Keeping it Local
As Jes Stumpf and I prepared to launch the Vermont Surrogacy Network—a network formed by our Vermont connections and emphasizing face-to-face contact with our clients—the national media seemed flooded by news stories about fraud and mismanagement in international surrogacy.
Recently, Tamar Lewin of the New York Times wrote an article about Rudy Rupak and Planet Hospital entitled: “A Surrogacy Agency That Delivered Heartaches” (July 27, 2014). The article also recounted the criminal actions of Tonya A. Collins of SurroGenesis and Theresa M. Erickson of Conceptual Options—both California-based operators convicted of fraudulent activities in connection with their surrogacy businesses.
Intended parents are often emotionally vulnerable when they turn to gestational surrogacy as a way to build their families. Having gone through months or years of infertility treatments costing them thousands of dollars, they often miss the “red flags” when dealing with unscrupulous or incompetent companies: poor communication, unreturned phone calls and e-mails, no personal contact with the owners, opaque accounting practices, etc. Even the most ethical companies can get it wrong when they expand beyond their capabilities to provide competent services. Mr. Rupak’s characterization of Planet Hospital’s problem as one of mismanagement rather than fraud is of little consolation to intended parents who have spent their life savings with nothing to show for it.
I have been working with the legal aspects of gestational surrogacy for fifteen years, and Jes is embarking on her own journey as a gestational carrier through CSED, an outstanding surrogacy and egg donor matching organization based in New England. With top-flight medical providers in the Burlington area who can provide the medical services essential to the process, the time seemed right to bring a locally-based gestational surrogacy-matching network to Vermont—a home of not only incredible physical beauty, but also a home that embraces community, inclusivity, and acceptance. Vermont is a home that I will never take for granted.
As with most things in life, gestational surrogacy is not a simple or certain process. However, when you sit across the table from Jes and me, and let us explain the process to you face-to-face, we hope to be able take some of the anxiety and mystery out of the process. We have seen things done the right way and the wrong way, and it is our mission to guide our clients down the right path and to do everything possible to help them achieve a positive outcome.
Welcome to the Vermont Surrogacy Network. We look forward to meeting you.