MN: Businesses cannot succeed without capital. What resources did you use to finance your business and how much did you initially invest in the World of Surrogacy?
CT: The resources that I started with were a telephone and money from my husband and my personal accounts with which to fly back and forth to India. I made about six or seven trips to India to meet with doctors and vet attorneys. Each trip averaged to about $10,000. All in all, we spent about $130,000 grand to start World of Surrogacy.
As the owner of World of Surrogacy, my rates depend on the rates assessed by doctors that couples use. That said, it costs between $28,000 and $34,000 to birth a single baby. It shouldn’t cost anymore than that regardless of who you work with.
MN: What was the biggest challenge you faced as a business owner? How did you overcome this challenge?
CT: The biggest challenge that I faced as a business owner with intended parents is the emotional aspect of the work. By the time couples come to me they’ve already spent about $100,000. Many couples don’t tell their families that they are taking this journey until they have the baby. Many don’t want to share the story to protect their children. Trying to balance out people’s emotional needs and the business aspect of my work is sometimes difficult. The majority of my clients are not overly emotional. However, it’s problematic if you have a client who calls you every day, 3, 4, or 15 times a day. As I move forward as a business owner, I’m trying to adjust to this aspect of my particular business. I’ve let a couple of clients know that they are not the only clients I have. I’ve also increased hiring, bulking up my staff. One other thing I’ve started doing is to let couples know that they should seek out professional counseling to deal with overwhelming emotional issues.
MN: When did you realize that you had a viable business and what did you do to celebrate this milestone?
CT: I don’t think I’ve celebrated yet. That said, by the end of 2010 I realized World of Surrogacy was a viable business, that we had recouped our losses. This year I decided to hire a publicist because I was getting a lot of media requests. We’re going to be in Essence magazine’s August issue and in Family Circle. We are also working on a reality television show. We’re hoping to start filming in the Autumn. The show will focus on my tri-racial family.
MN: During the surrogate process do parents work with their primary physician or does your company assign them a physician to work with throughout the surrogacy process. Why?
CT: During the process, sometimes some women will work with their primary physician. Many will start the protocol in the United States and finish the protocol with an Indian doctor to transfer the embryo. What I mean by protocol is that when you, as a woman seeking to become a mother through surrogacy, start in vitro fertilization (IVF) there are different protocols depending on your medical history. During the protocol you will receive different shots that the doctor feels fits your needs in order to create the best quality eggs without hyper-stimulating you.
MN: You mainly work with mothers in India when connecting would-be parents with surrogate mothers. Given the high numbers of African American children in foster care programs in the United States, why did you decide to focus your attention abroad when working to find a loving home for children whose biological parents have chosen not to raise them?
CT: I live in Howard County in Maryland. My siblings and I were foster children. After I became an adult, I wanted to give back to others with childhood roots similar to my own. However, my family lives in a county where it’s very difficult to adopt an infant. A lot of counties don’t want to share their home study with another county. Furthermore, if you receive infants who are in foster care and it’s decided that the child can return to her or his biological parent, the foster care system can take the infant from you and return the child to his or her biological parents. By the time most couples work with us they have tried adopting infants in foster care or via adoption without success. Most people who participate in surrogacy just want a child they can love and care for.
MN: What advice do you offer to women and men who have been unable to have biological children, people who may not want to go the surrogacy route but who desperately want to be loving parents to children?
CT: I work with many people who have had several miscarriages and cannot have children. I tell women to find out what their AMH levels are in order to discover if there’s something wrong with their eggs. A man’s sperm should also be tested. If a woman’s eggs are not good quality, I recommend getting an egg donor and a surrogate mother. If a woman’s eggs are good quality and there are problems with the husband’s sperm, sperm from another man can be implanted in the man’s wife.