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The Ultimate Guide to Surrogacy in Illinois

People just starting to explore surrogacy may initially feel overwhelmed, whether they are intended parents dreaming of growing their families through surrogacy or women interested in becoming surrogate mothers. As one of the leading surrogacy agencies in the U.S. with more than 25 years of experience, Circle Surrogacy is uniquely positioned to support parents and gestational carriers in Chicago, Naperville, Aurora, and throughout Illinois during the surrogacy process.

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Table of Contents

Overview of Surrogacy in Illinois

The state of Illinois is surrogacy-friendly for both surrogate mothers (gestational carriers) and intended parents. Whether you live in Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, or anywhere in between – here’s everything you need to know about gestational surrogacy.

Why Illinois Is a Great State for Surrogacy

Illinois is a terrific place to live if you're considering parenthood through surrogacy and/or egg donation.

Here are a few reasons Illinois is a great state for surrogacy with Circle:

  • Local IVF clinics. Circle works closely with the most successful IVF clinics in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois.
  • Local surrogates. Circle works with surrogates from throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, and the surrounding surrogacy-friendly states.
  • We work with intended parents of all backgrounds. For 25 years, we’ve helped straight and LGBTQ+ couples and singles fulfill their dreams of parenthood.
  • Flexible consultation schedule. We hold consultations Monday through Friday and one weekend a month.
  • Exclusive community for parents. Monthly support groups for our Circle families.

The Surrogacy Process in Illinois

Circle Surrogacy has been helping straight and LGBTQ+ singles and couples from Illinois grow their families through surrogacy and egg donation for 25 years.

The surrogacy process can feel complex and overwhelming, as there are many moving parts. Working with an agency can help you navigate the milestones and events throughout your journey so that you can focus on the most important thing: preparing for the arrival of your baby!

You may choose to undergo your surrogacy journey independently or with the help of a surrogacy agency. With over two decades of experience, Circle Surrogacy recommends working with an agency to give you the proper support to help you have as smooth and safe of a journey as possible.

Choosing an Agency

Beginning your journey toward surrogacy is a big step, so it’s essential you do your research! Not every surrogacy agency is a good fit. Finding a surrogacy agency with which you have good chemistry and who shares your views about the surrogacy process is key to a successful journey.

Also, surrogacy laws vary by state, so working with an agency that has lawyers knowledgeable in ART (assisted reproductive technology) and surrogacy law is essential. They will help you understand the surrogacy laws in Illinois.

Finding a Surrogate and an Egg Donor

Prior to matching with your surrogate, you’ll need to match with your egg donor (if needed). You can search our egg donor database where you’ll find bright and ambitious young women who are excited for the opportunity to help you grow your family.

Your Program Coordination Team will help you find the perfect surrogate match and encourage you to form a strong bond with the woman who will carry your baby(ies). If you’d like to find a surrogate in Illinois, you can share your preference with your PC team.

Pregnancy and Parenthood

During pregnancy, your agency will support you through each milestone, helping you prepare to travel for the birth and ensure you have everything you need to return home safely and securely. This is a wonderful time to further develop your relationship with your surrogate, and if she lives close to Illinois, perhaps even visiting her for appointments.

Starting the Surrogacy Process

If you have decided surrogacy is the way you’d like to grow your family and you’ve selected an agency with which you’d like to meet, the next step is to schedule a consultation.

A surrogacy consultation is an in-depth meeting (about 2 to 2 1/2 hours long) with a parent intake consultant and a lawyer. At Circle, this private meeting will allow us to get to know you and your story, as well as talk about surrogacy and the process as it relates to your personal situation. We’ll help you understand surrogacy programs and surrogacy costs, as well.

Becoming a Parent in Illinois

Bringing a baby into your family is one of the greatest joys you can experience. Intended parents from Illinois have been using surrogacy as a means to grow their families for decades. Surrogacy is a safe way to have the family you’ve always dreamed of.

Having an understanding of surrogacy laws, the surrogacy process, and surrogacy costs will help you make an informed decision to grow your family.

How Much Does Surrogacy Cost?

Circle has designed an all-inclusive cost program to provide the most protection for intended parents in Illinois, compared to any other agency.

Our Journey Protection Guarantee Program reduces variable costs that can occur during a surrogacy journey, allowing intended parents to plan financially for their journey from the start, without any surprise costs along the way.

Journey Protection Guarantee Program

Cost for Surrogacy only: $142,250
Cost for Surrogacy plus egg donation: $163,250
(both prices exclude IVF)

Our Journey Protection Guarantee offers Intended Parents in Illinois:

  • An all-inclusive cost that covers unlimited transfers and any complications that may arise during your journey
  • 100% refund of our agency fee if you have no embryos remaining and do not bring home a baby
  • No surprise costs or invoices

Circle Surrogacy offers fixed costs for all professional fees, gestational carrier and egg donor fees, medical and insurance expenses. We are dedicated to helping as many intended parents as possible achieve their dreams of parenthood. Our all-inclusive program provides security and peace of mind.

Learn More

Financing Your Surrogacy Journey

Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation is proud to be the only surrogacy agency to offer an exclusive financing plan for intended parents living in Illinois, through our partnership with Origin Finance, LLC. Our new financing plan helps make surrogacy an option for even more intended parents to grow their families. Learn more about our financing plan here or by calling (415) 906-7278.

Finding a Surrogate Mother in Illinois

Finding your surrogate match is an exciting time in your journey to parenthood. Circle works with many surrogate mothers from Illinois, as well as most of the surrounding states. Additionally, we have a strong representation in the Midwest, making it even easier for surrogates and intended parents to connect.

Get Started

The first steps in finding a surrogate mother match are determining what you’re looking for in a surrogate, your relationship with your surrogate, and what your expectations for your journey are.

At Circle Surrogacy, you’ll work closely with your Program Coordination Team to find your surrogate. It’s important to be honest when thinking about your answers, as our team uses these answers – as well as your geographic location and views on termination –to find you the best match.

We’ll help find your surrogate mother match.

You’ll be asked to fill out an intended parent profile that not only allows us to get to know you better but also helps your Program Coordination Team find your surrogate match.

This profile is filled with information about you, your relationship (if you are coupled), your family, your hobbies, your plans for parenthood, and what brought you to surrogacy. We’ll ask that you also share photos of yourself, your loved ones, and anything else that gives a good sense of who you are as people.

In addition to your profile, there are certain criteria on which you will be matched with your gestational carrier. Intended parent matching criteria includes their preferences on:

  • Level of communication with their surrogate during the journey
  • Location of the surrogate mother
  • Number of embryos to transfer
  • Views on selective reduction and termination

If you are embarking on an independent surrogacy journey, you can use the above as guidelines to help define what you should be looking for in a suitable match.

3 Criteria for Finding Surrogate Mothers

We recommend intended parents consider their answers to the following 3 criteria when deciding on a surrogate mother in Illinois:

1. Is she an appropriate legal fit? In the United States, each state has its own laws regarding surrogacy. In addition, each country we assist in has different surrogacy requirements and laws. Therefore, our legal team ensures that the laws of the surrogate’s home state (where the delivery will take place) complement the laws of the intended parents’ home state/country (including laws around same-sex parenting). The legal department will always approve a match from a legal standpoint before a surrogate profile is presented to the intended parents. We will never knowingly present matches that are not a safe legal fit.

2. Do her personality and surrogacy expectations match yours? Your Program Coordination team (including your lawyer) will work together to find you the best surrogate match. Surrogates and intended parents undergo phone calls or in-person meetings with the Circle team early in the process; these meetings help determine your personality as it relates to surrogacy. We also look at IPs’ and surrogates’ expectations and hopes for the journey, including the number of embryos to transfer and communication styles.

3. Do you agree on expectations surrounding termination and selective reduction? We ask IPs and surrogates their views on termination of a pregnancy as we want to create a match of IPs and surrogates who share similar views. We want to ensure that the views of the surrogate and the views of the intended parents align in the event a situation arises where a reduction or termination is considered. In our experience, many intended parents prefer the option to make the choice of termination.

Circle Surrogacy matches intended parents with surrogates who have passed a rigorous 3-step screening process to optimize the journey for both the intended parents and the surrogate.

Finding an Egg Donor in Illinois

Circle Egg Donation helps intended parents who require an egg donor to find the right match. We’ll help you determine what you’re looking for in an egg donor who will provide half of your child’s biology. Here’s how to go about finding your egg donor match, whether or not she lives in the Prairie State!

What Is Important to You?

The first step to finding your perfect egg donor match is to think about the type of woman you’re looking for. Some intended parents look for a young woman who has similar qualities that they possess. Other intended parents look for an egg donor who complements their personality or appearance.

Education? Appearance? Ethnicity? Personality? As you start your search, it’s a good idea to have some thoughts about what’s important to you in an egg donor match.

And remember, nature vs. nurture – not every characteristic or trait is hereditary!

Search Our Egg Donor Database

The first place most intended parents start their egg donor search is in an egg donor database. Most egg donor databases are set up so that you can search for an egg donor by certain criteria. Circle’s egg donor database is easy to use and easy to navigate.

It can be helpful to make a list of search criteria before you begin. Things to consider are:

  • Physical attributes (hair/eye color)
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Education
  • Previous fertility
  • Geography

Within each donor profile, you’ll find a tremendous amount of additional information, including:

  • Personal information
  • Favorite hobbies, activities, foods
  • Family medical history
  • Motivation for becoming a donor

You may not know what you’re looking for in a donor, and that’s okay! Some intended parents take the “I'll know her when I see her" approach.

Surrogacy Laws in Illinois

Illinois is a great location to pursue surrogacy (for both surrogates and intended parents). Illinois surrogacy law expressly permits gestational surrogacy and has allowed Circle Surrogacy to successfully match surrogates with intended parents for a number of years.

Determining Parentage in Illinois

Establishing parentage for surrogacy in Illinois is a seamless process for everyone involved as Illinois’ statute permits bypassing the involvement of a court and filing documents in accordance with the statutory requirements in anticipation of the delivery.

As long as all statutory requirements have been met and all statutory forms have been properly submitted before the delivery to both the delivering hospital and the Illinois Department of Public Health, parentage for the intended parents will be established as of the moment of birth.

Virtual Consultations with Circle Surrogacy

When researching surrogacy agencies, an important step is to consult with the agencies you're considering. It's a great way to share your story, get your questions answered, and see if the agency team is a good fit for your journey. Consultations are designed to educate intended parents on the surrogacy process, surrogacy costs, and finding and matching with a surrogate mother.

Although we prefer to meet in person with intended parents for our consultations, everyone’s health and safety is our primary focus. Instead of in-person meetings in the near future, we are offering free consultations with our team over Skype or Zoom - Monday through Friday, evenings, and weekends!

Our complimentary private virtual surrogacy consultations
  • Meeting with an Assisted Reproductive Technology Law attorney
  • Meeting with a parent intake associate
  • Overview of our agency protocols, surrogacy programs, surrogacy costs, insurance, and much more
  • Opportunity to ask any questions in a private setting
 Surrogate Carrier Being Supported by Fellow Surrogate Carrier

Becoming a Surrogate Mother in Illinois

Women who become surrogates 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.

Requirements for Becoming a Surrogate in Illinois

Women in Chicago and other areas of Illinois who wish to apply to become a gestational carrier must meet the following surrogate mother requirements:

  • Has delivered a child of their own and is currently parenting at least one child.
  • Has had uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries, as documented by medical records.
  • Is between 21 and 41 years of age.
  • Typically has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 32. Calculate my BMI.
  • Is a citizen, legal resident, or legal immigrant of the United States. If a surrogate is a legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, the surrogate must be able to provide documentation that is valid for at least 2 years.
  • Does not participate in the following government aid programs: cash assistance, welfare, public housing, and section 8. All other forms of government assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Review all surrogate requirements

Benefits of Being a Surrogate in Illinois

  • Gain an incredible sense of self-fulfillment from giving the greatest gift humanly possible to another family
  • Work with intended parents and clinics local to your area, which helps reduce your travel.
  • Earn up to $55K+ with a customized benefits package
  • Build a life-long relationship with forever-grateful intended parents
  • Work with a personal journey coordination team and licensed social worker
  • Consult with your legal representation to guide you through the legal process

Compensation for Surrogates in Illinois

Women who live in Illinois and apply to become surrogate mothers do so because they have the desire to help others experience the joy of parenthood. While there is a monetary incentive to be a surrogate, the indescribable sense of fulfillment our surrogates get from helping intended families bring a child into the world cannot be found doing anything else.

As a surrogate mother in Illinois, you have the opportunity to earn between $50,000 and $60,000 in payments and benefits. Surrogate mothers are paid a base fee of between $30,000 to $40,000, plus additional compensation and benefits for milestones along their journey.

How much you will make as a surrogate will depend on a few criteria: the state you live in, if you have insurance, and if you're an experienced gestational carrier.

Calculate your surrogate pay in Illinois with our surrogate compensation calculator.

Surrogate payments are made monthly, and surrogate mothers start earning compensation and benefits even before they are pregnant.

How Circle Surrogacy Supports Surrogates

Circle provides best-in-class surrogate support because so many of our staff are experienced surrogates – and they have shared with us the type of support surrogates need on their journey. Our surrogates receive top-notch prescreening, social work, and legal and journey support from the moment they fill out their application until months after they deliver. Our team is ready to answer any question you can dream of (and then some).

You'll also be connected with other surrogate mothers through private social groups, and you'll experience exclusive events with the Circle team.

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 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.

The Circle Surrogate Promise

We created the Circle Surrogate Promise because we truly care about our carriers, and we want each of them to have the most successful and rewarding journey possible.

The program is based on the suggestions of carriers who shared their thoughts and improvements with their social workers or during their exit interviews. We took all of those conversations and suggestions to heart and enhanced our offerings to our gestational carriers.

Guaranteed Pay, Security and Support

The Circle Surrogate Promise is a program exclusive to Circle Surrogates; no other agency offers the same level of security and support.

Circle Surrogacy promises:

  1. Guaranteed Compensation. Circle Surrogacy financially backs their intended parents, so a surrogate’s escrow account is always funded to ensure she is paid in full and on time, every time.
  2. No medical bill liability. Circle Surrogacy takes on the liability of medical bills. We listened to our past surrogates and their frustrations with medical bills, and we’ve made big changes. While we can never stop having you receive medical bills (since you are the “patient”), our new Fixed Cost programs for intended parents allow us to protect both the surrogates and the intended parents, ensuring all medical bills will be paid in a timely manner.
  3. $5,000 compensation, even if you leave the program. If you are accepted into our surrogate program and you are medically cleared and matched with intended parents – but you don’t achieve a pregnancy – we will compensate you for your time, energy, and dedication thus far in your journey (up to $5,000 total).
  4. Empowerment in birth choices. Not every gestational carrier has the same desires when it comes to the birth of their surro baby. At Circle, our surrogates have choices for her preferred birth options, such as doula care, a hospital birth, or using a birth center with a midwife.
  5. Personalized, small agency feel with the resources of a large agency. The first person you speak with at Circle will likely be an experienced carrier who guides you through the process until you are matched with intended parents. They’ll personally introduce you to your dedicated social worker and journey support team, all of whom are in-house at Circle. You’ll always be supported by a Circle employee who knows all the details about you and your journey. (You’ll never have to worry about working with a third party who doesn’t even know your name!) Plus, with our expanded team, we are able to offer support groups, virtual events, one-on-one surrogate mentorship, and more.

Finding a Perfect Intended Parent Match

As an Illinois gestational surrogate, the question of who you help is almost as important as your decision to help. After all, you and the prospective parents will embark on a monumental journey together. 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.

As a first step, 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.

Getting Started

Whether you are intended parents or interested in becoming a surrogate or egg donor, the surrogacy process can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Learning more about surrogacy is the first step of your journey.