For women who desire to be surrogate mothers, you likely have many questions about surrogacy and the surrogacy process: What is a surrogate timeline? How long will my surrogacy journey take? How long will I want to be matched? How long until I become pregnant?
We’ve outlined the surrogate timeline and individual steps for your surrogacy journey below, with estimated timelines for each step to help you better understand the time commitment a surrogacy will be. The surrogate timeline varies based on a number of factors, so there are ranges for each step in the process.
Surrogate Timeline for Gestational Carriers
Women applying to be surrogates can expect an estimated overall timeline of about 14-22 months, from filling out the application to giving birth. Typically, about 4-5 months to finish all pre-screening and clinic screening and begin working on contracts. After contracts, things can move quickly and we hope for an embryo transfer in about 6-8 weeks. If the first transfer is not successful, then you can anticipate another 6-8 weeks until the next transfer.
The surrogate timeline and process can be broken down into steps each surrogate must take during her journey. This helpful timeline will explain each step and the time associated with each.
Application & Initial Screening: 1-3 Weeks
It can take 1-3 weeks to complete the surrogate application process and our office documents so that we can have your file ready to be shared with intended parents for matching. Once you complete your full GC Application online, you should hear from us within a day or so by phone for a review of your information and to set up an appointment for a full interview with you.
We say 1-3 weeks for this step because some of the timing will depend on how quickly you can submit information to us that we need to move forward. In some cases if there were any prior medical issues, it may take us working together to gather medical records or clearance from your doctor to proceed. The RP surrogate team will be there to help throughout and to help the process run smoothly.
Gathering Information and Medical Records: 3-6 Weeks
Once the full interview is complete, we will gather information from you, (i.e. some forms, criminal background documents, drivers license, etc.) and work on gathering your medical records from your prior pregnancies from your OB-Gyn, as well as the labor and delivery records from the hospital(s) at which you delivered. Once accepted into the program, we will share your profile with Intended Parents that fit your criteria and will help in finding the right match for you!
Matching: 2-4 Weeks
Your time to match with intended parents depends on a few factors. First, we want to make sure that we try and match you with an intended parent or parents that meet your criteria, and whose criteria you match as well. We’ll also review the fertility clinic criteria to ensure that your medical history fits their guidelines. Lastly, state laws also factor into whether or not we can make a good match between you and intended parents. While that may sound like a lot of steps, our team is experienced in matching surrogates and intended parents.
If you should have a match break with your intended parents for any reason – this is not normal, but it happens! – and there were no medical issues to cause the break, the Reproductive Possibilities team should be able to rematch you with new intended parents within 2-3 weeks.
Records Review, Clinic Screening & Legal Contracts: 6-8 Weeks
After matching the initial pre-screening will be completed, which includes the agency running a background check on you and your partner (if you have one) and scheduling a social worker to make a home visit to you and your family. Your medical records will be shared with the fertility clinic for their review and their “pre-approval” for you to move forward. Once the fertility clinic clears your medical records and your pre-screenings have been completed, the clinic will schedule you for a screening visit at their location.
The screening visit is typically scheduled for you, your partner and the intended parents on the same day. We call this “marathon day” because it is a full day of screening. The agency will arrange for any travel for you (and your partner if you have one). During this appointment, you can anticipate a regular workup including bloodwork, STD testing, and a sonohystogram. After a 2 week wait period for your FDA blood test results, the clinic will deem you approved or not approved.
If approved, you will be cleared to begin reviewing the Gestational Carrier contract with your attorney. This legal process can take about 2-3 weeks. When the contract is finalized and all parties have signed, the clinic will be notified and they will work with you to schedule an embryo transfer cycle. Your medications will typically start about 2 weeks from this point and the embryo transfer can be about 4-5 weeks later.
Cycle Schedule & Medications: About 4 Weeks
Once contracts are signed, the clinic is given clearance so they can begin setting up a cycle schedule for you. In most cases, you should have a transfer within 4-5 weeks from the time you start your medications.
You will be given a thorough schedule from the clinic of which medications to take and when. It’s important to follow these instructions very carefully. You will visit a local clinic to monitor how your body is reacting to the medications. Should you have any questions about your medications, you should reach out to the clinic.
Embryo Transfer & Early Pregnancy: 6 Weeks
When your body is ready for the embryo transfer, you will travel again to the intended parents’ clinic for this appointment. Some intended parents come to the clinic for the embryo transfer; this is a great time to spend some time getting to know each other.
Did you know that on the day of embryo transfer you are considered two weeks pregnant? Fun fact – Since you began taking medications to prepare your uterus for pregnancy, and the embryo has been created and developing for 4-6 days, on the day of transfer you would actually be considered two weeks pregnant had you become pregnant naturally! Two weeks following the embryo transfer you will have your first pregnancy test, which hopefully confirms a positive pregnancy. Two weeks after that you would then have an ultrasound where you should see the babies heartbeat(s).
Pregnancy: 9 Months
You will continue to be monitored during the early stages of your pregnancy until you are released to the OBGYN of your choice (located near where you live). At this point, your pregnancy will progress as a traditional pregnancy would.
Many surrogates use this time to build their relationship with their intended parents, sharing details about the pregnancy. Some intended parents try to attend a few appointments if possible, especially the 20 week ultrasound appointment which is an amazing opportunity for them to really see their little one with the very detailed anatomy ultrasound. How many appointments they are able to attend with you often depends on far they live from you. If they are not within driving distance, it is often a lot more phone calls, Skype or Facetime calls and text messaging.
Delivery Day and Postpartum: Ongoing
Delivery day brings with it many emotions. You are finally going to give the baby(ies) you’ve been carrying back to your intended parents. Many surrogates say there is nothing quite like watching the faces of their intended parents when they meet their baby for the first time.
You will have discussed with your intended parents a birth plan for delivery day, who will be in the hospital room, etc. It’s a joyous time for everyone involved – even the hospital staff!
After delivery, you have joined the ranks of our esteemed experienced gestational carriers. While we will not ever forget all you have done for us and the family you helped to build, we will keep in touch, respectfully, so as not to intrude on your recuperation time, and family time, which we know is so important. We always love to hear from you, and if you have developed a bond with your coordinator, you will find that it stands the test of time!
If this surrogate timeline has answered some of your most pressing questions, you can learn more about becoming a surrogate here! If you still have questions, feel free to contact us on our website, or reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.