Surrogacy & The Surrogacy Process

Having a child through a surrogate is a process that has both medical, legal and financial implications. As a result, it is best to work through an experienced agency. There are six broad steps.

1. Book a consult with the agency

The consultation process will typically walk the potential parents through the surrogacy process, including who the surrogates are, how they are screened, and what to expect along the way.

2. Signing up.

Once the potential parent(s) have an understanding of the process, they will typically sign a retainer agreement and a nominal down payment will be paid.

3. Finding the right surrogate.

Most agencies will want to get to know the potential parent(s) and what they are looking for in a surrogate by having them fill out a profile. Often a team or case specialist will work directly with the parents. There will be discussions regarding the legal components of the surrogacy process. In addition, because different states (and different countries) have different laws about surrogacy, the topic of which state (or states) to look for a surrogate will be discussed.

4. Meet the potential surrogates.

A reputable agency will fully screen potential surrogates, conducting phone and in-person interviews, psychological evaluations, and a medical examination. Legal and medical background checks will also be performed to determine if the potential surrogate has a criminal history, or a history of drug and nicotine use or infectious diseases. Growing Generations indicates that less than 1% of applications qualify to become gestational surrogates within their program.

*In the United States, most surrogacy agencies do not fully screen their surrogates until after they are matched. However, Growing Generations surrogates are completely screened before her profile is presented for a possible match.

5. Starting the medical treatments.

Once a gestational surrogate has been chosen, the potential parents will fund an expense account to pay for the various procedures, both legal and medical, as well as potential additional expenses for the surrogate. The process is two-fold, including beginning the legal process and the medical process. The mother/donor and surrogate are prepared for the egg retrieval and embryo transfer and a pregnancy is attempted. In 10 to 12 days, a pregnancy test will confirm if the embryo transfer was successful and a pregnancy resulted.

6. Pregnancy to baby birth.

Of course, regardless of how you conceive, pregnancy usually takes 9 months. About 10 to 12 weeks into the pregnancy, the surrogate will be released into the care of her own obstetrician. Toward the end of the 2nd trimester, around 6 months, the agency will begin to help you make arrangements for the birth and hospital stay. Concurrently, the attorney will finalize parental rights.

And then you have a baby! The entire process of surrogacy, from retaining your agency to delivery, typically ranges from 15 to 18 months.

Kelly Enders-Tharp

Kelly Enders-Tharp was a three time gestational surrogate with Growing Generations. Afterwards, she joined GG as their Marketing and Admissions Specialist.