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The Ultimate Guide to Surrogacy in Iowa

Do you want to build your own family? Do you want to help others do so? Either way, surrogacy can be a rewarding, life-changing experience. At Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, we have over 25 years of experience helping intended parents from all backgrounds grow their families with the help of surrogate mothers and egg donors. We created this guide to help Iowa residents learn more about the surrogacy process—how it works, how to become a surrogate, how to find a surrogate, and much more. We are ready to support you every step of the way!

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Table of Contents

 An Overview of Surrogacy in Iowa

An Overview of Surrogacy in Iowa

Surrogacy is a rewarding experience that brings people together to build families. Circle Surrogacy strives to make each journey safe and gratifying for all by providing our expert support and guidance.


  • Intended parents choose surrogacy because they are unable to have a baby on their own.
  • Gestational surrogates are mothers who want to share the joys of parenthood by carrying a baby (or babies) for others. They have no genetic relationship to the babies they carry.
  • Egg donors are healthy young women who help others become parents by donating their eggs.

The leaders of our team at Circle have firsthand experience with surrogacy as intended parents, surrogates, or egg donors themselves.

People of various backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations—both couples and individuals—build their families through surrogacy. Intended parents from Iowa often include:

• Heterosexual couples who have struggled with infertility
• Women who are unable to carry a child
• People who don’t want to pass on a genetic defect or health condition to their child
• Same-sex intended parents who want a genetic connection with their baby

The women who become gestational surrogates and egg donors are just as diverse, making each surrogacy journey unique.

 Why Iowa Is a Great State for Surrogacy

Why Iowa Is a Great State for Surrogacy

In Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and throughout Iowa, you have access to many benefits when you start a surrogacy journey as intended parents, a surrogate, or an egg donor, including:

  • Access to top-rated clinics. Circle works closely with best-in-class clinics around the country. If you already have an IVF clinic, we're happy to work with them.
  • Local surrogates. Circle works with surrogates from all over the state of Iowa as well as Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and other neighboring states, so we can help you find a match who lives close to you.
  • We're accessible. Circle has offices on both coasts and employees across the country, giving intended parents and surrogates in the Midwest consistent support through their surrogacy journeys.
  • Flexible consultation schedule. We are available for consults via video calls during the day, evenings, and some weekends. We do our best to accommodate your schedule.

Becoming a Parent in Iowa

At Circle, we want you to make an informed decision before starting your journey. Understanding the costs, processes, and laws associated with surrogacy in Iowa will help.

The Surrogacy Process in Iowa

Intended parents can pursue surrogacy on their own, called independent surrogacy, or with the support of an agency. With over 25 years of experience, Circle Surrogacy understands the legal and medical aspects of surrogacy and the milestones and events of the journey. With our support and management of your journey, you can relax knowing everyone involved is in good hands so that you can anticipate the arrival of your baby!
Choosing an Agency
Intended parents in Iowa have many agencies to choose from throughout the country. When evaluating agencies, focus on what you believe is important—their experience, location, size, or other considerations. Rapport is also important, so be sure to meet with an agency (virtually via video!) to see if you feel comfortable talking openly with them.
Finding a Surrogate and Egg Donor

If your journey will include an egg donor, we suggest you match with her before matching with a surrogate. With the help of our egg donor database, you can choose from a variety of intelligent young women who are healthy—both physically and emotionally—and are excited at the prospect of helping others become parents.

Circle's Program Coordination (PC) team will help you match with the perfect surrogate and encourage you to get to know each other and develop a strong bond.

Pregnancy and Parenthood

After helping you find a surrogate match, Circle will assist with the following during her pregnancy:

  • Support you through each milestone
  • Help you prepare for the birth
  • Ensure you are ready to return home safely and securely with your baby

Pregnancy is an exciting time during which many intended parents and surrogates form close relationships. Depending on where she lives, you might even join your surrogate for prenatal appointments.

 Starting the Surrogacy Process

Starting the Surrogacy Process

Once you are emotionally and financially ready to begin a surrogacy journey within the next 12 months, it’s time to meet with the agency you selected for a consultation. Circle offers complimentary, in-depth surrogacy consultations with a parent intake consultant and a lawyer. These in-depth, private meetings typically last 2 to 2 1/2 hours because it takes time to get to know you and your story, explain the surrogacy process as it relates to your situation, and answer your questions. We will walk you through surrogacy programs and costs, as well.

Free consultations with our team are available over video; we do our best to accommodate your schedule.

If you are not ready for a full consultation, we encourage you to schedule a 15-minute chat using our online form to talk with a member of our team.

How Much Does Surrogacy Cost in Iowa?

Circle Surrogacy offers one all-inclusive surrogacy cost program in Iowa: the Journey Protection Guarantee Program.

This program was designed to provide the utmost protection and financial security for intended parents, with no surprise costs or fees popping up during the journey. No other surrogacy agency can promise that!

Journey Protection Guarantee Program
Surrogacy only: $142,250
Surrogacy plus egg donation: $163,250
(both prices exclude IVF)

Our Journey Protection Guarantee offers intended parents:

  • 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

Our Journey Protection Guarantee Program includes fixed costs on the following:

  • Professional fees
  • Gestational carrier and egg donor fees
  • Pregnancy, labor, and delivery insurance

Circle Surrogacy is proud to offer this all-inclusive program to help as many Intended Parents in Iowa as possible bring home a baby while reducing variable costs.

 Financing Your Surrogacy Journey

Financing Your Surrogacy Journey

Circle is proud to be the only surrogacy agency to offer an exclusive financing plan for intended parents living in Iowa through Origin Finance, LLC. With this program, even more intended parents can grow their families through surrogacy by taking advantage of fertility financing.

Learn more about our financing plan here or by calling 415.906.7278.

 Finding a Surrogate Mother in Iowa

Finding a Surrogate Mother in Iowa

Bringing intended parents and surrogates together is a gratifying experience for all involved, including our agency. We know that finding the right match will be an exciting part of your journey to parenthood. You will have plenty of candidates when you choose Circle because we work with many surrogate mothers from Iowa and most surrounding states.

How to Start

First, take some time to think about what's important to you in a gestational carrier and your surrogacy journey. This upfront preparation will make it easier to find a surrogate on your own (if you're doing an independent journey) or to choose a good match from the candidates your surrogacy agency has presented. At Circle, we are pleased to say that the majority of surrogates and intended parents we have matched have remained connected well beyond delivery.

How Circle Can Help

The surrogate matching process at Circle begins with our intended parent profile. It helps us get to know you better and match you with an ideal surrogate. The profile asks about you, your relationship (if you have a partner), your family, your hobbies, your plans for parenthood, and why you are pursuing surrogacy. We'll also ask you to share photos of yourself, the people close to you, and anything else that better acquaints us with you as a person.

Your profile is also your opportunity to specify:

  • How much communication you want with your surrogate during the journey
  • Where you'd like your surrogate to live
  • How many embryos you want to transfer
  • Your viewpoint on selective reduction and termination

The guidelines above can also help those making an independent surrogacy journey to choose a suitable surrogate match.

 3 Criteria for Finding Surrogate Mothers

3 Criteria for Finding Surrogate Mothers

Ask yourself the following questions when searching for a surrogate mother in Iowa:

1. Does she meet the legal requirements? When you choose Circle, our legal department will ensure each surrogate we present to intended parents meets the requirements of Iowa's surrogacy laws.

2. Do her personality and surrogacy expectations match yours? At Circle, your Program Coordination team (including a lawyer) will work together to ensure your personality and expectations fit well with the surrogate's, so you have a comfortable relationship throughout the journey.

3. Do you have similar views on termination and selective reduction? While everyone hopes they don't have to think about a selective reduction or pregnancy termination, it's important that surrogates and intended parents are in agreement before starting the journey. In our experience, intended parents typically prefer to have the option to terminate or selectively reduce if issues should arise.

 Fill out an application to become an egg donor

Finding an Egg Donor in Iowa

Your egg donor (if needed) will contribute to half your child's genetics, so it's extremely important to find the right one. Here are some questions to think about when you start looking for your best egg donor match:

  • Are there any qualities that your egg donor absolutely must have? That's a good place to start.
  • Are you looking for an egg donor who has similar qualities to you as intended parents or someone whose personality or appearance is complementary?
  • Do you have preferences regarding the egg donor's education, appearance, ethnicity, and personality?

Circle's egg donor database is a helpful place for intended parents to start their egg donor search. You can easily narrow down your choices by searching for specific criteria, including:

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

Circle's experienced team can help you make a great match if you're not completely sure about what you're looking for in an egg donor.

Surrogacy Laws in Iowa

Gestational surrogacy laws are not clearly defined in Iowa. The courts have generally been favorable for the intended parents and surrogates who enter into this kind of arrangement. Circle’s attorneys can assist with legal proceedings to obtain a parentage order that legally declares the rights of the intended parents.
 The Process for Surrogates in Iowa

The Process for Surrogates in Iowa

At Circle, our Iowa 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 are interested, but want to talk with experienced surrogates or Surrogate Advisors. Here is an overview of the process:

  • Pre-screening
  • Consultation
  • Matching with intended parents
  • Medical screening and legal contracts
  • Monitoring appointments and embryo transfer
  • Pregnancy
  • Delivery

Learn more about the surrogacy process at Circle.

Getting Started as a Surrogate

Wherever you may be in your journey, it can be helpful to complete our online surrogacy application. Doing so is easy and takes only about 10 minutes. There is no obligation to proceed.
 Surrogate Requirements in Iowa

Surrogate Requirements in Iowa

Gestational surrogates are very special women who are passionate about motherhood and their families. They are teachers, medical professionals, and stay-at-home moms. They are spirited, caring, and selfless.

To qualify as a surrogate mother in Iowa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have delivered a child of your own and are currently parenting at least one child.
  • Have had uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries, as documented by medical records.
  • Are from 21 to 41 years of age.
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) no higher than 32. Calculate my BMI.
  • Are a United States citizen, legal resident, or legal immigrant. If you are a legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, you must provide valid documentation for at least 2 years.
  • Do 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 Iowa

Benefits of Being a Surrogate in Iowa

Our surrogate mothers who live in Iowa enjoy both monetary and emotional benefits, which include:

  • Earning up to $55,000 in payments and benefits
  • Gaining an incredible sense of self-fulfillment from giving the greatest gift humanly possible to another family
  • Building a lifelong relationship with forever-grateful intended parents
  • Being supported by a personal journey coordination team and licensed social worker every step of the way
  • Connecting with an active community of other surrogates across the country

See Circle's full list of benefits and compensation for surrogates in Iowa.

Surrogate mothers receive monthly payments and start earning compensation and benefits even before they are pregnant.

 How Much Do Surrogates Get Paid in Iowa?

How Much Do Surrogates Get Paid in Iowa?

Being a surrogate takes a monumental emotional, physical, and mental commitment. Circle understands and appreciates the dedication our surrogates–and their families–bring to each and every surrogacy journey. Our compensation and benefits program was created for surrogates, by surrogates and provides the utmost security, benefits, and protection of any surrogate program.

Our new Surrogate Pay & Family Protection Program was built with surrogates and their families in mind. It provides the following benefits:

  • Competitive pay (your base fee plus additional benefits)
  • Protection for the surrogate and her family throughout the journey
  • All expenses paid, from travel to meals to gas and more
  • Full transparency on what's included
  • Benefits you won't find at any other agency

If compensation is the only consideration keeping you from applying with Circle, we’d love you to talk with us about what other agencies are offering—we can match it.

We promise you'll have the best surrogacy experience with us.

How Does Surrogate Pay Work?

Payments to surrogate mothers begin before they are even pregnant and continue throughout their pregnancy. Surrogate pay can be broken down into the following categories:

Base Compensation

Calculate your base compensation with our payment calculator to see how much you could earn as a surrogate in your state.

Payments Before You Are Pregnant

You will be compensated early in your journey for completing tasks and milestones, such as a signing payment and for your medical screening. These payments are in addition to your base compensation.

Payments During and After Surrogacy

Surrogate mothers also receive financial support for necessities during the pregnancy, such as maternity clothing, housekeeping, pumping and shipping breast milk, and more. These payments are in addition to your base compensation.

Additional Benefits

Surrogates will receive additional non-monetary benefits that are priceless in ensuring they’re protected and have a smooth journey. These benefits include social work support, legal counsel, life insurance, and more.

 Surrogate Mother Carrying Twins

How Circle Supports Surrogates

At Circle, we know what it takes to provide exceptional support for surrogates because many of our staff members have been surrogates themselves. From the moment they fill out their application to delivery day and beyond, our thoroughly prescreened surrogates have access to:

  • Social work, legal, and journey support
  • Private social groups with other surrogate mothers
  • Exclusive events with the Circle team

If you have questions about being a surrogate, talk with our highly experienced team. We are ready with answers.

Another way in which we support our surrogates is by connecting them with skilled, trustworthy experts. We will refer you to an attorney in your area who has a strong working knowledge of assisted reproductive technology (ART) law and with whom we've worked previously to help you review and understand any legal contracts. It's just one more way we help make the entire surrogacy process smooth and simple. To learn more, read our blog post about the 10 steps to becoming a surrogate.

 The Circle Surrogate Promise

The Circle Surrogate Promise

The Circle Surrogate Promise is a program that guarantees pay, security, and support exclusively for Circle Surrogates; no other agency can offer the same level of security and support. We created this program because we truly care about our carriers and want surrogacy to be as successful and rewarding as possible for each of them. We have incorporated feedback from previous carriers to improve our offerings.

Circle Surrogacy promises:

1. Guaranteed compensation. Circle ensures that each surrogate is always paid in full and on time because we financially back our intended parents.

2. Zero 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 a surrogate is the patient and will always receive medical bills, our new fixed-cost Journey Protection Guarantee Program for intended parents allows us to protect both the surrogates and intended parents and ensure 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 surrogate baby. At Circle, our surrogates have choices for their preferred birth options, such as doula care, a hospital birth, or using a birth center with a midwife.

5. Personalized, small agency feel; large agency resources. 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 your intended parents. They'll also 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.

 Pregnant Surrogate maternity photo shoot

Finding a Perfect Intended Parent Match

The matching process is just as important for surrogates as it is for intended parents. Once you decide to become a gestational carrier in Iowa, we use our extensive and thorough matching process to make sure to match you with the right intended parents. Once matched, you and the intended parents will take this monumental journey together, so it's important there is a strong connection and sense of trust between each of you.

Your Surrogate Advisor will begin the matching process by considering personality fit and legal circumstances. You'll get to review each other's profiles, ask questions, and see if you feel comfortable with each other. You will also meet the intended parents in an initial video call and possibly in person. It's important to make sure all parties—you and the intended parents—feel comfortable with the match. Only then will the surrogacy agreement move forward.

Circle works with all kinds of intended parents, including LGBTQ+ and heterosexual couples, domestic and international couples, singles, and more. We're confident there's the right match for you.

Getting Started

Whether you are intended parents or you’re interested in becoming a surrogate or egg donor, the surrogacy process can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Take the first step by learning more about surrogacy.