I belong to a lot of support groups....mostly for surrogates and IPs and some professional only groups. I am sorry to say that I just can't believe how potential surrogates and experienced surrogates treat each other on these groups and message boards. I have always believed that these FB groups have been started for support and education...even sharing experiences but what I have read in the past few days is just women tearing down other women! And for what? I just don't get it. I would like to think that these people wouldn't act this way in person but I'm afraid I would be wrong. It's shameful in the name of US surrogacy. And I would like to add that the groups that are moderated by agencies are NEVER allowed to become this insane...it always seems to be a supportive atmosphere with advice and answers to questions without the worry of being ridiculed. Please STOP this madness.
Owners and Moderators of a support page or a group: Please reprimand the bullies! That is your J.O.B. Just like you toss (ban or delete) people out who post those stupid sunglasses and handbag advertisements, these women who "just speak their own mind and tell it like it is" while walking all over someone's feelings or with the attitude that they "just give my opinion and if you don't like it you can leave" need to be reminded why they are on that particular page or in that support group. One warning, and on the next infraction, out they should go. It's hard. I know. I have "owned" several support and educational groups. Moderators are there to protect the area from all sorts of invaders like advertisers, trolls, creeps, and bullies. Be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.
Here is a clue that your group has a bully(s) in it--when a person posts a question or comment and ends it with "no bashing please". What this means is that they know that some people in this group will start bashing, that the topic might be sensitive, that the group is not moderated but the poster still wants input and support regarding her question.
For those that just can't seem to control themselves when sitting behind a keyboard and monitor screen, if you can't be nice then just don't type...let it go...if you can't be supportive then just skip the post. If you want to be supportive but don't know what to say then just leave a smile or a heart...or a hug. If you have something to contribute then please leave your judgments at the door and just state the facts ma'am. We are ALL better then this...YOU are better then this!
You know, you can find out what your surrogacy agency charges their Intended Parents just by asking your case manager or looking on their website. It's no secret. Agency fees are anywhere between $15,000 and $23,000 and the services that are offered are varied. I can hear you now exclaiming OMG and You have gotta be kidding me! But I am telling you the truth...ask anyone. As Intended Parents you may find a lower price out there but you get what you pay for. One thing that I do want to make clear is that although the Intended Parents are paying these fees the surrogate shares equally in the benefits of having an agency without paying a dime.
Let’s look at the list of common services for your average cost of $15,000-$18,000 surrogacy agency fee:
Interviewing prospective Surrogates - Personal interviews and Phone conferences, Placing ads if needed, Arranging the home visit, Educating the surrogates on the process of IVF and all expectations of a surrogacy journey
Assistance arranging Psychological screenings for all parties
Assistance arranging for a Life Insurance Policy and disability for the Surrogate
Reviewing medical and maternity policies
Assistance arranging for Legal Representation for all parties
Assistance with Contract information for all parties
Assistance in locating a fertility specialist or fertility clinic for the surrogacy process
Assistance in locating an obstetrician
Assistance arranging mediation and counseling if needed
Case Management: hot line, guarantee of returning calls and e-mails within 24 hours or next business day, online/phone guidance and support, expert advice and personal meetings.
Attending transfers and births
Plus luncheons, retreats, gifts and other perks for the Surrogates and for the Intended Parents, assistance with travel arrangements, finding hotels, information on Visa's, Social Security numbers and other documentation for international situations etc.
Let’s not forget that, for the surrogacy agency, this can be a two year+ commitment to their Intended Parents and Surrogates. The surrogate may not become pregnant on the first embryo transfer, she may miscarry and the IPs might need to be rematched, the pregnancy alone is 40 weeks and then there is the support after the birth. Running an agency is a huge commitment!
What a surrogate does contribute to this sensitive process is her time and her body. She is dedicated and responsible and is expected to include her IPs in all of her medical decisions regarding the surrogacy journey. She reassures, she cares for herself and the baby she is carrying, she takes time out of her life to help another family and her agency stands behind her, guiding, supporting and educating where they can. She sets her family life aside, at times, to put this surrogacy first and all the while hopes that this life changing event will be appreciated.
I believe that agency owners are invaluable and that their services cannot be duplicated. I also believe that surrogates benefit from a support system that only an agency can offer.