How the Covid Pandemic Created a Surrogate Shortage in the U.S.

He started the agency so others could have more transparency about the surrogacy process.

Mr. Amir and his husband, Mike Gowen, have used surrogates twice and are now beginning their third process with one.

They paid about $200,000 total for their first surrogacy in 2017: $35,000 for egg donor screening fees, an egg donation, egg donor insurance, the egg donor agency fee, travel expenses and legal fees; $35,000 for I.V.F., which included the egg retrieval, creating the embryos and transferring the embryo; and more than $120,000 for the surrogacy process, which included a $35,000 compensation for the surrogate, plus the surrogate agency fee, surrogate insurance, legal fees, screening, travel expenses and other miscellaneous fees. The second time, in September 2020, they paid $150,000, using a different agency.

Mr. Amir, who lives in New Haven, Conn., said his relationship with his surrogates has always been very important to him. “We FaceTime a lot and talked on the phone as much as we could,” he said. “But because of distance” — the first surrogate lived in Ohio; the second in Tennessee — “and Covid on the second journey, we only met for the first time in person when our babies were born.”

And because surrogacy is not allowed for same-sex couples in many foreign countries that otherwise allow it, helping a gay couple is a calling for some.

Shea Eschman, a photographer who lives in Yukon, Okla., is due July 4 with twins for a gay couple who live in Italy. Ms. Eschman, who has a 4-year-old daughter, had spent time on social media talking to others about potential surrogacy when she was having trouble conceiving her daughter. Now, she said, she wants to help people who aren’t able to have kids on their own.

“I’m excited to give them their dream family,” Ms. Eschman said. “They wanted twins, and it’s exactly what they are getting.”

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