Guest Blog: My Family Building Journey Inspired Me To Support Others Building Theirs
By Eran Amir, Founder of GoStork
I always knew I wanted children.
Getting there was quite the journey. For me it included surrogacy, egg donation and IVF. There were so many barriers to overcome, but I’m grateful for every single step that led me to my amazing daughters, Ariel and Yael. As is true for so many others, I was completely lost when I got started - but I learned so much during my fertility journey, that I emerged as a new father hoping to help other intended parents start this demanding (yet rewarding beyond words) process themselves. This is what inspired GoStork, the first fertility marketplace where you can find, compare and connect with top fertility providers all in one place. But, first things first…
My Surrogacy Story
My family building began in 2017.
Navigating the process, steps, providers, costs and more was so much more difficult than I ever could have expected. I spent weeks, completely losing track of the countless hours, weeding through many different websites and information sources. I didn’t have friends or family who had gone through surrogacy, didn’t know which agency to choose, didn’t even know how to make the choice, had no idea of what the roadmap ahead looked like, got frustrated with the lack of transparency around pricing or any way to compare agencies ‘apples to apples’, didn’t get support as a gay father (without an infertility diagnosis) from my company’s insurance policy — and the list goes on.
I needed an egg donor as well and - similar to how my surrogacy agency search began - it was far more difficult than expected to find ‘the one’. I had specific criteria that I was looking for and each egg donation agency was limited as far as the number and diversity of available donors, so I had to go to at least five different agencies (including all of the registration processes in each - some I even needed to pay for just to access) before I matched with the wonderful donor for both of my girls. I’ve now learned this is a common experience for many other intended parents, so if you’re going through it as well, I can relate!
Eventually I began to piece things together, got a referral from a friend of a friend of a friend, made a plan, and started my journey. At this point, I also discovered I needed a lawyer to support both egg donation and surrogacy. I never guessed there were such in-depth legal components to address (Jennifer is best placed to tell you all about that!).Three months later, I matched with a wonderful gestational carrier (surrogate) and everything really fell into place in June of 2018 with the birth of my amazing little Ariel.
Still, I knew there had to be a better way. My path to parenthood soon became the inspiration for an exciting new professional path. A year after my daughter was born, I left my career (over 20 years in technology), and began to create GoStork with the goal to use technology to bring better access and transparency to the fertility industry, helping intended parents make informed decisions about their fertility providers and to find the best match for them - exactly what I would have wanted when I was lost at the beginning of my search. We have since grown to feature 60 top surrogacy agencies, over 10,000 egg donors aggregated from many different egg donor agencies, a fertility clinic marketplace, featuring many top US fertility clinics, fertility financing options, and a concierge service offering one-on-one, personalized support. As transparency is so important for us, we are also the only platform that lists all provider fees upfront (including detailed cost breakdowns), helping intended parents save both time and money as they map out their family building journey. It’s no secret that surrogacy is expensive and I experienced this first-hand as my first journey cost $200K. But, using our comparison tool, I managed to save $50K during my second surrogacy journey.
That said, my second journey overall was quite difficult: our original gestational carrier, who we hoped would also carry our second baby and were very emotionally attached to, miscarried and was eventually medically disqualified. There were delays due to Covid and other setbacks. But it all worked out in the end, including a new beautiful relationship as both gestational carriers will hold a special place in our hearts for the rest of our lives. We finally welcomed Yael in April of 2021, I fell in love all over again, and we became a family of four…. Now actually working on 5!
Admittedly, the family building journey can be quite an emotional rollercoaster. Knowing what to potentially expect and when helps (this is not to say there won’t be as many surprises along the way). If you’re interested in learning about the IVF process, or the costs involved (the average cost of one IVF cycle is $12,400 but many patients need 2-3 cycles before they’re successful), or even how to prepare for your first IVF consultation, we have many resources available. Depending on the route your journey is taking, you can also find detailed information on the egg donation process, timeline, costs, and your financing options. You can also find informative articles on the surrogacy process and timeline, how to choose the right surrogacy agency for you, a full breakdown of costs, as well as options for financing surrogacy. Surrogacy can be a long, complicated and expensive journey, but for many (me included) it’s the way to create the beautiful family they’ve always dreamed of.
We hope you find these resources helpful as you research your family-building options. We’re here to support you as you map out each step of your journey. Register for free or even book a free call with our Concierge for 1:1 support, her calendar is available to you anytime you’d like. Good luck!
Founder & CEO of GoStork
With more than 20 years of experience, Eran Amir has worked as both a software development and product management executive in Israel and New York. GoStork combines his professional skill-set with a personal mission. After undergoing a long, difficult, and costly process to expand his family via surrogacy and egg donation, Amir vowed to help other intended parents avoid the complexity and confusion
he experienced. His passion led to the creation of the first ever fertility marketplace where intended parents can find, compare and connect with fertility providers. GoStork proudly names his four-year-old daughter as its co-founder.