When I decided to start my surrogacy journey, my priority was to first find the right Egg Donor. This process has not been easy as I started my journey in December 2014 and I only managed to find my right match in December 2015. This is all thanks to finding the right agency, Diversity Fertility Services.
Before I contacted Helen Stephens, director of Diversity Fertility Services (DFS), I had gone through 14 agencies with each of them promising the “perfect match”. Being an Asian, my first priority was that the Egg Donor must be of Asian ethnicity; unfortunately this does not make it any easier. I should have known, as there are over 30 ethnicities within the “Asian” culture.
I was presented with more than 200 profiles for consideration. It was indeed very overwhelming. Prior to finding Diversity Fertility, we even had another agency take a deposit and tell us that the Donor we selected did not have a positive result in her last cycle so we could no longer work with her. This other agency would not return our money so we had no choice but to settle for another Donor.
We were devastated when this other agency told us the second Donor was now requesting a 200% increment from her agreed fee. My partner said we should not be bullied and to just treat our monetary loss as a tuition fee for a lesson well learned and to really trust our gut feelings from this point onward. We decided not to move forward anymore until a fertility doctor recommended Helen from Diversity Fertility Services as having many successful experiences with medical clinics. All it took was just one phone call with Helen and I knew we were in good hands.
First of all, after I described to Helen the Egg Donor I was hoping for, she sent me profiles specific to my needs through a very secure third party portal rather than just a password and login information online. I was impressed as she explained that this would add an extra layer of security for the many Egg Donors who wish to keep their profiles as confidential as possible. That gesture to me was already above any standard of service I’d worked with previously.
Choosing an Egg Donor from DFS’s large pool could have been difficult as DFS has a lot of high quality and extremely well educated Egg Donors. But Helen provided me profiles specifically based on my preferences and my partner and I were able to shortlist four profiles that I immediately liked. Helen went above and beyond in telling me as much as possible about her Donors. She didn’t just recite their profiles, but, having met with each one personally, she could tell me exactly what their characteristics were based on her first impressions, feedback from the agency’s psychologist (every Donor must be psychologically assessed prior to beginning an egg donation in the US) and of all of them and also very minute but important details.
For example, she would tell me, “This Donor could not find her hotel at night when she had to fly to her medical clinic but she was very calm and was able to handle the situation maturely.” She would even describe one of her Donors as an “old soul” or “this Donor’s athleticism and aesthetic appeal was very apparent when she walked in.”
What was also very important for me was that Helen has so many experiences in this field that she was also able to quickly offer me answers on the Surrogate Mothers, the clinic and even refer me to proper legal counsel to negotiate my contracts and protect my needs. Helen would be able to tell you her experience with most, if not all, the IVF doctors in the country, her success rates with them and, just as importantly, she would be able to provide a pretty accurate estimate (immediately on the phone) on the overall cost which includes legal services, hotels, insurance and even how much flight tickets would roughly cost from one state to another.
But out of everything, what impressed me most about working with Helen is that she can be very decisive. As my partner and I were wavering between Donor profiles, Helen was able to help us make our decision by gently but effectively keeping us focused on the qualities we found to be most important in our Donor.
I am so fortunate to have met Helen and have worked with Diversity Fertility, and I cannot thank you enough to be blessed with Helen’s incredible expertise and patience in consulting and counselling us throughout this whole process whether it’s 4am in the morning or 9pm at night.