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Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction where intended parents work with a gestational surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth. Intended parents use surrogacy to start or grow their families when they can't do so on their own.How Surrogacy Works
By definition, surrogacy is the process or arrangement of someone giving birth for someone else. Gestational surrogacy helps those who are unable to have children become parents. It’s a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as a strong support process throughout the journey. Those who explore surrogacy to have a child are often referred to as Intended Parents (IPs for short).
Through IVF, embryos are created in a lab at a fertility clinic. Sometimes the intended parents use their own genetic material. Sometimes, an egg donor is required. At the fertility clinic, 1-2 embryos are implanted into a gestational carrier, who carries the baby(ies) to term.
Do surrogates use their own eggs for surrogacy? No! Gestational carriers have no genetic relationship to the child(ren) they carry.
Surrogacy has been a family-building option for quite some time, though it has evolved over the years.
Surrogacy allows couples and individuals from a variety of backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations to build their families.
Intended parents who use surrogacy include:
• Heterosexual couples who have struggled with infertility
• Intended mothers who are unable to carry a child
• Intended parents who have a genetic defect or health condition they don't want to pass onto the child
• Gay and trans intended parents who want to have a genetic link to their baby
Each surrogacy journey is unique, and we proud to have helped grow so many amazing families in the United States and around the world.
The cost of a surrogate mother is just one fee that makes up total surrogacy costs.
If you live in the U.S. you can estimate surrogacy costs around $110K-$175K for a journey, exclusive of IVF costs. The actual journey costs depend on the services intended parents need (whether you require a surrogate only, or a surrogate plus an egg donor), your insurance and the details of your specific journey. Each journey is unique - there is no "one cost fits all".
Of those total costs, approximately 40% will pay for a surrogate: her base compensation, additional benefits and payments, her legal counsel, social work and screening.
For those intended parents who use a surrogacy agency (highly recommended) their surrogacy costs will also include an agency fee.
While it's relatively simple to understand the meaning of surrogacy, understanding the process is a bit more involved. The surrogacy process can be complex, and working with an experienced agency like Circle Surrogacy helps navigate the milestones and provides support when you need it most.
A general overview of the surrogacy process looks like this:
• Apply as a surrogate or a parent
• Meet all requirements (surrogates) and complete initial consultation (parents)
• Surrogate and Parent Matching
• Medical screenings, surrogate medications and embryo transfer
• Confirmation of pregnancy
• Pregnancy, building a relationship between Intended parents and surrogate
• Delivery day and beyond
Circle is a relationship-based agency, meaning we encourage strong relationships between intended parents and surrogates.
Becoming a surrogate is life-changing. Surrogate mothers – more commonly referred to a gestational surrogates or gestational carriers – are generous and selfless, passionate about family, and willing to help others. Many surrogates form life-long bonds with their intended parents, and remain part of each others' lives well after the baby is born.
To be able to give someone the gift of parenthood is empowering. Women who apply to become surrogates are ready to be 100% dedicated emotionally, mentally and physically for their intended parents.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy is an emotional and rewarding path to parenthood. Intended parents put their trust into not only their gestational carrier, but their surrogacy agency as well. It can be a journey filled with ups and downs, however the day your baby is born is hard to put into words.
Intended parents have the choice to pursue independent surrogacy or to work with an agency such as Circle Surrogacy. Working with an agency provides a level or partnership and expertise that parents would not have on their own. Having an agency manage the journey and the details allows parents to focus on preparing for the arrival of their baby(ies). Read more about why you should work with an agency.
The world of surrogacy has a language of its own, and if you aren't familiar with the surrogacy acronyms or abbreviations you might feel like you're reading something in a different language.
GC or GS: Gestational Carrier or Gestational Surrogate
IP (IPs): Intended Parents. Also seen as: IF (Intended Father) and IM (Intended Mother)
ED: Egg Donor
IVF: In Vitro Fertilization
RE: Reproductive Endocrinologist
ART: Assisted Reproductive Technology
FET: Frozen Embryo Transfer
SET: Single Embryo Transfer
MET: Multiple Embryo Transfer
2WW: 2 Week Wait
DPT: Days Post Transfer (often seen with a number, such as DP5DT or Days Post 5 Day Transfer)
BETA: Blood Test for Pregnancy
POAS: Pee on a Stick (referring to a home pregnancy test)
Learn more about these terms and their definitions in this surrogacy acronym blog post.