MERIDIAN, Idaho — Many people dream of becoming a parent, whether it’s a couple or an individual. Those who experience infertility, pregnancy loss, or cannot safely carry a baby to term, turn to surrogates to help them achieve that dream, but there aren’t enough surrogates to meet the current need.
"A surrogate is someone that is carrying somebody else's biological child," said Tiffany Valentine, president of Nationwide Egg Donation and Surrogacy. "So, the surrogate is not carrying a baby that does not have any genetic relation to her. She's just the amazing person carrying it for a family."
Valentine said the Meridian agency is seeing a severe shortage of surrogates.
"I'm not sure what happened after COVID," Valentine said. "One of the criteria's to be a surrogate is to be vaccinated, just because there are statistics that show when you are pregnant and not vaccinated, the chances of losing the baby are higher."
For the surrogates who are available, such as Samantha Cunningham from Pocatello, they are getting approached more often.
“I went through three or four different couples trying to find that perfect match and everybody wants to start now," Cunningham said. "There are so many women right now that were interested in becoming a surrogate before the pandemic, that for some reason have not followed through and wanted to continue."
Nationwide Egg Donation and Surrogacy said the number of patients on their waiting list looking for a surrogate is at a record high.
“Just in the clinic that we work with, there is about 50 couples right now looking throughout the clinics we work with and we are just one agency," Valentine said. "There is a huge demand for surrogates."
Cunningham said it’s important for our state to come together and help other people trying to become parents.
"We are a surrogate-friendly state and you have all the resources here to be able to help someone else if you really want to," Cunningham said. "It's important to feel that love between the surrogate and her spouse and the intended parent, to make sure they are going to be the happiest people in the world, because they can finally be parents to a child of their own."
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