- WAITE PARK, MN, April 19, 2008 - Jenny Fortwengler, Minnesota resident and mother of two, celebrated the birth of a new baby in February. As a surrogate, she carried and delivered the baby for a couple who had gone through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with an egg donor. Fortwengler had been selected by the couple through Growing Generations, the largest surrogacy agency in the world. Since 1996, Growing Generations has assisted more than 1000 clients from 19 countries with the surrogacy process.
Fortwengler was drawn to surrogacy based on experiences that she'd had with her own children. "I really enjoyed being pregnant with my own children and wanted to learn more about surrogacy," said Fortwengler. "So, I went online and researched surrogacy, where I found there to be many options to choose from." After reviewing message boards on the Internet and surrogate agencies' Web sites, Fortwengler was particularly drawn to Growing Generations. "What I liked about Growing Generations is that they work with singles and gay couples, as well as heterosexual couples. Their Web site also stood out as being well put together and professional."
Fortwengler applied to Growing Generations' surrogacy program and was accepted. During the application process, she and her husband spoke with agency staff members to get all of their questions answered. "My husband wanted to ask questions about the medical risks above all," said Fortwengler. "Once he received answers to those questions, he was totally on board." Friends and family came on board as well, with Forwengler noting that her experience "opened their eyes to possibility." During the process, Fortwengler ultimately felt that surrogacy brought her entire family closer together.
Later, she recalls her first meeting with the couple. "I was so nervous," said Fortwengler. "My husband said, 'Just think that they are probably more nervous than you.' It's a little like a blind date. But we clicked and hit it off. It was a good match from the start."
After becoming pregnant, her relationship with the couple bloomed through weekly email exchanges and visits. "I remember that carrying the child as a surrogate mother wasn't like carrying my own kids," said Fortwengler. "I knew that I was carrying [the couple's] child, so I wasn't emotionally attached. I learned to expect the unexpected, in the sense that not everything went the way I thought it would. Some parts of the process went by really slowly and others very fast."
On the day of the birth, the couple was present, alongside Fortwengler. Her husband was also in the room, holding her hand. She recalls a distinct moment after the delivery. "[The doctor] was about to put the baby on my stomach when I pointed to the couple. "It's their baby,' I said. When I saw them holding the baby, I started crying. I thought to myself that this was amazing, and everything that I had hoped it would be."
Fortwengler has said that, for her, the best part of surrogacy is the birth. Being able to watch parents with their new baby and witness the culmination of how long they waited and how much they wanted it, was a powerful experience for both her and her family. For that reason, Fortwengler is ready for another surrogacy. "[After the birth], I knew right away that I wanted to go again." When asked why, her response is simple: "There are a lot of couples and singles out there who need surrogates. I know that I can do this for them, and that it gives me immense personal satisfaction."
To learn more about Growing Generations, please visit http://www.growinggenerations.com.
Since 1996, Growing Generations has been a company passionately dedicated to the vision of creating life and, in the process, changing the world. Founded by gay and lesbian parents, our mission is simple - to build families of choice for our community through surrogacy, egg donation, and sperm donation. For more information please contact us at (323) 965-7500.---
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