If you have ever wondered about surrogacy, but have a ton of questions about the process, you are not alone. In this article, we will answer some commonly asked questions about surrogacy, what to expect from the process, and things to consider to ensure a successful journey.
Gestational Surrogacy includes five main parties:
- Intended Parents (prospective parents): They are people who have tried for years to have a biological child, either naturally or through fertility techniques, and choose surrogacy to build their family.
- Egg Donor: A woman who donates her eggs to another woman (recipient) and become an egg donor to allow her to have a baby.
- Gestational Surrogate (gestational carrier): A woman who carries and gives birth to a baby for the intended parents.
- Surrogacy Agency: They provide part or all the surrogacy services, including screening process, the matching process, support counseling, case management, clinic coordination, etc.
- Fertility Clinic: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a fertilization technique where an egg is fertilized with sperm outside the body, this process takes place in a fertility clinic.
Types of surrogacy
When it comes to the genetic connection between the surrogate and the baby, there are two main forms of surrogacy.
- Traditional Surrogacy (partial/genetic surrogacy) is when a surrogate is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the prospective father or a donor. Surrogate and baby will be genetically connected.
- Gestational Surrogacy (full/host surrogacy) is defined as an arrangement in which the embryo is created via IVF using the eggs and sperm of the prospective parents or donors, and is then transferred to the surrogate. In gestational surrogacy, the woman who carries the baby has no genetic connection to the baby.
Gestational surrogacy is now more common than traditional surrogacy. Why? This is because traditional surrogate’s eggs are used for conception, so she is technically also the biological mother of the baby.
How does surrogacy work?
Gestational surrogacy process has become a popular fertility option. It may seem complex, but it’s easy to understand the surrogacy process as a series of five simple steps.
- Decide if surrogacy is the right option for you and your family: Before you begin, do some basic research. Your top priority is to educate you on how surrogacy work and be sure this is the right choice.
- Create your surrogacy plan: When working on your surrogacy plan you need to define your expectations and goals.
- Find a match: Finding the right match is often the most challenging task of a surrogacy journey. Sometimes, the fastest way to find your intended parents or surrogate is through a professional recruiter
- Undergo medical and psychological screening: Medical screenings happen after matching and before contract negotiations. These exams ensure the prospective gestational surrogate is physically and mentally healthy to carry a pregnancy to term.
- Satisfy the legal requirements: Both parties must be represented by a surrogacy attorney. Once the contract is drafted and signed by both sides, a confirmation letter is sent to the IVF clinic, and the fertilization treatment can begin.
- Start the fertility process and pregnancy: This phase includes, fertility treatments to prepare the surrogate for the transfer, the embryo transfer, the pregnancy test, and repeating the process if necessary.
Requirements for surrogates
Surrogacy is a highly regulated part of fertility treatments, and there are lots of rules and regulations in place to become a surrogate. There are some basic required standards that candidates must meet to become a gestational carrier:
- Be 21 – 42 years old
- Be a non-smoker
- Be within a healthy body mass index (BMI)
- Having given birth to at least one healthy child
- No major complications in previous pregnancies
Additionally, in order to become a gestational surrogate, you need to undergo a series of psychological exams and physical screenings.
It is not all about the money
One of the biggest misconceptions about gestational surrogacy is that women become surrogates just for the compensation. However, the majority of surrogates don’t do it for the money, but to help somebody else. Money may help, but altruism is the driving factor.
Said that, gestational surrogacy is not an inexpensive journey by any estimation. Gestational surrogacy cost can reach upwards of $150,000 and include legal fees, agency fees, fertility clinic treatment costs fees, and surrogate mother compensation.
Deciding upon surrogacy is a big step for surrogates and prospective parents. It’s an emotional decision and journey. Many are overwhelmed when they first learn about the challenges of the process, but this article should help provide a clear picture of what to expect when getting started with the surrogacy journey.