I had the pleasure of hearing from Diana Olmeda, President and CEO of Surrogate Alternatives, a family owned surrogacy and egg donation agency with offices in California and Virginia. With 22 years of experience under their belt, Surrogate Alternatives has witnessed many important developments in surrogacy, all while assisting thousands of families along the way. Here’s what Diana had to say about the agency’s humble beginnings, the wonderful relationships built throughout the years, and her advice for intended parents about to embark on this special journey:
Happy families, thanks to Surrogate Alternatives
1. What inspired you to work in the fertility industry?
A close family friend had a medical condition that prohibited her from carrying her own child, which is how I came to learn about Surrogacy. I was so intrigued by the idea I wanted to make it a career and for 2 years I did research, met with professionals in the industry and learned absolutely everything I could. Mind you, in 1996 there wasn’t as much information as there is now and Traditional Surrogacy was being done more frequently than Gestational.
2. We’d love to hear the Surrogate Alternatives story – can you share some highlights of the journey starting with opening in 1998?
I started working from my home and took out a $5,000 loan to get the business off the ground. Our very first surrogate baby was an at-home birth, the intended mother was the doula and it was a Traditional Surrogacy. Over the years surrogacy has evolved and changed, our industry as a whole has grown and become more widely accepted. I attended every artificial insemination procedure, embryo transfer and delivery for the first three years of the company opening. I will never forget those early years and the relationships I built with those surrogates. Many of them I am still friends with to this day.
3. What has been your most rewarding experience personally over your years in this work?
I would say being able to connect with our surrogates since I did two journeys myself (twins the first time and a singleton the second). It takes a very special woman to be a surrogate and put her body and family through everything surrogacy entails. I am very fortunate to be able to be a part of such a gift and being able to see the intended parents hold their child for the first time is beyond rewarding.
Surrogate Alternatives’ wonderful Gestational Carriers
4. What is your advice for intended parents just beginning to consider surrogacy?
Surrogacy can be confusing, there’s a lot of little pieces and it’s important to have a reputable company with history to be your advocate and guide. The journey with your surrogate is what you make of it. If you take the time to get to know your surrogate and treat it as a friendship rather than a business transaction, you will have a much more rewarding experience. Do your due diligence and research any agency you are considering to assist you.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to share about Surrogate Alternatives?
We have been building families through Surrogacy and Egg Donation for 22 years and during that time we have helped bring over 3,500 babies into the world. We never have a waiting list, we always have surrogates ready for immediate matching to get your journey started right away. Being able to be a part of the creation of a new generation is a miracle, I can’t think of anything better and when you love what you do, it shows.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Diana – hard work definitely pays off, especially when so much love is involved! Intended parents, check back over here over the coming weeks for more featured providers.
Ready to start your search for a surrogacy agency? Learn more about Surrogate Alternatives and many other wonderful options, here.