Gestational Surrogacy is the process where one person, who did not provide the egg used in conception, carries a fetus through pregnancy and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple. Once an amazing mother has made the decision to give the great gift of surrogacy, she is carefully screened by a surrogate advisor.
After the initial screening call, if it has been determined that surrogacy is a safe choice for her, the surrogate’s agency will conduct a background check on both her and her partner (if applicable). A surrogate must also meet with a qualified psychologist or psychotherapist who specializes in surrogacy to determine if they are mentally and emotionally ready for a surrogacy journey.
These are all steps put in place by the ASRM – American society of Reproductive Medicine to protect surrogate and intended parent(s). Once the background check has cleared and the gestational carrier has been psychologically cleared, she will start meeting with Intended Parent(s). Once the perfect match is found, the previous pregnancy records will be requested and reviewed by the Intended Parent(s) IVF Physician.
When the IVF Physician confirms that becoming pregnant as a surrogate is safe for the potential surrogate, her designated nurse coordinator will schedule an in-person medical screening appointment at the IVF clinic. The medical screening appointment will consist of a comprehensive physical that includes a tox screening, hormone level check, STD screening and a saline sonogram to check for any abnormalities and measure the uterine lining. She can expect to receive the results from this appointment within 1-2 weeks. If the surrogate is married or has an intimate partner, they will also be required to complete a drug screening and STD screening. This can usually be completed at their local LabCorp or Quest.
After medical clearance has been given, the surrogate and the Intended Parent(s) are able to begin the legal process. Both parties will retain lawyers to represent them in their GSA – Gestational Surrogacy Agreement. If either party does not have a lawyer in mind, the agency will recommend a lawyer to each party and facilitate the arrangement(s). The legal process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. The completion of the GSA depends on the number of changes requested by both parties, the current caseload of the lawyers and the timeliness of both GC and IP when notarizing and signing the agreement.
Following legal clearance, the IVF clinic will create a tentative cycle calendar for the surrogate. The exact transfer date will be determined by her menstrual cycle, the results the clinic receives from monitoring appointments, and ultimately how her body responds to the IVF medications. No two cases are the same, it is not unusual for an IVF Physician to adjust a patient’s medication protocol or transfer date. Around 10 days after embryo transfer the gestational carrier will have a Beta hCG test to determine if the transfer was successful and if she is pregnant.
If the embryo transfer was successful, the surrogate will continue to monitor at the established Fertility Clinic or at the monitoring clinic that has been arranged for them if they live a considerable distance from the Intended Parent(s) clinic. A heartbeat confirmation appointment will be scheduled for 6 weeks post transfer. If a fetal heartbeat is detected at this time, she will continue to monitor through week 12 of the pregnancy until she graduates from the IVF clinic. At this time, the surrogate will continue her prenatal care with her chosen OBGYN. In most cases the surrogate will begin receiving her base compensation after the confirmation of heartbeat.
Throughout the surrogacy journey a surrogate is expected to be a reliable person and a good communicator.
Take a moment to put yourself in the intended parent(s) shoes. Imagine that you had no choice but to have another family care for your child for 9 months. Would you not expect regular updates to ensure the safety and best possible care of your child? Most, if not all parents would answer, yes. Similarly, the Intended Parents are entrusting their surrogate with their precious baby and appreciate regular communication and updates. This is not a matter of micro-managing but of mutual respect.
Many people think that surrogacy is still practiced in the traditional way, which is when the surrogate conceives using her own eggs. However, this is rarely the case nowadays. Most surrogacy journeys that take place in the United States are gestational surrogacy pregnancies. As stated at the top of the page, surrogacy is the process where one person, who did not provide the egg used in conception, carries a fetus through pregnancy and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple. Thanks to the practice of embryo transfers, the surrogate baby is not genetically related to the gestational carrier.
A surrogate should be a reliable person, who has already given birth to at least one child of their own. Generosity and a genuine passion for helping others is a quality that a surrogate should possess. The surrogacy process is lengthy and a person whose sole motivation is financial gain would not be an ideal candidate. Safety is the most important priority during a surrogacy journey. A gestational surrogate should be between the ages of 21-40 years old and have had no major complications during previous pregnancies.
Why do people require the assistance of gestational carriers to carry their children? There are several reasons why someone may need the help of a surrogate to become a parent(s) or grow their family. A person(s) who may need the assistance of a surrogate could be a person suffering from male or female infertility, a same sex couple, a single person, a cancer survivor, those born without a uterus, (man or woman), or a person who cannot safely carry a pregnancy to term, among other circumstances.
Intended parents deeply appreciate the sacrifice and commitment made by surrogates. It takes a very special individual to even consider giving another family the gift of surrogacy. The sacrifice of your time, commitment, discomfort, and physical labor do not go unnoticed.
Gestational carriers are primarily compensated for their pain and suffering. They are also compensated monthly for their reasonable expenses, living expenses, travel expenses, maternity clothing, lost wages, and other expenses detailed in their compensation packages. A first-time surrogate in the US can expect to make between $50,000 and $90,000, depending on the agency they sign with, the intended parents budget, their pregnancy history and geographic location. There are many determining factors when it comes to base compensation, which is why the number varies from person to person. Typically, a surrogate receives her monthly allowance and signing bonus (if she was promised one), after legal clearance. Other standard bonuses will include medication starting bonus, legal clearance bonus, and an embryo transfer bonus. When a surrogate signs with a surrogacy agency, she will sign their compensation package. This agreement will most likely carry over into her Gestational Surrogacy Agreement unless other negotiations have taken place. The GSA protects both surrogates and intended parents throughout the surrogacy journey. The intended parents will be required to deposit a large portion of the total journey cost before embryo transfer and the remainder after confirmation of heartbeat. There is also a set balance that the escrow account must maintain throughout the duration of the journey. Having the funds protected in escrow is safe for all parties. A surrogate will more than likely receive her compensation via direct deposit.
Mothers First Surrogacy is a surrogate founded company that prioritizes the safety of surrogates above all else. We educate, screen, and match surrogates at zero cost to them. If you are considering becoming a surrogate, we would love to support and empower you on your journey. Follow the link below and schedule a time to chat with an experienced surrogate advisor today.
First you will need to complete an initial phone screening. That is what we do! This screening will consist of questions provided by the ASRM- American Society for reproductive Medicine and helps determine if surrogacy pregnancy is a safe option for you.
Once your screening is complete, you will be placed with a trusted agency.
The agency you have chosen will start gathering your previous pregnancy and delivery records to review. Again, to be sure that surrogacy pregnancy is safe for you.
Once your records have been gathered and reviewed your agency will run your background check and your partners if applicable.
Now you are ready to be matched! After you match with your future intended parent(s) you will have your psych screening. Note, the psych screening can sometimes take place before matching.
Once approved to move forward, you will have your medical screening with the IP(s) IVF Physician at their established fertility clinic.
After medical clearance you will forward with the legal process of contract signing with your attorney.
Once legally cleared you can start medications! The clinic will now provide a cycle calendar for you and mail your medications to your home.
You will start your IVF cycle and soon have an embryo transfer!
If the transfer was successful, the clinic will know within 10 days from the results of your Beta hCG blood test.
You will continue to monitor at the IP(s) IVF clinic or your monitoring clinic until week 12 when you graduate from the clinic and will continue your routine prenatal care with your chosen OBGYN.
We hope that this clarifies some questions you may have had about the surrogacy process. We encourage you to reach out to us directly with any further questions by calling or completing the contact form.