Home Health news Maryland couple reveal how they found strangers on FACEBOOK to be their surrogates after spate of failed pregnancies

Maryland couple reveal how they found strangers on FACEBOOK to be their surrogates after spate of failed pregnancies

by Editor

A couple struggling with infertility used social media to find women to be their surrogates and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the strangers to carry their children.

Jessie Jaskulksy, 35, and her husband, Michael, turned to Facebook in hopes they would be able to pay someone to have babies for them after Jessie suffered a miscarriage in 2016 and was diagnosed with infertility.

The couple had desperately wanted to start a family so Jessie became active in social media’s underground surrogate community. 

Jessie (left) with her second surrogate for her youngest daughter, Luna, born in 2022

Jessie (left) with her second surrogate for her youngest daughter, Luna, born in 2022

Jessie and her youngest daughter, Luna, who is now a year old

Jessie and her youngest daughter, Luna, who is now a year old

Eventually, the couple connected with and met two women through groups and paid a combined $300,000 to them, adding their first baby was more expensive. 

They welcomed a daughter in 2020 and another in 2022. 

Jessie said: ‘Surrogacy is a beautiful ride and there can be bumps but it is amazing and we have great connections with our surrogates. Finally being a family of four is everything we could have ever imagined.’ 

Jessie and Michael first got pregnant in 2016, but lost the baby at 22 weeks, which led to Jessie’s infertility.

The couple then agreed surrogacy was the best and safest option for them. So, they joined an agency and were matched with a woman who would carry their child.

However, the surrogate also suffered a miscarriage. The couple said they lost a lot of money and were forced to start their journey from scratch.

As Jessie become more interested in surrogacy, she began commenting on Facebook posts wishing others well in their journey. A woman then privately messaged her offering to carry a child for the couple. 

Jessie said the two women immediately hit it off, and the mother-to-be had her future surrogate apply through the agency Jessie had previously worked with.

Soon after, the woman underwent an embryo transfer and got pregnant. 

An embryo transfer involves taking a woman’s eggs that have been fertilized outside of the body with sperm – creating an embryo – and implanting it into a woman’s uterus to establish a pregnancy. 

This transfer is a process part of assisted reproduction and an embryo can be transferred into the woman’s own body or, like in Jessie and Michael’s case, into another woman’s body for surrogacy. 

The practice of surrogacy is controversial, with some arguing it exploits women and using a surrogate you’ve met outside of official agencies poses multiple risks. 

Potential surrogates who are part of an agency go through a thorough background check and undergo physical and mental tests, as well as medical screenings.

Agencies also help with legal contracts.   

Surrogacy is not nationally regulated in America. Instead, each state has its own laws governing the practice. 

It is prohibited and any contract between couples and a surrogate are unenforceable in Arizona, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana and Louisiana, where commercial surrogacy can be considered criminal under certain circumstances. 

In some states, the practice is allowed but only under strict conditions and may have post-birth legal hurdles. 

'Finally being a family of four is everything we could have ever imagined,' said Jessie

‘Finally being a family of four is everything we could have ever imagined,’ said Jessie

In a dozen states and Washington, DC, surrogacy is expressly allowed and has case law defending the practice. 

Maryland, where the Jaskulksys lived, permits the practice of surrogacy.

The couple said their surrogate lived in a different state but did not reveal where. 

Despite the distance, the woman kept Jessie and Michael involved in her pregnancy by sending photos and updates and they would visit for milestone doctor appointments.

The pregnancy was uncomplicated until 30 weeks when the surrogate began to suffer from preeclampsia, a serious condition that can be fatal for both mother and baby. It causes high blood pressure, swollen hands and feet protein in the urine.

Because of the potential dangers, the couple’s first baby, a girl named Lily, was born early at 33 weeks in January 2020.

A normal gestation period is considered 40 weeks and any birth before 37 weeks is considered premature. 

About 1.5 percent of babies are born between 32 and 33 weeks and they may suffer from low birthweight, breathing problems, infections, low blood sugar and anemia. 

They most likely will require extra care and spend time in the intensive care unit. However, the survival rate for babies born at 33 weeks is 95 percent.  

Jessie said both she and her husband were in the room when their daughter was born and it was a surreal experience to witness their daughter’s birth after years of heartache.

Their baby, now four years old, spent two weeks in intensive care before the new parents were able to take her home and settle into life with their first daughter.

A few months later, the couple decided they wanted to have a second child and on Lily’s first birthday, they began searching for another surrogate.  

However, due to the Covid pandemic the wait times for surrogacy agencies were long, so they turned to Facebook again and found their second surrogate through a private matching group for intended parents.

They connected with the second woman who Jessie said was kind and sweet, and had had two healthy pregnancies of her own. 

At 37 weeks, their second daughter, Luna, now one, was born via a planned C-section in June 2022 with Jessie and Michael in the room.

The mom-of-two said: ‘Being there when both of our babies were born have been the most magical and unforgettable moments of our lives.

‘We couldn’t believe that it was happening after so many years of heart ache and not knowing whether we would have a family of our own.

‘These women are so selfless. The personal sacrifices that our surrogates made to help us complete our family is incredible.

She added that being a family of four is amazing, and witnessing her daughters’ first interactions was so special: ‘They’re our true miracles.’

In total, the couple said they spent about $300,000 to have their children and that their first was more expensive. 

Jessie’s journey led her to start her own surrogacy consultancy, Surrogacy Simplified, where she helps women and families navigate the complicated processes.

She said: ‘We have great relationships with our surrogates and are in regular contact which is always what we wanted.

‘Finding your own surrogates on social media can be amazing. You just have to make sure that you do your research, think about the relationship you want to have with your surrogate, make sure that you’re on the same page and this will all [pave] the way for a great experience.

‘It’s a beautiful journey that can have bumps along the way, but it’s totally worth it.’

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