You’ve done your research, read the surrogate qualifications, and decided that you want to become a surrogate. The only problem is, you’re not sure if you’re ready to be pregnant, yet. This is especially true right now, when the world is full of uncertainty and travel bans (thank you, COVID-19), and you’re juggling kids and home life, and so many other things. You can’t help but wonder, “When should I submit a surrogate application?” or, even, “Is it safe to submit a surrogate application during a pandemic?”
Through our surrogate agency locations in San Francisco, Boston, and NYC, we have been speaking with women interested in becoming surrogates during the coronavirus, answering questions and finding solutions that they are comfortable with. If you are interested in becoming a surrogate, you should know that applying today does not mean you are jumping on a plane tomorrow to visit a fertility clinic!
Many intended parents have started their surrogacy journeys in the last few months, eager to start their families. Every day, women are applying to become surrogates to be matched with the waiting intended parents. However, we are working with each and every surrogate applicant.
Is it safe to apply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?
In short, yes, it is safe to apply.
Filling out the application is just the first step in the process. Below, you’ll see how you can apply and then ask to be put on hold until you feel comfortable. Or you can move forward, knowing it will be about 6 months before you are even pregnant.
We have answered many questions from women just like you who are considering surrogacy but have no idea what their lives will be like in the upcoming year. Some of those questions are:
I want to apply, but I’m nervous to travel. Do I have to get on a plane? It is perfectly normal to not feel comfortable traveling right now! With travel restrictions changing every day and state-by-state ordinances varying around travel, it’s hard to know what the right decisions should be. If you are nervous traveling right now, you have a few options:
- Apply now, and ask to be put on hold until you’re ready, or
- Apply now, and request to work with a local clinic in your state—one you can drive to easily. This may mean a longer match time, but peace of mind is worth it!
Will my intended parents understand if I don’t want to travel? At Circle, we work hard to hand-select the best intended parent/surrogate matches. Your surrogate advisor will take all of the information you provide through the application and screening process (and your conversations together) and use that to work with the parent coordinators to find a like-minded match in intended parents. We would never match you with intended parents who have a clinic on the other side of the country if you shared that you do not want to travel for your medical screening and embryo transfer.
I see that some states are banning travelers from my state—what does that mean for me if I apply to be a surrogate? Travel restrictions are changing every day. Circle Surrogacy is working closely with clinics in any states affected by the changes and is in constant communication with intended parents and surrogates. If you apply to be a surrogate, you can speak with your surrogate advisor about your comfort level traveling, and we can work with you to keep you close to home if you prefer. But, as mentioned below, if you apply today, the world may be in a very different place by the time it’s time for you to travel or become pregnant.
We offer tips for being a surrogate during COVID-19 in a related blog post (and it provides excellent tips for you, even when we’re not experiencing a pandemic).
If I apply now, when would I be pregnant?
Luckily, there are a lot of steps in the process between when you submit your surrogate application and when you actually become pregnant.
There is usually a 6-month period between completing the surrogate application and becoming pregnant. If you’re not ready to be pregnant immediately, now is the perfect time to apply.
These are the steps that you can expect in the 6-month time frame leading up to becoming pregnant:
Complete the Application
We’ll ask questions about your health and birth history, your living situation and support network, and learn more about why you’ll be an awesome surrogate! You can even fill out this surrogate application poolside.
After you’ve filled out the application, you’ll connect with the pre-screening coordinator. We want to answer any questions you may have, and discuss your expectations for your surrogacy journey.
Match with Intended Parents
At Circle, surrogates have the chance to express preferences about the intended parents with whom they are matched. You can share with us the type of Intended Parents you’re looking for, level of contact and sharing, and overall expectations of what you hope to get out of the journey. To learn more about the matching process, read our blog post!
Legal Agreements and Contracts
As a surrogate, you will be provided with your own legal representation throughout the process, independent of the attorney working with your Intended Parents. You’ll work closely with your attorney to finalize the contract until both parties—you and your intended parents—are in agreement.
Once negotiations are complete, you’ll sign and return your Agreement(s) within 5 days of receiving the final draft.
Medical Screenings happen after matching and during contract negotiations. This is the first of two times you’ll travel as a surrogate. You’ll travel to the IP’s IVF clinic for your screening. Typically, you’ll fly in one day, have your appointment the following morning, and then fly home that night. Don’t worry, travel costs are all covered!
Local Monitoring & Embryo Transfer
Once you’ve been medically screened and the contract is signed by both you and your IP’s, you’ll receive an IVF treatment schedule to help prepare your body for embryo transfer. The timeline includes the start date of your medications to the actual retrieval and transfer date. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine offers additional information about embryo transfers.
We encourage our surrogates to apply in the summer if they are hoping to become pregnant in the fall when the kids go back to school! Undergoing the embryo transfer in the fall also increases the likelihood that the surrogate will be pregnant before the holidays.
Are you interested in applying to becoming a surrogate? Apply this summer and don’t forget to ask about the summer surrogate bonus on your welcome call!