When you decide to give the gift of parenthood to another family through gestational surrogacy, you will probably have many questions about the surrogacy process and how it works. You may be thinking, “How will I get matched with a family? How will I know they’re a good match? When do I have to start fertility treatments?”
Knowing what’s to come can help put your mind at ease, as well as answer some of the questions you may have about gestational surrogacy. It may seem like a complicated process, and while it definitely can be, it can also be broken down into a few simple, straightforward steps. In addition, at Fairfax Surrogacy we offer group support sessions with other surrogates and a mental health professional, as well as a Facebook support group that includes other surrogates who have completed the process or are currently going through the process.
Here is a helpful guide to help prepare you for what to expect throughout your surrogacy journey.
Step One: The Application Process
Once you decide to become a gestational surrogate, we have to get to know each other for the first step! We will ask questions about you, and you’ll also have the chance to ask us questions as well. During this step, we’ll also get a clearer picture of what your preferences are for matching with the intended parents. We will work with you to determine what type of intended parent(s) (i.e., single or couple, heterosexual, or same-sex, etc) you wish to help, as well as identify what kind of relationship you would like to have with the intended parent(s) throughout the process and after birth. We will also discuss the number of embryos to transfer, your thoughts about the termination of a pregnancy for medical considerations, and any other important aspects that must be established before we move forward.
We want to make sure that you are ready to start this journey, both physically and mentally. That includes conducting an interview, having you fill out a few questionnaires, and gathering your medical history. You’ll also complete some basic laboratory testing and a psychological assessment, and we’ll take a look at your medical insurance to see what parts of surrogacy may be covered.
Step Two: Making a Match
After we get to know you, we will switch gears and let you take the wheel. First, you will get to select potential intended parents by looking at some profiles of intended parents that we will provide for you based on the information you gave us during the application process. Then, when you make a selection, and the intended parents agree, a Match Meeting will be hosted between you and your partner, the intended parents, and a mental health professional so that you can learn more about each other.
During this step, you will also be medically cleared for surrogacy by the intended parent’s fertility clinic. You will likely have to travel to undergo your medical evaluation. This typically takes one to two days.
Step Three: The Legal Process
It’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities as a gestational surrogate. To ensure that, we will set you up to meet with an experienced surrogacy attorney who is local to you. The attorney will work with you to review and sign the Gestational Carrier Agreement, which covers the various legal aspects of your surrogacy journey. Once you understand the contract and sign it, you can move on to Step Four.
Step Four: The Fertility Cycle
Now the fun begins! Once the match has been made with the intended parents, you have been medically cleared, and have signed the Gestational Carrier Agreement; you can start preparing your body to carry a life.
This part of the process will start with the fertility clinic’s medication protocol, which will prepare you for the embryo transfer. You will also begin to undergo lab work and ultrasounds. After this, the most exciting part of the process can take place: the embryo transfer! You will need to make a two- to three-day trip to the intended parents’ clinic for this. Depending on what you and the intended parents desire, your follow-up may occur at a clinic local to you or the clinic local to the intended parents.
Step Five: Pregnancy
This is arguably the longest part of your surrogacy journey since it will take you nine months for that precious cargo to grow, grow, grow. During this step, you will have regular prenatal checkups with your doctor. Additionally, you will have a Case Manager to help you along the way with any resources you might need. The intended parents will also be there and support you throughout the pregnancy. They may participate in milestone appointments or simply want to learn about the results of those appointments.
You must establish a strong support system up to this point in your surrogacy journey. You will want to have friends and family to lean on during this process, as your support system will help ensure that you will have a joyful and successful pregnancy.
Step Six: Delivery
This is the moment everyone’s been waiting for; it’s the moment you’ve dreamed of since you started this journey. Finally, the baby will arrive, and you will have given the intended parents the ultimate gift of life. While your surrogacy journey may end here, you will always get to carry the gratification and fulfillment of being able to provide such a wonderful gift to another family.