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Staying Connected: Promoting Surrogate Education and Community

When you answer a unique call to make dreams come true for intended parents, you have provided a family with the ultimate gift of unconditional love. No one understands this one-of-a-kind feeling more than NewGen Families’ Surrogate Director, Donnyé Sabo, who continues her personal surrogate journey far beyond the first time that she carried twins for intended parents. Today, Donnyé proudly uses her first-hand knowledge to nurture and guide potential surrogates throughout their extraordinary journey. In doing so, she has discovered a crucial component that is often missing in most surrogacy agencies: Education and Community. Naturally, not all surrogacy journeys are the same. Taking this into consideration, Donnyé has tailored the NewGen surrogacy program to the individual so that surrogates at NewGen feel a deep connection to their personal journey upon taking their very first step. To facilitate this process, Donnyé advocates for the need to educate surrogates so that they are thoroughly informed of both the legal and medical procedures involved in a gestational surrogate experience. Furthermore, it is by creating a community through which surrogates can feel connected to one another that they can best navigate their way through an amazing and fulfilling journey.   

Who would have thought that it was while watching the American sitcom Friends that Donnyé first heard of surrogacy? In one particular episode, the character of Phoebe, agrees to carry triplets for her brother and his wife. Donnyé recalls, “I sat there thinking, that’s really an awesome thing to do for somebody else. I began to consider that since my pregnancies were rather simple, I could help others to become parents”. While it was a television show that first introduced Donnyé to surrogacy, it was her personal surrogacy journey that was the catalyst for an important career change: “The reason why I entered the professional side of surrogacy was that when I was going through my first journey, I felt so alone. I had signed with a very large agency and found it difficult to stay connected. I felt pretty much alone throughout the entire process”. 

Living in a small town in Oregon, Donnyé wanted to create a community so that fellow surrogates, whom she met during her first journey, could stay connected and help one another: “I reached out to another surrogate from my agency and shared with her my concerns of feeling alone. We decided that we would start surrogate get-togethers so we could stay connected. We met once a month. We had great meetings. We would talk and support each other in our journeys”. The meetings were such a success that Donnyé decided to continue organising meetings throughout her second journey before professionals working in the surrogacy industry began hearing of her achievements and the positive impact that she was having on the women who were in the initial stages of their journey. This eventually led to Donnyé being offered a position as a Surrogate Coordinator at another agency. Donnyé soon discovered that she really enjoyed working as a mentor to women who shared her passion for helping people grow their families. When asked if she views surrogacy as a ‘calling’, Donnyé replied, “I most certainly do. I felt it the moment I met my first intended parents. It was as if the universe opened a pathway for me. Yes, it was a calling to essentially help others and connect to others by developing a much-needed community. However, it wasn’t until I was a surrogate coordinator, feeling such a deep connection to the women I met, that I realised I wanted and needed to help them through education. It is very important to educate surrogates. Education for surrogates is very few and far between. My goal is not only to nurture and guide surrogates but also to make sure that they understand every step in their journey. I want to make sure that they avoid any mishaps or face unnecessary challenges. This allows them to make informed, educated decisions throughout their journey so that they never have to feel alone. They are always connected”.

By helping surrogates make informed choices, Donnyé is changing the surrogacy industry by improving the surrogate experience: “In order to educate our surrogates, I developed a handbook to be able to provide specific information for women choosing to do this. Letting them know what things mean, what might happen, what’s going to happen along their journey so that they can be prepared. Whether it’s the surrogate benefits package, insurance information, OB clearance form, matching with intended parents, legal contracts, escrow services, cycle calendar and medications, choosing a lawyer, medical screening, reimbursements and compensation, embryo transfer, you name it. All this information is super important. They are not flying into surrogacy without any knowledge”. 

Donnyé plays a vital role at NewGen Families by bringing transparency, education and community to all of their surrogates. As a boutique agency that does not prioritise attaining large numbers but rather by establishing a deep connection and humanising the experience of all parties involved, NewGen Families encourages a familial relationship that goes far beyond the mere transactional: “We are creating a community, a NewGen family! I love what I do. I have walked this path, so I am aware of what these women need at the various stages of their journey. I can answer the questions that I was asking at the time. And if they can avoid the challenges that I faced and I can provide the much-needed information that I was craving during my first journey, then I can help these amazing women discover what a fulfilling and life-changing experience surrogacy truly is. I think that’s the reason why I love my job so much. It’s making sure that surrogates are educated to make informed decisions. I can rest assured knowing that they feel safe and secure”. 

Those who have walked the very same path of a surrogate journey can be the ultimate mentor. Donnyé is that mentor in the truest sense of the word. She is someone who contributes her life experience with an unyielding passion while offering care, compassion, advice and mentorship. Should your heart be open to experience the joy of becoming a surrogate, Donnyé and the NewGen Families Surrogate Support Team, members of which are also experienced surrogates, will accompany you throughout an amazing adventure. Potential NewGen Families surrogates never have to feel alone or uninformed. Instead, they feel emboldened to make informed decisions, feel fulfilled, supported and secure during a journey of creativity, beauty and empowerment.   

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