As a leader in the field of third-party reproduction, ConceiveAbilities was tapped by Elle Magazine to help educate others on the process of surrogacy. ConceiveAbilities’ Founder and CEO, Nazca Fontes, shared her thoughts on how the practice of surrogacy has grown and become more normalized over the past several years.
The documentary follows the journey of ConceiveAbilities Surrogate, Jessica, as she carries a baby for single Intended Mother, Jennifer. It analyzes the surrogacy journey from both the Surrogate and the Intended Parent’s point of view, diving into cost and compensation, the surrogacy process, the potential impact on each person’s daily life and much more.
Take a look:
When I founded ConceiveAbilities over two decades ago, commercial surrogacy was in it’s infancy. Culturally, people were still very rattled by the Baby M case from the late 80’s. It was a dark period in the history of surrogacy, but it was critical in the evolution of third-party reproduction. It offered an opportunity for those of us in the industry to put guardrails around the surrogacy process, and determine what was needed in a successful arrangement to avoid another Baby M case.
From that, gestational surrogacy began to bloom. Like anything that’s considered taboo, it took time for surrogacy to grow and evolve. But from awareness comes acceptance. Once successful stories of surrogacy started to emerge, people slowly started to let go of the idea that all surrogates want to keep the baby, and other surrogacy myths.
Over the past several years, surrogacy has started to become even more normalized, thanks in part to the recent depictions of surrogacy in modern TV and pop culture. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, Elton John and Sarah Jessica Parker have opened up about their surrogacy arrangements, which helps to break down the stigma.
As people become more willing to open up about their experiences, it becomes less taboo. Because of this, we are seeing a surge in surrogacy that I don’t expect to slow down anytime soon.
From both the Intended Parent and the Surrogate perspective, there are a lot of things to consider before committing to a surrogacy journey.
As a surrogate, putting your body through a pregnancy is no small feat. It is sure to affect aspects of your daily life, such as your job and family. As an Intended Parent, you are putting your trust in a stranger to carry your child. This comes with its own distinct set of considerations.
It’s a complex process, but working with an agency that has your unique family structure and needs in mind will help you to navigate and mitigate any challenges that may arise.
From start to finish, every step of the journey calls for a different set of experts. At ConceiveAbilities, we have highly qualified experts in-house that assist our Intended Parents and Surrogates at each stage.
Matching: Finding a perfect surrogate match is not just accepting any woman that’s willing and able. This is why I built our Matching Matters process. With our process, we have nurses and mental health professionals on staff that vigorously pre-screen Surrogate candidates, checking against both medical and mental health criteria. We get to know our Surrogates, increasing the chances of an ideal match for all parties.
Financial planning and insurance: Surrogate compensation varies based on many factors such as location, or if the Surrogate is carrying multiples. Beyond compensation for the Surrogate, the full cost of Surrogacy includes things like legal representation, insurance, travel and several other costs. We understand it’s an investment, which is why we offer access to experts knowledgeable in this space that can help answer any questions.
For hard working individuals and couples who decide to make family building a priority, there are organizations and various employee benefits that can help offset the costs, making it more accessible.
Legal: The legislative landscape of surrogacy is a patchwork and continuously shifting laws state-by-state can be confusing. Our in-house legal team works with both Intended Parents and Surrogates to facilitate a legally protected agreement to make the process as painless and as convenient as possible. Our team always matches Intended Parents with Surrogates within states that will recognize their parentage.
At ConceiveAbilities, we’ve seen thousands of successful matches that result in healthy, happy babies and families. Because of this, and the expertise of our people, we can truly understand and carefully manage the complexities.
As we’ve grown in this practice, we’ve seen more and more Surrogates bond over this shared experience, some forming strong friendships that have lasted many years. This Surrogate sisterhood has created an undercurrent of women who are called to help people construct their families.
These end results; the Surrogate sisterhood, the broken down barriers, the happy families, outweigh every challenge we may face in the process of third-party reproduction.
We are no longer living in a time when a family consists of a mom and a dad, a little boy and a little girl, one dog, one cat and a picket fence all wrapped up in a bow. The modern family construct has changed. For some, they come to ConceiveAbilities as a last resort, for many others, it’s a deliberate choice. Both take a tremendous amount of courage.
One of my core values as a person, and one that I’ve worked hard to instill in every aspect of the agency is courageousness.
It takes courage for a single mother to stand up and say, I don’t have a partner, but I’m prepared and ready to have a child. It takes courage for a same-sex couple to challenge convention, come to an agency like ours and say, we want to build our family, and we need help doing so. It takes courage for a Surrogate mother to choose to carry a child for someone who cannot.
I’m allergic to convention, which is why I’ve built a company around challenging it, breaking down barriers and helping people achieve the seemingly impossible by creating modern families.
Families are no longer the cookie cutter representations of the past. And as time goes on, I expect more individuals and couples to create their families on their own terms in their own way. And when they are ready, ConceiveAbilities will be all in.