At Beaba, we cover many aspects of motherhood. So, we decided to reach out to our friend Emily Westerfield at Gift of Life Surrogacy to give us a rundown on the general process of surrogacy, and what it entails. Keep reading to learn more about the process!
Did you know that more than 1 in 8 women will experience infertility in their lifetimes? Infertility, no matter the cause, elicits a wide range of emotions, from hopelessness and sadness, to frustration, stress and anger. Infertility may be experienced as the inability to conceive or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. When faced with the inability to conceive, many women turn to assisted reproductive technology, like IVF or IUI. But when faced with the inability to carry a pregnancy to term, many women are unaware of the options they have.
Surrogacy provides a route to parenthood for people experiencing infertility due to myriad circumstances, like women without uteruses or women with illnesses that limit their ability to carry a child. With gestational surrogacy, intended parents can use the mother’s egg or a donor egg and the father’s sperm or donor sperm. The gestational carrier has no biological tie to the embryo that is transferred to her during the in vitro fertilization cycle.
Surrogacy is a term that’s familiar to many, but few people understand the finer details, like logistics, process and cost. For those that decide to pursue surrogacy, it’s imperative to choose the right agency.
Come prepared for the initial intake meeting with the surrogacy agency with questions that are important to you. Sample questions include:
- What requirements do you have for intended parents and potential surrogates?
- Tell me about your matching process.
- What services do you provide to intended parents and surrogates?
- What if something unexpected happens?
- How do you ensure legal protection?
It’s also important to note that location doesn’t have to be a factor when choosing an agency. Intended parents can be from anywhere (even states where surrogacy is illegal), as long as the surrogate lives in a state where surrogacy is legal. An agency will help you navigate through these issues.
The process begins with an in-depth consultation where agency staff walks you through the entire journey. The intake process follows, which allows staff to gain a thorough understanding of what has led you to surrogacy, gather basic information about you and your partner (if applicable), and answer any questions you might have. Different financing options and resources may also be offered during this consultation.
The matching phase is next, where you will be presented with profiles of potential surrogates. If any of the potential surrogates spark your interest, the agency will set up a meeting. The first meeting is typically in person or via video chat if location is an issue.
If both the intended parents and surrogate decide to move forward as a match, the legal phase begins. It is important to know that every surrogate (and their partner, if applicable) undergoes an intense medical screening that involves blood work, an ultrasound, psych evaluations, physicals and anything else the physician deems necessary.
Once a match has been made, legal agreements will be finalized. Both parties are required to have their own legal representation who is skilled in surrogacy contracts. The legal process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks as both parties need to approve the contracts, have them notarized, and file them with the attorneys involved. All legal agreements must be finalized before embryo transfer can begin.
When it is time for the embryo transfer, the surrogate will complete the birth control series she started during the medical screening phase and the transfer will be scheduled according to her menstrual and medication cycles. At Gift of Life Surrogacy Agency, our job is to ensure the journey is as seamless and stress free as possible for all parties involved. With experienced gestational carriers and reproductive endocrinologists on our team, we aim to be a resource every step of the way.
Making the decision to start a family through surrogacy can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the surrogacy process. A qualified, caring and comprehensive surrogacy agency is essential in walking you through the process for ultimate success.
If you’re interested in starting a family via surrogacy, contact Gift of Life Surrogacy Agency at giftoflifesurrogacy.com to schedule your initial consultation.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Gift of Life Surrogacy’s website.
At Gift of Life Surrogacy Agency, our sole focus is surrogacy and all it entails in every unique situation. There is no single right way to parenthood, which is why we understand the delicate nuances that come with having a child. With our database of experienced gestational carriers, Gift of Life has everything you need to start your family via surrogacy. We also provide counseling, planning, coordinating of medical and fertility clinic appointments, legal contracts and more.