my girls started asking questions. What does this look like? Obviously, my oldest daughter had experienced me being pregnant with her sister, so she knew kind of what was going to happen. But she realized the ending is going to look a little different. That's what she said to me. She's Mom, it's gonna look different in the end, right? I said, Yeah, it is kind of look different in the end, because this time, we're not bringing a new baby to the house. I said, Instead, this baby gets to go be with its family. So it will look a little different. My youngest, she's two, so she didn't really understand much. She just knew that I was going to have a baby. And I don't think she really understood what having a baby was going to look like. But she just knew that there was going to be a baby. And that baby was not going to be part of our family in the way that her and her sister are part of our family. Sarah, how did you talk about your surrogacies with your kids? I talked with my kids, they were around the same age as Megan's almost turning five and then 18 months two years old. And I was worried because I had some friends that were carrying their own babies at the time and I thought they're not going to understand or they're going to get so confused or anything moms can
Either way, a sibling and so it was about 20 weeks or so that I was with my first journey. The intended parents had just come for a visit. We had done the ultrasound and visited the hospital and spent some time together. They had met my kids and kids knew who they were by name. And one day we were sitting in the living room, and my son was playing with some toy cars. And he stopped and looked at me, he said, Mum to have a baby in your belly. And I looked at my husband, yes, well, here we go, we're gonna have this dog. And so I said, Yeah, mom does have a baby in her belly. And I said, But you remember so and so. And he said, You had so well, her belly is sick, and she can't have a baby in her belly. And so when the doctors put their baby in mommy's belly, and when the baby's all done growing, Mommy's gonna give that baby back. And I was expecting a meltdown. And all he said was okay, and went on to play with the source. Isn't that always the way when I get questions from my son, I'm like, Oh, I'm like, here we go. And I give this I think about this answer. And I give this answer. And then, can I snack like, we've moved on? We're all done with this conversation, I guess. Or they said, I was expecting this huge meltdown. And all I got was okay. And then we kept playing and grasped the concept very quickly. And there was never a question after that. Kids are amazing. Yep. You've each shared a little bit about your journey. And you've all carried for intended parents multiple times. So you know, I think with surrogacy, we and by we I mean circle, as an agency, we would love for every journey to be perfect. And unfortunately, that's not always the case. Which Same goes for traditional pregnancies or for couples trying to conceive on their own, it doesn't always go exactly how you planned it to be or how you thought it would go. Do you guys have some points in your surrogacy journeys that you'd like to share? When things didn't really go according to plan? Or how you thought that they would go? Sarah, I know you had a point in your journey that didn't go according to plan. You had a failed transfer, which can absolutely happen. Can you tell us a little bit about what that was like? Yeah, I did have a failed transfer, I was not prepared for I had never bought, in my mind, I thought that I was just going to get pregnant and carry the baby and give the baby that no biggie and no complications, you know, just as a new surrogate trying to be as optimistic as possible, but also just flat out not knowing I just was not prepared. And so this was my second journey. We did an embryo transfer that first time and that transfer did not take the injections that you take during pregnancy are a nasty side effects sometimes, because they have you convinced that you're pregnant, and you're not being unprepared. I never even thought like I had convinced myself at that point. I was pregnant and that this was a successful transfer. And so to get the news that I wasn't I was like, Well, how, how can that be? That doesn't make sense. And I guess we're pregnant. And yeah, that wasn't the case. But you know, had you ever experienced any losses personally with your pregnancies? Or was this the first time there was ever a loss with pregnancy for you? I had not lost any of my pregnancies prior to surrogacy. And so this was a new thing for me now, knowing what I know, like, that's definitely a possibility, and it can happen, but it was never on my radar to think that I could not have a pregnancy.
So a failed transfer. It's heartbreaking. And I think a lot of intended parents and surrogates go into the journey as of course, it's going to work and we want them to work. But as I said, That's not always the case. But it seems that you were able to process what happened and your intended parents were as well, I'm sure you were there to support each other, because you did obviously go on to carry a baby for them. So what was that? Like? Did you jump right back in? Or did you guys talk about maybe taking a break? Yeah, we basically jumped right back in I think the intended mother and father needed a moment, I think, just gather themselves as did I. And so I think in that timeframe, you know, we all just needed a couple of days, but I think the intended mother let me know that they wanted to try again as fast as possible. And they wanted to make sure I was okay and ready to do that. But if so they wanted to go ahead and do that. I was like Absolutely. And to be honest, it it helped knowing that there was a next step or was something to kind of look forward to again and plan for and know that this wasn't the end. This was just a little sad bump in the road, but still just something I could move on to and look forward to. So yeah, we tried again, and that turns were was successful. I love hearing how supportive your IPs are, because I feel like when you're acting as a surrogate
It anything that doesn't seem to be going the right way you as a surrogate feel responsible, and you feel like, gosh, what could I have done differently? How could I have made this successful? And so it loved his hearing how kind and supportive your intended parents were? Yes. And I think I can attribute that to them having experienced their own losses at that point. And knowing what that feels like. And the disappointment of that, you know, no, none of it feels good. But I think having the clinic kind of assure them that there was nothing really wrong. It's just it wasn't meant to be sort of thing. And you know, we're going to try again, we have these embryos, we're going to do this. And so I think that helps to hearing from the clinic to say, Yeah, because I think as surrogates, we definitely take things personally. It's hard not to, could you not? Yes, it's, you know, extreme babysitting. And if something happened to do that, baby, while you're doing that, that's not a good thing. And so yeah, again, like having the intended parents be supportive and having the clinic be reassuring definitely helps.
So despite having a few setbacks, you all went on to have successful surrogacies multiple times, I think, and in Heather and Sarah's case, you were both gestational carriers with circle as an agency. And then you actually transitioned and you were just so passionate about surrogacy, you actually transitioned into working at circle. So taking that knowledge and that experience and bringing it to circle so that you could coach and mentor and share your personal stories with women who are interested in being surrogates. Megan, your story is a little bit different because you did your journeys with a different agency that wasn't circle. And you then you went on to work with that agency. But here you are part of the circle family. So how did that happen for you? So very much like you described, I did my journey and became so passionate about surrogacy, I said to myself, I can't continue to be pregnant forever. But I can't leave this world, I need to be part of it. I approached the other agency and said, I don't even know if you guys are hiring. But if you ever are hiring, please keep me in mind because I would love to continue this process. They just happened to be that they were hiring. So I started working for them worked for them for about five years and knew it was time for a change in scenery and happened to find an opening at circle A the minute I applied to circle and started learning about the differences between the two agencies that live really missed out on my home these first five years because circle is my home, it feels like my home, all of my values and beliefs that circle holds aligned with my own. And I was fortunate enough that I got to come into this world here at Circle kind of pick up where I left off at the other agency, but with a whole new light shone on it and working with intended parents and surrogates is definitely my passion. And I can't see myself doing anything else or going anywhere else. So I know that this is definitely my home, I found my third family here at circle.
And we couldn't be happier that you joined the circle family.
And I know Heather and Sarah, we've talked about this, I know you feel the same on just being able to continue being part of the surrogacy world not having to be pregnant again. But still being able to help others sort of achieve that dream of parenthood and even achieve the dream of being able to give that gift of parenthood. So a big part of being a surrogate is having a really strong support system. And you know, I think that's the agency's support, right, you have need to have sort of that agency support behind you, you will always need a primary support person, whether that's a partner or a spouse, some surrogates, it's a sister or a mother or a best friend, but then also a community support almost like extended family. So I'd love for each of you to share the different kinds of support like Meghan, your first journey. You mentioned, you didn't have as much agency support as you thought you might. So was your takeaway man. Having the support of an agency is super important. Yeah, definitely. I found myself doing a lot of the legwork for the journey on my own finding my own local monitoring clinic to go to making all of my own travel arrangements. I didn't have an agency contact person per se for the entire journey. So if I had something come up, I was going back to who I first talked to when I signed on
And then being redirected. The structure of the agency wasn't the same as what it is here at circle. And I have realized how great it is having an agency that is fully supportive of you having you know, a dedicated coordinator that you're working with for each stage of that journey. Like I said, I did everything on my own. And I didn't know that other places were different, or did anything differently. I just thought that's how it was, it was more like an independent match than it was a match through an agency, or I guess I could say it was more like getting matched by an agency. And then that was all they do. They're just a matching agency, then coming to the circle side of things. Home, so great, our surrogates don't have to worry about booking their own travel, we've got somebody dedicated to that they don't have to find a local monitoring clinic because that was a nightmare. And I would not wish that on my worst enemy. You know, we have somebody who's going to help guide them through that. So I think agency support makes a world a difference. When you're going through your journey. I can see Heather's face, and Heather has a look like, oh my god, I can't imagine if I had to do that.
I know I literally was going to jump in and say that Megan, that sounds like an absolute nightmare. I remember during my journey, I was traveling for transfer, and it was time dependent. And I was at the airport. And all of a sudden out of nowhere, my flight was just canceled. If I was having to arrange all of that travel myself, I would have had a heart attack. I literally remember having my flight canceled while I'm at the airport. And mind you I was at the layover. And I wasn't even at my home airport. And I just called my travel agent that circle had provided for me, she answered right away. And within 10 minutes, I had my next flight booked and I was able to go on and get taken care of so even just thinking about having to do all of those scheduling aspects. That sounds awful. I loved that I just literally had to show up. That was basically what I had to do during my journey. Sarah, you talk to surrogates every day, what do you tell them about the importance of having a really strong primary support person by their side and what that person does during the journey. Your primary support person during your journey is there for lots of things physical, emotional, logistical support, childcare, things like that, that kind of come up during the journey. And it's an important part of the journey. I think surrogates can't do their jobs as surrogates without their primary support person. Sometimes they're there to help you with your shots. And they're they're there, obviously, for cravings in the middle of the night and random things that come up. But also just for birth, the support to so when you're in the hospital and you're doing what you set out to do support comes in handy. And having your primary support for that is definitely important. Again, we think pregnancies are just going to go as normal and there's not going to be any complications. And what you set out to do is exactly what's going to happen. And sometimes there are bumps in the road and having that support. It means the world to Sarah, you brought up shots. So I have to ask each of you. Where is the craziest place that you've ever had to give yourself one of your shots? Oh, I've got a good one in the parking lot of a strip club.
I was not a participant at the strip club. I had a friend who was a DJ at the strip club and we were there to pick him up. You know, you got to do your shots at a certain time and kids time to get off work just happened to coincide with a time that I needed to do my progesterone please park under the streetlight there in the parking lot so that I can take my shot.
That was the strangest craziest place I ever did my shot. Did you get any strange looks or it was par for the course in that parking lot. Pretty much par for the course in that parking lot. Oh, my produce place was the airplane bathroom. Like Megan said there's a time for them. They're supposed to be done same time every day. And I needed to do it and so couldn't do it in the aisle or in my seat and so I just took my stuff and went with it airplane and lots of turbulence. So that was fun, but I got it done. I would have been afraid that I would have dropped something into the toilet. I was terrified. Yeah, I was I may have been a little shaky on that one.
All right. Here's the question everyone wants to know and everyone asks, was it hard to give up your Sir Oh, baby. No, you
I always describe it as a teacher with her children and her classroom. During that school here, those kids are her kids. But at the end of the school year, she's ready for them to move on. And that's exactly how I felt while this baby was growing inside my womb, I'm just gonna take care of this baby like my own. But the minute that delivery happened, or you go out with you guys get your baby back, I get no sleepless nights. You guys get all of those?
Yep. Yeah. I think my favorite part, besides seeing a ton of parents see their baby for the first time after delivery was literally being able to sit in my room at the hospital, order my room service, have my food delivered, I could eat an uninterrupted meal, I could sleep what I wanted to, it was kind of like a mini vacation. I don't recommend having a surrogate baby every time you want a moment to yourself, but it was a nice little bonus of, hey, I did this incredible thing. And now I get to have a meal and some sleep and get to enjoy this. Absolutely. Yeah. So what's the funniest thing someone has ever said to you or said to your child or that your child has said talking about surrogacy? Well, it wasn't my child. Well, unless you count my husband as my oldest child. He had just met a new coworker, and she was asking him about my pregnancy. And when I was doing he's, I don't know. And she's just how do you not know when your child can he's, oh, it's not my kid. Paws jaw drop. And then he says, It's not her kid, either. She's a surrogate. And from that day, we have been really good friends with his co worker, and she says, I can't believe that is how he introduced this subject to us. It's It's not his kid. long pause. Not your kid either.
No, he did that long pause on purpose. Sean Baxter.
I think the silliest thing that's ever happened when I was pregnant as a surrogate, it would often be when I would be at the grocery store with my kiddos. And usually we'd be in checkout and somebody would see my baby bump and they would start talking to my kiddos about how they were getting ready to be big sisters. And are they going to have a baby brother or a baby sister? And they would always right away? Oh, no, that's not my mom's baby. And obviously, I'm pregnant. So the person at the checkout is confused as all get out. And and I would have to explain, yep, they're not wrong. I'm a surrogate. This isn't my baby. This isn't their baby brother. And we would get into a conversation of that which was kind of neat because it would open up a conversation about surrogacy and I think a lot of people don't necessarily understand surrogacy or what would bring someone to needing surrogacy and what would bring someone to being open to acting as a surrogate. It started a lot of really great conversations. I am still amazed at the things that some people will say and the assumptions that people will make.
Yeah, lots of stuff. All right. So with pregnancy, wives tale are not surrogacy, pregnancy, food cravings that maybe you guys didn't have with your own pregnancies, or was it just Yep. Every time I'm pregnant, I crave X, Y, or Z. How about you guys? Did you guys have any cravings during your pregnancies? I wasn't a coffee drinker until my second surrogacy, it always would smell bad to me and my husband, he loves coffee. And every time he would brew it, like, oh, that's disgusting. You know how you doing that? And one morning, he was brilliant. I was like, that smells really good. Oh, my gosh, I need to have something and so I didn't have anything that day. But I talked to my intended mother and she was like, Oh my gosh, I love coffee. That's my favorite thing. I have to have coffee every day. And she was like, you can have some of you want and I was like, Okay, well, I might try it. And so I have my first cup of coffee. And I was like, This is so good.
And I never lost my taste for it. I still have a coffee drinker, but I didn't have my first cup of coffee until I was 2829. So yeah, I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to hear that because especially if she was such a coffee lover, and you were not but you were carrying her baby that must have been like that connection that she had through you to her baby. That's that's such a great story. Yeah, absolutely. She's like, that's my baby and give my babies my babies.
She's like, Don't go crazy, but just start with Skipper go get some coffee.
Daily p&l
All right, we have spent
How much time together and I have loved every minute I want to ask you guys one last question. Before we go. We do like to end our podcasts asking everyone the same question. If you were to speak with someone who was either not educated about surrogacy or maybe not supportive of surrogacy, what would you say to that person? I would tell them for number one, I'm a very big advocate of surrogacy, having been a surrogate and seeing the impact that it has not only on the lives of the intended parents, but on the lives of the surrogate and their support person. It's a life changer. I very firmly believe that everybody who wants to be a parent should have the opportunity to be a parent and surrogacy is making that happen for people. Take the time, do some research, talk to somebody who knows about surrogacy, and then make your opinions on things. I completely echo what Megan said, I think it is really easy to make assumptions and it's really easy to have an opinion without having enough information. And so somebody that didn't understand surrogacy or wasn't open to the idea of surrogacy, I would challenge them to question where that's coming from. And just as Megan said, I would challenge them to find out more information about surrogacy talk to intended parents that have gone through years and years of heartache and hope to just be able to be a parent and see how surrogacy affected them. And I absolutely think it's it's a matter of putting down your guard and being open to learning about something that you just may need more information on. Yeah, I think if if you're not made a stone and you have seen somebody experience infertility, I think you would change your stance pretty quick in seeing the the raw, I think emotion of not being able to have a baby as bad as you want it. I want to thank all three of you for joining me on the surrogate panel today. It was lovely to speak with you as much as I love podcasts. The downside is everybody listening to this cannot see your faces, so they can't see what I see, which is just pure joy, and passion and absolute pride when you're talking about not only your personal journeys, but surrogacy in general. It is amazing to see. And I've heard your stories before and even just hearing them again today. I'm like, Oh, I get the chills. And it just tugs at the heartstrings. So thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you, Kristen. Thank you for having us, Kristen. This was wonderful. Thanks, Kristen. It's been an absolute pleasure. And thank you to everyone who joined us to listen today, and we'll see you next time. Don't forget to like and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you

Hello & Welcome
Introducing Megan
Introducing Heather
Introducing Sarah
What Brought You to Surrogacy?
How Did You Go Into the Matching Process?
How Was Your First Video Call?
Matching with Australian IPs
Talking to Surrogacy With Your Kids
What Can Go Wrong With a Surrogacy Journey
Being a Surrogate at Another Agency
What Is the Role of a Primary Support Person?
Where Is the Craziest Place You've Given Yourself a Shot?
Was It Hard to Give Up Your Surro-baby?
The Funniest Thing Your Kids Have Said About Surrogacy?
Any Food Cravings With Your Surro-babes?
What Would You Say to Someone Who Doesn't Agree With Surrogacy?