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Step-by-step surrogate mother process & timeline

The surrogacy process – while exciting – can also feel a little overwhelming at first. Working with an experienced agency who supports you every step of the way helps to ensure you have as rewarding of a journey as possible. Below you'll find an overview of the surrogacy process for surrogates, as well as a timeline to help you better understand what to expect from the minute you fill out your application until after you give birth.

How does the surrogate mother process work?

The decision to apply to become a surrogate is a big one! Helping someone achieve their dreams of parenthood is an adventure like no other. While the entire surrogacy process can last over a year, 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 give intended parents the ultimate gift: their baby!


  • Fill out application
  • Connect with prescreening coordinator
  • Medical records review
  • Evaluation and background checks

1-2 weeks

You'll begin by completing our surrogate application. The application appears long, but answering the questions is easy (it's all about you!) and moves quickly. Most women fill it out on their phones. After completing the surrogate application, you'll be given access to our Surrogate Portal. After your application is received and reviewed, if approved, Prescreening Coordinator will reach out to you within 24 hours. Your medical records will be requested and reviewed. You'll work with closely with your Prescreening Coordinator – who is likely an experienced surrogate herself – until you are matched with intended parents.


  • Skype call with social worker
  • Phone call with primary support person/spouse

1-2 weeks

During the surrogacy consultation process you'll have a video interview with a social worker from Circle. During this call (which lasts approximately 2-2 ½ hours), the social worker will conduct an in-depth interview with you, examining your motivation to become a surrogate, your support system, your pregnancy history, your family, your interpersonal relationships, your interests and your life experiences.


  • Profile exchange with intended parents
  • Video call with intended parents
  • Matched!

Guaranteed Match in 30 Days or less or we'll give you $1,000

The matching phase is one of the most exciting: you'll be meeting the intended parents you'll be helping! Surrogate mothers will work with their prescreening coordinator to find the best parent match. Surrogate matching criteria includes her preferences on the types of intended parents with which she'd like to work, the number of embryos to transfer and her views on selective reduction and termination.

Medical Screening & Legal Contracts

  • Medical screening at the IVF clinic (overnight trip)
  • Contract negotiation and finalization with attorney

2-3 months

Your medical screening will take place at the IVF clinic of your intended parents' choice. This is usually an overnight trip. You'll be evaluated by the IVF doctor and your medical protocol will be established. This may also be a time for you to meet your intended parents in person for the first time! Some surrogates and parents will go for lunch or dinner, and spend the time getting to know one another better.

Monitoring Appointments & Embryo Transfer

  • Begin medications
  • Attend local monitoring appointments
  • Embryo transfer! (3-7 day trip)

3-4 weeks

During this phase you'll begin your medications (shots!) and start attending your local monitoring appointments. These appointments will be at a clinic near where you live (not at your IPs' IVF clinic). Monitoring appointments consist of bloodwork and ultrasounds to ensure your body is responding properly to the fertility medication. You will travel to your IPs' IVF clinic for the embryo transfer (this is usually a 3-7 day trip). Many intended parents attend the embryo transfer if they can, so it's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with them.


  • Beta tests at local clinic
  • Ultrasound at 6-7 weeks for confirmation of heartbeat(s)
  • Routine appointments
  • Develop your relationship with your IPs and share updates
  • Delivery day!

9 months+

After you return home from the embryo transfer, you'll go back to your local monitoring clinic for beta tests (blood tests). The first test is usually 10 days after the embryo transfer. Provided you have positive beta tests, you'll have an ultrasound at the monitoring clinic around 6-7 weeks for a confirmation of heartbeat(s). This is when Circle considers you officially pregnant! You'll be released to your OBGYN around week 10 of pregnancy for your routine appointments. This stage can feel the longest, but it's a wonderful time to continue to develop your relationship with your intended parents. You should be having at least weekly contact with them to give them updates, share photos and get to know them even better. Before you know it, delivery day will be here and you'll witness your intended parents meeting their baby for the first time!

 Learn more about becoming a gestational carrier with Circle.

Learn more about becoming a gestational carrier with Circle.

This is a big decision! It's important to educate yourself about the surrogacy process, what it's like to be a surrogate, and the different surrogate agencies available to you.

Click here to learn more about the process of becoming a surrogate mother.

Apply to Be a Surrogate

See if you qualify