What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work

Surrogacy Process and Criteria

Now you know what surrogacy is and how it works. In the dark tunnel of hopelessness, surrogacy surely seems like the sliver of light which can help you reach the end of this tunnel. However, the process is not so easy to go through. But don’t worry, we are here to take you through each of the processes in detail so you know what to expect at every turn.

Surrogacy is a long process. There are basically two parties involved. One party is that of the intended parents and the other is the surrogate mother. Both sides have to go through several processes even before they meet and till the sweet time for the baby to arrive. Let’s have a glance at the steps they need to take in brief.

Surrogacy Process for Intended Parents

Step 1: Take A Plunge And Sign On To An Agency

It takes a lot of considerations such as financial commitment, time and emotional commitment to come to the conclusion that you indeed will be proceeding with the surrogacy. So once you are clear and have made up your mind, you will have to pick an agency that will help you with the whole surrogacy journey. After an initial consultation meeting where they will explain to you the surrogacy process in detail, a team will be assigned to you for your whole journey. If needed, then you will also match with an egg donor and create your embryos. It could take about 1 to 3 months for this first step to complete.

Step 2: Find Your Surrogate Mother

It might take approximately 2 to 6 months to find your surrogate mother. In some cases, it might take even longer depending on your personal preferences. It is important to find the perfect woman with whom you will be comfortable to begin this journey. That is why the time may vary to find the carrier. Once the agency finds a woman which will fit best under your criteria, her profile showing her every detail from family, to how she came to be into surrogacy will be shared with you. After getting to know each other, when both parties give a green signal, things move forward and get interesting.

Step 3: Medical Work Begins

After both parties have said ‘Yes!’ the medical, as well as legal work, begins. On one hand, your surrogate mother will undergo medical screening at the IVF clinic; both physical and psychological evaluation will be done. After that, she will start medications and visits to the clinic for monitoring. On the other hand, you will also proceed with the legalities with the help of both yours and the carrier’s lawyer and draft a contract. During these 1 to 2 months, when it is deemed right, the transfer of embryo takes place. And then we wait for that stick to show the positive sign!

Step 4: There Is Now a Baby

Once the doctor gives you the good news that your surrogate mother is pregnant and finds a heartbeat which generally happens around 6 weeks, the time for you to bond with her begins. The nine months of gestation period is the longest part of the journey and once the carrier crosses the 20 weeks term, you can start working with your lawyer to establish birth rights to declare you as the legal parents of the child. Not to mention that you also need to finish working on that nursery before the nine months are over.

Step 5: Bring Home That Bundle of Joy

When the due date is near, you can go to the surrogate’s home and stay until delivery. Then when the wait is over, you get to meet your baby and hold it in your arms. You can bring your baby home once the doctor declares it healthy and releases it from the hospital. While the daunting journey of surrogacy comes to an end here, another journey of parenthood begins.

Surrogacy Process for Surrogate Mothers

Step 1: Filling the Application and Screening

The very first step you will need to take is to fill out an application form of the agency that you chose to work with. This form will ask about your family background, birth history, criminal background, medical history, etc. These forms are easy to fill and will not take you more than a few minutes. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you are assigned a screening coordinator who will ask for your medical records to be reviewed while also explain the whole process. During the screening process, you will also be asked in detail about you and your motivation for being a surrogate mother.

Step 2: Finding a Match

Once you clear the first step of screening, the quest for your intended parents will begin. The agency will work hard to find the best intended parents that will match the criteria that you have set. You can also set the terms regarding the types of parents you seek, level of contact and sharing as well as the number of embryos to be transferred.

Step 3: Medical Screenings and Legal Contracts

Once you have a match, you will be undergoing medical screening at the IVF clinic which the intended parents will choose. They will cover all the travel costs so you don’t need to worry about that. You will be set up with a medical protocol and begin with medications. Also, final legal contracts will be drafted after negotiations between the parties takes place.  

Step 4: Monitoring and Transfer of Embryo

During this step, you will be monitored in your local clinic to ensure that your body is responding perfectly to the fertility medications that you had started. When everything goes as is planned, you will again have to visit the IVF clinic of the intended parents’ choice for the process of embryo transfer.

Step 5: Pregnancy and Birth

Once the doctor confirms a heartbeat, you are officially considered pregnant and things get exciting from here. You will receive the support from both the agency’s team assigned to you as well as the intended parents. Both parties will be guided throughout the whole pregnancy so that the journey is smooth with a giant bump only on your belly! This is the longest step of the journey so you will get a lot of time to bond with the intended parents as well as keep them updated with every detail.

When the big day arrives and you go into labor, the intended parents will rush to your side and help you in having a comfortable and smooth delivery. After the birth, all you need to do is rest and relax and give your body time to heal. And know that you will be showered with lots of blessings for doing such a great thing for those parents.

How much does hiring a surrogate cost?

What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work

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It goes anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 to hire a surrogate mother. This includes the price of IVF and egg donation.  Also the payment to the surrogate mom, agency fees, legal fees, medical expenses including, possibly, health insurance, food so she can eat well while she’s expecting your baby, travel costs associated with getting to and from appointments, maternity clothing and so on.

The surrogate’s medical insurance may cover her health however, any expense other than that need to be done by you.

What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work

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Moreover, you will need to hire two lawyers — one for you and one for your surrogate, and you will be paying for both — to make sure all the legal paperwork is in order.

Does Health Insurance Cover Any Costs?

Insurance in itself is a giant question mark and often we get confused with its details. And when it comes to health insurance regarding surrogacy, well, then you need to brace yourselves because this is going to get a teensy tiny bit complicated.

There is no doubt that the whole surrogacy journey will be an expensive ride. The intended parents are supposed to not just compensate the surrogate mother but also have to cover travel expenses, medications, screenings, embryo transfer, and a lot of other stuff leading to birth. So do we have an insurance which will cover the whole cost? The answer to that will be a no. But don’t be disheartened just yet.

There are some insurance options for surrogates such as surrogacy insurance or secondary insurance which may be helpful. However, we suggest you to check with the health insurance company for an in-depth assessment. Also, contact with the surrogacy agency and find out about the insurance facilities that they are providing. Before getting any insurance, ask your surrogacy agency’s insurance professional to suggest you with the different options available for you.  

Legalities Regarding Surrogacy

To make sure that there are no complications in this beautiful journey of surrogacy, it is essential that a legal contract is made with the approval of both the parties – intended parents and the surrogate mother. There are some laws regarding surrogacy but they differ from state to state.

To ensure that there is no dispute, a contract is drawn to answer the questions like who will have the custody of the child if something were to happen to the parents prior to birth. Also, a legal document would need to be submitted to the court to establish parental birth rights. Then court orders would be obtained which will declare the intended parents as the legal parents of the child and that the surrogate will have no parental or legal rights or obligations.

All the agreements and contracts will be finalized after going through the scrutiny of legal advisors of both sides. This will ensure that neither party is being compromised and that this surrogacy journey proceeds further without any complications.

So this was all about What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work. We hope you got your mind clear on that topic. Be sure to check the laws in your state regarding the same. If your state does not allow surrogacy, you might have to look at other places where the process is legal.