Ken and I have been together for 21 years. We had talked about having children in the past, but never felt ready. In 2010, we started looking into egg donor/surrogacy, and after doing some research, we decided to start the process, first with Oregon Reproductive Medicine and then with Northwest Surrogacy Center. We live in Seattle, and surrogacy is illegal in the state of Washington, so the closest city where we could do this was Portland, Oregon.
After choosing our egg donor, we went to Northwest Surrogacy Center and chose a surrogate whose profile we liked. We then all met in the office and decided it was a good fit! It took about 3 or 4 months for both the surrogate and the egg donor to prepare for the embryo transfer, and then they were ready.
The next 36 weeks were amazing! Every ultrasound gave us a look at our future children. Our surrogate was great, and took such good care of them for the 36 weeks that they were with her. She reassured us all along the way that these two babies were ours.
Finally, on September 15, 2011, Nico and Kate were born! We spent two wonderful nights at the hospital with them, and then we made the long drive home to Seattle with our two angels. Now we look forward to the happy years ahead with Nico and Kate!
I was 29 when I got pregnant, and I had a horrible pregnancy. I was hospitalized four times. It was awful for all of us, and eventually I had to end the pregnancy. We went full-force into surrogacy because we knew it was the only way we could have our own biological kids. Our families and friends were really supportive. Their attitude was, whatever you have to do to make your dreams come true, we’re behind you.
If we were going to give this much money and faith to an agency, I wanted to make sure they were professional and legit. I called Sandy at Northwest Surrogacy Center and she was really nice and sensitive to my needs. We also interviewed a bigger agency in California, and it was a whole different experience. There were all these complicated hoops we had to jump through. So we chose Northwest Surrogacy Center.
We interviewed surrogates literally a week after we signed the contract. When we met the first one, it just felt right. She had a lot of social support, and it seemed like she really wanted to know who we were as people, which I liked. I really wanted to be involved and know this person and have her know us.
We signed the surrogacy contract in July, and the first implantation was in October. Our first round actually didn’t work. Our surrogate called crying, she was so upset. And we were upset too, but hopeful. We said, well, we’ll try again. In December we implanted two embryos and she got pregnant with twins!
The whole time Sandy was always there for us. We would check in with her a lot, and she was always responsive. And she was checking in with our surrogate too, making sure that her needs were being met.
Our surrogate had no problems during the pregnancy. I’d go see her once a month or every three weeks, whenever she had a doctor’s appointment or ultrasound. And I got to spend time with her friends and family. I knew they really cared about us and the girls.
When our surrogate was still at 30 weeks and 5 days, we got a call saying she was in the hospital and probably delivering the babies that day. They were born really small and premature, but had no problems other than needing to learn to grow and eat.
We had done a declaratory judgment before the twins were born, so everything was ready when we went to the hospital. It was very clear that we were the parents, and when we walked in the door we were treated as the parents.
We spent time with our surrogate in the hospital, and wanted her to visit the twins whenever she wanted, and have her family come see them too. During the whole process and during that moment, it felt like they were our family too.
It was really sad when we said goodbye to our surrogate at the hospital. She had been such a huge part of our life. We Skype every few months, and we’re still good friends. And my husband and I have two healthy one-year-old girls. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more.
I would like to share the ordeals my family went through before our ultimate dream came true. My wife and I live in Southeast Asia in a third-world country, so we don’t have good hospitals and physicians who are well versed in infertility. My wife began consulting with an OB/GYN 5 years into our marriage. By the time we came to Portland to seek medical advice, we had been married for 11 years and had been through 4 rounds of IVF and 12 artificial inseminations.
The OB/GYN we saw at Oregon Health Science University in Portland said we could still do another round of IVF. I wanted us to consider surrogacy, since my wife and I were getting older and couldn’t afford to lose much time. That was when Northwest Surrogacy Center came up.
It is hard for anyone to spend time, money, or energy on something that we may ask ourselves if it is our top priority or not. I had to choose which was more important—to have a family, or to have a career in banking. When faced with this option, I chose the one that I believe is priceless. The chance to be a parent requires patience, love, and, more than anything else, self-sacrifice. Having a family was my top priority.
Working with Northwest Surrogacy Center made my family’s dream come true. For me, a couple without a child cannot be called a family. Today, my wife and I are the proud parents of a child whose potential to excel is enormous. My daughter turned 8 last March and is studying in a Catholic school in Southeast Asia. My dream is to send her back to the U.S. where she can have a good education when she reaches middle school. I owe this great gift to God, with the help of science in the United States.
We tried to get pregnant for three or four years without getting anywhere. I think the most difficult part of the experience was realizing that my wife was never going to get pregnant. That I was never going to lie in bed next to her feeling the baby kick. And to realize that even though it wasn’t her fault, she was assuming a lot of the guilt. Watching her experience that was heartbreaking. But since our primary objective was to have a child who was biologically ours, we turned to Northwest Surrogacy Center. Sandy was great. She put the parties together and made sure that everything went in the right direction, and then backed off and only got involved when we needed her. Still, the process of choosing a surrogate had its emotional ups and downs. But then we found our surrogate. Brandi and her husband were great—friendly, straightforward, and easy to talk to. We wanted to move forward with them and they accepted, and then we were off and running!
The first pregnancy test came back positive and we were excited but nervous, because we’d been in that situation before. But then the second test came back positive too and then so did the ultrasound and we thought, oh boy, maybe this is actually happening!
One of the important things for me and Sharon was to be present at every ultrasound. I wanted to experience as much as I could of the pregnancy, and to show Brandi that this was as important to me as it was to Sharon.
We’d had so much bad news for so long that it was tough to be really optimistic. But about halfway through we were beyond cautiously optimistic, we were just plain optimistic. We were excited and really starting to enjoy it. We were talking about baby clothes, baby rooms, baby names. We told everyone. We had a few scares early on, but after that the rest of the pregnancy was flawless. And Brandi did a fabulous job. We met about once every two weeks, if we weren’t seeing her at a doctor’s visit. And we got to know Brandi and her family really well. They were just the greatest people.
Four days before the due date we got the call and we thought, here it comes. We got to be present in the room when Landon was born, we saw the little guy as soon as he came out. Brandi wanted the baby out of the room and into our hands as soon as he was delivered, and the hospital was really accommodating. They handed him right over to us.
Overall it’s just been a fabulous experience. We’ve continued to be friends with Brandi and her family. We stay connected so that everybody can see Landon grow up. And Landon is spectacular. We’re enjoying every moment with our happy and healthy baby. Right now we’re just basking in that before we start to look ahead. But if the stars align, we’d like to try it again. We’d absolutely do it with our surrogate and with Northwest Surrogacy Center.
We started trying to have a baby in 2005. We tried for about 8 months the old-fashioned way and got pregnant, but had a miscarriage at about 6 weeks. We were disappointed, but thought it would happen in due time. We tried for another few years without success and went through a bunch of testing and IVF cycles. Finally Oregon Reproductive Medicine told us, okay, we’ll give you one shot with your own eggs and a gestational carrier. Because we chose surrogacy, our son is biologically ours.
We signed on with Northwest Surrogacy Center. Within a very short time, maybe a week or so, Sandy already had three options of carriers for us, and we chose one who was very close to where we live since we wanted to go to all of the doctor’s appointments and be very involved. The whole process went very, very quickly for us.
At the beginning, it’s hard to talk to people you don’t know very well about emotional situations like infertility. So it was good to have Sandy there playing this sort of intermediary role as someone our surrogate could open up to, and then by extension I could talk to her about it too.
When you enter into a surrogacy relationship, you don’t know what it’s going to be like. It starts out as a business relationship but you hope that it will be more. You’ve never met this person before and all of a sudden you’re signing a contract and she’s going to carry a child for you. You want to be involved, but she has her own life too, so it’s a little challenging to know how to interact socially. I was surprised by how close we became with Brandi—we have become really good friends.
When Brandi delivered we went to Willamette Falls Hospital, and they were really fantastic. We were in the delivery room up at the head of the bed. After Landon was born, they wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the nursery, and then right into my arms. The hospital gave us a room so we stayed with him all night. They were very open, understanding and supportive.
I thought the experience was going to be more businesslike and I’m glad it wasn’t. Brandi and her family are just so fantastic and welcoming. We still go out with them frequently, have them over, go to their place, and our kids play together. It was a great experience all the way around.
My heart goes out to you. I understand with clarity what you are considering. No matter the reason, you find yourself at this doorstep and your heart is breaking so you walk in hoping to hear good news.
I have that news for you. I am a successful intended parent. I came to this same door, held my breath, and walked inside. It seems the most unlikely concept: pick a person to care for your child (or in my case, children) for nine months. The possibility that I could find this person, with the help of the people at Northwest Surrogacy, seemed so unbelievable. It seemed unbelievable that I could make that choice and then follow through to the final result, the birth of my daughters, Kelley and Kathryn.
You have to be a believer in the end result—your child being with you—rather than the experience of pregnancy. The time during pregnancy was for me one of the most stressful periods of my life. Expect this. Depend on your family for support. Expect that there are those (even in your own family) who may view your efforts as whimsical. I found peace in those who understand how important children are in their life. Stay clear of those who do not. They do not understand you.
The person you choose to be your surrogate is going to be the focus of your life for a nine-month period. Her health, safety and wellbeing will become very important to you. Choose your surrogate carefully. Listen to her responses to your story. Ask the attorneys at Northwest Surrogacy about her. See how she treats her own children. But at the end, listen to your gut instinct. You will know if you can trust her to take care of your child for nine months.
As intended parents, having a degree of separation between you and your surrogate via an agency like Northwest Surrogacy Center is vital. There were times when I was upset with my surrogate and times when I wanted to give her the world. Northwest Surrogacy gave me a sense of balance and experience that helped me not go crazy on either end. It was well worth the cost.
The contract I signed was one of the scariest documents I’ve ever read. It is that way for a purpose. Others have gone before you and have found themselves in grave circumstances. Every item that scares you on the document is something for you to pray on later.
The moment you hear your surrogate is pregnant will be, at that time, the best thing you could ever hope to hear. From that point forward, I began to pray a lot. Even as a basically non-religious person, I found that praying for my children and others’ children was the only thing I could do. My children were literally out of my hands.
My children are finally with me and I now know the piece of my heart that was missing from my life. I wake every morning grateful to so many people for helping me and my children. Northwest Surrogacy Center played a vital role in this. My girls are happy, healthy, and hungry little ones. It is getting close to their next feeding so I have to wrap up this testimonial.
I pray for you too. Step through this door with confidence that you will be healed.
From the start of our relationship with Sandra, it just clicked. She treated us like we were her only clients. Through her efforts we were connected with a remarkable, selfless, beautiful gestational carrier.
Sandra seems to have a gift for knowing who will make a good gestational carrier. She guided us through the selection, screening, and legal process but never took the joy, love, and humanness away from the bond we formed with our gestational carrier and the ultimate goal of increasing our family. We ended up with twins, Sophie and Eli, born in 2003, and our dreams were fulfilled.
With Sandra’s guidance, the gestational carrier willingly involved us in the pregnancy and birth—and yet was so positive and supportive that these were our babies, not hers. We’ve remained in contact in a very positive way with our gestational carrier. We count it as a blessing every day that this remarkable woman came into our lives with Sandra’s expert help.
Northwest Surrogacy Center changed our lives. We’re forever grateful for that risk we took in first meeting with Sandra.