A Different Set of Storks

A Different Set of Storks

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Holly Ringer and Celia McNeil started Compassionate Beginnings together.

Celia McNeil and Holly Ringer are pretty passionate about their jobs at the agency they started together, Compassionate Beginnings. They admit though, their work is a little unusual. Compassionate Beginnings is an egg donor and surrogacy agency.


“There are a lot of emotional aspects to this job,” says Celia of her work. “People who are going through infertility have been on a rollercoaster.”


The two women match couples with viable egg donors or surrogates depending on that couple’s needs. The Elizabeth-InStory.gifmatchmaking work has about a 68 percent pregnancy success rate, says Celia. The two friends founded the agency in 2007.


“This work has been unbelievably rewarding,” says Holly. “It just has been really very fulfilling.”


Holly worked as an RN at Children’s Hospital for 22 years before deciding on the new career, and Celia worked in pharmaceutical sales for 12 years, where her specialty was in infertility drugs.


Compassionate Beginnings maintains an anonymous egg donor database, says Celia. Donors, surrogates and couples are screened extensively during the matching process, and the agency works with fertility centers around the city to maintain privacy and professionalism, she says. The agency also works with an attorney that specialized in reproductive law, says Holly. No medical care is given at Compassionate Beginnings.


“We do about 50 matches a year,” says Celia. Since 2007, she estimates Compassionate Beginnings has helped about 150 couples find egg donors, and four couples find surrogates. Egg donors are compensated, but Celia says there are many women who go through the process without even thinking of the money.


“It can be extremely difficult to find an egg donor on your own,” says Holly, and that’s part of why she wanted to form the agency. Holly says she had trouble having kids herself, and brings her experience to the table when giving advice to couples who are looking for fertility options. Holly is now the mother of three girls and one stepson.


She and Celia also speak very highly of the women who become egg donors and surrogates. They tell Cincy Chic that these women give couples a tremendous gift.


“A lot of people who are donors have witnessed someone who has gone through infertility,” says Celia. But Celia also cautions that even at Compassionate Beginnings, sometimes things don’t always work out. She and Holly both have had couples who are not successful in the process. “Not everybody gets pregnant, not every donor works out,” says Celia. “But there are more good times than stressful times, which is why we keep on doing the work.” And Holly says the work the women do at Compassionate Beginnings can be an alternative to adoption. “It definitely gives people options,” says Holly. And that, she says, is what a modern family is all about.


Courtesy of Holly Ringer and Celia McNeil