A surrogacy journey consists of many milestones that lead to the biggest milestone of all: bringing home your baby! Every journey is different and on its own timeline. The length of the process depends on the Intended Parents' preferences and situation.
The surrogacy process can seem a bit intimidating at first, however looking at the individual steps that make up your journey is a good way to understand how it all works. Here's a step-by-step guide to the surrogacy process, and a surrogacy timeline to help you see how long it takes to have a baby through surrogacy.
This first step in the surrogacy process is one of the biggest ones – making the decision to grow your family through surrogacy and choosing an agency. Once you've signed on with an agency, you will have your intro video call with the Journey Coordination team who will support you throughout your journey. You will also match with an egg donor (if needed) and create your embryos (if needed). The timeline for this stage is approximately 1-3 months.
2-6 months, approx.
The matching stage is one of the most exciting – you will be finding the amazing woman who will help you grow your family! Our Matching Team will find you the perfect surrogate match based on criteria such as: personality fit, legal fit and your views on termination. A match will be presented to both the surrogate and the intended parents. If both parties are interested, they will have an introductory video call. If after that call everyone says "YES!", you will be officially be matched!
During the medical & legal phase, there are many mini milestones of your journey. First, your gestational carrier will go to your IVF clinic for her medical screening. From there, she will receive her protocol and begin her medications and monitoring at her local clinic. You will also be working with your lawyer to draft your surrogacy contract, while your carrier works with her own lawyer. When the time is right, your surrogate will go to your IVF clinic for the embryo transfer. Many intended parents attend this milestone in person and spend time with their surrogate. Once she returns home, she will continue to go to the local clinic for her beta tests until there is a (fingers crossed!) confirmation of heartbeat.
The pregnancy stage is usually the longest step in your surrogacy journey. During this milestone, you'll continue to develop a strong bond with your surrogate as she updates you on the pregnancy and your baby. She'll be released to her own OBGYN and will continue with ultrasound check-ins. The 20-week ultrasound is a big milestone that many intended parents attend in person. It's also a good time for intended parents to tour the hospital where their baby/babies will be born. Intended parents will be working with their lawyer and local counsel to establish their parental rights. Parents will also be preparing for their baby's arrival, packing and booking travel. You'll plan and plan and before you know it, your baby will be here!
Birth & beyond
It has been an emotional journey, and you're finally holding your baby in your arms, and inhaling that amazing new baby smell. When the doctor releases your baby from the hospital, you are free to take your baby home. U.S. parents usually travel home shortly after they are released, either by car or plane. International parents may stay in the U.S. for 2-4 weeks after baby's birth to finalize travel and obtain the baby's passport if needed. You may experience a variety of emotions when it's time to return home: excitement, happiness, anxiety, sadness. Saying goodbye to your surrogate can be hard - but it doesn't have to be 'goodbye' it can be 'see you soon'!
This surrogacy process and timeline overview gives parents an idea of what makes up a surrogacy journey.
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