Road to Surrogacy

Hi friends, this post is going to go over my experience of becoming a surrogate and to those women who are thinking of doing it themselves. I have quite a few good tips for you to read and consider before you embark on this journey. This is my first surrogacy journey and it might be my last I’m not sure yet, only time will tell; I am not an expert on this topic as there are some women who have done this several times and probably could give you a better viewpoint, but I will give you as much knowledge that I have on this subject. I’ll go through the steps in the process in order and break down each step.

  • Get educated: you need to decide if you are wanting to go independent and work directly with the intended parents or work with an agency who will be the middle person between yourself and the intended parents. If this is your first surrogate journey I would suggest that you work with an agency, there are a lot of steps that need to be done between meeting the couple and the birth of the baby(s). Also they are highly knowledgeable in this and will help you each step of the way and if there ever arises a problem between yourself and the intended parents they are there to help resolve the issue. If you decide to go through an agency you now need to look up reviews about each agency, don’t just pick one that is close to you, it might be worth it to travel a bit than to deal with incompetent people during the whole pregnancy. If you decide to go independent, get your name out there that you are looking for intended parents either online, or through your friends. Another decision you need to make is whether you want to be a gestational or traditional surrogate. A gestational surrogate is what I am, it’s when the baby is not biologically yours, it’s when they take the mother’s (or egg donor’s) egg and combine it with the father’s (or sperm donor’s) sperm and combine it to make the embryo. A traditional surrogate is when the baby is yours but you are using the father’s sperm to create the baby. There is no way I could do that, knowing it was my child and giving it away to be raised by someone else.
  • Online application: I’m going to take the rest of the steps related to my journey since I did work with an agency. This is an extensive application about yourself, your medical history, pregnancies, where you work, and everything else personal. i wouldn’t lie on this application, the truth will always come to light and it will waste a lot of time on your part and the agencies’ part.
  • Phone call/email: If your application if your application is accepted you will get a phone call or email asking you to come in to be interviewed, go over your application and go through a psychological screening.
  • Interview: Dress well to this interview because they will be taking your picture to show to potential intended parents. During the interview they will ask questions to make sure that you know what you are doing and that you are sure that you want to continue on this road. Some of the questions they will ask are:
  1. What made you want to be surrogate?
  2. What kind of parents are you willing to work with?(single, homosexual, heterosexual, foreign)
  3. What kind of relationship do you want with the intended parents? (close, anonymous, distant)
  4. Are you willing to carry multiples?
  5. How soon are you willing to become pregnant?
  6. Do you want anymore kids after this journey?
  7. Are you willing to work with intended parents who are of a different race than you?
  8. Does the intended parent’s religion matter to you?
  • Psychological Screening: Some agencies do this and some do not. This test is to make sure that you are psychologically capable to carry someone’s child. The test took me about 2 and a half hours to complete and then the psychologist comes in to review my answers. She told me right after we were done that she saw nothing alarming and welcomed me to the surrogacy program.
  • Matching Process: Since there was 15 intended parents waiting to be matched with a surrogate it only took 2 days to receive a phone call of a potential match. I was given an overall profile of the intended parents and then via email I was sent the couples’ complete profile that the agency did on them including a picture. I agreed to do a phone interview with them the following week.
  • Phone interview: This may be done in person also if the parents live close enough or are willing to travel. I received a phone call from the agency and then they put me on the line with the parents and we were able to ask whatever questions we wanted. Some of the questions that I was asked were:
  1. How is your diet?
  2. What made you want to be a surrogate?
  3. Are you expecting any life changes anytime soon?
  4. Do you live in a safe/clean neighborhood?
  5. What do you do for work?
  6. Do you want anymore kids?
  7. Is your child healthy?
  8. What is your typical daily routine?

And then it was my turn to ask questions, and I asked:

  1. How many kids do you have?
  2. Why do you need a surrogate mother?
  3. What kind of relationship will be between us during the pregnancy and after?
  4. Do you want breast milk provided by me after the birth?
  5. How do you feel about abortion or reducing fetuses?
  6. How many IVF cycles are you willing to attempt to achieve a pregnancy?
  • After the phone interview: I had my answer right away, they were so perfect for me and I told the agency the next day that I was willing to work with them. The parents on the other hand took their time and didn’t give me answer until the end of the week but they picked me! Make sure to really think about this because you are going to basically be temporarily married to these people for the next 10+ months of your life.
  • Medical evaluation: Now that you are matched a lot has to happen between now and the embryo transfer. The first step is to go to the IVF office that the parents want to work with to get an evaluation done, all that is done is a lot of blood work(about 8-10 tubes of blood will be drawn) and an ultrasound to check out the womb that you are renting out. They will then give you a calendar of what they expect to happen, when the injections will start and when the embryo transfer will be.
  • Spouse evaluation: Being that I am married they asked for my husband to also have blood work done to make sure that he’s not giving me any diseases, and the spouse gets paid for this.
  • Contract: This part was such a headache, there was a lot of confusion over our insurance and what not so it had to be sent back and notarized twice. You will receive a phone call from the lawyer that is recommended by the agency. He/she will go over with you what the contract means and if you are okay with it, if you are not okay with something you can ask for it to be changed, your lawyer will call the IPs’s lawyer and their lawyer and the IPs will talk hopefully agree and make the changes. Once all parties have signed & notarized the contract you are now legally bound to it. READ EVERY PAGE! My contract was about 40 pages long and i have read it through at least 5 times to make sure that I am doing everything on my part and made sure that nothing was snuck in there.
  • Insurance Evaluation: This is rather simple, you just fill out the form with your information and your insurance’s information if you and your IPs have agreed to use your insurance for the surrogacy. A review is done by a third party to make sure that your insurance is sufficient for a surrogacy pregnancy.
  • Your Cycle and Donor’s Cycle: I was put on birth control for 3 weeks to get my body on the same cycle as the donor, also I take a pre natal and baby aspirin everyday.
  • Weekly Ultrasounds/Injections: As the transfer day draws near you will be going to the IVF office on a weekly basis about 6 weeks out from T-Day. Keep in mind that if the IVF office is at a hospital make sure to bring cash with you, I was lucky that I had cash on me the first time I went. Again about 6 weeks out you will begin your injections, depending on the protocol by your IVF doctor the injections could be inserted into the stomach and inter muscularly. I had to do 2 and a half weeks of injections by the stomach and then two weeks out from the transfer date was the inter muscular injections which was every Monday and Tuesday.  Once the donor donated her eggs I started another injection that is also inter muscular and is to be done every day until around 12 weeks of pregnancy. I was really scared about the injections at first but the office walks you through how to administer them and gives you instructions week by week to not overwhelm you. I have my husband do the inter muscular injections, which works out great because I don’t think I could stick a needle that large into my rear end.
  • Week Before Transfer: This week you will be taking 6 tablets and the two inter muscular injections. Read the instructions carefully on the tablets, make sure you take them at the right time of the day, I was also sent a detailed calendar for that week of what medications to take and when.
  • Day of the Transfer: Bring someone along with you to drive you back home or back to the hotel. Depending on the doctor’s orders you may be on bed rest for up to 3 days. I was on bed rest for 3 days but I read that some other offices don’t require the best rest and tell their surrogates’ to take it easy. Also if you have little ones, get someone to help out with taking care of them so you can focus on relaxing.
  • Embryo: The doctor will tell you right before the transfer how many embryos he is transferring and the gender. My doctor transferred only one embryo and it’s a boy!
  • Compensation: I think this was the number one question I was asked whenever I would tell someone I was going to be a surrogate. Yes, the compensation is very generous, you won’t have to pay for a thing BUT it takes a while for the compensation/reimbursements to flow in. You will be given a base amount, a fee for the start of injections, a fee for the embryo transfer, reimbursement for any mileage you drive over a certain amount, a misc. monthly spending compensation, reimbursement for premiums paid, reimbursement for life insurance plan, and also other amounts that are paid if something should come up like multiple fetuses, dropped cycles, complications at birth, etc. Everything will be laid out for you to read in the contract.
  • Reimbursement: How my agency does it is you fill out a reimbursement form and fill out everything you are entitled to for that month and also including the section of the contract where to find why you are entitled that compensation or reimbursement. Typically these need to be turned in by some date out of the month to receive payment for the beginning of the next month. To give you an idea I applied to this agency summer of 2014 and they said no because I was still breastfeeding my son, they asked me to reapply when I had weaned him off which I did this past spring. I was invited in for my interview this past April, matched with intended parents in May, contracts were signed in June, injections started mid-July, first reimbursement was beginning of August and the transfer was only a week ago. And still I won’t get the first payment of my base pay until October. This is not a quick process so if you are hurting financially I wouldn’t advise being a surrogate as there are a number of factors that can delay the process.

My transfer was a week ago today and it went great! I may find out tomorrow if I am pregnant or not but for sure by this Thursday. I almost sure that the embryo took I have the same pregnancy symptoms that I had with my son. I am so anxious to find out if the embryo took or not, my IPs asked me not take any pregnancy tests because they are superstitious about it, I promised not to, so I am very anxious to hear about the results hopefully tomorrow. I’ll update you guys with what happens next! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Cover Photo

For a detailed look of everything that goes on at the embryo transfer check out my embryo transfer post!

4 thoughts on “Road to Surrogacy

  1. Interesting to read your account of it. My husband doesn’t want anymore kids but I loooved pregnancy and birthing and so want to do it again, I’m strongly considering being a surrogate in the future as well. In Canada they legally can’t compensate anything above what is needed to cover any directly pregnancy related expenses, so couples have a harder time finding surrogates here I’ve heard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Canada you do get compensated for pregnancy related expenses. But it is super difficult to get info on becoming a surrogate. I have been looking into it for a few months and feel like I haven’t made any progress. I have found an international couple I like, but they want me to go to California for the transfer. I am unsure how it is going to work now that I’ve read you went back to the clinic many times over the course of a few weeks. I need to ask more questions. Going independent is hard. After reading your experience I am considering switching.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes going independent is hard! You are all alone with dealing with everything. Ask the couple what IVF office they want to use and then call the office and explain your situation. I have heard of other surrogate mothers who fly into California as well for the transfer but then go back to their home state after the bed rest is done. Maybe the office in California works with an IVF office that is close to the mother in their home state, kind of distant monitoring.

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    • I would look into it more legally because the compensation that I am receiving is described to be the cost that is likely to cover pain and suffering, and everything else related to pregnancy, I’ll look up in my contract exactly what it says about the base compensation and get back to you.

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