Frequently Asked Surrogacy Questions
Q. What is surrogacy?
A. Surrogacy is when a woman carries and gives birth to baby for someone else, usually for a woman unable to carry the child herself. This is done through advancements in reproductive technology such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer (IVF/ET) and other Advanced Reproductive Technologies (ART) that allow otherwise infertile couples a chance to have children. Due to advances in reproductive technology, couples now have medical means to have children.
Q. What is the difference between a Genetic/Traditional and Gestational Surrogate?
A. A Genetic/Traditional Surrogate is a Surrogate who also donated her egg and thus has a biological link to the child she is carrying for the Intended Parents. This is where the Surrogate is inseminated (usually artificially) with the intended father’s sperm.
A Gestational Surrogate, which is the most common, is a Surrogate who is not genetically connected to the child she is carrying for the Intended Parents. The eggs are harvested from the Intended Mother or an egg donor, are fertilized with the prospective father’s sperm or sperm donor, and then transferred to the Surrogate’s uterus. Extraordinary Conceptions only works with gestational surrogates.
Q. What are the requirements to become a Surrogate?
A. Click HERE to view the current surrogacy requirements.
Q. What is the typical compensation for a Surrogate?
A. Most first-time Surrogates in our program receive a base compensation fee of $40,000.00 and may receive up to an additional $8,000 for their benefit package. Repeat Surrogates receive a higher compensation, depending on their experience. Your coordinator can review the details of the compensation package with you.
Q. How will I be compensated?
A. The Intended Parents will fund an Escrow account before starting your medical protocol. Prior to pregnancy confirmation, you will receive a monthly expense allowance, as well as compensation for the embryo transfer and an injectable medication fee. Your pregnancy compensation will begin on the first weekday of each month following confirmation of fetal heartbeat. Your base compensation is broken up into 10 monthly payments; however, after you deliver the baby the remaining balance will come in one final payment. Payment will be handled by Extraordinary Conceptions according to your Surrogate Contract.
Q. Will I be compensated more for carrying twins or triplets?
A. Yes. Currently our surrogates receive an additional $7,000 for carrying twins. A coordinator can discuss the “multiple fees” for triplets as we do compensate for them, but safe, healthy pregnancies are our priority.
Q. How long does it take to become a Surrogate?
A. There is no guarantee of time to match, but we typically match surrogates within 1-3 months. It usually takes another 1-3 months to schedule and complete the medical screening, psychological evaluation and legal contracts. Once legal contracts are done, the embryo transfers usually take place in the next 3-4 weeks. After that, you can expect a normal pregnancy term as long as there are no complications.
Q. Once my profile is Searchable, how long before I am matched?
A. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a match. There are several factors that are taken in to consideration with the most important factor being what you and the Intended Parents are looking for. Other factors include age, background, marital status, BMI and previous childbirth history. We have matched some surrogates very quickly, while others may take longer. We recommend that our surrogates make sure they keep their profiles current, that pictures are kept up to date and we even recommend submitting a “Surro Clip” which is a brief introduction video about yourself.
Q. Do I need medical insurance to become a surrogate?
A. You do not need insurance to join our program, but all of our surrogates have medical insurance prior to starting their medications. Intended Parents are responsible for the cost of the insurance and we will evaluate your insurance status at the time of your match and help institute an appropriate policy.
Q. What procedures are involved in the medical screening process?
A. The surrogacy medical screening process involves several medical tests & procedures to help the IVF physicians determine that you’re in good health and that it’s safe for you to proceed as a surrogate. Each physician may have a different protocol for tests for the screening, but they perform any number of these tests: blood tests for various diseases, vaginal ultrasounds, hysterosalpingogram/HSG, Hysteroscopy/HCG, and gynecological exam. Your spouse or partner may also be required to undergo blood tests to ensure that there are no infectious diseases that could be transmitted to you.
Q. What is the transfer procedure like for surrogates?
A. The embryo transfer itself is a relatively quick and painless procedure in which the IVF doctor uses a small catheter to insert the embryo(s) into your uterus. Anesthesia is often not necessary, but a mild sedative may be used. An ultrasound may be used to help guide the physician as he/she transfers the embryo(s). Once the embryologist has ensured that the embryo(s) have been safely inserted, you’ll remain in the room or a recovery room for 30-60 minutes before you are allowed to leave. Each doctor varies in their protocol, but most require anywhere from 1-5 days of bed rest which would begin as soon as you get home from the procedure or if you are not local, as soon as you get back to your hotel following the transfer.
Q. Do I get to choose the Intended Parents that I work with?
A. Yes! As soon as the Admissions process is complete, you will be made Available/searchable for Future Parents to see on our secure database. As soon as there are parents interested in your profile, your Surrogacy Coordinator will send you their brief biographies and schedule a meeting. This may be at the office or via Skype. After the Skype meeting you will both have time to determine if you’d like to move forward together. If you both want to proceed, you will be “matched” with those future parents. If not, the agency will continue to work at matching you with other parents. Extraordinary Conceptions actively tries to match parents and surrogates who share the same general values and interests.
Q. What happens once I am matched with a couple?
A. Once you are matched with parents, you’ll see their IVF physician for your medical screening as well as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for your psychological evaluation. After all screenings have been completed and you’ve been “cleared,” the contract will be drafted and reviewed by all parties. After legal contracts are completed, then the IVF physician can proceed with your medications for your transfer. You cannot start your medications until you have received legal clearance.
Q. Will I have to travel?
A. You are only required to travel if the parents you are matched with have selected an IVF clinic that is not located near you. During your Admissions interview you can specify if you would prefer not to travel, but this may limit your match options. We make all of your travel arrangements for you and your companion (if required) so it’s easy for you to enjoy your time away from home. Your travel expenses are covered and detailed in your surrogate benefit package. This includes airfare, car service, reservations at wonderful hotels and per diem allowances.
Q. Can I bring my husband/partner/companion and/or children if I have to travel?
A. The Intended Parents pay for travel and accommodations for the surrogate and a companion (if required) only. Children are not allowed at the IVF clinics, but we do provide financial assistance for child care. You will go by yourself to the medical screening appointment, but will need a companion for the transfer. Companions do not necessarily need to be from your local area. Most doctors require a “baby free/child free” bed rest period after the transfer, but this is unique to each surrogate and can be discussed further with your coordinator. In some (rare) cases, children may travel with you but at your expense and with doctor and agency approval.
Q. How much contact will I have with the Intended Parents?
A. As much as you both want. We will try to match you with Intended Parents that come close to your needs. After legal has been completed, Intended Parents and Surrogates can arrange to meet at their own discretion.
Q. Do I have to take medications?
A. Yes. Depending on the IVF physician’s protocol, you may be required to take oral medications, vaginal suppositories and intramuscular injections. The clinic will provide detailed instructions on how and when to take your medications. Medications are required to prepare your body for the transfer and surrogate pregnancy.
Q. What will I have to pay for?
A. The Intended Parents will pay any and all reasonable and necessary expenses that you incur in connection with the surrogacy, including, but not limited to, all uninsured medical expenses, your legal fees for evaluating and negotiating the surrogacy agreement, any and all necessary counseling expenses, child care reimbursements and lost wages. In some cases, surrogates may need to pay small fees for co-payments which are then submitted to the surrogacy coordinator for reimbursement.
Q. How much contact will I have with Extraordinary Conceptions?
A. More than you can imagine! You will deal directly with our immediate staff, who will help you throughout the surrogacy journey. From the time you are accepted into the program until the birth of the baby, we are here for you. We will answer any questions that you may have and address any concerns that can arise during your pregnancy.
Q. What are my responsibilities as a Surrogate?
A. Your responsibilities as a Surrogate will be to complete your application and all other necessary paperwork in full (Release, HIPAA, etc.) and abide by the terms of your contract. Arrive at all your appointments as scheduled. Take all medications and injections according to the calendar and follow your physician’s orders. Keep Extraordinary Conceptions informed of all appointments and issues that may arise on a weekly basis. You will need to keep a monthly expense report so you may be reimbursed. Every match is different and there are many more issues that will need to be communicated with the Intended Parents and Extraordinary Conceptions. We will go over these issues on an ongoing basis. We want this to be a rewarding experience for you and will do everything possible to make sure you are happy with your Intended Parents and our staff.
Q. How is the pregnancy managed?
A. After your pregnancy confirmation, you’ll continue to receive care from the IVF physician for approximately 12 weeks or until he/she has released you to your selected OB/GYN which is covered by your medical insurance. You’ll stay with this physician until your delivery at a hospital that is also covered under the medical insurance. While decisions regarding the pregnancy are a combined effort; they are discussed and agreed upon at the time of legal contracts. It’s of the utmost importance that you sign your HIPAA and make sure that you update EC and your IPs after every appointment.
Q. After the baby is born, can I stay in contact with the baby and the parents if I want to?
A. It depends on what you and the Intended Parents agree to. This can be discussed with the Intended Parents before you ever agree to work together. We always try to match you with Intended Parents with similar expectations about post-birth contact.
Q. Why work with an agency instead of going independent?
A. Unforeseen costs can backlog and delay the process. Disputes over cost, escrow accounts, doctors, lawyers and scheduling appointments can overwhelm and cripple the relationship between the Intended Parents and the Surrogate. Extraordinary Conceptions will mediate, educate and handle the details, so you can experience the full joy that you are bringing into the lives of others.
Q. Does the agency work with all types of couples?
A. Yes. Extraordinary Conceptions works with all types of couples and individuals. We do not discriminate against age, ethnic background, marital status or sexual orientation.
Q. Do you have a list of Surrogates and/or Intended Parents that I can speak to?
A. Yes. We will provide references upon request.