Building your family through surrogacy is a monumental decision and journey. It’s a big step and can feel a little overwhelming. To give you a clearer picture of what the parenthood through surrogacy process entails, we’ve compiled 10 steps for intended parents looking to build their families via surrogacy.
1. Initial Consultation
Most intended parents start their journey with a complimentary consultation that lasts an average of 2.5 hours. At Circle, you’ll meet with our staff by Skype or in person. We regularly hold consultations in Boston, New York, London, and in various international locations. To learn more about where we’ll be in the near future, take a look at our Upcoming Events calendar.
During this consultation, you’ll share your story with us, and you’ll learn about the programs and options available, the detailed process of matching with a surrogate, the legalities, insurance issues, financial implications, and basic medical information. Prior to your consultation, you’ll complete an initial questionnaire that assists our team in tailoring information to meet your needs.
2. Officially Becoming an Intended Parent
To join a surrogacy program, you’ll sign a contract. At Circle, this is called an Agreement for Services. Following the execution of the Agreement, you are asked to transmit a portion of the fees. Next, you are introduced to your journey coordination team, who will partner with and support you through every phase of your surrogacy journey.
3. Screening and Selection Process for Intended Parents and Egg Donors
If you need an egg donor, you will start the egg donor process. Egg donors are young, healthy women between the ages of 21 and 29. They have had their medical records reviewed by a licensed reproductive endocrinologist and have participated in an intensive social work assessment by a licensed clinician.
If you will be using an egg donor, you can browse our egg donor database, or your program coordinator team can help you to complete an egg donor request form.
Once chosen, your egg donor undergoes psychological testing. Some intended parents choose to bring their own egg donors, who might be family members or friends.
Circle offers three levels of relationships with egg donors: Known Egg Donation, Semi-Known and Anonymous. You can choose the level of contact with which you are most comfortable. Learn more about the Known, Semi-Known and Anonymous Egg Donation here.
4. Screening and Matching Process for Intended Parents and Surrogates
Surrogates are generally 21-41 years old and have undergone a mental health screening prior to being matched with intended parents. A typical screening process involves an extensive medical and psychological assessment as well as thorough criminal and financial background checks. The Program Coordination Team works diligently to find the best surrogate/intended parent matches. When we have completed the screening process for a surrogate who we think will be a good match based on your personality, preferences and legal needs, we facilitate introductions between the intended parents and the surrogate. The first “meeting” for intended parents and surrogates is via Skype. On this call, you will get to know each other, and ultimately decide if you’d like to start a journey together. You can watch a short video about the first call on our blog here.
5. Medical Screening
Prior to engaging in the actual process of IVF, all parties (you, the egg donor (if needed) and your surrogate) will complete medical screening as directed by the reproductive endocrinologist facilitating the process.
6. Legal Agreements
To ensure clarity and legality, the egg donor and surrogate are assigned an independent attorney for representation. As the intended parents, you are represented by attorneys who draft all agreements. Circle’s in-house legal team represents intended parents.
7. Medical Process
The process of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer is managed and completed at an IVF clinic, under the leadership of a licensed reproductive endocrinologist. We work with many clinics across the United States and can offer guidance in your selection, or coordinate with your clinic if you have an established relationship. Your journey coordination team manages every step of the process with the clinic for your surrogate and/or egg donor.
When the joy of pregnancy is achieved, your journey coordination team remains your primary support throughout the entire pregnancy. They ensure that you and your surrogate are prepared for the birth of your child.
9. Legal Representation
Legal procedures vary from state to state and your Circle legal representative will explain exactly when and what documents will be filed to ensure parental rights are properly established. Circle appointed attorneys will secure necessary legal documentation, proper court orders, and passports for Intended Parents living outside of the United States.
Prior to the birth of your child, you’ll work with your journey coordination team and your surrogate to put together a birth plan. Your journey coordination team will contact the hospital to ensure they know who you are and why you are there. It is a glorious moment to leave the hospital with your baby in your arms, and soon you’ll be on your way home!
Ready to take the next step in becoming a parent? Sign up for a free consultation.
photo: Circle surrogate Cory, after having given birth