If you are considering becoming a surrogate, or “a gestational carrier” as we say, understand that this could be one of the most profound experiences of your life! Sharing a relationship and pregnancy with your Intended Parents, including the magic moment when you get to see their faces as they hold their baby for the first time, are experiences that can forever change you in the best ways. Before you reach those amazing milestones, though, there are many other details to manage as you prepare for becoming a surrogate.
We’ve been assisting surrogate mothers in the San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, and Boston, and throughout the U.S., for more than 25 years.
At Circle Surrogacy, there are some very straightforward requirements for all potential surrogates. These include:
- Being between ages 21 and 41
- Having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of no higher than 33. The BMI requirement is established by fertility clinics. The BMI requirement isn’t a measure of how healthy you are but ensures that you will respond appropriately to the medications necessary for this process. If your BMI is higher than 33, then you can work on lowering it before applying to become a surrogate. Here is a link to calculate your BMI
- Currently parenting a child of your own. It is important that the IVF doctor be able to review a potential surrogate’s previous records of a healthy pregnancy and delivery as part of the medical screening process.
- Live in a surrogacy-friendly state in the U.S.
Here is more information to help you: 10 Ways to Know if You’re Ready to Become a Surrogate
If you believe you meet these basic requirements, then you may be ready to fill out the surrogate application. Hooray! After receiving your application, someone from the surrogate intake team will get in touch with you to begin the initial screening process.
What Happens During the Surrogate Screening Process?
After you apply to become a surrogate, there is a period of time where you’ll be working closely with your Surrogate Advisor to gather information and documents. This paperwork is necessary to move forward in the process. Potential surrogates must complete these important steps before they can be matched with Intended Parents.
- Background Checks: A social worker completes a background check of everyone in your household over the age of 18.
- Medical Insurance: If you have medical insurance that might be used for surrogacy (which is not a requirement but will result in a higher fee for you), then we need your help gathering your insurance documents so that they can be reviewed by our legal team.
- OB and Hospital: The screening team will need to collect the contact information for your OBGYN and also the hospital where you have previously delivered so that we can request your medical records.
Share Your Surrogacy Expectations
It is also a great idea for you to begin the conversation about surrogacy with the supportive people in your life. Your primary support person (PSP) could be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a friend…the person in your life who will be most present to help you along the way. This person may travel with you for your medical screening and IVF embryo transfer, help you get to your doctor appointments, or watch your kids when you go, or bring you midnight baked potatoes when the cravings kick in. Your PSP will also have a social work screening and will be introduced to the Intended Parents as well.
Surrogate Expectations During your Journey
While we often acknowledge that every surrogacy journey is different, there are certain things to understand as you are preparing for your own.
- Open Communication: Circle Surrogacy is built on a “relationship model,” which means that your relationship with your Intended Parents is of utmost importance to us. To help you build and maintain that relationship, it is important that you are open and honest not only with the Intended Parents but also with your team at Circle. This includes your Program Coordinator, your Social Worker, your attorney, and your billing manager. It may feel at times like we are peering into all the dark corners of your life, but this is because we want to be in the best position to understand and support you through all parts of your surrogacy journey.
- Following all Medical Protocols: The IVF process can be a delicate one and following all medical protocols with precision is the only path to success. As you prepare, it is a great idea to research the IVF process and become comfortable with the various medications and timelines. Every clinic recommends different protocols but following them “to the letter” is absolutely necessary.
- Full Commitment to the Process: We absolutely love it when a surrogate applies, passes her screening, gets matched with Intended Parents, has a successful embryo transfer, a healthy pregnancy, an easy delivery, and finishes her journey in absolute satisfaction and happiness…and many journeys go exactly like this! But not everyone experiences this ideal scenario. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get matched, sometimes the first embryo transfer isn’t successful. Occasionally a journey will come to a complete halt while Intended Parents work to create more embryos. Along the way, there may be hiccups related to legal work or medical billing, or insurance issues. It is important that you think about this from the outset, preparing yourself to remain committed, come what may. Whether you experience the “ideal” journey or a bit of a roller coaster ride, your Circle team will be with you for every curve.
If you’ve been wondering how to become a surrogate, or if you think you’re ready to make that decision, we hope that you will choose Circle Surrogacy for your journey. If you’re unsure about choosing an agency, this might be helpful: How to Compare Surrogacy Agencies for Surrogates.
If you know you are ready to become a surrogate, then we invite you to fill out the surrogate application. Our team will be excited to meet you!