This is Courtney's story, a three-time surrogate with Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists. At the time of writing, Courtney had just undergone an embryo transfer five days prior—the beginning of her third surrogacy journey and her first sibling journey.
As an early childhood educator, Courtney's studies covered a range of topics over the course of her education—including a number of family-building options. Her coursework in one class covered surrogacy.
"It intrigued me back then," Courtney remembers. "I told my husband before we were even married, 'One day, I want to do this.' It was just something that seemed really remarkable to me."
Courtney didn't even have kids of her own at that point—didn't even know if she'd enjoy being pregnant, she says laughing—but she immediately knew she wanted to become a surrogate one day.
Fast forward to 2005 when she and her husband started their own family. She gave birth to two twin boys and had a relatively easy pregnancy. Four years later, she had her third child—another son—and at that point, she says, she was ready to start thinking about surrogacy.
"I told my husband before we were even married, 'One day, I want to do this.' It just seemed really remarkable."
She began doing her research and eventually reached out to her first surrogacy agency—however, they "didn't give her a good vibe."
"It seemed very much a business rather than it being organic and natural," Courtney says. "Their responses and their approach to surrogacy kind of turned me off a little bit."
She let it go for a little while. Then, in 2012, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer—and at that point, she knew she wanted to do it. "With everything going wrong with her and everything she was going through, I just felt like this was a way I could contribute to the world—to do something better."
Finding the Right Agency
That year, as she started to get back into researching surrogacy, Courtney happened to run into a friend at her son's football game. Her friend was pregnant—and the baby wasn't hers. She just happened to be a surrogate with Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists.
"At that point, I asked her a ton of questions. I wanted to know what agency she was using, what the experience had been—I tried to get as much information from her as possible," Courtney says. "She had a really great relationship with Worldwide, so that's how I got connected with them."
Shortly thereafter, she reached out to Worldwide—and had a dramatically different experience from the first agency she spoke with.
"The Worldwide Surrogacy team was just so different from the other agency I was looking into. I just knew it was going to be a good fit for me. Instantly, I was like, 'This is it. This is the perfect timing.'"
Starting Her First Journey
Once Courtney started working with Worldwide Surrogacy, things happened "rather quickly" after that. She gathered her paperwork, submitted her surrogacy application, and matched within months with a single Intended Mother.
The Intended Mother had gone through IVF several times herself, and unfortunately, it was always unsuccessful. Eventually, after trying for years on her own, she started working with Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists to fulfill her dream of starting her family through surrogacy.
In May 2015, Courtney had her first embryo transfer—and both she and the Intended Mother were overcome with happiness when they found it was successful. Courtney delivered her Intended Mother's beautiful baby boy in February 2016.
Courtney's first journey was an unforgettable experience—and marked the first extension of her truly modern family.
"Not only did I develop a really close relationship with her, but she's very, very close with her mother and father—so my whole family has developed a relationship with her parents," Courtney says. "Her father is so sweet. He really cares—you can tell that he cares about me, he cares about my children, and he always calls me 'Courtney, my angel.' It was the most heartwarming experience possible. They're just a really, really nice family—and having that, it kind of created an extended family for my kids and for myself and my husband."
“It was the most heartwarming experience possible. They’re just a really nice family—and having that, it kind of created an extended family for my kids and for myself and my husband.”
Another Potential Match
Before she'd even delivered the Intended Mother's baby to complete her first surrogacy journey, Worldwide Surrogacy had already found Courtney another potential match. A high-profile single Intended Mother was looking for a surrogate, the Worldwide team thought they would be a perfect match.
As soon as she delivered, Courtney sent in her paperwork to be matched a second time. "This woman's story just tugged at my heartstrings," she said. "I really wanted to be able to help her."
Unfortunately, when Courtney sent her records out, she wasn't approved by the clinic because of a question regarding whether she had cholestasis during her pregnancy so they didn't pursue it any further. She figured that was okay, she needed a break anyway.
Then, Serena, our Vice President & Director of Surrogate Services, reached out. She told Courtney that they were hoping she would be interested in taking another journey and to let them know if and when she was ready.
A New Journey Begins
After a few months, the Worldwide team reached out again just to check in—and Courtney was ready. They sent her four or five different profiles when she stumbled on one that caught her eye.
"One dad was in education, and I'd been a teacher for years and I thought, 'This family sounds really intriguing to me. I'd really like to meet them and learn more,'" she says.
That marked the beginning of Courtney's second journey.
Courtney met the two Intended Fathers from New York City over Skype. "It was chaos," she says, laughing. "They were getting married and they had all of these crazy plans going on, but the minute I Skyped with them, I was like 'I love them.' It was a real click—instant connection."
“The minute I Skyped with them, I was like, 'I love them.' It was a real click—instant connection.”
Courtney met the Intended Fathers in person shortly after. They met in New Haven, had coffee together, and the trio immediately hit it off. "They were just so natural and calm and really fun to be around. I left that meeting like, 'Yes! These guys are great. I can't wait to start this journey with them.'"
Courtney immediately emailed the Worldwide team to let them know that she wanted to match with them, the Intended Fathers did the same, and a perfect match was officially made.
Courtney's Modern Family Tree Grows
Unlike many Intended Parents, the Intended Fathers had a known egg donor. The couple's best friend donated her eggs to create their embryos—and that's when not one, but two more branches were added to Courtney's modern family tree.
"The three of them had such an awesome relationship. The Intended Fathers understood that it might be hard to talk to two guys about what your body's going through as a woman during pregnancy, so they asked if I would mind meeting their egg donor. So we met, and we developed a really great friendship—and she's now one of my good friends."
Together, the four of them were ready to take the journey of a lifetime together.
First, they met with the reproductive endocrinologist. The egg donor is roughly the same age as Courtney (in her late 30s at the time) so they had a very limited number of embryos to work with. After getting them tested, they realized they only one viable embryo—but it worked, and the first transfer was successful.
Courtney delivered the couple's son in August 2018—and one of his fathers, a physician himself, was there to catch him. She, her husband, and the overjoyed couple were all there to welcome their son into the world.
"I happened to have a great doctor throughout my pregnancy who really loved being a part of it. He loved watching this whole journey happen," Courtney says. "Plus, I had a really great birth experience—minus the 9 pounds and 6 ounces."
A Very Important Question
It would be a little over a year and a half until the Intended Fathers came back to Courtney with a very special request.
"It was right before Christmas," Courtney says. "They reached out like, 'We need to talk to you. We have a really big question to ask.' They were really serious, and I could tell they were so nervous. 'We understand, we totally understand if you don't want to do this or if it's too much or if it's too much on your body or too much on your family, but we would love for you to carry another child for us.' So of course, I was immediately like, 'Uhm, yes, of course!'"
"I don't have to think it over, I don't have to ask my husband, we don't have to discuss it...we already know we want this baby for you."
The couple asked if Courtney wanted to think it over, and she said absolutely not, she didn't have to. "I don't have to think it over, I don't have to ask my husband, we don't have to discuss it...we already know we want this baby for you," she said.
A Third Surrogacy Journey—and First Sibling Journey—Begins
Courtney's third surrogacy journey—her first sibling journey—began in November 2019. The first transfer unfortunately failed, and shortly after, COVID-19 hit.
The couple's first egg donor—and Courtney's new close friend—was sadly unable to help them with their second child. They tried two more cycles but unfortunately, both failed. The couple started the process of finding a new egg donor, going through the matching, contract, and embryo creation process all over again.
Of course, the Intended Fathers were eager for Courtney to meet their new egg donor virtually—and of course, Courtney was happy to welcome another member of her modern family.
She received her latest embryo transfer on April 9, 2021—almost 2 years to the day since they've started trying for the second baby. "I'm hoping this little one sticks around," she says, smiling.
A Word of Advice for Other Potential Surrogates
As she embarks on her third surrogacy journey with Worldwide Surrogacy, Courtney wanted to share a few words of wisdom.
1. Do Your Research
Do your research and know what it involves before getting into it—and find the agency you really connect with. Not all agencies are created equal, and I’m so glad I didn’t just jump into it when I applied at the first agency because I don’t think I would’ve had the same experience.
With Worldwide, they know when they need your support and when you don’t need their support—it's great. I really relied on them to be able to say, “Hey Serena, this is what the Intended Mother was talking about...how do I work through this concern?” It's so important to make sure you match with the right agency, do your research, and know the process in advance.
2. You'll Never Anticipate the Relationships You'll Build
You can’t ever anticipate the relationships you're going to build throughout this. I would've guessed that we’d have the baby and we’d drift apart, but they've really become a part of my family. I know their aunts, their uncles, their mothers, their sisters...I’ve made all of these wonderful, lifelong relationships that I never anticipated.
3. You'll Teach Your Kids an Important Lesson—and They May Become "Little Surrogacy Promoters"
“It’s been a really great experience for my children to realize that not everything you do in life is for yourself. By having these experiences, by doing something kindhearted for someone else, it changes your life. With three teenage boys, it's been such an important lesson.
Here's a perfect example: One of the Intended Fathers speaks Bosnian. Suddenly, my 15-year old is talking about wanting to speak Bosnian. He's like, "Maybe I want to be a translator one day!" They learn so much about diversity and connecting with different lifestyles. It's really about promoting acceptance and understanding, and it's been an important learning experience for them.
Plus, they're little surrogacy promoters now. They tell all of their friends, their teachers, and they're able to talk about it in a way where they sound very well-educated and knowledgeable about the process—because they are!
Interested in finding out if you have what it takes to become a surrogate? If Courtney's story inspired you to start looking into surrogacy, take our brief 2-minute prescreen quiz today to see if you qualify.