Are you interested in becoming a parent through surrogacy, but not sure how the process works or where you should start? We’re here to help. The surrogacy process is quite complex, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. We’ve broken the process into individual steps to make it easier to digest. So, what is the first step to beginning the surrogacy process?
Do Your Research
We encourage all of those looking to become a parent through surrogacy to research all of their options. There are many different surrogacy agencies, consultants, and even different types of journeys. Prior to making a decision, read reviews & testimonials, check out the website, and look into all of your options. After doing your research, if you’re interested in working with Reproductive Possibilities, we encourage you to contact us.
The first step in starting your journey is simply to start. Contact us to begin the conversation. You can fill out our contact us form or call our office at (201) 505-0078. We would be happy to answer all of your questions and provide you with information on how to start the surrogacy process. On that call, we can even set up your free consultation with our founder, Melissa Brisman and one of our Intended Parent Coordinators.
Attend Your Free Consultation
Once you have had your preliminary call to ask your questions and get more information about our business, we will schedule a free consultation. During this meeting, we will explain the surrogacy process in detail, what sets Reproductive Possibilities apart from other surrogacy agencies, and we’ll explore the options that would work best for you and your family.
Finalize Your Agreement
Once you have signed our service agreement, our Intended Parent Coordinator will finalize your personal criteria and preferences, and then the search for your surrogate will begin.
Begin the Matching Process
The surrogacy process has a lot of variables, and the time it can take to successfully match with a surrogate mother can vary as well. depending on your personal preferences. We feel that finding the right match is an important step, and we want you to feel comfortable and confident moving forward.
Once we find a surrogate that matches the criteria you shared with the RP team, we will share their profile for you to review. The surrogate profile consists of the potential surrogate’s application, photos of her and her family and additional information about her to help intended parents get to know her and what brought her to surrogacy. Within a couple of days, you can decide to move forward with that surrogate or continue searching. If you decide to move forward with the surrogate, we begin the next step of the surrogacy process.
Meet the Surrogate
Once you decide to move forward with a surrogate, we will schedule a time to introduce all parties — either on the phone or through video chat — to determine a good fit. A member of the Reproductive Possibilities team will also be on this call and will help guide the conversation, asking questions to help everyone to get to know each other better.
After this introductory call, both parties will let Reproductive Possibilities know if they would like to move forward as a match. If all parties agree, the surrogate will be officially matched with you! At this point, you can begin your relationship with the surrogate and get to know one another better.
Match with the Surrogate & Begin Escrow
Once you have officially matched with a surrogate, you will open and fund an escrow account with Surrogate Fund Management. Your escrow account is used to hold the funds necessary for your surrogacy journey. Surrogate Fund Management will manage all bills and payments associated with the surrogacy, including payments and reimbursements between the intended parents and surrogate mother. Having these funds managed will allow you to focus on your surrogate relationship without financial matters impacting your connection. Expenses, fees and bills are paid based upon the terms agreed to in your Gestational Carrier Contract or your approval (if not already determined).
Your Surrogate Begins Screening
There are a few steps in the screening process for surrogates in order to establish her emotional and physical ability to become a surrogate.
The first step is the pre-screening process. The pre-screening process includes a criminal background check, a social worker at-home visit and the forwarding of her medical history and records to your fertility clinic for their initial approval. Once all of these have been completed, the clinic will reach out to schedule a full day of screening at their facility.
The second step is the medical screening. A typical all-day screening includes blood and urine analysis, a saline sonogram, a physical evaluation, drug and STD testing, and a tutorial on injectable medications. In addition, psychological screening will be completed by an ASRM*-certified psychologist, or by a social worker on staff at your fertility clinic. Once your surrogate is approved through the pre-screening and screening process, we begin the next phase of the surrogacy process.
*American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine.
Finalizing Contracts and Escrow Funding
Once a screening date is scheduled for you and your surrogate, our legal team will begin drafting your Gestational Carrier Contract. A Gestational Carrier Contract is an agreement between the intended parent(s), surrogate mother and her spouse/partner (if applicable). This agreement is negotiated after the fertility clinic confirms medical testing and screening is complete.
The contract covers: parental rights, custody issues, location of delivery, insurance, medical decisions during the pregnancy, liability for complications, life insurance, etc. Financial considerations, such as the surrogate mother’s compensation and expenses, including lost wages, legal fees, child care and maternity clothes, are also addressed.
This document is shared with you prior to the screening visit, so that you have some time to review. When the clinic confirms with Reproductive Possibilities that the surrogate has passed screening and cleared to move forward, the Gestational Carrier Contract will be forwarded to your surrogate, along with an attorney referral for her representation so her best interest is protected. Your surrogate is not required to use our referral, but she must be represented by an attorney who is familiar with surrogacy contracts and/or reproductive law.
Once the Gestational Carrier Contract is signed and finalized, the escrow account will need to be fully funded with the surrogate’s full singleton fee, as noted within her contract. Once Surrogate Fund Management confirms that the funds have been received, legal clearance will be sent to your fertility clinic to have your surrogate begin her medications to prepare for the embryo transfer.
Prepare for Embryo Transfer
A big step in the process is when your surrogate begins her medications to prepare for the embryo transfer. Your surrogate’s medications will be managed by your fertility clinic, and she will be monitored at a facility local to where she lives that will work in tandem with the clinic. She will have weekly blood work and bi-weekly ultrasound monitoring for about four weeks to ensure that her body is responding appropriately to the medications and that her uterus will be ready for the embryo transfer. Monitoring schedules vary by clinic, so be sure to check with your clinic to see what the exact schedule looks like.
Your surrogate will then travel to your fertility clinic to have final testing to confirm her uterus is prepared and ready for the embryo transfer. She will typically relax in a nearby hotel for a 24-hour bed-rest post-transfer. These arrangements are managed by our office or you as the intended parents can choose to manage these arrangements independently.
Prepare for Pregnancy and Finalize Parentage Order
After the initial transfer, weekly monitoring will continue at a facility local to your surrogate for HcG level observation. Once pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate will slowly stop medications — monitored by fertility doctors — to allow the pregnancy to progress naturally. An exciting time early in the surrogacy journey is the heartbeat confirmation, which typically happens around 6 weeks. Once the heartbeat has been confirmed via ultrasound, the surrogate will be released into the care of her OBGYN around 12 weeks of pregnancy.
When the surrogate is between 16- and 20-weeks-pregnant, the legal team will reach out to you to initiate the birth order/parentage process. Birth orders are the documents presented to the courts that declare you (the intended parents) as the legal parents of the child. The process does vary by state and/or county and may be completed as a Pre-Birth Order, Post-Birth Order, or Stepparent Adoption.
Get Ready to Meet Your Baby!
In preparation for the big day, we recommend that you reach out to the surrogate’s delivery hospital to confirm that they accept the surrogate’s health insurance and also to determine if the hospital accepts your medical insurance, which will cover your child upon delivery. If your personal insurance is not accepted, please contact our office for further guidance. Our office offers additional services if you’d prefer our help.
Typically, you will arrive in your surrogate’s home state a couple of days to a week or so prior to the estimated delivery date. Your surrogate will communicate with you and our office as soon as labor starts, should you need to make or change your travel plans. Once the baby is released from the hospital, you may start your journey home as a family.
Close Out Escrow
The escrow account must remain open for at least 3-to-4 months post-birth. During this time, Surrogate Fund Management will collect and handle all medical bills associated with the pregnancy, finalize the surrogate’s final expenses and close the account once all bills are paid. If any funds remain in the account, you will receive the balance via check.
Head Home with Your New Baby
After the baby is delivered and all legal documents have been completed, it’s time to head home and start your life as a new family!
If you are interested in becoming a parent through surrogacy and would like to speak with someone on our team to begin the surrogacy process, please feel free to fill out our contact us form, or call us at (201) 505-0078. We look forward to speaking with you soon!