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As you consider parenthood as a gay or trans couple or individual, you may have questions along the way. No need to worry! We have decades of experience helping parents navigate surrogacy and their journeys to parenthood, and have answered almost every question out there!
LGBTQIA+ intended parents choose Circle Surrogacy because we have been supporting gay intended parents for almost three decades. In fact, almost half of the intended parents partnering with Circle are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are experienced in the nuances of gay and trans surrogacy to help ensure you have as safe and successful journey as possible.
Here are 5 reasons to choose Circle Surrogacy:
1. We're a full service agency.
2. We encourage relationships between parents, surrogates and egg donors.
3. We practice a high-quality process for screening our surrogates and donors.
4. We offer an all-inclusive fixed cost program: The Journey Protection Guarantee Program.
5. Over 40% of our staff has personal experience with surrogacy, egg donation, IVF and adoption – including gay parents.
There are two types of surrogacy—gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In a typical gestational surrogacy arrangement, intended parents create embryos through in vitro fertilization. One or more of these embryos is implanted in a surrogate (sometimes known as a gestational carrier), who carries the child or children to term, but has no genetic relationship to them. Gestational surrogacies makeup the vast majority of modern surrogacy arrangements.
By contrast, traditional surrogates typically become pregnant through artificial insemination, and have a genetic connection to the child or children they carry for their intended parents. At Circle, we only provide gestational surrogacy services.
The length of the process depends on several factors. For an accurate timeline on a surrogacy journey with Circle Surrogacy, it's best to speak with our Parent Intake Team. You can email them at: [email protected] or call 617.439.9900
Of course! We work with intended parents of all backgrounds—single individuals, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.
We have many single intended parents who have a baby through surrogacy. We're happy to connect you with a single parent should you have any questions.
The first step is always research! Once you're comfortable with surrogacy as a family-building option, the next step would be to fill out a parent form to be connected with our team.
When you're ready, you'll schedule a complimentary consultation with our experienced team. You'll speak with an attorney as well as a process consultant. In this meeting you'll have an opportunity to share your story with us and why you've chosen surrogacy to grow your family, and we'll explain about our process and program offerings, and answer any questions you have.
In most cases, yes. Every agency sets their own guidelines and requirements for acceptance into their program, at Circle it is an agency requirement to have an identified medical need by a treating physician.
There are many definitions of a "medical need", including physical or psychological. In some cases, intended parents may require a letter from their physician outlining the need for our gestational surrogacy services.
We review each intended parents' story on a case-by-case basis, so please reach out to our Parent Intake team with any questions at: [email protected]
Intended parents often ask how much it costs to get a surrogate mother. Circle Surrogacy offers one all-inclusive cost program for surrogacy, the Journey Protection Guarantee Program. Understanding what goes into the surrogacy process helps intended parents see the need for professionals and certain surrogacy expenses.
This blog post identifies ways intended parents afford surrogacy.
Yes. We are members of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Our LGBTQIA+ partnerships include Men Having Babies, Gays with Kids, Gay Parents to Be and the LGBT Community Center in New York, Family Equality Council, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), and Parent via Egg Donation (PVED). We also work closely with Resolve New England. Our attorneys are active in the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Family Law’s Subcommittee on Assisted Reproduction Technology and are admitted to the Massachusetts, New York, and California State Bars.
Yes. Thanks to the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), intended parents who are HIV+ are able to grow their families with surrogacy. Through a sperm washing technique and HIV testing, it is possible for HIV+ men to safely father a biological child of their own with no risk to the baby or surrogate. For more information about surrogacy for HIV+ intended parents, click here.
Once we have accepted a surrogate applicant into our program, our matching and legal teams determine possible matching options based on a variety of factors, including: the state she lives in, whether she has insurance, and the matching preferences from both intended parents and surrogates.
Redacted profiles of the intended parents and surrogates (with no identifying information) will be exchanged. If both parties expresses interest, we coordinate an intro video call for both parties to meet.
An IVF physician medically screens surrogates after a match is made. If for any reason the surrogate doesn’t pass the medical screening (which is rare), Circle Surrogacy presents a new match free of charge.
Yes. Depending on the state you are matched in, your marital status, and biological relationship to the child would determine if that would happen via a pre-birth order, a post-birth order, a pre-birth order with confirmatory post-birth order, or a pre-birth or post-birth order with a 2nd parent adoption. Our legal team can help you navigate the legal landscape in each state and the best way to match you and help you obtain a birth certificate with both your names listed.
Openness, honesty and communication are core values at Circle Surrogacy. We encourage building meaningful relationships that will continue to exist throughout the life of the child. Intended Parents are encouraged to visit their surrogate in her home town at least once – and when possible, more often – to get to knew her family and where she's from.
Most of our surrogates already have relationships with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and many will deliver at the same hospital where they gave birth to their own children. All surrogates will deliver at a hospital near their home. The decision about where to deliver is typically made in conjunction with the OBGYN and the insurance company, which may have a network of approved providers and hospitals. Occasionally, our legal team will recommend that a delivery occur at a specific hospital.
Intended parents often wish to be a part of the labor and delivery process. Hospital policy and your surrogate’s comfort play a large role in determining who will be able to be present in the delivery room. Following the birth, the baby will either remain in the nursery or a room assigned to you. According to most hospital policies, the child cannot be released from the hospital until the surrogate has been released.
We have built relationships with several IVF clinics across the country. These relationships allow you to take advantage of special pricing packages we have negotiated. However, the decision of which fertility clinic to use is entirely the decision of the intended parents. Circle Surrogacy will work with any fertility clinic that the intended parents choose, as long as they will be able to coordinate with our agency. We encourage intended parents to evaluate several fertility clinics and choose the one that they feel meets their needs. When you are choosing a clinic, you should consider some of these things: your personality fit with the doctor and other medical staff, your comfort with their process, and the clarity of their financial information.
Frozen embryos are stored at your IVF clinic. If your family is complete, you will be advised on your options for the future of your embryos. If you choose to move your embryos, your IVF center will assist you in that process. Of course, you may use the cryopreserved embryos in a future surrogacy if you choose.
If you live abroad, you may be required to come to the United States 2-3 times (for the creation of the embryos at the IVF Clinic and the eventual delivery of the child), but it is more common for international intended parents to visit about 4 times during the process.
The first preferred visit is to meet your surrogate, once you are matched, and complete the medical screening at the IVF clinic. The second is for the IVF procedure and embryo transfer. The third visit is for the 20-week ultrasound scan. And the final visit is for the birth of your child. Of course, if you and your surrogate choose, you can visit more frequently.
This varies based the legal work required and the procedures in the state in which the child was delivered. As a general rule, we advise international intended parents to plan on returning home after 2-4 weeks, to allow ample time for any DNA testing, court proceedings, the issuance of any birth certificates and the application for any visas and/or passports. We will guide you through this process. Depending on legal work, you may be able to go home sooner. Or, in the case of travel bans and restrictions, it may take longer.
Because of a legal principle known as jus soli, children who are born in the United States are automatically entitled to for U.S. citizenship and U.S. passports, regardless of the citizenship of their intended parents. As a result, most intended parents who pursue surrogacy in the United States are able to return home with their children without first obtaining a passport from their native country. Nevertheless, some international intended parents may choose to or be required to obtain either passports or temporary visas for their children at a local consulate in the United States in order to return home after the birth. Intended parents should consult with immigration attorneys in their native countries for information about the best procedures for returning home with their children. We will assist you in getting the US passport through one of our partners, an expert in navigating the passport system.
Some surrogates have had a personal experience with infertility and are eager to help a couple or individual to become parents. Others may feel that their family is complete but love being pregnant and feel that helping prospective parents is a greater calling. What unites all of them is the desire to help a family grow.
Circle uses a comprehensive 3-step screening process for surrogate applicants to ensure that a surrogate is thoroughly screened prior to being matched with intended parents.
See the full screening process here.
We’ve established strict requirements for our surrogate applicants to ensure the continued success of our program. Here are some of our requirements for surrogate applicants:
- Has delivered a child of her own, and is currently parenting at least one child
- 21-41 years of age
- Is a citizen, legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States
- No participation in certain government aid programs
- Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 32
- Residence in a surrogacy-friendly state in the United States
- Support of family and friends
- No use of illegal drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol abuse
- No current use of anti-depressants
- Leads a stable, responsible lifestyle
Egg donors are typically young women in their twenties who are looking for a way to help others while also helping themselves financially. Many of these women know people who have struggled with infertility or know other people who have donated their eggs. Our egg donor team seeks strong egg donor applicants who want to help a family grow.
There are many requirements, medical and psychological, for egg donor applicants. You can find out more about our egg donor requirements in the Donors section of this site. In general, egg donors need to be between 20-29 years old and in good physical and emotional health. They must have a family medical history free of significant genetic syndromes and abnormalities and mental health concerns.
Choosing an egg donor is one of the most challenging choices intended parents will have to make in the egg donor surrogacy process. Often, they will have an idea about certain traits they are looking for (hair color or eye color, for instance). But intended parents more often base their decision an egg donor’s responses to our detailed questionnaire. You can request access to donor database to view these egg donor questionnaires. When you find a profile that you connect with, your journey coordinator can assist you in making a match with the egg donor.
Circle Surrogacy's egg donors are open to and expect to have a phone call or video call with their intended parents. Most of our egg donors are also willing to meet their intended parents in person. You will learn about an egg donor's willingness to meet you when you read her profile. These women are counseled on the importance of being open to talking with or meeting a child born from their donation in the future, should this be requested.
Circle Surrogacy has always emphasized and encouraged known egg donation. In this arrangement, you and your egg donor will learn each other’s names and have the opportunity to get to know each other. We believe knowing where he/she came from is important for a child’s sense of identity. In addition, known egg donation allows you and your children to remain updated about their genetic parent’s medical history as it changes over time. However, we respect intended parents’ and egg donors’ right to choose to remain anonymous and we counsel on issues related to anonymity. Ultimately, we find that egg donors will often agree to be known or anonymous based on the preference of the intended parents, but the majority of donors who come to Circle Surrogacy are comfortable with a known egg donation.
Proven Fertility: This term refers to a woman who has given birth to a healthy child of her own or whose eggs have led to a successful pregnancy for an intended parent via egg donation. When you see "Proven Fertility" on an egg donor's profile, you can inquire whether her proven fertility is based on a personal pregnancy or a previous egg donation by emailing [email protected].
Previous Donor: This term refers to a woman who has previously completed a full egg donation cycle and fully understands what the process entails. For further information on a donor's previous donation, you can email [email protected].
Circle’s legal team coordinates with local attorneys to ensure that you are properly matched with a surrogate in a state where you can accomplish the necessary legal work to finalize your parental rights. You will need to have wills finalized prior to the embryo transfer that ensure that a guardian is in place to care for your children in the event of your death. (If you live in the United States, Circle’s legal team can draft these for you.) Once you are matched, we negotiate contracts on your behalf with independent attorneys who represent the egg donor and/or surrogate. Circle works with local attorneys in the states where the surrogates reside in order to accomplish the legal work necessary to secure your parental rights. Depending on a variety of factors, your surrogacy legal work may include a pre-birth order, a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, a judgment of paternity, a custody orders, or an adoption.
Again, if you live outside the United States, you may find it advantageous to work with an immigration and/or citizenship specialist from your home country. You may also need to consult with a family law attorney in your country for help finalizing your parental rights when you return. Finally, some intended parents hire an independent attorney to review our Agreement for Services before signing on with us. Most people do not feel it necessary to find counsel for this purpose, but they do review the Agreement carefully and occasionally request edits and make comments before signing. Once you have joined our program, however, Circle’s legal team will act as your counsel for all legal matters related to the surrogacy in the United States. We will represent you for the negotiation of any contracts with the surrogate and egg donor and will work with local attorneys across the United States to finalize your parental rights.
Yes. Once you are matched with a surrogate and/or egg donor, we will draft an agreement and negotiate it on your behalf with your carrier or egg donor’s independent attorney. These contracts cover everything from the medical procedure to your surrogate’s reimbursements to the relationship with the child.