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When you first begin looking into surrogacy—whether you are a woman who is interested in becoming a surrogate mother or intended parents hoping to grow your family through surrogacy—it can feel a little overwhelming. We're here to help you navigate surrogacy in California, from the surrogacy process, to how to find a surrogate, to how to become a surrogate mother. We want you to have the best experience possible, and our surrogate agency teams in Los Angeles and in the San Francisco Bay Area are here to help you begin this truly life-changing path.
California is a surrogacy-friendly state for both gestational carriers (surrogate mothers) and intended parents. Whether you live in a large city, such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco or Sacramento—or less populated areas of California—here's everything you need to know about gestational surrogacy.
Surrogacy enables couples and individuals from a variety of backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations to build their families.
Each surrogacy journey is unique. The types of intended parents from California who may use surrogacy to grow their families are:
• Heterosexual couples who have struggled with infertility
• Intended mothers who are unable to carry a child
• Intended parents who have a genetic defect or health condition they don't want to pass onto the child
• LGBTQ+ intended parents who want to have a genetic link to their baby
On this page you'll learn why California is one of the best states in the U.S. for surrogacy, what the state's surrogacy process involves, how to become parents or a surrogate mother, and what surrogacy costs.
California is home to some of the world's best IVF clinics, and many of Circle Surrogacy's intended parents who live on the West Coast or in Asia travel to California to work with top reproductive endocrinologists. Circle Surrogacy has strong partnerships with top California clinics. If you’re already established with an IVF clinic, we’re happy to work with your clinic of choice.
Also, while it's not always the case, California surrogate mothers tend to have less need for traveling to IVF clinic appointments if their intended parents are working with a CA IVF clinic.
Circle Surrogacy is based in both Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area, and we have team members who are parents through surrogacy and always happy to share their experiences. Intended parents looking for surrogacy agencies in San Francisco or other parts of California can connect with local Circle team members. We schedule consultations in our California surrogacy office in addition to being available for consults via video during the day and evenings.
The surrogacy process can be complex at times, with many milestones that lead to the final outcome: delivery day! It's important to understand and prepare for the steps in the surrogacy process, whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate mother.
You may choose to undergo your surrogacy journey independently, or with the help of a surrogacy agency. Working with an agency such as Circle Surrogacy, which has 25 years of experience, can help you navigate the milestones and events throughout your journey so that you can focus on preparing for the arrival of your baby.
Beginning your journey toward surrogacy is a big step, so it's essential to do your research. Not every surrogacy agency is a good fit; choose one which shares your views about the surrogacy process and where you sense good chemistry. And because surrogacy laws vary from state to state, it’s important to work with an agency whose lawyers are knowledgeable in ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) and surrogacy law. We’ll help you understand California's surrogacy laws.
Once you've identified surrogacy as the way you'd like to grow your family, and you've selected an agency you'd like to meet with, the first step is to schedule a consultation. Meeting with the agencies you're considering is an important step because it's a great time to share your story, get questions answered, and see if the agency team is a good fit for your journey.
Private surrogacy consultations educate intended parents on the surrogacy process, surrogacy costs, and how to find and match with a surrogate mother. Our complimentary consultations are for those who are emotionally and financially ready to begin a surrogacy journey within the next 12 months.
If you're not ready for a full consultation but would like more information, you can schedule a pre-consultation with our intake team by contacting [email protected] and someone will reach out to coordinate a time.
Bringing a baby into your family is one of the greatest joys you can experience. Becoming a parent in California is safe and simple, as California is a surrogacy-friendly state for intended parents who are interested in growing their families through surrogacy and or egg donation.
Circle Surrogacy works with many parents on the West Coast. We have an office in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area, where we meet with parents and partner with local IVF clinics. We know that one of the first questions intended parents ask is how much does surrogacy cost? Our comprehensive cost sheets outline the surrogacy costs you should expect in a typical surrogacy journey.
Surrogacy only: $148,750
Surrogacy plus egg donation: $172,750
(both prices exclude IVF)
Our Journey Protection Guarantee offers Intended Parents:
Circle's costs include all agency fees, attorneys’ fees, screening and surrogate fees, and insurance costs. They do not include IVF costs.
The costs outlined above are for our Surrogacy Only and Surrogacy Plus Egg Donation Programs. For more information about the costs of our other programs, please email us or call us at 617.439.9900.
Some intended parents may have the opportunity to qualify for financing for their journey. Please speak with our Parent Intake Team or Consultation Team or by filling out this form.
Finding your surrogate match is an exciting time in your journey to parenthood. Circle works with many surrogate mothers from California, as well as most of the surrounding states. Additionally, Circle Surrogacy has two offices in California, making it even easier for surrogates and intended parents to connect. If you're looking for a surrogate mother in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, or southern California (or in neighboring states), we can help you find your surrogate mother match.
Thinking about what's important to you in your gestational carrier and journey will make it easier to find a surrogate on your own (if you're undergoing an independent journey) or to determine if your surrogacy agency has presented you with a good match.
The first steps in finding a surrogate mother match is to determine what you're looking for in a surrogate, what you’d like your relationship with your surrogate to be, and the expectations you have for your journey.
We ask intended parents to fill out a profile that help us to get to know them better and find appropriate surrogate matches.
The information we ask for in the profile includes your:
We'll ask that you also share photos of yourself, your loved ones and any other photos that give a good sense of who you are as people.
Your Matching Team uses your answers—as well as your geographic location and views on termination— so it's important to be honest when thinking about how you answer these questions. That's a key element of finding the best surrogate match for you.
In addition to your profile, there are certain criteria on which you will be matched with your gestational carrier. Intended parent matching criteria include their preferences on:
If you are doing an independent surrogacy journey, you can use the above as guidelines as to what you should look for in a suitable match.
When you embark on your search for a surrogate mother in California, keep these 3 criteria in mind:
Appropriate legal fit: Our legal department always ensures potential matches meet the requirements of California's surrogacy laws before surrogate profiles are presented to intended parents.
Personality fit and surrogacy expectations: At Circle, your Matching Team (which includes a lawyer) reviews the list of safe matches provided by the legal team to ensure good personality fits because we want both surrogates and intended parents to have a comfortable relationship throughout the journey.
Expectations surrounding termination and selective reduction: It's important that surrogates and intended parents share similar views about the termination of a pregnancy if a situation develops in which a reduction or termination is considered. In our experience, many intended parents prefer the option to make the choice regarding termination.
California has long been known as a great location to pursue surrogacy. Its favorable surrogacy laws have allowed Circle Surrogacy to successfully match surrogates with intended parents for over two decades.
California’s favorable statute recognizes contracts for gestational surrogacy arrangements as well as egg, sperm, and embryo donations. The state’s comprehensive law protects the rights of the surrogate, the intended parents, the baby, and the egg donor (if one is needed). Even in cases where the statute is not fully followed, California’s 20-plus years of positive case law tends to fully protect the parties.
Establishing parentage for surrogacy in California is a seamless process for everyone involved. Generally, surrogates in California won’t ever appear in court. Even in cases where a post-birth action is warranted (i.e., intended parents' citizenship needs), the surrogate won’t need to appear in court. The parties simply need to review and sign legal documentation and return it to the attorneys handling the matter.
At Circle, our surrogates receive the support and guidance of our experienced social workers and program coordinators, many who have been surrogates themselves. We support women wherever they are in the process whether they are ready to apply now or want to talk with experienced surrogates or Surrogate Advisors about how to become a surrogate mother in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or other California community. Here is an overview of the process:
Learn more about the surrogacy process at Circle.
Wherever you are in your journey, we suggest completing our online surrogacy application. It takes only about 10 minutes to complete and there is no obligation to proceed if you aren’t ready.
Women who become surrogate mothers are generous, adventurous and kind. They are teachers, nurses and stay-at-home moms. They are passionate about their families. They are spirited, caring and selfless. They are just like you.
Surrogate mother requirements in California are straightforward. Women who would like to apply to become surrogate mothers must:
There are additional requirements for becoming a surrogate that also apply to most states.
High surrogate pay is just one of the reasons being a surrogate mother in California is so appealing. Women who wish to become a surrogate mother in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities and towns across California, enjoy surrogate benefits such as:
And, as mentioned, California surrogate mothers receive generous compensation with a customized benefits package.
The Circle Surrogate Promise was created for surrogates because we truly care about our carriers, and we want each of them to have the most successful and rewarding journey possible.
In the past, our carriers shared thoughts and improvements with their social workers, or during their exit interviews, and we took all of those conversations and suggestions to heart and improved on our offerings to our gestational carriers.
The Circle Surrogate Promise is a program exclusive to Circle Surrogates; no other agency can offer the same level of security and support.
Circle Surrogacy promises:
Your surrogate compensation is paid to you throughout the duration of your surrogacy journey. In fact, you will receive payments before you are even pregnant.
Surrogate pay includes the following:
Your base compensation is paid monthly in nine installments beginning with the confirmation of heartbeat, which occurs around 6 weeks gestation. However, you will receive compensation in the time leading up to that for transfers as well as the medical screening and signing your contract.
As the world leader in this field, Circle brings 25 years of experience and passion to surrogacy in California. Our team supports you every step of the way—from the day you begin exploring surrogacy to your meeting with the prospective parents, and throughout your entire pregnancy to birth. We’ll help you navigate the screening process, ensure you match with the perfect intended parent or parents, and guide you through the legal and social work aspects of surrogate parenting.
The Circle team is deeply passionate about our work, and many of us are experienced surrogates ourselves. (Some have completed 3 journeys!) That means we’re not just bringing you world-class expertise in the myriad legal, social, and medical aspects of your surrogacy process. We’re delivering hands-on guidance that’s informed by our experience. Our team is ready to answer any question you can dream of (and then some).
We can also connect you with skilled, trustworthy experts. For example, when it’s time for you to review legal contracts, we’ll recommend an attorney local to you with whom we’ve worked with previously, and who has a strong working knowledge of Assisted Reproduction Technology law. It’s just one more way we can clear the path for you and make the entire surrogacy program as seamless as possible. Read our blog post about the 10 steps to becoming to a surrogate.
For many California surrogacy candidates, the question of who you help is crucial. After all, you and the prospective parents are going to join together on an incredible and intimate journey. You want to be sure that you connect with and trust them fully. That’s why Circle Surrogacy built an extensive and thorough matching process.
To get you started, your Surrogate Support Team will try to find the perfect intended parent(s) for you, based on personality fit and legal circumstances. You’ll get to review each other’s profiles, ask questions, and generally feel each other out. There will also be an initial Skype call, and possibly an in-person meeting. It’s all about making sure both you and the intended parent(s) feel completely comfortable with the match. And of course, the surrogacy agreement only moves forward if you do.
Circle works with single parents, LGBTQ+ and heterosexual couples, domestic and international couples, and more. We’re confident you’ll be able to find a great match.