25 Years and Over 2,000 Babies:
The Circle Surrogacy Story

Rebecca Hochreiter
Rebecca Hochreiter
CMO of Gostork

We recently connected with Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, a leading egg donation and surrogacy agency based in Boston, Massachusetts. Sam joined Circle Surrogacy in 2017 having himself experienced challenges along the journey to parenthood.  He shares his own story, the brief history of Circle Surrogacy (did you know the name is derived from The Lion King’s ‘Circle of Life’?) and helpful advice for intended parents considering surrogacy.

 

Circle Surrrogacy parents

Happy families created with the help of Circle Surrogacy

 

What inspired you to work in the fertility industry?

Since my wife and I had trouble conceiving, and ultimately relied on IVF to help us start our family, I was naturally drawn to a business with the same focus. Even though the business is more emotional than most (we have clients who have miscarriages and failed transfers), the rewards are well worth it – getting to see people grow their families with our help is incredibly rewarding.

We’d love to hear the Circle Surrogacy story – can you share some highlights of the journey starting with opening in 1995?

To hear John Weltman, the Founder of Circle Surrogacy, tell the story of Circle Surrogacy is like hearing a love story filled with passion. As a gay dad through surrogacy and a lawyer, John had first-hand experience with surrogacy when he started Circle. Even Circle’s name was derived from the ‘Circle of Life’ from Disney’s The Lion King, a movie that John and his husband were watching on repeat with their son when the agency was born. Circle was founded on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to become a parent, and that is true to this day. Circle Surrogacy has always been headquartered in Boston; in fact, the agency operated out of a Boston law firm in its infancy. Circle’s first client approached John in 1995 to use a surrogate. From there, the business grew, from the first baby being born in 1997 until Circle celebrated 2,000 babies in 2019. Still headquartered in Boston, Circle has also opened up offices in New York and the San Francisco Bay area. Circle Surrogacy has brought over 2,100 babies into the world…and counting!

 

Happy families created with the help of Circle Surrogacy

 

What has been your most rewarding experience personally over your years in this work? 

I love seeing the clients come through our program that I also had the opportunity to meet with at the beginning of their journey. And seeing them come through from the time of consult – when they are sometimes anxious about the process – to see them at the end with a baby in their arms beaming ear to ear with a smile is incredibly rewarding. Obviously, the parents and the surrogates are doing the core work here – but our ability to support them, help coordinate, and provide our guidance is meaningful to me. The best days are the ones when I see an email from a parent in my inbox with a photo of their baby, thanking us for helping them and supporting them through their journey. That makes everything worth it.

What is your advice for intended parents just beginning to consider surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a wonderful process, though it can feel complex and overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out. Parents considering surrogacy should do their research, as there are so many things to consider: Do they want to work with an agency? Do they know someone to be their surrogate or do they need help finding one? Will they need an egg donor? What type of relationship do they want with their surrogate? Are they ready emotionally and financially for a surrogacy journey?

Seeing the surrogacy process first-hand every day, I would recommend intended parents work with a reputable surrogacy agency to help them on their journey. There are so many moving pieces and professionals involved, having someone with experience to support you and manage the journey helps intended parents focus on what’s important: the arrival of their baby. The process can feel long, and they may sometimes experience bumps in the road; it’s important to have a team behind you to be your advocate and help you through those hurdles.

My advice to intended parents considering different surrogacy agencies is to focus on 3 key points:

  1. Experience. You want an agency who has not only staff with the right professional experience (such as lawyers knowledgeable in Assisted Reproductive Law), but also the day-to-day experience of managing surrogacy journeys. Circle has been managing journeys for 25 years and even though we haven’t seen everything, we have more combined experience than any agency in the country.
  2. Success. Intended parents turning to surrogacy have likely faced infertility challenges or – such as our same sex parents – require a surrogate to grow their families. Choosing an agency with a proven success rate of parents bringing home babies can help guarantee their success. At Circle, we have a 99.3% success rate for intended parents bringing home a baby from their first two transfers, or have completed at least three transfers. If intended parents can partner with us for the long haul, we’ll achieve success together.
  3. Surrogate screening. How a surrogate is screened is so important to the success of the journey. Ask the agencies you interview what their screening process is, and how much screening is done before you’re matched with a surrogate. At Circle, we match our intended parents with surrogates after the women have filled out a lengthy application and have spoken with experienced surrogates on our team, have been screened via video by a licensed mental health professional, and lastly, have undergone a psychological exam. This may mean it takes a little longer to match with a surrogate, but we’re confident that a best-in-class surrogate is worth the wait!

Ask lots of questions! You should feel comfortable with your choice as you embark on the greatest journey of your lives.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about Circle Surrogacy? 

We’re a staff of individuals who are passionate about surrogacy, and doing surrogacy the “right way”.  Circle Surrogacy has all our services in-house, done by individuals with professional accreditations. Plus, about 40% of our staff have personal experience as surrogates, egg donors or parents through surrogacy, or are parents through IVF or adoption. We are invested in each and every journey, and our team approach allows us to bring different experience, support and solutions to the journeys that other smaller agencies can’t.

Thank you, Sam, Circle Surrogacy’s work is truly inspiring. Intended parents: check back here in the coming weeks for more featured providers! In the meantime, you can start your search for your ideal surrogacy agency, here.