Mariah Swan is a Surrogate Coordinator at our office in San Francisco, CA. She is an integral part of the NWSC team and we caught up with her in between […]
Mariah Swan is a Surrogate Coordinator at our office in San Francisco, CA. She is an integral part of the NWSC team and we caught up with her in between meetings and coffee refills to learn more about a day in her life!
What brought you to NWSC?
In 2013, I graduated Gonzaga University with a degree in Biology. After four years of having my nose glued to science books that were denser than mercury, I decided that diving right into a career wasn’t what I wanted. So, I opted to be a white water raft guide for the summer and then bought a one-way ticket to Taiwan. I think part of my reluctance in starting a career was the fear of finding myself doing work that wasn’t meaningful. NWSC was appealing because it eliminated that fear. Not only does the end result of this work bring a baby to a family who could otherwise not have one, but it means bringing two families together and connecting them for life, too. That is work that I can get behind. So, when I had the opportunity to come help open our San Francisco office in 2014, I took it.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Day to day, my schedule can vary. One constant thing is phone calls! I’m always calling back potential surrogates to talk about their intake forms. Sometimes I spend all day on the phone, and other times I spend all day in meetings, including spending time with surrogates and their families to discuss matching criteria and walking them through the process. The rest of my time is spent coordinating active surrogates through their screening process, and drinking way too much coffee!
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s so rewarding being a part of creating such a unique and intimate relationship between families. One occasion that was particularly rewarding was going out to dinner with one of the surrogates I had coordinated, along with her husband, the intended parents, the case manager, and the baby the surrogate had given birth to just a few weeks earlier! Seeing all the people whose lives were touched by just one surrogacy really brought the work that I do every day into focus.
What’s the most difficult part?
The hardest part about this job is turning women down. Unfortunately, there are many things, medical and otherwise, that can disqualify a woman from moving forward, even if she seems like wonderful candidate! It’s really hard to tell an excited potential surrogate that we can’t work with her even when I have personally connected with her and like her. It takes a very special woman to be qualified to be a surrogate, and unfortunately, that means I spend a good amount of time telling hopeful potential surrogates that we won’t be able to move forward with them.
How does your background inform what you do today?
I love having a background in biology because it helps me understand a little more about how the medical side of surrogacy works. Understanding the way the human body functions can be really helpful when you’re reading through medical records or learning about a pregnancy complication and how it’s relevant to a future surrogacy. However, even with a background in biology, I find that I’m learning new things about pregnancy and the human body every day.
What’s it like working out of our San Francisco office?
The San Francisco office is very hip. It plays off of the typical tech startup environment that most offices in the SOMA neighborhood have. The office is a unit in a converted warehouse that was built in the late 1800’s, so the ceilings are high and the floor plan is open. The only difference between the NWSC office and most startups is that I have the great enjoyment of having quiet time. As the sole full-time employee in the San Francisco office, there are many times when I have the place to myself. That means I can work by time-blocking and immersing myself in whatever I’m doing, whether that is a phone call with a surrogate or pumping out emails.
What is a secret, non-surrogacy-related skill you have?
I don’t think this is a secret to anyone who knows me at all, but I love skiing. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was three years old, so I’ve had a lot of practice! I love that we have offices in places that also have great mountains!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I truly believe that the most wonderful thing about NWSC is the staff. I’ve never worked in a place that had such a great mix of people who all get along great. The environment is really collaborative and supportive and people truly care!