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By: Mike

My beautiful son and daughter.

Surreal: the one word that describes the last year of my life.

In 2007, my partner and I decided it was time to start a family. We are both very family oriented and were ready to take the next step most couples decide to take: kids.

We decided to look into open adoption, since so many children are in need of a family. Unfortunately, it was a very long process and we would consistently get to a certain point only for something to go wrong.  In the end, adoption just wasn’t meant for us.

In March 2009, we contemplated our next steps. (We’re not getting any younger!) Soon after, we attended a party where we met an attorney who works with surrogacy and egg donation agencies. We discussed the idea with her and decided to look into it. She recommended ARR.

ARR was our first and only choice when it came to an agency. They were knowledgeable and helpful and made us feel very comfortable.

As for the egg donation and surrogacy process itself, it all happened very quickly. Most intended parents wait up to a year or longer to be matched with a surrogate. ARR matched us with both a surrogate and egg donor within three months. (It was crazy how fast the process went, having waited months when we were looking into adoption.) ARR matched our personalities and traits with both donor and surrogate to a “t.”

The egg donation process was easy compared to the surrogacy process. Like most parents, we looked for our physical and personal traits in the donor, but most importantly we wanted our donor to have a healthy mental and physical background. ARR was right on the money with their suggestions.

The surrogacy process took longer, and was the most nerve wracking. Because we were matched so fast, I was almost in disbelief. When we were set to meet our potential surrogate, I was scared to death. I wanted her to like us but I also didn’t want to misrepresent ourselves. Thankfully, she liked us, too, and decided she would like to be our surrogate.

The contract process went smoothly. We just wanted a family and were happy she was willing to help. We let her make certain decisions, such as choosing a doctor and the number of embryos she would carry. It was her body and we wanted to make sure she was comfortable. The only thing we asked from her was to deliver in Illinois (she was from a neighboring state). ARR has a special program that arranges for surrogates from other states deliver in Illinois, where the law is friendlier.  We spoke five or six times a week and posted Facebook updates. Facebook really showed us what a great support system she had. Through this awesome experience we made a friend for life and on March 4, 2010 she gave birth to our son and daughter.

A little over a year ago my partner and I started a journey. Today, we are parents.  Surreal, indeed.


By Robin von Halle

Lets face it; many states still come up short when it comes to surrogacy laws. For example, it’s still illegal to be a surrogate in such states as New York, Michigan and Utah. Other states have no laws, like Pennsylvania.

One state has taken a step forward on this front: Illinois.

Often ranked behind California (which uses case law) as a destination for surrogacy, Illinois is becoming the magnet state for surrogacy due to the Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act. Passed in 2005, its purpose is to protect the surrogate and make the entire process easier for intended parent(s). Here a few aspects of the act you should know about:

  • No residency requirements are imposed by the act for intended parent(s).
  • Surrogates aren’t required to live in Illinois; they only must give birth in Illinois for the act to be enforced.
  • Intended parent(s) do not have to be married.
  • At least one of the gametes (egg/sperm) must be contributed by an intended parent.
  • The gestational surrogate must be at least 21 and have given birth to at least one child.
  • · Both intended parents and surrogates must complete medical and mental health evaluation.
  • The names of the intended parent(s) are entered on the child’s birth certificate.

Programs like The Surrogacy Advantage aim to help intended parent(s) and surrogates meet the legal guidelines for surrogacy births in Illinois.

So if you are looking for a surrogate or thinking of becoming one, you’re best advised to research the laws in your state or surrounding states before jumping into a contract. You never know what you may be getting yourself into. At least in Illinois you have the law on their side.

Visit our Web site at

About Us

Conception Connections is a blog about alternative paths to family creation. It is maintained by Alternative Reproductive Resources. Contributors include intended parents, egg donors and gestational surrogates in addition to ARR staff. Our goal is to facilitate conversations about trends, issues, current events, technology and personal stories surrounding infertility, egg donation and gestational surrogacy. If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Note: Comments are moderated and posted on approval.


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