How do you find surrogates?
The short answer is I don’t find them, they find me. I have an advertising and marketing budget and spend a lot of time networking to get my website and company visible, so that women who are interested in surrogacy are given the opportunity to speak with me. Social media is key in a business like this without a store window. I run Google ad words to get seen when people search for information. I know that what I have to offer far surpasses anything other agencies are presenting. That’s not a poke – it’s a fact. I offer a community. I offer support and guidance through the entire process. I offer inclusion so that surrogates and Intended Parents walk away with a positive feeling from their journey. I won’t leave you alone wondering what happened if things go wrong. I won’t blame or judge. I’ll just be here. Because I know what it is to feel that your dreams are impossible. I was so afraid to leap into this business and accept what I knew in my heart was my calling. After a year of helping all different kinds of people all over the world has given me perspective. No matter how hard it became I didn’t give up. And now I’ve been able to help so many couples find someone amazing. I don’t believe the way to find women is to hound or private message them randomly. On occasion if someone likes my business page, I may send them a thank you message and ask if they ever thought about surrogacy. Sometimes great conversations happen. Sometimes nothing. Sometimes I’ve found Intended Parents looking for help that way. But when is an ethical line crossed? When does healthy competition cross dangerously into illegal behaviour? I’ll tell you when…
- Stalking my members list in my private support group and messaging them within hours of joining, trying to solicit new surrogates
- Messaging people and warning them not to join my agency if they express interest in my company.
- Creating a Facebook community group with the exact same business name as mine as to confuse people searching for me.
- Creating dozens of fake profiles on Facebook just to harass women
- Publicly and privately questioning my credentials and education
- Posting ads on Workopolis – a Canadian Job Finding site, saying that you can receive up to $26,000 in reimbursements and making it sound like surrogacy is a JOB!
- Fabricating information
- Breaching confidentiality
- Sharing private images on social media without permission
- Deleting legitimate reviews on your business page because you don’t like what they have to say, then blocking them from having a voice.
This list can go on and on. Since starting my business I’ve had to deal with constant barrage from another agency who’s work ethics mimic that of a two year old. Not only does her practices diminish how beautiful surrogacy can be, it publicly shames women into believing that what they do is just a JOB to Intended Parents. – an arrangement where they are treated like cattle. When I began this business, I wanted to make change. I knew the reputation that agencies carried with them. People always called agency owners ‘vultures’ making money off desperate couples who wanted a baby. I couldn’t even argue with them when I began to see what agencies did for the fees they charged. So I vowed to change that perception. I can’t do it for nothing – I have a family to feed. This is my job and I take it seriously. I’m worth every penny. What I offer is seeing it through from start to finish. On a plus note, unethical behaviour elsewhere makes it easier for me to succeed. People are generally good and I’ve always known that creating a community is the way to surround yourself with amazing people who you can trust. I’ve also found that agencies definitely can work together when they unite for the greater good. I’ve been so blessed to have Jackie Webber from OSO in my corner since I started. We respect our boundaries and we confide in each other often when we need new ideas. She’s a great resource for me and someone I would call a friend. We have united on many fronts to prove that agencies don’t have to be at war with each other. Jackie is ethical and has done a great job building her agency up from the ground. We are all supposed to be helping lift each other up, not tearing each other down. There are so many amazing women out there thinking about surrogacy and I hope they find Jackie or I before they find someone less ethical. Surrogacy should be celebrated in a way that is drama-free and trust-worthy. Let’s work together to change the face of agencies in Canada.