As someone who went through years of infertility, IVF and surrogacy, and as someone who is open about her journey, I get contacted A LOT about all things “trying to conceive”. I will be writing different blog posts about fertility and assisted reproduction SERVICES, other peoples’ STORIES as well as TIPS/RESOURCES. My hope is that these blog posts will be educational, informative and hopeful for you.
This blog post is about SERVICES.
I want to introduce you to Stephanie Levich. Stephanie is the founder of Family Match Consulting. Stephanie is also a good friend of mine. We went to high school together and when I was going through all of my struggles she was there for me! If you are looking for an Egg Donor and/or a Surrogate, Stephanie can help you!
I put together a list of 8 questions that I asked Stephanie. Here they are.
Q1: STEPHANIE, WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND WHY DID YOU START FAMILY MATCH CONSULTING?
I’ve worked in the egg donation and surrogacy field for about 16 years. What initially drew me to this work was being able to help people like my parents who needed a little bit of help to create their family. When my mom was only a child, she suffered from a serious infection which ultimately required her to have a complete hysterectomy. At the time, adoption was the only way she could become the mom she knew she wanted to be so she and my dad adopted me and my two siblings. The thought of my parents not being able to have that experience of being parents broke my heart, and it’s ultimately what drove me to the field of egg donation and surrogacy. I get to help people just like my mom and dad become parents.
After co-founding and running what became a leading egg donation and surrogacy agency in Los Angeles, and going through my own personal infertility journey which ultimately led to the birth of my two miracles through IVF, I decided to leave the agency side of the business and start Family Match Consulting. Working in an agency setting for so many years, I saw how difficult it was for so many clients to find the right match. I saw an opportunity to help those clients cast a larger net to help them find their “perfect” match much faster, while alleviating so much of the struggle and heartache that can come along with trying to navigate the process on their own. My absolute favorite part of my work with the agency (besides getting baby pictures from clients!) was always matching clients with their egg donor and/or surrogate anyhow, so starting Family Match Consulting just seemed like the perfect next step.
Q2: PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR MAIN SERVICES THAT YOU OFFER?
To put it as simply as possible, we help clients find egg donors and surrogates very quickly. We have developed a network, and have relationships with over 100 of the most reputable egg donor and surrogate agencies throughout the country. After getting a clear idea of the traits our clients hope to find, we cast the largest net possible and bring their best matches right to them. Most of our clients match with their donor or surrogate within 1-2 weeks.
Q3: THERE ARE OTHER SIMILAR SERVICES TO YOURS. HOW IS YOURS DIFFERENT?
One main difference is the cost. When I started Family Match, a top priority was being able to offer the best possible service at the lowest possible cost. Egg donation, surrogacy, IVF…these things cost a fortune. Finding the right egg donor or surrogate shouldn’t have to. With us, clients get years of experience and dedicated personal care at a fraction of the cost of similar services.
Q4: IF SOMEONE NEEDS AN EGG DONOR, WHAT IS THE PROCESS LIKE WORKING WITH YOU?
Clients complete a comprehensive questionnaire which helps us get a clear picture of their ideal egg donor. We review all the things that need to be taken into consideration in a search (ethnic background, academics, health history, etc.) and review photographs that may help us understand the physical characteristics clients hope to find. Once we have a clear picture of our client’s ideal candidate, we get to work! We work closely with each agency in our network to find as many donors as possible that most closely fit the characteristics our clients hope to find. A complete search takes about 2 weeks and depending on the search criteria, we are usually able to share anywhere from about 15-40 profiles. Profiles (which include detailed information and photographs of the donor) are shared in organized folders with a spreadsheet listing each candidate so that both we and our clients can input any notes or questions in one place. Once a match is identified, we introduce clients to the donor’s agency that will help guide them through the remainder of the process until the egg retrieval.
Q5: IF SOMEONE NEEDS A SURROGATE, WHAT IS THE PROCESS LIKE WORKING WITH YOU?
A surrogate search is similar to the donor search. We ask all clients to complete a detailed questionnaire where we are able to get to know them, as well as the surrogate candidate they hope to find. We combine our client’s wishes with everything we know about surrogacy to make sure we are sharing profiles that are not only a reflection of what our clients hope to find, but also candidates we are comfortable with. No client enters a surrogate search knowing exactly what to look for or what pitfalls to avoid. We help give them confidence that they are making the best possible decisions through what can seem like an overwhelming endeavor. Like our donor search, most clients are matched with their surrogate within a couple of weeks.
Q6: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR INTENDED PARENTS WHO ARE JUST STARTING THEIR SEARCH TO FIND AN EGG DONOR? WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT? WHAT DO THEY NEED TO CONSIDER?
First I would tell them to breathe… finding out that you require the help of a donor to have a family can be extremely challenging and there is a mourning process that many people and couples experience. I do find that once clients find a donor that feels like the right match, that a lot of the sadness and apprehension, typically turns into a bit of excitement. After what can be years of failed fertility treatments, there’s a lot of comfort in finally finding the right match, moving forward with donor egg, and benefiting from the much higher success rates that come along with it.
It’s also important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect person, so there is certainly no such thing as a perfect egg donor. If there’s a candidate that overall fits the description of the donor you hope to find, instead of scrutinizing each individual trait (height being slightly less than ideal, GPA slightly less, etc.) I recommend asking yourself a simple question. “Would this donor sit around a family gathering of ours and look and seem as though she fits in?” If the answer is “yes”, I think that’s a great donor to be considering and a really beautiful way to select a donor, because ultimately that is what this process is all about - - family.
Q7: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR INTENDED PARENTS WHO ARE JUST STARTING THEIR SEARCH TO FIND A SURROGATE? WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT? WHAT DO THEY NEED TO CONSIDER?
The right surrogate match is imperative for the most successful journey. It’s not just about finding a great surrogate, it’s about finding a great surrogate that is the right match for you and your unique situation. That’s where we can help.
Q8: INTENDED PARENTS CAN FIND THEIR SURROGATE THROUGH AN AGENCY, INDEPENDENTLY THROUGH A FRIEND/FAMILY/CONNECTION OR THROUGH A SERVICE LIKE YOURS. WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS FROM WORKING DIRECTLY WITH YOU?
Our number one goal is to find clients the best possible match, in the shortest timeframe possible. Some clients come into surrogacy with a specific agency they hope to work with, and many times those agencies have a 6 month to a 1 year wait list. While that works for some clients, others want to start their journey much faster, and that’s where we are really able to help.
If you would like to connect with Stephanie, here is her contact information for you. Tell her Emily sent you.
Field Fertility is a legal and consulting business. We represent Intended Parents, Surrogates, Egg Donors and Embryo Donors in the legal aspects of assisted reproduction. We’ve been in your shoes and are here for you. We do FREE consults.
If you have a Service, Story and/or Tip/Resource you would like up to blog about, please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org