Gloria’s first surrogate pregnancy was a positive experience, so when Gloria was contacted, and admittedly pressured (a theme you’ll observe in Gloria’s story), by the same agency to sign-up for a second surrogate pregnancy just five months after giving birth to her first surrogate baby, she was intrigued.  

After I delivered the first surrogate baby, we became really close with the intended parents. We stay in touch to this day… I thought it was amazing to be a part of a team to help complete a family. So I really went into this thinking that I would get the exact same experience.

The agency does start calling pretty quickly after you deliver, trying to kind of pressure you into completing a second journey.

Matching to intended parents (IPs) is a little like match-making on an online dating site, except with this particular agency it’s a blind date for the surrogate mother. “The surrogates actually don’t get to view the IP profiles. Only they [the IPs] get to view our [the surrogate mother’s] profiles. Once they found someone they thought I would be a great match with, they [the agency] set up a match meeting… you kind of interview each other and see if your personalities would match.”

Gloria was also assigned a caseworker or a “support person” who is supposed to “see you through the entire journey.  They’re there to clear up any issues with the intended parents, they’re supposed to help you with hospital records, they’re supposed to help you with appointments, all those kinds of things.” Gloria adds that “most of them are just previous surrogates, surrogates that have gone through that agency.” It’s not uncommon for agencies to use previous surrogate mothers as a poster child or to recruit others into the business. 

In fact, Gloria tells me that for her first “journey” she was used in advertisements all over social media like a poster child for surrogacy and the agency. It wasn’t until she started speaking out about her second experience that she was “attacked” and “blamed for everything.” Being told, “you’re making surrogacy look bad.” 

For my first journey, they [the agency] were posting me all over their social media. The minute that the second journey started going sour, I was nowhere to be found. They have surrogate support meetings on a monthly basis. I wasn’t even allowed to talk about my journey during those meetings. 

Turns out, agencies only want happy surrogate mothers sharing their stories. Let’s continue. 

Having been through this once before, Gloria was “very specific” about her needs to both her caseworker and IPs. Everyone agreed and she was sent off for medical clearance. “Once medical clearance goes through, you go into contracts.” The IPs provided a lawyer for Gloria and “you kind of go back and forth on the contracts. Although there isn’t that much you can change.” 

I want to take a second and stress this point. It’s true, surrogate mothers are provided a lawyer by either the IPs or the agency during contract negotiation. But I wonder, how many of us would go to court or to any negotiation with a lawyer provided by the opposing party? Further, once contracts are signed, the surrogate mother’s provided lawyer is done. They don’t continue representing the surrogate mother throughout the pregnancy and beyond.  As Gloria tells me, [surrogate mothers] “do not have access to their lawyer the entire time. So, when things go wrong, it’s out of your pocket to keep retaining that lawyer.” 

Also, remember how Gloria voiced her needs during the match meeting? Those stipulations, things like needing medical care close to home so that she could take care of her special-needs son, were never included in her contract. Even though the agency and IP’s verbally agreed to all of Gloria’s needs, it was never legally binding. 

Finally, once contracts were signed, the IPs bought Gloria a “health insurance policy to cover the pregnancy” since her personal health insurance policy was not “surrogacy friendly.”  This would prove problematic for Gloria over and over again, especially as health complications started to arise. 

This is part two of a five part series. Over the several weeks we will be releasing a write-up based off of our exclusive interview with Gloria. 

Watch the full interview with Gloria on our YouTube channel.


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Author Profile

Kallie Fell, Executive Director
Kallie Fell, Executive Director
Kallie Fell, MS, BSN, RN, started her professional career as a scientist in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center utilizing a Master of Science degree in Animal Sciences with an emphasis on Reproductive Physiology and Molecular Biology from Purdue University. While assisting in the investigation of endometriosis and pre-term birth, Kallie simultaneously pursued a degree in nursing with hopes of working with women as a perinatal nurse. After meeting Jennifer at a conference, Kallie became interested in the work of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and started volunteering with the organization. It is obvious that Kallie is passionate about women’s health. She continues to work, as she has for the past 6 years, as a perinatal nurse and has worked with the CBC since 2018, first as a volunteer writer, then as our staff Research Associate, and now as the Executive Director. In 2021, Kallie co-directed the CBC’s newest documentary, Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender? Kallie also hosts the popular podcast Venus Rising and is the Program Director for the Paul Ramsey Institute.