Abundant Beginnings Co. helps families grow through surrogacy. The agency was founded by Julie Allgood and Nicole Lawson, two moms with more than 16 years of both professional and personal experience in all phases of surrogacy. Having built her own family through surrogacy, Nicole identifies intimately with those still struggling. For Julie, making a difference in the lives of others was always a priority – helping intended parents from all over the world build their family means she can experience this daily. Together with their team, they help intended parents “focus on the next chapter”, supporting them throughout the entire process. Read on for Julie and Nicole’s stories, what inspired them to work in this industry, how they extend their support to the Baby Quest Foundation for those who cannot afford treatment, and their advice for intended parents considering surrogacy.
1. What inspired you to work in the fertility industry?
Julie – I’ve always had a focus on making a difference in the lives of others, and being able to combine that with a career in the fertility industry has been a dream come true. What continues to inspire me is the compassion, perseverance and camaraderie that exists with all the people I encounter. The women who apply to be surrogates are so generous and giving, and supporting them and watching them grow through surrogacy is a true honor. The Intended Parents who come to Abundant Beginnings looking to become parents with our support gives me the opportunity to listen and learn and grow. I have a background in child development, as well as psychology, and having raised 3 children of my own has given me an incredibly deep perspective on parenting and human nature. I love the opportunity to share my wisdom and insights and to provide hope to others.
Nicole – A year after the birth of my first daughter, who was born via surrogacy in 2010, I left my job in the television entertainment field to work as a case manager for a surrogacy agency. I wanted to pay it forward and offer my personal experience to those struggling through their own journey to parenthood. Then in 2013, we were so blessed to start Abundant Beginnings Co. With my extensive personal history of infertility and surrogacy, I can identify so strongly with those who are in the same place I was in, and allow them to focus on the next chapter. I feel so blessed to work in this field, and help those through the process.
Abundant Beginnings Co. Co-founders Julie Allgood and Nicole Lawson
2. We’d love to hear your story – can you share some highlights of the journey since opening in 2013?
We have a really unique story, in that we were working for fertility doctors who were pioneers in the world of 3rd party/assisted reproduction in the LA area. We got to spend an invaluable amount of time within the clinic itself, working with the team (REs, nurses, embryologists, etc.) In the spring of 2013, we were given the opportunity to branch out on our own with the doctors’ encouragement. Abundant Beginnings started with a caseload of active clients!
We have welcomed over 120+ babies, and each one is so special! It is challenging to share the highlights, because there have been so many. We are just continuously in awe of the women who decide to be surrogates, and those Intended Parents that will stop at nothing to become a parent.
Additionally, we have been honored to be on the board of Baby Quest Foundation, where we get to be a part of such a special process, and contribute financially and emotionally to those needing help with their process in all capacities.
The effects of a global pandemic have not stopped us from helping families! While things may have slowed down a bit, we have continued to make matches and welcome babies into the world. Because our staff is so caring, we have navigated this together, supporting and encouraging and staying flexible. 2020 was all about adapting to change. Communication is always key, keeping everyone informed, connecting with the medical professionals, and making the best recommendations for our clients.
A team effort… and a whole lot of love
3. What has been your most rewarding experience personally over your years in this work?
We have worked with all types of people since we started, and have made friends and connections all over the world. I remember meeting one of our gay couples, and having them share with us that they always wanted to be dads, and it was one of the first things they discussed when they got together. The fact that they can achieve their dreams of parenthood through surrogacy is so rewarding.
Another example that stands out… we helped a couple from China who spoke no English —and when they came to the US for the birth of their baby, the surrogate and her family welcomed them with open arms, took them to the local department store to stock up on baby supplies, all using the language of love;)!
Truly, watching a team come together to help someone become a parent or grow their family IS the reward! Each Surrogate-Intended Parent relationship is so unique and it is an honor to witness this wonderful work.
One of Abundant Beginning’s gestational carriers – third trimester excitement!
4. What is your advice for intended parents just beginning to consider surrogacy?
Surrogacy can feel very overwhelming with so much information online. It can feel like a lot to filter through. The best advice from an agency that has been around for so many years, and as a former Intended Parent, is to embrace the surrogacy process with open arms. Once you have processed everything financially and emotionally, looking for a surrogate is so exciting. The women that want to be a surrogate are selfless women that just want to help. Just being open to a surrogate’s location, ethnicity, job etc… will allow for a smoother match process. Any surrogate Abundant Beginnings presents to a client will have the important surrogate factors (easy pregnancy history, surrogacy friendly state, stable home life and a great support system). Additionally, finding an agency that you can trust will be with you every step is extremely important. Abundant Beginnings offers that support from the initial consultation until after your baby is born and beyond.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to share about Abundant Beginnings Company?
Abundant Beginnings has been blessed to welcome 100’s of babies into this World, and help Intended Parents from all over the World start or expand their families. We are so proud of the team and the company we have created. We are an honest and ethical agency, and we LOVE that we get to help others through this process.
Thank you, Julie and Nicole, for supporting so many intended parents along their journey and for contributing to such a wonderful charitable organization in the fertility community!
Ready to start your search for a surrogacy agency? Learn more about Abundant Beginnings Co. and other wonderful options, here.