How Does Surrogacy Work? Understanding the Process.
There are two sides to the surrogacy story: the intended family and the surrogate. One side wishes to bring a baby into their lives via surrogacy. The other side aspires to give someone the gift of parenthood as a surrogate. Regardless of which story is yours, you probably have many questions about the process and how it works. While the legal procedures may vary by state, this general guide will help you understand what to expect from the surrogacy journey. How does surrogacy work? Let’s take a look at it from both perspectives.
The Process for Intended Parents
You have decided to pursue surrogacy as a way to grow your family…now what? After the decision has been made, the first part of your journey to parenthood will involve a lot of legal and medical paperwork. The general process for intended parents who wish to pursue surrogacy is:
- Decide whether to pursue traditional or gestational surrogacy.
- Choose whether you prefer to work hand-in-hand with an agency who will match you and walk you through your journey, or if you’d like to find and work with a surrogate independently.
- Find a match. Some intended parents already have a surrogate such as a friend or family member when they begin the process. If you do not know anyone who can be a surrogate for you, the next step is finding a surrogate. If you are working with an agency, they will provide you with profiles of surrogates and set up a match meeting. If you are looking independently, this may require you joining surrogacy support groups where you can meet potential surrogates or asking your reproductive professionals for help finding a surrogate.
- Draft a legal contract. Your agency or attorney will assist you to make sure that your interests and rights are well represented throughout the process. This is usually when the escrow account must be set up and funded.
- Begin the medical procedures. These will vary depending on your personal circumstances and choices, but this procedure involves retrieving the egg, fertilizing it, and transferring the embryo to the surrogate. Once the pregnancy is confirmed with a healthy fetal heartbeat, payments to the surrogate begin.
- Prepare for a baby! This is an exciting time as you get ready to bring your baby home in the very near future.
The Process for Surrogates
The decision to become a surrogate is a positive, life-changing opportunity. Not only are you giving an incredible gift to another person or couple, but you are gaining significant financial benefits and the possibility of a meaningful relationship with a family you helped create. How does surrogacy work for you? This is a brief overview of the process for surrogate mothers:
- Develop a surrogacy plan. You will need to decide whether you are open to traditional or gestational surrogacy (or both) and how you want to pursue this goal. You can opt to work with an agency or pursue surrogacy independently.
- Choose a surrogacy professional. You can pursue the process independently, but it is strongly advised that you work with an agency. They will assist you throughout the process and make sure you and your rights are protected.
- Begin the matching process. You will need to decide which types of intended parents you wish to work with and what kind of relationship you would like to have with them. Your agency can help you create a profile and facilitate the matching process.
- Meet with your attorney. A legal professional will discuss various aspects of surrogacy with you, from compensation to potential risks.
- Begin the IVF cycle and embryo transfer process. You will likely be prescribed fertility medications to increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer. If the transfer is successful, you are pregnant and will start receiving payments.
- Enjoy your pregnancy! From this point on you will have regular checkups to monitor your and the baby’s progress, and frequent contact with the intended parents to keep them up to date on how their baby is growing.
There are few things more special and exciting in life than creating and growing a baby! Surrogacy is a wonderful way to build your own family or help someone build theirs. Understanding how the surrogacy process works is the first step towards this rewarding experience.