Who Can Be a Surrogate?
To Be a Surrogate
Women who are considered for participation as Surrogates:
- Are between the ages of 21 and 39
- Have had at least one healthy uncomplicated pregnancy
- Actively parenting at least one child
- Healthy and free of sexually-transmitted diseases
- Do not smoke or take illegal drugs
- Are not alcohol dependent
- Are not currently on public assistance
- Have never been convicted of a crime
- Have at a minimum a high school diploma
- Must pass a psychological exam
- Must live in the United States
The fee varies depending upon the surrogates location, background and history of previous surrogacy (if any). $18,000 is a typical starting point.
All surrogacy costs are the responsibility of the Intended Parent
1) Review Surrogate Requirements
You must review the Surrogate Requirements (above) to determine whether you will qualify as a surrogate.
2) Complete Application
If you meet the requirements, you may complete online application. If you prefer, you may also call or email our office for an application by mail. When filling out the application by mail, please include 2 photos of yourself.
3) Application Review and Addition to Database
Your application will be reviewed by our staff. If you are accepted to the surrogacy program, your application and photo will be added to our online database. The database will not include any identifying information, such as last name, date of birth, social security number, etc.
4) Matching Process
If you are approved as a surrogate we will work to match your with a parent that shares your pregnancy values. Relationships between surrogate mother and Intended Parent all vary. We make every effort to manage expectations on both sides of the relationship and make the “getting to know you” part of the process simpler and more relaxed.
You are giving them the most wonderful gift of their life. They are nervous about getting everything right and have been through so much to get to this point. We try to match the needs of both the surrogate mother and the parent. Sometimes you will end up with a new set of lifelong friends and sometimes it will be just a pleasant interlude and occasionally it is something you just get through.
You will know that for the rest of your life you made a big difference in someone else’s life and that the child or children that you bring into the world are the most wanted children possible that will be loved beyond measure. Counseling is provided by the agency both before and after the pregnancy.
Some surrogates are matched with a few hours and some are few weeks. The time to match depends on personality matching, location, rate charge, insurance coverage, willingness to terminate if there are chromosomal defects (e.g. downs syndrome), willingness to reduce if there are triplets or a higher order multiple. We do not see parents that would wish to terminate for gender and would actively discourage that wish from a parent.
There is PGD testing that can be done before blast cyst transfer that can allow for sex selection. When parents have arrived at surrogacy as a solution for completing their family they have a high respect for a baby’s quality of life as well as their very existence. If they can afford to they will probably over test rather than under test to make sure that all is well with pregnancy.
5) The Surrogacy Cycle
Once you are accepted into the program, you will speak with a psychological counselor for screening, evaluation and clearance. You will meet with the receipts’ fertility specialist for your physical examination and clearance.
You will receive the legal contracts. You will have an opportunity to review and get legal advice about the contract. All costs are paid by recipients.
Preparation and Monitoring
If the embryo transfer is to be a “fresh” transfer, the Surrogate will be put on birth control bills to coordinator her cycle with that of the Intended Mother or Egg Donor. She will take a medication called Lupron, which is used to prevent premature release of eggs. At the appropriate time, the Surrogate will begin taking hormones to thicken her uterine lining in preparation for the embryos.
The Surrogate will be monitored at the fertility clinic by ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor estrogen levels. Once fertility specialist (RE) determines that the embryos are ready to be transferred, the Surrogate will go to the clinic for the transfer.
Most clinics will require the surrogate to have a full bladder. The embryos will be placed into the surrogate’s uterus using a thin catheter. She will then be released with specific instructions and a possible a list of restrictions.
Approximately 11-14 days after the transfer the Surrogate will have blood work drawn to determine her Beta HCG level. This test will be repeated 2 days later. If a pregnancy was achieved the surrogate will receive directions regarding follow up ultrasounds to closely monitor the growth and health of the fetus (es). At a specific time the Fertility clinic will release the surrogate to be seen by her own OB/GYN. If no pregnancy was achieved the surrogate will stop taking her medications, and awaits her monthly cycle. That usually takes anywhere from 5-10 days. The fertility specialist will let the surrogate know if the Intended Parents plan on making another attempt.
** Please note this process varies from one clinic to another.
6) Surrogate Pregnancy
Surrogate mothers get paid on time. We work with the parents, surrogate mother, egg donor and their lawyers during the establishment of their contract to create a fair and supportable arrangement between surrogate mother and intended parent. Every effort is made to put in writing solutions to most surrogacy scenarios. Payments are made according to the contract and are automatically sent out 5 business days in advance of their payment due date. Reimbursements are paid out on the first of every month based on receipts for approved expense submitted up to the 25th of the prior month.
Payments and Expenses
No approval is ever needed for Emergency Room visits for emergencies such as ectopic pregnancies, miscarriage or suspected miscarriage. The approved expense process is about how and where fertility evaluation and testing is done. A coordinator will work with you to make the process as easy for you as possible while respecting the Intended Parents pocketbook. Many tests can be performed by a number of providers. Some providers give no benefit over another and charge 3 times what others do – because of this we work with the surrogate mother for the best test solution.
Fertility Clinics vary in terms of preferred providers and required surrogate testing. We have worked with many clinics and can save a surrogate from having to go through duplicate testing and save the parent from unnecessary charges. We make every effort to make the third party assisted process as smooth as possible for the surrogate mother, intended parent(s) and fertility clinics. If you need an advance to pay for IVF transfer childcare expense or travel expense we will do that. Call us and we will help you out. We strongly prefer that we make one reimbursement check a month to you but we do understand the price of gas and a bad cash flow moment for a family. For large expenses like airline tickets and motel/hotel stays we pay for that directly and get reimbursement from the parents’ escrow or trust account.
Your coordinator, Your support system, Your OB/GYN
You will be assigned a contact who will check in on you regularly throughout the process. He or she will work out with you what is best- whether it is by phone, e-mail, mail, whatever works! You will have someone to talk to about your worries, and to share the joy of the first heartbeat. Yes, you will have your intended parent(s) to share this with you but you will have us as well.
Most surrogates stay working with the OB/GYN of their choice. Occasionally a parent will want a different doctor or hospital because of the availability of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) or because they wish the delivery near their home or in their state for the birth certificate and pre-birth legal process. For surrogacy’s that cross state lines it can be equally probable that the parents will come to the surrogate mother’s locale for the birth or that they wish the surrogate to give birth in their home state. We try to match surrogates to parents that are within driving distance but sometimes the “perfect” match crosses the state line or requires an airline flight within state.
About Virginia L. Frank
Virginia L. Frank, PC
Virginia L. Frank is an Adoption and Surrogacy Attorney who practices in the states of Colorado, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Virginia is a nationally recognized speaker on adoption issues and represents and works with several successful adoption agencies throughout the United States.
“…We cannot imagine life without the blessings we’ve had in the last 7 months. To you Virginia for everything you have done to make this easy to just be a family, you have taken all the hard work and let us just relish in every moment of our precious baby girl and being so diligent at getting us home so we could be a family.”
– The T Family in Denver