Whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, understanding the surrogacy process is an important step towards determining if surrogacy is right for you.
Surrogacy is a life-changing decision with a lot of moving parts, which is why it’s important that you feel confident in your choice. The fact that you’re reading this article shows that you are already conducting your own research and are on your way to figuring out if surrogacy is the right choice for you.
For intended parents that have dreams of growing or adding to their family, surrogacy is a beautiful way to make these dreams a reality. And that is only possible thanks to the brave, caring decision that many women make to become a surrogate. There are many eager surrogates waiting to give you the gift of having a child of your own.
To get a better understanding of the surrogacy process step by step, continue reading our seven-step guide below to how surrogacy works, or contact a professional today.
The Surrogacy Process Step-by-Step
Step 1. Reach Out to a Surrogacy Professional
So, how does surrogacy work?
If you feel surrogacy is right for you, reaching out to a surrogacy agency is an important first step for surrogacy. Your surrogacy professional will be by your side to answer any questions you may have and to make sure that your surrogacy is on track.
If you’re ready to begin working towards becoming a surrogate, your specialist will walk you through the process.
For the intended parents, once you’ve spoken with a surrogacy professional, the first step of the surrogacy process will be to fill out a questionnaire that will break down your goals for surrogacy. This will help your professional find the right surrogate for you.
These questionaries often consist of questions that help the professional craft a surrogacy plan that works for everyone involved. Some of the questions the intended parents might be asked are:
- Whether or not they’ll need a sperm or egg donor
- What their budget is
- What contact arrangements they’re comfortable with during and after the pregnancy
- And more
The answers to these questions will help your professional find a good match.
Step 2. Complete the Screening Process
Both surrogates and intended parents will be required to complete a screening process. This is an integral step in the surrogacy process to ensure that both parties are physically, emotionally and financially ready to dedicate themselves to the process of being a surrogate.
The screening processes for surrogates and intended parents are similar. For a prospective surrogate, you will be asked to provide:
- Records of your previous pregnancies
- State and federal background checks
- Why you want to be a surrogate
- Medical records
- What kinds of intended parents you would like to work with
The intended parents will also need to complete two primary steps as a part of the screening process:
- An in-home visit. A surrogacy professional will visit the home of the intended parents to ensure that the baby will grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Intended parents will also answer a series of interview questions about their lifestyle and how they feel about surrogacy.
- Background checks. Everyone in the home will need to complete a state and federal background check to ensure all legal affairs are in order.
By requiring surrogates and intended parents to complete a screening process, surrogacies professionals can be sure that everyone involved is properly prepared for the surrogacy process and minimizes any potential delays.
Step 3. Find a Perfect Match
This is one of the most important steps to become a surrogate. Many surrogacy agencies have years of experience providing matching services and will be able to help you find the perfect intended parents for your surrogacy goals.
There are thousands of families out there who have been trying to start their family, and surrogacy is the best option for many of them. A surrogacy specialist will work with intended parents and gestational carriers to create profiles that will detail what you want from your surrogacy experience.
Using these profiles, your surrogacy professional will help match intended parents with surrogates whose profile aligns with theirs.
Once you find the right match for you, your professional will arrange a conference call where the surrogate and the intended parents will be able to get to know each other. Both sides need to agree on the match in order for the surrogacy process to move forward.
Once you have found the match you want to work with, you will be able to move forward with the process to be a surrogate mother.
Step 4. Begin the Legal Process
It’s important that the surrogate and the intended parents have proper legal representation through an attorney that specializes in each party’s state reproductive and surrogacy laws. The surrogate and the intended parents will meet with their individual attorneys to make sure everyone understands their rights and the legal language used throughout the process. The attorney will draft a legal contract outlining expectations and how each party will handle any potential complications.
Once the contracts are finalized and signed, the most exciting part of the process can begin!
Step 5. Complete Embryo Transfer
For this part of the surrogacy procedure, you will be working with a fertility clinic. Your surrogacy professional can help you find a clinic that suits the needs of both the surrogate and the intended parents, but it is ultimately up to the intended parents to decide on a clinic.
With gestational surrogacy, an embryo created from the genetic material of the intended parents, or using a sperm or egg donor, is transferred to the surrogate’s through the IVF process. This means she will not be related to the child she is carrying.
The fertility clinic will handle any arrangements involving a sperm or egg donor. If the intended mother’s eggs are being used to create the embryo, the clinic will administer a variety of fertility drugs to ensure that there will be multiple viable eggs. If there are previously created embryos from past IVF attempts, these can be used as well. The surrogate will also be given fertility drugs to ensure that she is physically ready for the embryo transfer.
Once the pregnancy has been confirmed, the surrogate can begin receiving monthly compensation. It’s important that she feels supported by the intended parents throughout her pregnancy.
Step 6. Draft the Pre-Birth Order
After the first trimester, the intended parents’ attorney can begin drafting the pre-birth order. The pre-birth order is the last piece of the legal paperwork involved in the process for surrogacy. This is the documentation that establishes the intended parents as the legal parents so that the hospital staff and the state’s vital records department can include the intended parent’s name on the birth certificate.
This documentation is extremely important, as it is the catalyst for the intended parents becoming the legal parents of the baby. The type of pre-birth order you complete will depend on your state’s laws, but your attorney will make sure that all of your bases are covered.
Step 7. Create a Family
The big day is here! Everyone’s hard work, time and patience have led up to this; the birth of a beautiful baby. The hospital stay portion of the surrogacy process will have already been arranged ahead of time by the intended parents, surrogate and their surrogacy professional. When the surrogate is ready to be discharged from the hospital, everyone will be able to return home.
The two of you will be forever connected by this life-changing experience, and you will be able to stay in contact with one another based on the contact arrangements you made beforehand. Whether you’re the surrogate or the intended parents, if you have questions or concerns after the baby has been born, your adoption professional will always be there for you.
Whether you’re a hopeful surrogate mother or intended parent(s), surrogacy is a beautiful journey. If you have questions about the surrogacy process or are ready to get started, contact a professional now.