What You Can Expect As an Intended Parent
It can be daunting to understand the steps involved in surrogacy. Carefully choosing the agency responsible for walking you through the 12-18 month process can go a long way towards maintaining your peace of mind. Here is a guide to get you started.
For additional information, contact your surrogacy consultant.
Step 1: Choose an IVF clinic
Intended parents consult with an IVF physician for medical screening. The intended father’s sperm and/or the intended mother’s eggs will be analyzed to determine if they can be used in the surrogacy. Once complete, the couple contacts a surrogate agency to help them find a gestational carrier.
Step 2: Choose a surrogacy agency
The couple chooses a large agency or a smaller, more intimate agency. The agency will walk them through the process, which can include:
- Offering legal, medical, insurance and financial guidance
- Screening potential surrogates
- Setting up meetings with potential carriers
- Guiding the couple through the surrogacy process, from matching with a surrogate to delivery
Step 3: Choose an attorney
Once the surrogate and intended parents decide to work together, both parties will need to be represented by an attorney specializing in third-party reproduction to represent them in the contract phase. Agreements should be drafted based on state laws and validated through the judicial system so everything is conducted in a legal manner.
Step 4: Start the medical process
After contracts have been drafted and signed by the intended parents and the surrogate, the surrogate and intended parents will undergo a series of tests:
- Psychological evaluations to anticipate problems that may arise and to identify any psychological reason the gestational carrier should not proceed with surrogacy
- Medical examinations to screen for infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases in any of the parties
- Other medical exams and blood work that may be required
Step 5: Syncing cycles
After all of the medical screening has been done:
- The intended mother (or egg donor) starts on medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce eggs; this cycle usually takes two to three weeks
- The surrogate will start medications concurrently to thicken the lining of her uterus
- Once the intended mother’s follicles on her ovaries are mature, she is ready for egg retrieval
- The day of the egg retrieval, the intended father will deposit his sperm, and the eggs will be fertilized
- Three to five days after retrieval, the most viable embryo(s) are transferred to the uterus of the surrogate via IVF
- The surrogate typically waits nine to 14 days before taking a pregnancy test; if the surrogate is pregnant at that time, an ultrasound is scheduled two weeks later to determine the number of embryos that implanted
- The baby’s heartbeat can typically be seen at this time
- After the pregnancy reaches eight to ten weeks gestation, the IVF physician will discharge the surrogate from his/her care to the care of her OB
- At this time, the surrogate’s OB will monitor her for the duration of the pregnancy