How does surrogacy work?
It’s a common question for prospective surrogates and intended parents alike. Because there are so many aspects that determine what the surrogacy process looks like, every surrogacy journey will be different based on the surrogacy goals and preferences of the people involved.
We created this article to outline the surrogacy process step by step to help give you an idea of what to expect.
Keep reading below to find out more about the surrogacy process and make this initial decision, or speak with a surrogacy professional to help determine whether surrogacy is the right path for you.
How the Surrogacy Process Works
Because there are so many aspects that determine what a surrogacy process looks like, every surrogacy journey will be different based on the surrogacy goals and preferences of the people involved.
Usually, one of the best ways to learn more about what the process of surrogacy may look like for you is by speaking with a surrogacy professional about any personal surrogacy desires and needs you may have.
However, in general, every surrogacy process follows the same basic steps, no matter what type of surrogacy it is:
Step 1: Determine that Surrogacy is Right for You
Surrogacy is an amazing journey for both surrogates and intended parents.
Becoming a surrogate means giving a great deal of your personal time, energy, and your body to selflessly help someone else become a parent.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy means committing your time, energy, and resources to fulfilling your dreams of starting a family.
Understanding the surrogacy process, step by step can feel overwhelming..
Fortunately, there are many professionals who can explain the gestational surrogacy process and what it may look like for you to help you make the best decision. If you’d like to talk to a surrogacy agency about starting the process, here are a few you could consider:
Step 2: Identify Your Surrogacy Goals and See If You Meet Necessary Requirements
Once you have decided that surrogacy is right for you, your next step of the surrogacy process is to determine what goals you have for your surrogacy experience. These choices will shape the rest of your surrogacy journey.
A great way to figure out your surrogacy goals is to ask yourself some questions:
- What type of surrogacy process do you want to complete?
- Do you want to work with an agency throughout the process?
- Have you identified the intended parents on your own?
- Why are you pursuing the surrogacy path for yourself?
- And more
If you’re not sure how surrogacy works with your personal surrogacy goals — or you’re not sure what your surrogacy goals are — a surrogacy professional can talk you through any questions you may have.
When you’re ready to start, that professional will also make sure you meet any necessary requirements to be a surrogate as you undergo initial medical and psychological screening. This way, you can ensure you are ready for the surrogacy process before moving forward further with your surrogacy procedures.
Step 3: Find Intended Parents
Probably one of the most important steps in the surrogacy process is finding intended parents for your surrogacy journey, and the best way to do this is by working with a surrogacy agency.
The parents are the people you will be working intimately with for a year or more, so it’s important that they are the perfect match in order for your surrogacy journey to proceed smoothly.
If you are planning to carry a baby for a friend or family member, this step will already be completed. However, if you don’t yet have intended parents in mind, a surrogacy professional can help you find the perfect intended parents for you.
As you create a personal surrogacy plan, your professional will help you identify what you would like intended parents to be like. Intended parents come from all walks of life, so there are hopeful parents out there who are:
- Have other children already
- And more
You will be provided with an intended parent profile to learn more about a potential match. Many agencies will require a pre-screening of every intended parent so you know they will provide a safe and loving home for the child.
If you both show interest in each other, your surrogacy professional will help coordinate a phone call or meeting between you. If you are ready to commit to a match, you will move forward to the next step in the surrogacy process.
Step 4: Create a Surrogacy Contract
The next step in your surrogacy process will be to work with the intended parents to solidify your match with a legal surrogacy contract, drafted and negotiated by your personal surrogacy lawyers. A legal contract is required in order for the medical surrogacy procedure to begin.
A surrogacy contract ensures that both you and your intended parents are aware of the responsibilities, liabilities, and risks associated as you go through the surrogacy process step by step.
Your surrogacy lawyer will represent you separately to protect your rights and interests as a surrogate, such as any surrogate compensation you may receive, the parental rights of the intended parents and the subsequent steps to take if any complications occur. Your surrogacy lawyer will also serve as your advocate during every step of the legal surrogacy process.
When you are satisfied with the terms of your surrogacy contract, you and the intended parents will sign it and move forward with the medical steps of the traditional or gestational surrogacy process.
Step 5: Complete the Medical Steps of the Surrogacy Process
Once all of the legal aspects are taken care of, you and your intended parents will finally be able to begin the medical aspects of the surrogacy process. Many fertility clinics will require a surrogacy contract to be in place before beginning medical procedures, which is why it’s important to complete the legal steps early on.
The medical process of surrogacy can seem complicated, but with the assistance of a trained surrogacy and medical professional, you should feel informed and comfortable every step of the way.
Your medical surrogacy process will likely be completed through the intended parents’ fertility clinic, as many have already-created embryos stored with a certain professional. You will work with them to complete the embryo transfer process.
This surrogacy procedure is relatively quick and painless, and your medical professional will explain the steps and what potential side effects to look out for.
You may be required to take certain fertility medications to prepare you for the medical process of embryo transfer, usually to increase the likelihood that an embryo will successfully implant in your uterus. Once the fertility specialist has determined you are ready for the transfer, you will usually travel to the intended parents’ fertility clinic for the actual medical process of embryo transfer.
A few weeks after the transfer, you’ll return to the clinic to complete a blood pregnancy test. Only after a heartbeat is heard will you begin receiving base compensation payments. If the pregnancy is confirmed, you will be able to receive regular prenatal care from your local OBGYN and deliver the baby at a local hospital.
Step 6: Deliver the Baby and Complete Your Surrogacy Process
Keep in mind that, although your pregnancy will proceed as any other traditional pregnancy, your surrogacy birth experience may be a bit different, depending on your hospital’s procedures.
In most surrogacies, the intended parents are able to be a part of the delivery process. Even if they cannot be in the same room with you while you give birth, they will likely be able to watch the delivery and will stay in their own room with the baby after he or she is born.
The intended parents’ surrogacy attorney will have informed the hospital and the intended parents of any steps that need to be taken to confirm their parentage after the baby is born. Besides potentially signing your acknowledgement of their parentage after delivery, your surrogacy process will be complete once you give birth.
However, your surrogacy process will be one that continues to impact your life for years to come — especially if you have created a long-lasting relationship with your intended parents.
Your surrogacy professional will work with you to ensure that all of the necessary steps of your surrogacy process are completed at this point. If you have any questions or need support as you move forward, they should be open to providing the assistance you need.
Get Started Today
The surrogacy process can seem overwhelming when you’re first considering becoming a surrogate, but with the help of an experienced surrogacy professional from the beginning, your journey will be a one that positively changes your life forever.
If you have more questions about how to start the surrogacy process and what it is like, reach out to us today.