When the doors to Family Source Consultants opened in 2007, Founder and CEO Staci Swiderski knew this was something incredible. But she never imagined just how many lives FSC would touch.
Now, as she and her team celebrate FSC’s 14th anniversary in January of 2021, Staci is still in awe of how much they have grown.
“It’s pretty astonishing. I reflect on our very first baby born via egg donation, and it’s surreal to think that he’s now a teenager. And I’m still in touch with those recipients!”
In fact, hundreds of babies have passed through the FSC doors over the past 14 years. That adds up to a lot of happy families.
“Knowing that FSC has made so many parents’ lives whole is really an honor,” Staci says.
So, what has made FSC so successful?
Well, it is true that attitudes towards third-party reproduction have changed significantly throughout the years, which has seen the global surrogacy market grow substantially. Higher incidences of infertility – along with a tendency to have children later in life – have led to increasing demand for alternative reproduction options. This trend has seen hundreds of surrogacy agencies spring up around the U.S. in the past decade.
Staci agrees that the United States is a safe, desired, and regulated location for using gestational surrogacy and/or egg donation to grow families.
“Part of that has come from legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the U.S., as well as most states accepting gestational surrogacy arrangements. It’s all been positive.”
But there are many reasons that FSC stands out from the crowd when it comes to third-party reproduction.
“When the doors opened back in 2007, our vision was to build families with compassion, professionalism, and trust,” Staci explains. “That vision is the same today. Our team and I have the utmost dedication to infertility and third-party reproduction.”
“I’m confident that it all comes back to that: creating families with an approach that is empathetic, individualized, and heart-based.”
That compassion has seen FSC grow from a staff of three in 2007 to 23 in 2021. After starting out in a small office in Illinois, FSC is now a leading surrogacy and egg donation agency known throughout the U.S. and internationally. While their headquarters are still in Illinois, the agency has branched out to five other states: Florida, Texas, California, D.C., and New York.
Catering for an international clientele is a significant element of what makes FSC special. The team now offers services in English, Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin, French, and German.
In fact, FSC’s team is very much at the center of the agency’s success. After all, these are people providing an extraordinary kind of customer service. For this reason, every staff member is a major contributor to the agency’s success.
“We provide the highest level of professionalism and care to each person who becomes a part of the FSC,” Staci says.
But what is it that sets FSC apart from all the rest?
Well, it could be the fact that much of the staff have been in their clients’ shoes. That’s right: 15 of FSC’s staff have had their own personal involvement with third-party reproduction.
“Some have used egg donors or surrogates to build their own family, and some have been the miracle person to give that gift!” Staci says. “It’s a massive part of how our staff connects with our clients.”
It is that connection that Staci has worked hard to foster over the last 14 years.
“Our approach, no matter how large FSC continues to grow, is always to be “real”, Staci says. “Yes, we are a professional business, and we are very structured, but our priority is our clients. We work from the heart. We listen, understand, empathize, and even cry with our clients at times. I believe this is what our hopeful parents, surrogates, and donors see. It is who we are.”
Of course, there have been plenty of changes since FSC’s fledgling days. Processes have been restructured, new professional relationships have been built, and lessons have been learned.
“All of this comes with growth and just overall improvement. We are always finding ways to do and become better. It’s a facilitating industry that we are so lucky to work in,” Staci says.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing. And then the events of 2020 were as challenging for FSC as many other businesses in the world.
“Covid really came out of nowhere,” Staci says. “However, our amazing team worked through it. We adapted ways to bring out the positives.”
With the future looking bright, Staci has every reason to feel optimistic. But it is not just the business side of things that she considers rewarding.
“It may seem all too obvious, but the best part about this whole business is when hopeful parents achieve success: that moment when they meet their new baby or babies. The love that pours from those who have helped make it happen is really, truly miraculous. The teamwork that goes into each of the journeys seems exhausting, but so, so worth it when that celebration happens.”
And while many businesses are facing uncertainty, she sees only growth.
“We have a great deal of ideas and current plans in motion, many that involve education, commemorations, and so on,” she says. “I believe there will continue to be great advancements in the medical field, which will only continue to amaze us!”
As someone who has been there herself as an Intended Parent – and has seen countless others go through it – Staci has some important words of advice for anyone considering third-party reproduction.
“Ask questions – a lot of questions. Do a ton of research, both as an Intended Parent and Gestational Surrogate. Educate yourself as much as possible. Make sure it is the right time in their [surrogates and egg donors] lives to prioritize the process. It is important that you have the support of those close to you. There will be hoops to jump through – sometimes a lot of hoops. Again, ask questions, and surround yourself with a strong support network.”