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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.
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!
You'll begin by completing our surrogate application. The application takes about 10 minutes to fill out, and answering the questions is easy (it's all about you!).
The initial surrogate application allows us to collect some information about you, as well as helps you determine if you'll be a good surrogate candidate. You'll answer questions about:
After completing the surrogate application, you'll be given access to our Surrogate Portal. After your application is received and reviewed, if approved, a Surrogate Advisor will reach out to you within 24 hours. Your medical records will be requested and reviewed. You'll work closely with your Surrogate Advisor until you are matched with intended parents.
These first steps in how to apply to be a surrogate will help you understand what goes into being a surrogate mother, how the surrogate process works, and if you qualify to become a surrogate.
During the surrogacy consultation process you'll have a video interview with a social worker from Circle. This detailed call can last approximately 2-2 ½ hours, however you can break it up into 2 shorter meetings if that works better for your schedule. During your surrogacy consultation, 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.
We understand the surrogacy consultation takes a bit of time during your day, therefore, all surrogate applicants who complete their screening will receive a $500 advancement from their base fee after match to compensate for lost wages and childcare arrangements during screening with us.
The surrogacy consultation is a wonderful time to ask all of your questions about being a surrogate: what's expected of you and your support person, about connecting with intended parents, and how to prepare to be a surrogate.
Every surrogate mother is required to have a Primary Support Person with them on their journey. The role of the Primary Support Person is to support the surrogate on her journey! This can be anything from driving her to and from appointments, accompanying her on her medical screening or embryo transfer, and just being there when she needs emotional support.
Our Matching Specialists will find you the perfect match!
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 Surrogate Advisor 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.
The matching phase can go quickly, as Circle Surrogacy has many intended parents waiting to match with someone like you!
When the Circle team has found a good match for both the surrogate and the intended parents, profiles will be exchanged. You will have the chance to review the intended parents' profile to learn all about who they are and what brought them to surrogacy, and they will do the same for you. If both parties would like to move forward with a video call to get to know each other more, Circle will help set that up (Circle will not be on the call with you, however!).
This first video call can make you a little nervous, and that's totally understandable! IPs and surrogates have described this call as feeling like a "blind date"! But once the conversation starts to flow, the nerves will fade away. On this call surrogates and intended parents will get to know each other a little bit more, talk about their families and friends, their hopes for their surrogacy journey, and whatever else comes up! There is no script for this video call, it's unique to you and the intended parents.
After the call, if both parties feel a connection and would like to move forward, you can consider yourself MATCHED!
The first time you will likely travel for your surrogacy journey will be for your medical screening, which takes place at the Intended Parents' IVF clinic with their IVF doctor. Depending on the clinic that your IPs are using, it might be close enough for you to drive, or you may have to travel by plane. This is usually an overnight trip.
At the medical screening you will have a physical exam, as well as sonogram and blood tests. Surrogates will also learn about the types of medications you may be taking for your surrogate pregnancy. For many surrogates, this is the first time they meet their intended parents in person, if the IPs are able to attend the medical screening at the clinic! Some surrogates and parents will go for lunch or dinner, and spend the time getting to know one another better.
During this phase you'll begin your surrogate 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.
For the embryo transfer, you will travel for the second time to your Intended Parents' IVF clinic; this is usually a 3-7 day trip, and your Primary Support Person will travel will you.
The embryo transfer itself is relatively quick, and you'll be given instructions from the IVF doctor on protocols following the transfer. Likely, you will be asked to relax and rest – you deserve it!
Many intended parents attend the embryo transfer if they can, so it's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with them.
After you return home from the embryo transfer, you'll go back to your local monitoring clinic for beta tests (blood tests). These visits are to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing as it should. 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!
At this point, 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!
Delivery day is a unique experience for surrogates and their intended parents. Prior to the last month of pregnancy, you will work on a birth plan with your Intended Parents. This document includes information such as:
While babies can be unpredictable, it's a good idea to have a document in place that outlines everyone's wishes for delivery. Intended Parents may bring this document with them to the birth and share it with the hospital staff so that everyone is on the same page.
A surrogacy journey is emotional for everyone, and a culmination of those emotions can happen when it's time to say goodbye to your surro baby and intended parents. You have done an amazing act of selflessness for someone: you have helped them grow their family and they will be forever grateful. You have spent the last year of your life preparing for, caring for and now delivering this beautiful little baby. Saying goodbye may be hard, but it's an important step in finding "closure" before your IPs and the baby leave for home.
And just because you say goodbye to them as they head home, it is likely far from a real goodbye and more like a "see you soon", as many surrogates continue their relationship with their intended parents way beyond birth. Some surrogates will pump and ship breastmilk for the baby, and that is something surrogates and intended parents decide together!