How the Coronavirus Impacts Surrogacy and Egg Donation

Growing Generations has always focused its services on safety and quality, and during this time of fear and uncertainty, we maintain the same focus. Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about how the coronavirus (or COVID-19) will impact your surrogacy and/or egg donation process.

I am thinking about applying or have just applied to become an egg donor or surrogate. When should I get started, and what can be accomplished now?

It can take 3-6 months from the time you apply to the time you are matched with intended parents. So, this is actually a great time to begin your application process. The application process includes completing your application, a consultation with one of our admissions specialists, and submitting paperwork (this step usually takes the most time). We have recently opened up additional time slots to help make it easier for you to schedule your consultation.

We are actively matching surrogates and egg donors and getting a good portion of their pre-screening completed telephonically and remotely with the medical and psychological professionals. We have customized our process to do what feels right and safest to you, your family, and the intended parents. This means we can get as much done as all parties wish to do and hold the match until IVF clinics start receiving patients again.

While no one knows for sure when travel and medical procedures will become unrestricted, most estimates show only slight delays in the process for people getting started now.

I would like to become a parent through surrogacy. When should I get started, and what can be accomplished now?

Getting started now will be a huge benefit to you. Across the industry, surrogacy agencies are receiving fewer surrogate applications, while intended parents wait to get started. Once coronavirus-related restrictions are removed, there will be an extraordinary demand placed on the U.S. surrogacy market. Many industry professionals are estimating a a potential increased surrogate wait time of two to three times the normal wait. Getting started now will save you time later.

All that aside, and even during an ordinary time, by starting your surrogacy process now, you are still far beyond the estimated peak and flattening of the coronavirus curve. For instance, from the time you get started with Growing Generations, it takes between 3 months and 6 months to be presented with your first surrogate profile. This period can be longer if you have specific requirements beyond our standard surrogate profile. Once you receive your surrogate profile, we will schedule a facilitated video “match meeting” between you and her. If you all wish to proceed after the meeting, the surrogate’s records will be reviewed by your IVF physician, her psychological assessment will be completed via video, and legal contracts will be completed remotely. By this point, you are 4-7 months out from the time you got started. Once we get the “all clear” to proceed in safety, your surrogate’s in-person medical and psychological screenings will be completed and within 3 weeks you can have an IVF cycle started. The coronavirus is not creating a huge delay on your surrogacy process IF you get started now.

I would like to become a parent through egg donation. When should I get started, and what can be accomplished now?

Choosing an egg donor is a very personal process. Many people narrow down their potential donor to 1-3 different donor profiles while some intended parents find just one donor that is a perfect match for them. The coronavirus is temporary, your choice of egg donor is forever. So, we are making this easy for you. We’ll explain how.

If you choose an egg donor and you are unable to proceed with the process due to the coronavirus, or if the donor does not pass screening, or if the donor drops out, you can receive a full refund of our agency fee. No questions asked.

Now, let’s talk about what can be done now. Once you select an egg donor and we will confirm with the donor that they are available to proceed with the donation. Once we have that confirmation, the donor’s records will be sent to your IVF physician for review. After your IVF doctor gives the preliminary green light, the donor can have her consultation with your doctor, a separate psychological assessment, and the legal contracts done telephonically. Some of the donor’s lab work can be done close to her place of residence.

Once all of this is complete, we will place your case on hold and wait for the “all clear” to safely send your egg donor to your IVF physician’s clinic for an in-person examination. Once medical clearance is issued, the egg retrieval will be scheduled.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.