Frequently Asked Questions for Surrogates
General and Contacts
What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?
Gestational Surrogacy is the process by which a fertilized embryo is implanted in a gestational carrier, who will carry the resulting child/children to term, but bears no genetic relationship to them. By contrast, traditional surrogates are both genetic and gestational mothers, and undergo artificial insemination and relinquish custody of the resulting child/children upon birth.
Does Circle Surrogacy arrange gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?
Circle Surrogacy primarily arranges gestational surrogacy. In rare cases, we will consider traditional surrogacy if we can find both a traditional surrogate mother and Intended Parents who are interested in working with her.
How do I apply with Circle Surrogacy to become a surrogate in our program?
If you are interested in applying to our program to become a surrogate, you can fill out an online form here. Please note that the online application process will include the submission of at least three pictures. You will be contacted within about 24 hours to inform you of the next steps.
Why should I choose working with an agency versus going independent?
We believe working with an agency is to your advantage as we provide full service support and guidance throughout the entire process. All aspects of the surrogacy journey are handled by our team, from matching, to screening, to legal work, to social work support, and we handle any issues that may arise.
If I have more questions, whom can I contact?
If have any other questions about gestational surrogacy, please email Mariya at email@example.com.
What are our requirements for gestational carriers?
- Are between the ages of 21-41 years of age
- Have given birth to a healthy child within the past 7 years
- Have had healthy births since any miscarriage
- Do not participate in certain government aid programs including section 8 housing
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33 (some clinics allow up to 34)
- Live in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we can not accept gestational carriers who reside in Washington, Nebraska, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, or anywhere outside of the United States)
- Have the support of family and friends
- Do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol
- Are not currently using Depo Provera or any form of IUD (any IUD must be removed two menstrual cycles before applying)
- Have not had more than three previous births by caesarean sections
- Generally have medical insurance (though this is not a requirement)
I am currently enrolled in a government assistance program. Why can't I be a surrogate?
Government programs such as TANF, Section 8 housing and the food stamps program generally have strict requirements on income. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially impact your eligibility for these benefits.
I have had 3 pregnancies with no complications resulting in healthy babies, but my BMI is now on the higher side. Why is BMI so important?
BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics. For surrogate mothers whose BMI is 33-34, we do require a signed document from your family doctor stating your height and weight. The BMI requirements are established not only for health reasons, but also to ensure that you will respond appropriately to the medications necessary for this process.
I am 40 years old. I just had a baby last year. Why can't I be a surrogate mother?
Age limits are set by the IVF clinics. Because of fluctuating hormones after 41 years of age, and the increased health risks to you and the baby/ies, the age limit is no higher than 41 years of age. On occasion, we make exceptions, but only for women who have been surrogate mothers recently.
I have had an abortion in the past. Will that disqualify me?
As long as you've had a healthy, full term pregnancy since, this does not disqualify you.
I needed Prozac after the birth of my last baby for postpartum depression. Can I still be a surrogate mother?
Any use of anti-depressants could disqualify you. In general, you must have ceased using any anti-depressants for 6-12 months before applying. We will need the detailed records from the doctor who treated you, prescribed the medications and followed your treatment. We may also ask for a letter from that physician authorizing you to become pregnant again.
My significant other doesn't seem on board with my being a gestational carrier. Can I still move forward?
We are sorry but we require that all surrogates and egg donors in our program have the full support of their husband or partner. If you are not married, you must have a support person in place that can help you out in the event of an emergency.
I have had a tubal ligation. Can I still be a gestational carrier?
If I have a sexually-transmitted disease/infection (STI/STD), can I still be a carrier?
Some STIs/STDs will disqualify you. HIV and Hepatitis (or any others that could be communicated to a fetus/baby) would disqualify you, whereas others, such as genital warts and genital herpes, may not. Please note that if you are experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes close to delivery we would request that you have a c-section and follow the advice of your primary obstetrician.
I do not believe in selective reduction or abortion for any reason. Should I still apply?
Yes. We do have couples who share these beliefs; however, they are less common and you should understand that it may take a little longer to match you. Additionally, you can request that fewer embryos be transferred to decrease the chances of a multiple pregnancy.
I am currently pregnant. Can I be a surrogate mother to the child I am carrying?
You cannot be a surrogate mother to a child you are currently carrying, as intended parents typically contribute their own genetic material to children born through surrogacy, and the surrogacy process requires a great deal of planning before you become pregnant. However, you might consider adoption as an alternative. Feel free to contact our office and we can provide contact information for an adoption agency or attorney near you.
Why does the detailed screening form ask for my social security number (SSN)?
We use SSNs to conduct criminal history and financial background checks on any carrier who applies to our program.
How do I know what fee is best for me to put on my screening form?
We have recommended limits. First-time gestational carriers receive on average a base fee of $25,000 if they have health insurance with maternity coverage and $22,500 without health insurance. Your social worker will discuss a suggested fee with you if you are unsure. She will also talk with you about the added fees you will receive: multiple pregnancy, caesarean section, travel allowance, maternity clothing, invasive procedures, transfer fee, signing bonus, monthly miscellaneous fees, etc.
I've submitted my detailed screening forms and pictures. What should I do next?
Once your form is reviewed, our staff will email you requesting that you fax or mail in your medical records from all pregnancies and deliveries. We'll need your insurance benefits/exclusion booklet mailed, faxed, or emailed to us as well. If you do not currently have maternity insurance, we will attempt to find you alternate insurance, or a self-pay plan with your OB can be arranged.
What does the phone screening with one of Circle's social workers entail?
A member of our experienced team of social workers will speak to you in detail about the surrogacy process and what you should expect. You will have the opportunity to ask all of your questions in regards to our program, the IVF cycle, the matching process, how we support you during the pregnancy, insurance issues, compensation, etc. During this screening, we will ask you many questions about your support system, your motivations for being a surrogate mother, etc. In addition, your husband/partner, if any, will be screened and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (“MMPI”), a psychological test, will be explained and sent to you. You will need to take the MMPI and as part of your screening.
Can I choose whom I help?
Yes. We have all kinds of families who are looking for gestational carriers: married couples, single parents, same-sex couples, domestic and foreign couples and single individuals, and people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. We have parents who are hoping to add to their families and others who are having a first child.
I would like to match as quickly as possible. Where is the need for gestational carriers greatest?
We generally have more same-sex couples and gay individuals looking for gestational carriers than heterosexual couples. As such, you may be able to match faster if you are open to working with a same-sex couple or a gay individual. Keep in mind that where you live may determine whom we can match you with; unfortunately, we are not always able to match women from some states with same-sex couples or gay individuals as the local laws and policy do not allow this.
Am I able to meet the family I might be matched with?
Yes. We encourage both parties to meet and make sure that each of you "click". It is nice to be able to introduce your intended parents to your family and to make sure that everyone is comfortable moving forward. Occasionally, some of our international families cannot fly out for an initial meeting, but they will come to the transfer and meet you then.
What kind of contact should I expect during my surrogacy?
You should expect whatever level of contact makes you comfortable. We do ask all of our intended parents to be in touch at least once a week from the time they meet you until two months after the babies are born. Some people choose to have more frequent contact than this, especially around the time of the birth, however it is not required. Before you cycle and during the pregnancy, you can expect phone calls, emails, and maybe an occasional visit, particularly for OB appointments and ultrasounds. After you deliver, we encourage our surrogate mothers and families to remain in contact through emails, phone calls, pictures and letters or maybe an occasional visit, but everyone should do what makes them most comfortable.
I would love to work with an international family. When would they come for the birth?
Our international couples and single individuals make every effort to be there for the delivery and often times are there earlier to support you. Our intended parents cannot ensure they will be on time for the arrival regardless of where they live, however most of our couples and singles to date have been able to make it in time.
Payments / Bills
Who pays for all the medical bills?
Your insurance company (or the surrogate maternity insurance coverage we obtain for you and your intended parents) should pay most of the bills related to your pregnancy and delivery. The family you choose to work with will pay for all IVF medical procedures, expenses, co-payments and deductibles related to your pregnancy.
How are my surrogacy reimbursements dispersed?
Carrier reimbursements are divided up into equal monthly installments following the confirmation of heartbeat (around the 6-8 week mark) and paid on the 1st of every month. If you are carrying multiple children, an additional multiples fee is paid to you over the last five months. After 28 weeks, the pregnancy is considered viable and if you deliver before 40 weeks, you are given a lump sum of the remaining balance. The remainder of the miscellaneous fees are distributed at various times throughout the pregnancy and will be discussed in your screening.
How much life insurance does the potential family pay for?
Our coordinator works to find you a $250,000 life insurance policy. The intended parents pay the premiums, however you choose the beneficiaries.
Do I have pay for anything related to being a gestational carrier?
The family you match with will pay the fees outlined for you in your screening and agreed upon in the contract. This is not meant to be an out of pocket expense to you.
Does Circle Surrogacy give out 1099s for gestational surrogates?
No, we do not.
Do I have to travel?
Yes, you should plan to be available to travel for the transfer, which is typically a 4-7 day trip. You can be medically screened and monitored closer to home but you will need to travel to the IVF clinic for the transfer. At times, the overseeing IVF clinic also requires you to travel for an initial screening. This is typically a one or two day trip.
I have small children. Will the intended parents help with daycare cost?
Yes, you can ask for a daycare allowance or have your lost wages compensated so your children can be cared for while you are gone.
Who picks my OB or midwife?
You choose your caregiver, whether you would like to work with a midwife or an OB. We only ask that you choose the best caregiver for the surrogacy. In multiple-fetus pregnancies you may be asked to see a Perinatologist or high risk-OB.
Can I request that no more then 2 embryos be transferred?
Yes. Your social worker will discuss with you your comfort level in carrying multiple children. You can request this when you speak to our social worker at the time of your screening.
What medications will I need to take to be a gestational carrier?
Typically, our gestational carriers will take prenatal vitamins, birth control pills, Lupron, Estrogen, and Progesterone. Every clinic is different and some medications are known by different names but serve the same purpose. Most must be administered by injection.
Does a surrogate have to go on bed rest after the transfer?
Guidelines vary from one IVF clinic to another, however, typically require some type of modified bed rest for 24-36 hours is required.
How long do you have to abstain from sexual intercourse when being a gestational carrier?
Typically, carriers are expected to abstain from sexual intercourse for ten days before a transfer and ten days after a transfer. The IVF clinics will give you specific guidelines.
Will my pregnancy be physically any different from my other pregnancies because I am not related to the baby/ies?
No. It should not be experienced physically any differently than a traditional pregnancy. You may experience morning sickness, headaches, swollen feet and hands as you would any pregnancy. If you become pregnant with multiple children and have not more than single deliveries in the past, you will notice differences. Your agency, clinic, social worker and OB will be there to answer any questions and support you in this process.
Will the medications have an emotional affect on me?
You may experience symptoms similar to those you would experience during your monthly cycle, such as mood swings. Your hormones will be changing and these changes in mood are normal, as they are during any pregnancy.
My blood type is AB+. What if the family I work with has two different blood types than me?
That is okay and will not be of concern. The placenta prevents the blood types from mixing and causing harm to you and the baby/ies.
How do the parents get their names on the birth certificate?
The law varies from state to state so it will depend on where you live as well as where your intended parents are from. The attorneys in our program take this into account when matching you with your intended parents to be sure all legal work can be accomplished. Sometimes this is done by a pre-birth order, sometimes by virtue of a single, step or second parent adoption.
Who chooses the attorney to review contracts with myself and my husband?
We recommend attorneys to you that we have worked in with the past and have good relationships with. We do this because we want to be sure that the attorney is familiar with surrogacy law as well as accepting a flat fee for services. That said, you are free to find an attorney you feel comfortable with.
Do the parents have wills in place before beginning a surrogacy?
Yes. This legal aspect is taken care of before we proceed with a transfer.
What happens if the baby/ies die before full term? Who gets custody and takes care of the details?
The intended parents.
Have your ever had any family change their minds and not take the baby/ies?
What happens if the family gets divorced? Who gets the child/ren?
We screen our intended parents as well to make an assessment of the stability in their relationship. If a divorce should occur, you would NOT have to assume care of the child. Custody would be worked out between the intended parents.