Parents Who Had Their Kids Through Surrogacy Share Gratitude and Joy


  • Rebel Wilson recently shared on Instagram that she became a first-time mom via surrogacy. 
  • Insider talked to four parents who had kids through surrogacy about their journeys. 
  • One parent spent over $200,000 to have their child. 

Actor Rebel Wilson announced the arrival of her daughter, Royce Lillian, on Instagram Monday, calling her “a beautiful miracle” and thanking everyone involved, including her “gorgeous surrogate.” 

Using a gestational carrier is a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular. But it can be emotionally difficult on the intended parents, Ashley Wiltshire, a reproductive-endocrinology and infertility specialist and a board-certified OB-GYN at Columbia University Fertility Center in New York, said.

Insider spoke with four parents who used surrogates to find out what the process was like. Overwhelmingly, they expressed extreme gratitude to the surrogates for making their dreams come true.

‘It was the most selfless thing any woman could do’

Arsiak Vartenian, a resident of Miami, Florida, started trying to conceive in her mid-30s and had multiple miscarriages before her first meeting with a fertility doctor. Five rounds of IVF resulted in four healthy embryos, but she wasn’t able to carry a baby on her own. After hearing about a friend’s surrogacy journey, Vartenian chose an agency and started the process. She was matched with a surrogate who ultimately gave birth to her now almost 12-month-old daughter, Valentina.

“I love my surrogate, Amanda. She is truly an amazing woman. What she did for us was the most selfless thing any woman could do for another woman or family,” Vartenian said. 

Michelle Valiukenas of Glenview, Illinois, went through several rounds of IVF before giving birth due to severe preeclampsia at 24 weeks. Her daughter, Colette Louise, only lived for nine days in the NICU — the experience left Valiukenas terrified of being pregnant again, and after another round of IVF that didn’t take, she moved forward with surrogacy. “Our surrogate — who delivered our child, Ethan, in 2020 — was absolutely awesome,” she said.

‘We are eternally grateful to our surrogate’

Five years into a difficult infertility journey that included miscarriages, complications, and failed embryo transfers, Kate Stuckmeyer of Chicago, Illinois, decided to turn to surrogacy. “I don’t have any regrets, other than I wish I’d done it sooner,” she said. 

Stuckmeyer and her husband wanted a healthy surrogate whose values aligned with theirs, and an egg donor and surrogacy agency helped them find their match. At first, Stuckmeyer worried she’d feel jealous of her surrogate, but immense gratitude quickly replaced those fears.

“We are eternally grateful to our surrogate for making our dream come true and giving us our greatest gift. Our first journey was so incredible that we are embarking on a sibling journey together,” Stuckmeyer said.

They will hold a special place in our hearts for the rest of our lives’

According to Wiltshire, insurance usually does not cover the use of a gestational carrier — though there are exceptions — making it inaccessible to many. “It’s no secret that surrogacy is expensive,” Eran Amir, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, whose first journey with surrogacy cost $200,000, said. Navigating the process as a single 40-year-old gay man was daunting for Amir. “I had no easy way to compare fertility providers to make an informed decision about my future family,” he said. 

That’s what inspired him to start GoStork, an online platform connecting fertility patients with egg donors, surrogacy agencies, and fertility clinics. Since his journey started, Amir met and married his husband, Mike. With the help of two gestational carriers, the couple has blossomed into a family of four. “They will hold a special place in our hearts for the rest of our lives,” Amir said, adding that the family recently began their third surrogacy journey.

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