Modesto Surrogacy Schemer Sentenced

Tonya Collins, former owner of SurroGenesis, a surrogacy agency based in Modesto, California, was sentenced on May 13, 2013 to five years and three months in prison. She was charged four counts of wire fraud back in February, to which she pled guilty. In addition to jail time, Collins must also provide monetary restitution to the families she victimized as well as pay a forfeiture judgment to the U.S (the amounts for each will be determined during a hearing on July 29th). It is reported that some of the defendants dropped their lawsuits because of the costs of obtaining an attorney.

Between November of 2006 and March of 2009 Collins purposefully defrauded her clients – families who sought out her agencyin the efforts of making their parenting dreams come true. According to reports, Collins directed her clients to entrust their money (to be used to cover the costs of the surrogacy) to a local personal property escrow company called Michael Charles Independent Financial Holding Group.

What she didn’t tell them was that she was actually the owner of Michael Charles Independent Financial Group. This meant that she had full access to and control of their funds. She was able to get away with this by creating fake employee identities to give off the impression that the Holding Group was actually an independent and fully staffed company.

It was revealed that Collins, over the course of the 2.5 years, used both the Surrogenesis account and the Michael Charles Independent Financial Holding Group account to fund personal expenditures. She used money to buy new cars, expensive jewelry and clothes, new homes, as well as to pay for vacations. Reports indicate that over the course of the two and a half years that she was operating her fraudulent scheme, Collins managed to misappropriate over two million dollars in funds.

Because of her lofty spending, SurroGenesis soon started having serious financial issues. Surrogate families found that their surrogacy fees were not being paid as expected. As you can imagine, many families were impacted by Collins actions.

Ok, lovely readers, what do you think? Do you think that the justice that was meted out was fair? Do you feel as though restitution should also be paid out to those who were unable to cover the attorney fees? For those of you who have considered surrogacy, does stories like this give you a great deal of hesitation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

I am thinking of becoming a surrogate

by lisa
i need information on becoming a surrogate in England.
happy to help couples but unaware if the legal issues.

Reply by Rayven

This website, Information on Surrogacy, primarily deals with surrogacy taking place in the United States. Foreign laws vary greatly, and your best bet will be to contact a local surrogacy agency.

For information on the process, payment and qualifications, this site will be very helpful for you.


Please see our six step guide to getting started:

Simple Surrogacy Getting Started Guide

Do I need a surrogate?


by Kelly
(Hamilton )
I have a weak cervix an I deliver my baby boy at 22 weeks on 03/10/08…So I decided to wait 6 months to try again and I got pregnant on 10/08 and on 12/12/08 the doctor told me My baby had a Neutral Birth defect.. so I had to terminate the pregnancy do you think I need a Surrogate mom or I might be able to carry my babies.

Reply by Rayven

To be quite honest with you, that is not something I am able to determine. You will need to speak with your doctor about this. If your doctor is not giving you the answers that you need, you may need to be referred to a specialist.

Best wishes!

How to Tell Your Child They Were Born By a Surrogate

If you watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills you probably know that one regular cast member, Adrienne Maloof, has decided that she has severed ties with the reality show and would not make an appearance once the 3rd season had concluded. Speculations circulated about why she had elected to leave the show and it has been revealed that surrogacy is at the root of that decision.

To be more specific, the fact that she partnered with a surrogate mother to bring her six year old twins, Christian and Colin, into the world. This fact was one that was not known to many outside of the family. In fact, the children had no clue of the circumstances surrounding their birth. However, on the show, another cast member, Brandi Glanville revealed that Maloof had indeed used a surrogate. Maloof is reportedly highly upset about this being revealed was destructive to her family.

Although the comments referring to the surrogacy were edited out, Maloof believed the damage was done and says that she wanted to be able to tell her sons about their origins when she felt the time was right.

This situation brings to mind two questions that I am hoping to discuss with you guys: when and how do you think parents should reveal to their children that they were born by surrogate?
Surrogacy continues to be a popular choice for those couples struggling to become pregnant. In these families, the reality of letting their children know will eventually come upon them. Especially if they already have children when they pursue surrogacy to expand their family. Experts such as social worker, Judith Kottick would recommend that you expose your children to the truth early, so that it is not a complete shock to them when they find out later.

There are even children’s books that were written expressly to help parents to do this. One such book, written by Irene Celcer, is called “Hope & Will Have a Baby: The Gift of Surrogacy”. This book is part of a series of children’s books that highlight the different reproductive options that are available to people. Other titles discuss egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation, and adoption. Each book follows a curious little boy (Hope and Will’s son) as he discovers the story of how he came into this world. Written in a way that is understandable by children, the books talk about how his met and fell in love. It discusses how they longed for a child but struggled to have one. It then discusses, in a straightforward yet gentle way just how they were finally able to do so. The series illustrates for children the fact that they are gifts and that they are loved and cherished. It does a great job of illustrating the fact that not every family is created the same way but that that is perfectly ok.

What do you think? What is a good time and way to let children know about their birth origins? If you have already gone through this process, how did you do it? Do you wish you had done something different?

Am I eligible to become a surrogate mother?


by Tiffany Ludeman
(Warren, MI)
I already have 2 little boys and I’m pregnant with my last child (a little girl). What is a safe waiting period before becoming a surrogate mother after pregnancy?

I also have had C-Sections with my children and will with the new baby… will that be a problem? Because as I understand it, it actually is less risk to the baby if I have a C-Section.

I also am not sure if having so many children of my own will pose a problem. I’m able to handle it, but I’m not sure if it will make a potential family worry since my children are all under the age of three & they keep me so busy.

This is all new to me. I’m not completely sure if this is something that I want to do, but there’s no sense in becoming attached to the idea if I won’t qualify anyways.

The other issue I’m having is that I love being a mother. It’s the most rewarding aspect of my life. My children are perfect in every way (to me, of course). I DO want to see other couples who are unable to have children of their own have an opportunity to feel the happiness and joy that comes with being a parent. Everyone should have that opportunity. However, the first and main reason I’m considering this is because my family could really use the money and I don’t mind being pregnant. I’m not heartless, but I cannot honestly say that the satisfaction of helping someone is the main reason I’m interested in this. I don’t want to have to lie about the process because I feel that it would ruin the journey, but are there people out there that would understand that? Or is everyone who becomes a surrogate supposed to be in it out of the goodness of their heart? I just don’t want to get into this and then feel like a phony or ruin someone else’s special time to bond with their child during pregnancy.

Reply by Rayven

Hi Tiffany,

There is no hard set rule about the distance between pregnancies. You simply wait until your OB/GYN clears you. Mine did at my 6 weeks checkup following the birth of my surrogate twins, so it’s pretty common to be able to go back-to-back with them.

C-sections are no problem, just know that you will need to have one with the surrogate babies as well.

As far as your own children, again, that’s not a problem. It is common for surrogates to have given birth to many children. I’ve given birth to 5 and am able to do so again. Others have 7, 8, even 10+. Not a concern.

As far as the money concern, if money wasn’t offered to women to become surrogate mothers, surrogates would be few and far between. Most surrogates feel what you are describing (though few would admit it, mainly because of society’s stigma on surrogacy).

The motivation of money is kinda like the 600 pound gorilla in the room. Everyone tries to ignore it…

When questioned about your motives for surrogacy, be honest. Yes, you desire to help a couple start their family, but you also see surrogacy as a way that that couple can help your family. You are able to give them a child. They are able to help you with a down-payment on your home (etc). Surrogacy is a way that two families can help one another in a significant and life-changing way.