SurrogateOpoly was initially the brainchild of one of our staff members, Nicole (who is also currently a Surrogate). We were smack-dab in the middle of the pandemic, and we were struggling to find new and enticing ways to maintain our connection to our Surrogates and IP’s, while safely social-distancing. We have always operated under the premise that in-person events were the best way to connect and interact with both groups. Once the pandemic hit, our normal way of doing business had to change. Just like so many people around the world have experienced in the last 18 months, we had to find a way to forge and maintain our relationships, virtually.
July Surrogate Support Group SurrogateOpoly winners
We are used to seeing our Surrogates on a regular basis. In normal times, we have monthly, in-person meetings where everyone brings a covered dish, and we talk about the challenges they may be facing, or the next joyous milestone coming up. We’ve also always had several large events throughout the year, like Mother’s Day cruises, or SAI’s annual Family Event, at which we honor our Surrogates AND their families. COVID-19 put an end to our in-person get-togethers, but it did not end our desire to spend time interacting with Surrogates and IP’s. We had to come up with a way to change the game, so to speak.
This got us thinking about games in general, and what games we could create and/or play with the Surrogates from home, where everyone was as safe as possible. We devised Scavenger Hunts, created Bingo cards for Zoom Bingo, compiled lots of trivia lists (for days like May the Fourth Be With You)…basically, any way we could have fun, stay in contact, that would allow us to see the Surrogates at least monthly was considered. SurrogateOpoly was born during one of our feverish brain-storming sessions in which we all came together to generate new ideas to engage our target audience. Nicole mentioned that she has seen something online about creating your own personalized board games, and thought it might be something we should look at. We kicked it around the meeting, decided it sounded kind of cool, and determined that modeling our game after Monopoly was the best fit for us and would provide the most opportunities for branding. Nicole was given the green light to gather more information about costs, options, manufacturing time, etc, and asked to present her findings at our weekly staff meeting so we could discuss it as a team. The presentation went well, everyone liked the idea and the broad concept, as well as the opportunities for branding and the familiarity of the model game to most people. We had a winner!
Once we made a decision about the game model, Diana and Damien got to work designing all the pieces. Everyone on the team submitted ideas for property names, and we realized that the game had so many more opportunities to inform and educate than we initially realized. Diana shared the idea with one of our longtime professionals (attorneys, IVF doctors, psychologists, etc) and he LOVED it, asking how he could support the idea and potentially be involved in it. At that point, we figured out that we had a lot of real estate to develop, and invited the other professionals we work with to participate in the game design and be part of the experience! Everyone we approached was all for it, and just like that…it became a collaborative effort!
SurrogateOpoly traveled far and wide!
At this point, we began to think about, and verbalize to each other, all of our personal ideas about the game and what it meant to us. We know that so many of our IP’s struggle with educating their friends and family about surrogacy. It can also be a challenge to explain it to your child(ren), particularly during their younger years. We believe that by playing the game with your kids, or with family and friends who have questions that they may or may not be comfortable asking, it opens up the conversation more naturally by: promoting sharing of details about the journey that others may not know; allowing more open communications between parents and their support system; highlighting the contributions of everyone involved in your journey, from doctors, to attorneys, to auxiliary services and agency employees. It truly takes a village, and you can use the game, with its fun and colorful visual aides, to help you tell the story of your amazing journey…the story of (insert your child’s name here).
The SAI team with Attorney Rich Vaughn
Memories fade. We get busy with our lives, and sometimes forget the little details that make up our stories, like the name of our attorney, who drove six hours to make a deadline for a filing, when the courthouse’s power was out and they could not accept it electronically; or the psychologist who performed a psychological evaluation on a second egg donor candidate for free, because the first donor inexplicably ghosted her IP’s on the cusp of her scheduled retrieval; or the many, many more amazing people and contributions that comprise each family’s individual journey. When you land on Dr Covelluzzi’s square in our game, you remember his part, and can share it as part of the whole. It takes a village, and all the members of SAI’s village are represented in our SurrogateOpoly game.
Surrogates Angelica, Danielle and Nicole playing SurrogateOpoly in their hotel the night before SAI’s August Disney Retreat
So, how do you get a copy of this fabulous board game? I am so glad you asked! We provided several copies to each of the professionals visible in the game, so you can see them if you visit their offices. We gifted a number of copies of the game to our IP’s after the birth of their child(ren), as well as to our Surrogates once they deliver. We also include them as part of our prize giveaways for some of our virtual events. If none of those ways work for you, you can always just purchase one! We are offering them on our website , or via telephone or email, for the cost of the game and the shipping! We’re not interested in making a profit off it, just recouping our initial investment, so we can use the money to manufacture more games, and offer those for cost, too ☺. We believe that everyone should get a game of their own, so we try to make it as easy as possible to obtain.
Ready to start your search for a surrogacy agency? Learn more about Surrogate Alternatives and other wonderful options at gostork.com.