Sam Everingham interviews Brian Yaden who runs a USA-based agency which offers programs exclusively, not in the US, but in Mexico. Miracle Surrogacy has grown to become the largest surrogacy agency offering Mexico programs, with offices in Mexico City, Cancun and Merida and partner fertility clinics in all three of these cities. Over nearly a decade, it has brought joy to intended parents around the world.
Sam: How did you become involved in running Mexico’s largest agency?
Brian: My husband Henry and I have had two children through international surrogacy in two completely different environments. After the birth of our first child, we saw the need for support for other international singles and couples. We opened Miracle Surrogacy nearly a decade ago, operating programs initially in Asia before opening our Mexico program. With money, anyone can start an agency; but until you have been an intended parent, you can’t have empathy and understand what a journey feels like.
Sam: Brian tell us about the history of surrogacy in Mexico?
Brian: Mexico has been a popular location for affordable surrogacy since India, Thailand and Nepal shut down their programs to international intended parents. Nearly a decade ago, the Mexican state of Tabasco had laws codifying surrogacy in family law statutes. But then they implemented significant restrictions, making it illegal in that state. Sadly, most agencies abandoned the country at this time. Yet surrogacy remained unregulated in Mexico’s other states. One agency that stayed the course was Miracle.
Sam: What more recent legal change has given surrogacy in Mexico such a boost?
Brian: In late 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared that the right to have children, even via surrogacy, is an international right, effectively legalizing surrogacy in Mexico.
Sam: I have also heard some Mexican courts are now allowing both parents to be named on the birth certificate?
Brian: It really depends which judge you get on the day. There are only a handful of judges who will do that. So it’s just not predictable. It’s also an expensive extra court process to take on. So we don’t think its honest of other agencies to promote or guarantee that as an outcome, and truthfully, it is really unnecessary.
Sam: Why else is surrogacy in Mexico popular?
Brian: The cost of surrogacy in Mexico remains very affordable, at less than a third the cost of US surrogacy. Cancun and Mexico City are both popular tourist destinations with many daily flight options year-round. Both cities are relatively safe compared to other popular destinations in the Americas, including the US (security issues are largely limited to the US border region).
Sam: There is a global shortage of surrogates these days. How is your team going in recruiting surrogates?
Brian: Miracle Surrogacy’s payments to its surrogates exceeds any other agency, because the company and staff value these amazing women and their sacrifice. The payments are contractually for lost wages and potential wages, making the arrangement legally altruistic. An important component of the screening process is ensuring surrogates truly want to help intended parents have a baby. By paying them so much more, Miracle always has a surplus of surrogates, meaning no waiting times to be matched.
Sam: A lot of intended parents worry about how their surrogate will be looked after, while they are so far away from the action. Are there strategies Miracle has to help?
Brian: Miracle and its team truly value their surrogates as special women making an extraordinary sacrifice so the agency shows them love by giving them maternity clothes, extra medical care, and even appreciation luncheons.
Sam: For many intended parents, the genetics of their child are a crucial consideration. What sort of egg donors are available in Mexico?
Brian: Miracle has the largest and most diverse selection of egg donors. They come from not only Mexico but Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Europe. Most of our egg donors are college educated or pursing higher education. And they don’t work for any other agency. We have a webpage to check out the options, even before you are a client.
Sam: A lot of intended parents are telling me that getting responses from their agency can take forever and responses may be opaque. What is your ethos here?
Brian: Our agency assigns a coordinator to each part of the journey–someone with excellent English who will responds within 24 hours with an individualized response to questions and concerns. Our staff treat every client how they would want to be treated themselves.
Sam: A common question I get is, how long will the process take?
Brian: It’s all about embryo transfer success rates. Many factors impact the success rates of course, semen quality being one of the most important. What is important is thorough surrogate and egg donor screening. Miracle recruits and screens all its own surrogates and egg donors while many other agencies use middlemen. We are the only agency that does in-depth psychological screening and an in-home visit by a social worker with every surrogate before they are admitted to the program. These checks and balances mean most IPs achieving pregnancy within one to three embryo transfers.
Sam: Who are some key people on the Miracle team?
Brian: As well as myself, Miracle has a staff of more than two dozen employees in Mexico including its own fertility professionals. By comparison, other agencies have just one or two employees and rely on third-party agents to do all the work. It means they have little control over the surrogacy journeys. Rodrigo Zarazua is our new IP journey manager. Our Chief Operating Officer Dr. Flor Kenigsberg has more than 15 years experience as a pediatrician in Mexico City. Check out Miracle’s team here: https://miraclesurrogacy.com/who-we-are/
Sam: Can those considering Mexico talk to others who have used your program?
Brian: Yes. One resource is the Surrogacy in Mexico Facebook Group, with nearly 1,000 members, Miracle has hundreds of happy intended parents eager to chat about their journeys and their babies. We routinely connect new IPs with current clients or those who have completed as it’s important to have an independent perspective about the agency’s service and results.