Becoming a Surrogate will undoubtedly be a life changer. Women who decide to become surrogates are mothers who cannot imagine life without their children. They feel that this act of paying forward will bring great joy and personal rewards and guess what? They are right!
All About the Right Surrogacy Match
Becoming a surrogate is a sacred journey for you and for the couple or individual whom you will choose. There is a forever bond that connects you and your intended parents and the child you carry. We honor that bond by being there beside you all the way. Great matches don’t just happen – a great match starts with our getting to know you. We take the time to understand what your hopes are for your surrogacy journey and what expectations you have. We want you to match with a couple or individual who sees the journey as you do. We will walk beside you each and every step of the way with sensitive and continual support and guidance 24/7 because your pregnancy is 24/7. Check out the qualification requirements to become a surrogate.
Protection for You and Your Family
You can begin your journey knowing that you are in good hands. Intended parents are screened so you know that you are matching with a couple or individual who are committed to the process financially and emotionally. We do the heavy lifting when it comes to making sure that you and your family agree on the major financial aspects of your journey before you meet. We make sure that you are your intended parents agree on medical decisions that may need to be made. We are guiding you through a process in which you are going to have an experienced attorney representing you and your family’s interests. You are going to have life insurance, proper health insurance coverage, and your compensation will be deposited with an independent escrow company prior to the start of any medical procedures. Our goal is the same as your goal and the goal of your intended parents and that is to have a healthy baby. Having a top-notch medical team in place is critical to our success as an agency so we work with the best fertility clinics.
To Begin Your Journey To Become a Surrogate
You will begin by reaching out to us. Our Founder, Candace O’Brien, will personally reach out to you and start the conversation with a call and providing any further information you may need about the process. You may want to check out our FAQs, we can email further information and resources for you to review and which you can share with your family and significant others when discussing the surrogacy process. You will need to complete a questionnaire. Once we have your completed paperwork, and you are accepted into our program, you are ready to match with intended parents and start down that amazing path you have chosen.
The Next Steps After A Match
Once you and your Intended Parents feel you have a match, the next step is for you to be screened and includes the following:
- Background checks of you and your spouse/significant other;
- STD screening labs for you and your spouse/significant other;
- Review of your medical records by the fertility clinic;
- You and your spouse or signifiant other will meet with a licensed psychologist. You will complete an MMPI/PAI personality assessment questionnaire. You will also have a conversation in which you explore further the process of surrogacy
- Medical screening by the IVF clinic which includes a physical examination and an ultrasound.
We will guide you through each of these steps, assist you in making appointments and any travel arrangements that must be made. All of the expenses involved including any out of pocket expenses for you and your spouse or significant other are reimbursed.
Finalizing the Agreement
Once the above steps have been successfully completed, you will be provided separate, independent legal counsel (at no cost to you) to represent you during the contracting phase with your Intended Parent(s). Once you and your intended parents sign the agreement, your compensation and other estimated reimbursements will be placed in escrow with an independent escrow company. The medical process does not begin until this step is completed.
Once the above steps are complete, you are on your way to the most amazing and precious journey of your life!
You will start taking birth control pill to synchronize your menstrual cycle with the Intended Mother’s or donor’s. In some instances, the Intended Parents use frozen embryos or frozen eggs in which case your cycle does not have to be synchronized. You are going to begin medications designed to prepare your endometrium lining and uterus for the transfer of the embryos into your uterus. This may also require the medication, Lupron. These medications are usually well-tolerated, and most women do not have any side effects when taking these medications for a short time. However, some side effects include: hot flashes, fatigue, headaches, irritability or nausea. You will take estrogen twice per week by injection – this is to thicken the lining of the uterus. You will be continually evaluated using blood tests and ultrasounds to determine when you are ready for the implantation. Approximately 4 days before the transfer and until an ultrasound confirms pregnancy, you will take injections of progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone produced by the ovary after ovulation and it is administered to thicken the uterine lining. Progesterone can be administered in a variety of ways including intravaginal suppository, oral capsule, or an intramuscular injection. Side effects can include bloating, irritability, and breast tenderness.
Stage 2: Egg Retrieval and Fertilization
If you are going to be undergoing a fresh cycle in which your cycle has been synchronized with that of an egg donor’s, the donor will have been undergoing treatment designed to stimulate her ovaries so that she produces multiple eggs. This process is happening in coordination with the preparation that you are undergoing in stage 1 above. The embryologist at the fertility clinic will be identifying and assessing mature follicles and will set the date for the extraction of the eggs. Once the eggs are retrieved, they are continually monitored and assessed by the embryologist to determine how well they are developing and each one is graded for maturity. Once the eggs have reached adequate maturity, the embryologist places the sperm together with each retrieved egg in a separate laboratory dish to allow the fertilization process to occur. After a period of time, the eggs are examined under a microscope for the first signs of fertilization. When the embryos have reached the expected stage of development (usually in 3-6 days), the embryologist will choose the embryo/s to be transferred and will freeze any remaining embryos for future use. In some cases, you will be undergoing what is known as a frozen embryo transfer and your cycle will not have to synchronized with that of the egg donor.
Stage 3: Embryo Transfer
The embryo transfer procedure does not require anesthesia. While you are in a gynecological exam position, a very small plastic catheter is introduced into the uterus through the cervix and the embryos are transferred into the endometrial cavity. You will be required to stay in this position for a short period of time. Most physician’s recommend that you rest for a couple of days after the transfer.
Stage 4: Monitoring and Support
When you are released after the embryo transfer, you will be given instructions by the IVF Physician regarding rest, lifting restrictions, and travel and work restrictions. Some of the limitations are:
- Complete Pelvic Rest
- No douching or sexual intercourse
- Showers only – no tub baths
- No strenuous activities – no exercising, running, heavy lifting including children, groceries, luggage, etc.
A pregnancy test will be performed approximately ten days following the embryo transfer.
Stage 5: After Confirmation of Pregnancy
If a pregnancy occurs, you will continue to be monitored by the IVF Physician for approximately eight to nine weeks. You will then be under the care of the ob/gyn whom you and the intended parents have selected. We will be there for you every step of the way. We will ensure that your compensation and reimbursements are handled correctly and timely by the independent escrow company. We are there for you 24/7.
Stage 6: Planning for the Delivery
We will contact the hospital about three to four weeks prior to your delivery to set up the hospital plan. We will inform the case management staff that we are going to be having a delivery and that you are surrogate. We will discuss hospital protocol. Once we have the hospital protocol, we will have a conversation with you and your intended parents on how everything will go at the hospital from delivery and after. We then provide the hospital with a letter outlining the plan.
We continue to be there for you after the delivery just as we were there during the pregnancy. There will be final payments, medical bills and settling back into life after this momentous experience.