“Family Source Consultants has been a great help along our journey! Another surrogate I know recommended them to me and they were so much more responsive than the other agencies I had contacted, which is why I decided to move forward with them. I am so glad I did as it has been a great journey. There were definitely some bumps along the way, but FSC did their best to help when they could and I can’t imagine having done this without their help.”

What led you to become a Surrogate?

I think the first time I ever thought about it was when my best friend mentioned that her doctor had told her she wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. It just popped out of my mouth that I would carry her baby for her! She didn’t end up needing any help, but I think that is the first time it even came to mind. I started thinking about it more when some close friends of mine and my husband’s couldn’t get pregnant. They decided to move forward with adoption but that got me thinking about it even more. I’m also a NICU nurse and have had the opportunity to be present for surrogate deliveries and care for the babies in the NICU and I think that is the biggest factor that made me move forward with surrogacy.

Who was your most significant source of support throughout your journey?

My biggest support has come from my husband and my mother-in-law. My husband was a little hesitant when I first mentioned surrogacy, but once I decided that I really wanted to move forward with it, my husband was 100 percent supportive. Since delivering, he has said that he is glad we did surrogacy and that he got to be a part of it. For him, the best part was getting to see the intended parents experience those first moments of being parents! My mother-in-law was also a huge support as she watched my three little kids for me whenever I had appointments or just needed help. My IM was also a big support as we texted frequently and I always felt like I could be truthful with her, plus she was going through everything with me so I felt like she probably understood better than anyone else.

What made you decide to choose your Intended Parents?

I was really looking for a couple that I could relate to. I wanted someone that was somewhat close in age to me and that I had some things in common with. Matching with someone that wanted frequent contact was important to me because if I were the intended parent, I would want to be very involved. I was looking for parents that lived in the United States and I also had a desire to help a family that didn’t already have a child. I also was only willing to transfer one embryo.

What are some of the highlights of your journey?

Of course the birth of their baby was the best moment of the journey, but there were lots of great moments along the way! Transfer was really fun getting to know the parents more and the excitement of finally being at that moment and the possibility that I might be pregnant soon. I did home pregnancy tests and watching the line get darker and then the positive betas was also a highlight! The first ultrasound when I got to see the baby’s heart beat for the first time was amazing! I remember texting my IM as soon as I could that there was a baby in there! Having the parents come for the Anatomy ultrasound was also a lot of fun. One of the best parts about this journey was how much the parents included me after the baby was born. I got to spend a lot of time with them and the baby after the birth and go visit them at their hotel everyday until they went home. I am so thankful to have been included and to continue to receive pictures and updates!

What did you find was the biggest misconception people had about surrogacy?

I have been pretty fortunate in that everyone I have told about being a surrogate has been very supportive.

Was this pregnancy different from your other pregnancies?

I think I had a little bit more morning sickness and dizziness this pregnancy but other than that it was pretty similar. I feel like when you have someone else’s baby inside of you, it can make you a little bit more nervous because you don’t want anything bad to happen. Not that I wasn’t worried for my own children or didn’t want anything bad to happen with them, but when it’s someone else’s child and they have had to work so hard to get to that place it just heightens the worry a bit.

Did you do anything to prepare yourself for separating from the baby after it was born?

I didn’t really have to do anything to prepare to separate from the baby. I became a surrogate because I wanted to be able to help a family have a baby so the entire time I was pregnant I was looking forward to the moment they got to hold their baby for the first time and take her home! The hardest part wasn’t the baby leaving but the journey being over. I spent so much time and energy on getting and being pregnant and looking forward to the birth that when it was over I almost had a feeling like what do I do now. Also, I was fortunate enough to have really developed a relationship with the parents so having the surrogacy be over was a little sad for the first few days. I’m very glad that I decided to become a surrogate though and I’m so glad I was able to help the parents have their baby! I would definitely do it again!

Do you have advice for women who are interested in becoming a gestational surrogate?

My advice would be to be patient in the beginning (much easier said than done). It seemed like all the steps that you have to take before transfer took forever, especially legal. However, once you actually get pregnant it seems to go so fast! I would also suggest that you have someone you can talk to about the surrogacy because there are definitely a lot of emotions and sometimes things happen that can be frustrating and having a support person is super important. I would also suggest to really take your time when matching. You don’t have to accept the first profile you see. It’s hard not to want to help everyone, but I think it’s super important to stick to what you think is important and be willing to wait to find the perfect parents for you!

Staci Swiderski, CEO and owner of Family Source Consultants has been involved in the field of reproductive medicine since 2002. Staci has vigorously grown the comprehensive egg donation and gestational surrogacy agency to become a worldwide leader in the third-party reproduction field. Staci is a former intended parent herself. She and her husband welcomed their son via gestational surrogacy in 2005. Additionally, Staci had the experience of assisting an infertile couple (AKA Recipient Parents) build their family through her efforts as an egg donor, with her donation resulting in the births of their son and daughter.