The Surrogacy Center was founded in 2002 in Madison, Wisconsin, and is owned by Carol Gapen and Judith Sperling-Newton. After years of providing legal services related to surrogacy, they became aware of the need for a reputable, safe and professional surrogacy center…a place where individuals and couples could come and know they were in capable hands.
The Surrogacy Center’s clients are individuals and couples, gay and straight, who choose to come to the friendly Midwestern center where they know they will be thoughtfully matched and given personal attention by experienced and caring staff. Past clients have written many glowing reviews, based on the unique combination of professionalism and individual treatment that is offered. The many babies that have been born through the program have changed and will continue to change many lives, both now and for decades to come.
Clare M. Sorman – Executive Director
Clare has almost 20 years of experience organizing and managing offices for corporate, political and nonprofit organizations. Her work as an Office Manager, Case Manager and Paralegal for local Minnesota businesses specializing in therapy and family law, as well as a Development Officer with Planned Parenthood, has given her a wide berth of knowledge on how to manage complex, multi-level business entities where she is adept at fitting together a variety of moving parts resulting in the highest standards of professional and organizational principles and positive outcomes for her clients. As a former board member of Gift of Adoption and a volunteer for many social service organizations, her passion is helping to build healthy families and to assist them by providing resources toward living the best possible lives with their children. Clare has lived in the Twin Cities area for over 15 years and is married to a local family building attorney. They have two little boys who are the lights of their lives and remind them every day that children are a gift. She is eager to support and assist intended parents in their journey to becoming a parent and gestational carriers in their desire to help intended parents achieve their dreams.
Julie Frieler, RN – Client Coordinator
Julie Frieler, RN, has joined our TSC team to assist our Gestational Carriers in coordinating their surrogacy journeys. She has been a Registered Nurse for over 12 years in a variety of clinical settings, with 6 of those recent years in women’s health, including fertility. Julie’s background in reproductive medicine and passion for connecting with people are what drove her to TSC as a Client Coordinator. She has helped those struggling with fertility build families and has seen and felt first-hand the intensities of this journey. Julie is honored to be a trusted partner with you along this journey to building your family.
Julie has lived in the Twin Cities for most of her life. She and her husband have 3 beautiful, rambunctious little boys who keep them on their toes. Raising her family is her life-long dream, as she knows it is for many people.
Kate Newton – Administrative Coordinator
Kate is a graphic designer, social media marketer, and event planner with a passion for organizations that provide important services to individuals and professionals, and a commitment to social justice and sustainability. With a Masters in Sustainable Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Kate has worked with numerous service oriented organizations for over 10 years, including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan Area, the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Oregon, and Friendly House, Inc. Since 2013, Kate has been dedicated to providing graphic design services to the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproductive Attorneys and other adoption and surrogacy programs across the country. Additionally, she has volunteered at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, providing art opportunities to patients and their families. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Kate has made Portland, Oregon her home since 2004.
Kate’s motto: It only takes one idea, one step, one moment of inspiration to change the world we know into a better world to love.
Jeanne B. Ferguson, MSSW, LISW – WI Director of Client Services
Jeanne Ferguson, MSSW, LISW, has joined our TSC team to serve our carriers and parents as the Director of Client Services in Wisconsin. Jeanne has been involved in social work for 44 years, working in Child Protection and teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 15 years as well. She has dedicated her professional life to supporting parents in keeping their children safe. Jeanne and her husband of 45 years live in the Madison area and are parents to two adult daughters, and doting grandparents trying to keep up with two 6 year olds and a 3 year old. She is honored to be able to expand her practice to include supporting families who are beginning their parenting lives by partnering with someone who has already achieved the dream of becoming a parent. Jeanne’s goal is to nurture the relationships between intended parents and gestational carriers because they are as important to bringing a healthy baby into the world as our role at TSC is in bringing all the ingredients together to make it possible.
Judith Sperling-Newton – Owner and Founder
Judith Sperling-Newton is a partner and a cofounder of ARTlaw Wisconsin and a co-owner and advisor to The Surrogacy Center. She is committed to social justice and is an ardent children’s rights advocate. She is an experienced guardian ad litem for abused or neglected children. Ms. Sperling-Newton practiced for more than three decades in the areas of adoption, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, child protection, and parentage for all prospective parents. She now works with clients worldwide in the area of assisted reproduction.
In addition to being very experienced in children’s law, Ms. Sperling-Newton served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish. She received her law degree cum laude from the University of Wisconsin and is a graduate of Indiana University, with a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Northern Illinois University.
Ms. Sperling-Newton has been recognized for outstanding public service by the Center for Public Representation, and she is a recipient of the Congressional Angel in Adoption Award. In 2014, Ms. Sperling-Newton was honored by the National LGBT Bar Association and the American Bar Association with the Ally for Justice Award as an attorney who has “allied with the LGBT community and made noteworthy contributions to the struggle for civil rights and equality.”
Carol Gapen – Owner and Founder
Carol M. Gapen is a co-founder and owner of ARTlaw Wisconsin, a Wisconsin law firm and a co-owner and advisor to The Surrogacy Center. She cares deeply about issues affecting children and families. She received a BA in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and worked for many years as a mental health specialist and social worker focusing on the protection of children. When her children were all in school, she went back to school herself and became a lawyer, graduating cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988. Her practice focused on adoption, guardianships, custody, grandparents’ and foster parents’ rights, and, for more than 25 years, assisted reproduction (including surrogacy).
In 2007, Carol received the U.S. Congressional “Angel in Adoption” Award, a national award honoring her outstanding advocacy in adoption and foster care issues. In 2011, she was honored as a Woman in the Law and subsequently named Woman of the Year by the Wisconsin Law Journal.
Christine Belle – Accountant
Christine has worked as the bookkeeper for The Surrogacy Center since May of 2017. She came to TSC with a broad background in office administration, management, and bookkeeping. Most recently, she was the Office Manager of a commercial real estate company called Broadwing Advisors in Madison, WI.
Christine graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and has studied Accounting at Madison College.
She is currently serving as the President of the Belleville Public Library Board. She works passionately to promote her local library and is part of a strategic planning committee who has launched a capital campaign to build a new library and community center. Personally, she is married and has four adult sons who are scattered around the globe. She, her husband, and their trusty dog, Chance, enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors: glamping in their R-Pod travel trailer, biking, hiking, and skiing (both downhill and cross-country).
Her mantra: I strive to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am. (quote from J.W. Stephens)
Gestational carriers may be used when a true medical condition precludes the intended parent from carrying a pregnancy or would pose a significant risk to the woman or the fetus.
No owner, operator, laboratory director, or employee of the practice may serve as a gestational carrier or intended parent in that practice.
Psychosocial education and counseling by a qualified mental health professional is strongly recommended for both gestational carriers and intended parents.
Both intended parents and gestational carriers should have separate, ongoing legal representation by qualified legal practitioners who are licensed in the relevant state(s) and/or countries.
Issues related to screening and testing of the fetus during pregnancy should be discussed and documented. Plans for management of complications and/or multifetal gestations should be discussed and agreed upon.
The indication of medical necessity must be documented in the intended parents’ medical records (includes biological inability to conceive or bear a child, such as single male or same-sex male couple).
As a professional agency, we believe it is important to maintain this separation between our staff and our clients.
100% of our intended parents and gestational carriers undergo a psychological evaluation with one of our mental health professionals (includes the PAI test) and there is no separate charge for this.
We require independent legal representation for all parties (intended parents, gestational carrier and husband or partner, and The Surrogacy Center agency) by attorneys licensed in the state where the gestational carrier lives.
We facilitate discussion of these sensitive, yet critical topics and take detailed notes, which are then incorporated into the Parentage Agreement for review by all parties prior to signing.