What Can a Surrogate Expect from her Journey?
Becoming a surrogate is one of life’s biggest decisions and will take commitment and dedication. No two journeys are the same. You will have hopes and dreams for your journey and you will also begin your journey with many questions and perhaps some anxiety.
As you begin your journey, you will need to do some research about the requirements for surrogate candidates, the overall surrogacy process and decide which agency is the right match for you.
Making a decision about the agency you will work with is an important decision. We don’t think you should simply settle on the first one you contact. Reach out to a few. Maybe reach out to large agencies, medium agencies and small agencies and see the differences in what each offers you and at the end of the day, which services and approach make you feel the most comfortable.
Your agency will spend some time getting to know you, will ask you to complete a questionnaire, and will make sure that you meet basic qualification requirements.
A good agency will be your guide throughout the process and will ensure that your journey is handled with your best interests in mind financially, medically, and legally. A good agency will be there for you 24/7 and will provide a stable environment for your journey so that you don’t feel like you are lost in a bureaucracy. That means that choosing your agency carefully will be an important early step.
Your journey will begin with your agency getting to know you. You will be given a questionnaire to complete and asked to provide approval for your agency to run a background check on you and your spouse or significant other. At this time, if there are any issues in your background, you should talk with your agency. Also important is discussing any pregnancy-related issues you had, if any. Your agency will need to obtain all prenatal and delivery records from your previous pregnancies.
Once your agency has your medical records and performed background checks, the next step is to introduce you to Intended Parents. Your agency will be looking at multiple factors that make for a good match such as how much communication you and they would like during the process; what type of parents you are comfortable matching with such as gay, straight, married, single; your view on termination of pregnancy because of medical issues and any other issues you may have brought up during your intake process with the agency.
You will be presented with background info on Intended Parents and they will be presented with the same for you. If both feel that “meeting” would be a good idea then a SKYPE or FaceTime meeting is set up. This initial meeting can feel daunting to both you and Intended Parents. You may be embarking on one of the most significant journeys and relationships of your lives so jitters are normal. Making the right match is very important for your journeys so you may want to have a couple of conversations with the Intended Parents. Reach out to your agency with any questions or concerns. Being forthright about issues is important. It’s better to work through questions and concerns before saying “yes” to Intended Parents then determining down the road that you are not really comfortable with the match.
Once you and your intended parents decide to move forward, you are considered to have a “tentative match.” The reason that this is referred to as a “tentative match” is because you will need to be further screened medically and psychologically to ensure you are physically and emotionally ready to move forward with being a surrogate. Our agency will have you and your intended parents sign a “screening agreement” which will outline the financial responsibilities of intended parents in paying for all screening costs, including medical, psychological, travel, and reimbursements such as childcare, lost wages, insurance and food allowance. The idea is that the surrogate candidate should not be out of pocket for any expenses incurred.
Surrogates are not required to have health insurance in place but your agency will ensure that you have insurance which will cover the costs of pregnancy and complications. If you already have insurance, a broker will review your insurance coverage to see if it will cover your pregnancy as a surrogate and if not, a policy will be purchased on your behalf by the intended parents.
The medical screening will consist of presenting your medical records from your previous pregnancies and deliveries to the clinic and if they are cleared then setting up an appointment for you to visit the clinic. The fertility clinic will have you complete an intake questionnaires, the doctor will consult with you and conduct a physical examination and ultrasound to ensure your uterus is healthy and ready for another pregnancy. You and your spouse or significant other will be required to complete blood tests for sexually transmitted disease, alcohol, nicotine and drugs. Once completed and approved by the fertility clinic, you are medically cleared.
You and your spouse or significant other will be required to meet with a mental health professional for an interview and you will also take a personality assessment test. If the mental health professional determines that you and your spouse or significant other are ready and able to undertake the responsibilities and commitment of surrogacy, then you will be cleared psychologically and at this point, you are ready to enter into the legal process with your intended parents.
You will be represented by an experienced surrogacy attorney and your intended parents will have a separate attorney. The cost of your attorney will be covered by your intended parents. Once the contract has been signed by all parties, the attorneys will provide the fertility clinic with letters of clearance and you will then by ready to start the medical process. Payments are typically made each month during your pregnancy starting with confirmation of your pregnancy (typically by confirmation of fetal heartbeat) and will be paid by a separate escrow company.
Once you begin the medical process, it is extremely important that you follow the instructions with exactness. Not following instructions exactly as required by the clinic can result in a failed embryo transfer or miscarriage. Depending on the medical protocol and the particular clinic medications may include injections.
The clinic will monitor your pregnancy during the first trimester and then you will be under the care of your ob/gyn for the remaining pregnancy.
The commitment and responsibilities that go with being a surrogate are great; the personal rewards that you receive for becoming a surrogate for someone who cannot have a child are among the greatest you will experience in your lifetime.