Here at US Surrogacy LLC, we strive to keep our surrogates well informed each step of the way on their journey. We’ve created this guide as a reference to any potential surrogate who would like to see an entire surrogacy journey in one single snapshot. It is our hope that this outline will help with the decision making process on whether to be a surrogate and additionally help with planning for the future.
In order to set realistic expectations with our potential surrogates, we generally let our candidates know that the commitment time is much longer than the 9 months of pregnancy. In our 8 years of experience it takes on average of 12 – 18 months to complete a journey.
Read on to learn about each step of surrogacy and of course feel free to contact us with any questions.
Step 1: Potential Surrogates Considerations and Decision Making Process
Potential Surrogates should take time to self-reflect and decide if it’s the right time in their life to be a surrogate.
Questions potential surrogates should ask themselves:
- Do I meet all the requirements to be a surrogate? (link to our requirements page)
- Who will be my support system?
- Who will care for kids while I go to my appointments, travel and labor?
- Will my job be supportive of my surrogacy journey?
Step 2: How to Select Your Surrogacy Agency
We recommend you have an introductory conversation with the surrogate intake coordinator and get a feel for the vibes and approach of the agency.Talk about what kinds of parents you would like to be matched with.
- What kind of relationship would you like with them?
- Talk about your compensation requirements and expectations.
Step 3: Review and Screening Process
After you’ve decided which agency to use, you’ll begin the process of medical screening.
- The surrogacy agency will have a person on their team dedicated to contacting your prior medical facilities and requesting records.
- These records will be reviewed to find any medical complications from previous pregnancies and to rule out any red flags that may prevent a surrogate from moving forward.
- Pro Tip: The more proactive you are at helping the agency gather your records and making the necessary appointments, the sooner you will be able to begin your journey.
Step 4: Matching with the Parents
Once the fertility clinic reviews your medical records and determines you are a good candidate for surrogacy, the Surrogacy Program Manager at the agency will complete your profile to present to IPs.
- Once profiles have been shared and there’s been a consensus on the possible best match for both parties, a zoom call is scheduled which will include the parents, surrogate and Agency owner. If everyone agrees to move forward together, the IVF clinic will arrange in-person medical evaluation.
Step 5: Medical Screening Evaluation
With US Surrogacy LLC our surrogates are all assigned a coordinator who will reach out to the assigned fertility clinic the surrogate will be working with.
- The assigned fertility clinic is based on where the Intended Parent’s embryos are stored. Surrogates may have to travel to this clinic for medical screening and embryo transfer. The surrogate will need to arrange for childcare with their support system during those travel days.
- If a surrogate is using birth control methods such as an IUD or arm implants, it needs to be removed and the surrogate needs to have had two period cycles before medical screening can begin.
- The coordinator will send over a Match Sheet with all the pertinent information on both the parents and the surrogate to the clinic. By this point all the medical records have been sent and reviewed.
- The clinic will reach out to the surrogate directly to begin scheduling appointments.
- Receiving medical clearance from the clinic can take between 2 weeks to a month depending if follow-ups are needed. Once the surrogate receives her Medical Clearance Letter she can move forward with legal contract.
- It’s important to note that a surrogate’s spouse or partner will also need to get screened for communicable diseases and drug use. This is done at their local lab and does not require travel.
Step 6: Legal Contract
The surrogacy journey is carefully monitored by two legal parties. One lawyer is there to protect the rights of the surrogate and the second is representing the interests of the parents.
- The surrogate is offered a choice of legal representation. She can also seek out her own attorney but they must have experience with surrogacy contracts.
- The Intended Parents will be paying for the surrogate’s lawyer.
- The original drafting of the contracts takes between 2 – 3 weeks, the completion with revisions can take up to 4 weeks. During this process the surrogate will have a review call with their lawyer to make sure she agrees with all the terms of the contract.
- The final contract must be signed with a notary public.
Step 7: Embryo Transfer
Once the surrogate is matched and received legal clearance she will begin medication for 3-5 weeks.
- Once the hormone levels are optimal, the embryo transfer will be scheduled.
- It takes about 10 days after transfer to get a confirmed pregnancy.
- Hormone medication continues for approximately 11 weeks after transfer.
Step 8: Heartbeat Confirmation
At about 7 weeks of pregnancy the surrogate will be scheduled for a heartbeat confirmation ultrasound appointment.
- Once the heartbeat is confirmed then the monthly base compensation will begin for the surrogate.
Step 9: Pregnancy
At 11-12 weeks of pregnancy the surrogate is released from the care of the IVF clinic and will transition to her own OB for further care.
- Just like with your previous pregnancies, you’ll have plenty of monthly and weekly checkups with your OBGYN. Leading up to delivery your pregnancy will be very routine.
- You will most likely have regular communication with the IPs and sending them lots of updates in the form of photos and updates from your doctor.
Step 10: Parentage
Between 20 – 24 weeks of pregnancy, the legal process of parentage begins. These legal documents outline that the Intended Parents are the legal parents of the surrogate baby.
- These documents are very important for the parents to be able to bring the baby home from the hospital and to obtain a birth certificate.
- In some states the paperwork is filed pre-birth, and in other states it is filed post-birth.
- The surrogate will also sign these documents with a notary public.
Step 11: Labor and Delivery
Your agency will make all the necessary arrangements for the logistics of your delivery. You will decide ahead of time whether the parents will be in the delivery room.
- After the baby is delivered the Intended Parents will care for the baby while the surrogate recovers.
- The rooming arrangements vary slightly for each hospital.
Step 12: Completing the Journey and Follow up / Conclusion
The surrogate can now go home from the hospital to her family and her own children.
- The parents and their new family will return home.
- They may or may not keep in touch with the IPs depending on the agreement and each case varies.