This might just be THE most asked question that any agency will get from Intended Parents. As you proceed, please don’t expect a definitive answer to this question, but guidance towards managing your expectations and goals.
When you make the decision to pursue the surrogacy process, often times, a sense of hope is restored and the excitement that was once lost has come back with gusto! You have taken your first steps toward creating or building your family so the excitement is more than understandable. At this point- you (hopefully) have done your research, created a relationship with a fertility clinic of your choosing, and have officially “started the search” with an established surrogacy agency. Your “i’s” have been dotted and “t’s” have been crossed so how long could this take?
Let’s break it down!
There are 4 main factors that can determine the wait time.
- Fertility Clinic
- Location/State Laws
- Intended Parent preferences
- Surrogate preferences
Every fertility clinic has their own set of qualifications and guidelines that a woman must meet in order to qualify as a gestational surrogate. Many things are taken into consideration such as her previous pregnancy history, BMI, number of previous deliveries (and/or c-sections), level of education/income, etc.
Before a surrogate profile is shared with Intended Parents, our GC review team will complete a basic cross reference between the surrogate’s information and our list of clinic guidelines. *This list includes any and all fertility clinics that we may have previously worked with.
Every state has their own laws and restrictions when it comes to surrogacy. Some states have very surrogate-friendly laws that make for an easy Birth Order process (so you legally become the parent(s)). Other states may have restrictions or different legal options that can apply for certain types of Intended Parents. These options are most often offered to parents using a donor (sperm, ovum, embryo), international parents, and in certain states- same sex. There are still a few states that don’t allow surrogacy at all!!
When choosing a surrogate, your agency should confirm that your surrogate lives in a state that will allow for a smooth legal process.
Intended Parent preferences-
When first starting your “search” with an agency, it is important for you to express your desires, worries, and concerns with your coordinator or contact. Some Intended Parents may have very specific ideas of who they’d like their surrogate to be while others remain more open-minded or flexible. Here, at Reproductive Possibilities, you may be asked about your preferences regarding age, marital status, location, previous experience, and even education level. All will be taken into consideration by your agency coordinator or representative.
The incredible women who act as surrogate mothers, go through a rigorous interview process while her profile is created to share with Intended Parents. During these interviews, we ask similar questions about who they would or would not like to work with, how many embryos they would be willing to transfer, how far they are willing to travel to the fertility clinic, etc.
Our most important piece of advice to all Intended Parents is to take your time and choose who is right for YOU. You are not comparing laptops to buy but you are choosing a person to entrust with your most precious gift… Your life, your future!
Becoming a parent through surrogacy is a long and intimate process that requires hope, trust, and a bit of sticky dust. Finding the right match is the most important first step and the rest will fall into place for you and your surrogate, with your agencies help.