My name is Krystal. I am 31 years old and I’m a bit of a #birthjunkie. Pregnancy and birth have fascinated me since before I could read, and I’ve wanted to be a surrogate for as long as I can remember. After a wonderful pregnancy, delivery of our daughter, and deciding our family was complete, I got myself into countless surrogacy info/chat groups on social media. The lurking began. I immersed myself in the lingo, the agency reviews, the anecdotes, the miracles, the tragedies–all of it. I wasn’t in a huge rush because my kiddo was still nursing at night and I wanted her to wean gently (my BF goal was age 2 and you have to no longer be nursing in order to start IVF drugs for surrogacy) but I knew that by the time that happened, I wanted to be fully prepared to start my journey.
I had my eye on NYSC because of its reputation for being relatively small (as far as agencies go), local, and staffed with priceless wealth’s of knowledge regarding reproductive law and surrogacy in New York state. I felt that at NYSC, I would be taken care of as a person, not just as a working womb. Plus, I knew my heart would ache for a continued relationship with my IPs and surrokiddo after delivery, so I didn’t want to match outside of New York state.
My partner and I attended an info session exclusive to potential surrogates facilitated by Portia on April 26th, 2021. I remember hearing him be so excited to ask questions and it was huge for me because I knew that we were both truly ready to do this! I promptly conferred with my OB/GYN to switch my contraception from Depo to a combo OCP in the hopes I would get menstrual cycles back (Depo keeps me amenorrhoeic), get my BMI further down (clinics like to see lower than 35), and ease along the weaning process (estrogen, which I had avoided from her birth until then, can affect milk production). Portia remained a close contact whenever I had questions and is so sweet and caring–forever grateful to have had her as an empathetic resource in those early months!
Three months after the info session, I submitted my form denoting interest on the NYSC website and heard back from Joe, Director of Surrogate Services, almost immediately. We scheduled a preliminary phone call to touch base about where I currently was in the process. We talked about how much research I’d done, my motivations, questions I had about the specific stages of a surrogacy journey…you name it. Joe revealed himself early on as a joy to work with; he is friendly, knowledgeable, and prompt in his responses. I would believe it if you told me he hasn’t dropped a ball in the last decade. He makes me feel so valued and, honestly, like I’m talking to a friend–even texting back when I send things later than I probably should. But I digress…the application was in my inbox just a few hours later! I started it right away; it was 32 pages long and my type A brain couldn’t wait to print it out, grab a great pen, and get started.
My application was filled out in several “installments”. I first read through the entire thing, putting N/A in any section that didn’t apply to me. I then got out a few different colored highlighters because that’s just who I am (haha). I answered the easy stuff (name, DOB, past addresses)–things I didn’t have to think about. Questions requiring simple action (googling contact info for a former OB/GYN, etc.) I highlighted in green. Yellow was for questions I had started to answer but wanted to go back and expand on (describing my personality, etc). Finally, pink was for the hard stuff that I really had to think about (matching points like selective reduction, DETs, etc.)! I was going for a traffic light-esque color scheme but, alas, highlighters don’t come in red.
I worked on my application with anyone who would listen (just kidding, kinda). I wanted any and all perspectives in order to make the best decisions for me and my family regarding any of the questions I had highlighted in pink. TWO MONTHS LATER, I was literally putting the finishing touches on my application with a cup of tea and a good blanket when I saw an email come in from Joe, checking in to see if I needed any help, clarification, or support. I couldn’t believe the timing; I sent him back a live photo of my lap. We shared a laugh at the absurdity of that coincidence and my application was submitted the next day. After a couple clarifications, I was given the all clear to move on to pre-screening!
The NYSC Pre-Screening Checklist was easy peasy lemon squeezy for my left brain—I printed the checklist out and affixed it to the outside of a yellow clasp closure envelope (where I would store all my materials like notarized releases and receipts for reimbursement), checking the boxes off as things were officially submitted to the agency. The “packet” was 18 items: CPS Registry Releases, FBI Fingerprinting Results, HIPAA Authorizations for all current/past OBs, Recommendation Form from current OB, STI Screening Results, Drug Screening, DMV Driving Abstract, Credit Report, Current Paystub, Health Insurance Policy, Health Insurance Card, Life Insurance Policy, Informed Consent Form, Conflict of Interest Policy, Color Photograph, Personal Statement, Direct Deposit Enrollment Form, and Reimbursement Request Form.
I signed my releases for medical records and emailed them right back at some absurd time like 2am–sorry not sorry, Joe! Anything requiring a form or scheduling an appt was done within days but, true to form, the personal statement took me the longest (I had to take the time to overthink it OBVIOUSLY). I did really appreciate that everything was neat, organized, uniformly templated, and FULLY explained, step-by-step. In case you couldn’t tell…I’m an instructions reader. Anyway–
October 2018- Birth of My “Keeper”
April 2020-Joined Surrogacy Groups on Social Media
April 2021-Attended Info Session with Portia
June 2021-Switched to OCP
July 2021-Intake Phone Call with Joe and Application Started
August 2021-Daughter Weaned
September 2021-Submitted Application and Started Pre-Screening Process
October 2021-Pre-Screening Complete and Profile Drafted
Once pre-screening was completed, Joe had a Zoom meeting with me and my partner as a type of “home visit” to iron out any questions he had about his role in the process–and it was our first time all meeting “face to face”! I signed my agreement and my profile was drafted. I was officially an NYSC Surrogate! Stay tuned for my blog entry on matching with my IP(s) :)