Your hopes and dreams rest on having a baby. You’ve tried what may feel like a million options, have set your hopes high, have felt the disappointment of a failed attempt, and have explored a number of treatments designed to guide you towards parenting. You’ve finally turned towards a new path – surrogacy and egg donation – and you feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your dreams are coming true.
Allison Layton, also known as Allison Jarvie, was the owner of Miracles Egg Donation, a Glendora, CA-based egg donation and surrogacy company. During the time period between August 2008 and January 2012, Layton took payment from dozens of intended parents but failed to put that money into escrow for the services promised. She instead used the money for personal gain, living an expensive lifestyle and even paying for a wedding. In a scenario compared to a Ponzi scheme, she also used the money from intended parents to take care of unpaid costs for other clients.
More than 40 people were impacted over the four-year time period, including intended parents, surrogates, egg donors, and legal professionals. It is estimated that Layton pocketed more than $270,000.
In February, Layton pled guilty to federal wire fraud charges and she was just last week sentenced to a year and a half in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Her restitution hearing is set for later in October.
Even after the restitution hearing, it is doubtful that many of the involved families will receive the money they paid Layton and, if they do, it may be years to come. The impact of her actions has taken a huge emotional toll on loving, caring individuals who wanted nothing more than to start families. Many families work incredibly hard to earn, save, and fundraise for the money necessary to go through the surrogacy or egg donation process and a great number won’t have a second chance, if for no other reason than finances. This is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking parts of the story – the idea that these would-be parents may never have another opportunity to start a family.
Finding a Reputable Agency
While stories like these are few and far between, they also serve as a reminder of how careful you must be when looking for a reputable surrogacy and egg donation agency to work with. Make sure you consider:
- The length of time the agency has been in business. Open Arms Consultants has been working with intended parents, surrogate mothers, and egg donors for more than a decade.
- Whether or not your intended agency is a member of at least one reputable infertility association like ASRM (the American Society for Reproductive Medicine) or RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association).
- Whether or not your agency is able to offer testimonials. Open Arms is pleased to share testimonials not only from intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors but from the industry professionals we work with as well, like doctors and lawyers. You should be able to see these not only on the agency’s website, but on social media sites like Facebook and Google as well.
At Open Arms Consultants, we take pride in our high level of professionalism, honesty, and transparency. We recognize the great amount of trust that would-be parents, surrogate mothers, and even egg donors place in us as we work towards helping them to create the families of their dreams. We’re truly grateful for the experiences, the opportunities to provide compassion and care, the memories you’ve given us, and the trust you’ve shown us.