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.