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How to become a surrogate mother

Becoming a surrogate mother changes more lives than those of intended parents – it changes yours, too. When you apply to become a surrogate, you are making a commitment to be "all in" to help someone achieve their dreams of parenthood. It takes a very special woman to be a surrogate. If you have any questions, or need help completing your application, please give us a call: 857-299-7899.

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 What is a surrogate?

What is a surrogate?

A surrogate mother – also called a gestational carrier or gestational surrogate – is a woman who carriers a baby for people (the Intended Parents) who are unable to have a baby on their own. Most surrogate mothers – especially those that work with a surrogacy agency – are gestational surrogates, meaning the surrogate mother does not share genetics with the baby. Surrogate mothers get paid for carrying someone's baby, and they are protected by a legal contract signed by both the surrogate mother and the Intended Parents.

Surrogates are women who have children of their own, have had relatively easy pregnancies and births (they like being pregnant!), and many have completed their own families. Surrogate mothers want to help others have their own families.

What is surrogacy? It's an amazing way to help make intended parents' dreams come true and give others the ultimate gift: a baby!

Who do surrogate mothers help?

Surrogate mothers help intended parents (IPs) who planned on having a family but are unable to do so on their own.

There are two different types of surrogacy: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. At Circle Surrogacy – and most other surrogacy agencies – gestational surrogacy is the type of surrogacy that is done. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the baby she carriers.

Women who become surrogates have the opportunity to help intended parents from all ethnicities, locations and sexual orientations. Some intended parents are single, others are coupled or married. Surrogates may be matched with IPs who live in the US or international parents.

The types of intended parents surrogate mothers help are:

1. Heterosexual couples who have struggled with infertility
2. Intended mothers who are unable to carry a child
3. Intended parents who have a genetic defect or health condition they don't want to pass onto the child
4. Same sex intended parents who want to have a genetic link to the baby

Some surrogacy agencies give surrogates the chance to express their preferences about the intended parents with whom they wish to match.

 Surrogate Carrier Being Supported by Fellow Surrogate Carrier

How to become a surrogate and give hope to intended parents.

Women who apply to become surrogates do so because they want to help others experience the joy of parenthood. When a woman fills out a surrogate application, she may be doing so because: she has a friend or family member who has experienced infertility, she's had easy pregnancies and deliveries and has completed her own family; or, she wants to give something to others, and she enjoys being pregnant.

The delight that our surrogates feel is so special that many return to Circle Surrogacy for second and third surrogacy journeys! We speak with surrogates everyday and understand the reasons why they feel being a surrogate is amazing.

But becoming a surrogate is a process which has a few steps to follow, and several requirements which are helpful, and important, to understand.

What is the process to become a surrogate mother?

Becoming a surrogate mother consists of many mini-milestones that lead to the big day: delivery day!

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!

The six key milestones of the surrogacy process are:

Step 1: PreScreening (1-2 weeks)
The first step is to fill out a surrogate application. If your application passes the first set of surrogate requirements, you'll be connected with a Surrogate Prescreening Coordinator. Medical records review and evaluation and background checks also happen during this step.

Step 2: Screening (1-2 weeks)
During this step you'll have a video call with social worker, and your primary support person/spouse will have a call with the social worker as well.

Step 3: Matching (1 week to 1 month)
This is an exciting step: matching with your intended parents! When a good match is identified, there will be a profile exchange with intended parents, then a video call. If all parties agree, you will officially be matched! Circle Surrogacy has intended parents waiting for the right surrogate match – you could be matched immediately!

Step 4: Medical Screening & Legal Contracts (2-3 months)
You'll attend your Medical screening at the IVF clinic (overnight trip), and you'll start and finalize contract negotiations with your attorney.

Step 5: Monitoring Appointments & Embryo Transfer (3-4 weeks)
Once approved medically, you'll begin your medications. While administering your surrogate medications you'll attend local monitoring appointments to ensure your body is responding properly. When your body is ready you'll attend the Embryo transfer! (3-7 day trip)

Step 6: Pregnancy (9 months+)
This step can feel like the longest of all the steps. You'll go for Beta tests at your local clinic to confirm pregnancy. From there, you'll have an ultrasound at 6-7 weeks for confirmation of heartbeat(s). During the pregnancy you'll attend routine appointments, develop your relationship with your IPs and share updates until the big day arrives: Delivery day!

See the full surrogate mother process in detail.

How long does the surrogacy process take?

In general, the surrogacy process will take about a year and a half. However, there are many factors that can affect the length of the surrogacy process.

When you apply to become a surrogate, you will likely not be told how long your journey will last. A surrogacy journey for surrogate mothers can take anywhere from 14-20+ months. Your journey begins with your application, but then depends on many factors: how quickly you're matched with intended parents, how well you respond to IVF medications and time for embryo creation and transfer.

Surrogate mother requirements to understand.

Health requirements:

• Has had uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries, as documented by medical records.
• Is between 21-41 years of age.
• Typically have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33. Calculate My BMI.

Lifestyle requirements:

• Has the support of her family. If married or partnered, the surrogate must have her partner’s support. Also, the surrogate and her partner/primary support person must agree to participate in a social work screening.• Has delivered a child of her own, and is currently parenting at least one child.
• Is financially secure.
• Leads a stable, responsible lifestyle.
• Is willing to travel for IVF process. Please note, often these trips include overnight stays.
• Does not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol.

Legal requirements:

• 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.
• Lives in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we cannot accept gestational carriers who reside in Nebraska, Louisiana, Michigan or New York).
• Has a valid driver’s license.

Circle Surrogacy follows the surrogate mother guidelines put forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Surrogate applicants will also participate in a screening with a social worker, and complete psychological testing.

Becoming a surrogate mother requires applicants to be emotionally and mentally ready to enter into a surrogacy journey to help ensure the most successful outcome for intended parents.

Surrogate pay: how much do surrogates make?

"How much so surrogates get paid?" This is a popular question among women who are interested in applying to be surrogates. And rightly so! Gestational surrogacy is an emotional and physical journey, and they should be compensated.

Surrogate mother pay can vary, but in general, average surrogate pay can be between $50,000-$60,000. This estimated surrogacy pay includes a surrogate's base fee – which can be between $30,000-$40,000 – as well as the additional compensation and benefits she receives throughout the journey.

A surrogate mother's base fee is determined by a few factors:

1. The state she lives in
2. Whether or not she has health insurance
3. If she's an experienced gestational carrier

Once a base fee is established, a surrogate will then receive compensation and payments both before she's pregnant, as well as throughout the pregnancy.

At Circle Surrogacy, we offer generous surrogacy pay and benefits. Learn more and see how much you could make as a surrogate mother with our surrogate pay calculator.

Apply to be eligible for a $1,500 advance payment!

During these crazy times, we want you to know that we are still accepting surrogate applications. In fact, we have many intended parents waiting to match.

Apply today to qualify for our Circle Surrogate Guarantee:

  • Earn a $1,500 Advanced Screening Payment when you apply between 4/1/2020 and 5/31/2020 and complete the expedited application process (see details on our surrogate compensation page)
  • Ability to get matched with intended parents in 30 days or less! We have intended parents waiting to be matched - will you be the one to grow their family?
  • The security of working with a well-established and stable agency, built to withstand times of uncertainty.

What previous surrogate mothers are saying about their surrogacy journeys.

"I am so happy with how everything unfolded and came together and so thankful to Circle Surrogacy for making this such an enjoyable experience for me as a surrogate. Circle took such care of me through the entire process! I just don't have enough nice things to say."
- Angelina

"My experience with Circle Surrogacy has been nothing but the best since I applied for my first journey almost 2 years ago. The staff are quick with responses, they are very open, honest and helpful to answer any questions I had from start to finish and even after I delivered my surrogate baby, and showed compassion and support every step of the way as well. From being a surrogate I have come in contact with some ladies who have been surrogates through other surrogacy agencies and it seems as though their experience(s) have been less enjoyable than mine because their agency lacked communication or empathy and it made it very difficult for their surrogates. Circle makes sure that their surrogates and intended parents are always in the loop and on the same page, and I couldn't have asked for anything more for my first time being a surrogate!"
- Holly

"Working with Circle Surrogacy was amazing! Their commitment and reliability made it easy to trust them and eager to start a journey. I had a great support system and always felt advocated for. I wasn’t just another surrogate, I was a friend and that meant so much. My coordinator and social worker made me feel important, I couldn’t have asked for more."
- Ashtin

"I can not say enough wonderful things about Circle Surrogacy and their staff! From the moment I applied to be a surrogate (May 2018) to the present day (2 months postpartum of my first journey) everyone that I have been in contact with has been amazing! From the legal aspect, matching with Intended Parents, the medical side of things and the emotional aspect I always had the backing and support needed. The matching team hands down could not have matched my little family with a better couple and we know consider ourselves all family. :) The relationship established is one that will truly last a lifetime. The Circle staff always made the time and effort to check in, show me that as a surrogate I was appreciated and were always quick to respond when needed. I couldn't imagine a smoother journey or experience and am grateful that I chose to go through this agency while making my dreams to be a surrogate a reality!"
- Melinda

Resources for becoming a surrogate mother

6 questions to ask yourself before applying to be a surrogate.

Applying to be a surrogate mother is a big decision! There are many things to consider, including how your surrogacy will impact your life and your family, what do you expect from your journey, and what types of intended parents do you wish to match with.

Image for 6 questions to ask yourself before applying to be a surrogate.
6 Surrogate Questions to ask

How to talk to your kids about your surrogacy.

A requirement to be a surrogate mother is that you are currently parenting a child at home. Having the support of your family and community is important as a surrogate. Many surrogates include their children in their journey, and the kids like knowing that their mommy is helping someone.

Image for How to talk to your kids about your surrogacy.
Talking to kids about surrogacy
 Should I apply to be a surrogate during COVID-19?

Should I apply to be a surrogate during COVID-19?

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate, you can absolutely apply during the Coronavirus outbreak. From application to birth, a typical surrogate journey timeline can be anywhere from 12-16 months. You can fill out an application today and get all the paperwork in and be put on the matching list. You wouldn't be pregnant for at least 3-4 months (or longer).

Another option would be to fill out your application, fulfill all of your application and medical records tasks, and ask to be put “on hold” so that if you’d like things in the world to settle a bit more, you can then be asked to be taken off hold and put onto the matching list and all of your paperwork would be complete.

We currently do not know how long regulations around travel and clinic schedules will be disrupted, but you will be much closer to starting a journey by applying today than waiting a few months.

Financially, becoming a surrogate is a wonderful way to help your family while you're helping to grow another family!

We'd love to meet you.

Start your application

Surrogate mother FAQs

As you consider surrogacy, you may have questions along the way. With many experienced surrogates on staff, we've helped women navigate their surrogacy journeys successfully, and have answered almost every question out there!
How much do surrogates make?​

Circle offers the most comprehensive compensation and benefits of any agency. While surrogate compensation varies depending on your insurance, state of residence, and surrogacy experience, Circle works with each and every woman to help customize her benefits to fit her journey and needs.

​What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?

There are two types of surrogacy—gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In a typical gestational surrogacy arrangement, intended parents create embryos through in vitro fertilization. One or more of these embryos is implanted in a surrogate (sometimes known as a gestational carrier), who carries the child or children to term, but has no genetic relationship to them.

Gestational surrogacies makeup the vast majority of modern surrogacy arrangements. By contrast, traditional surrogates typically become pregnant through artificial insemination, and have a genetic connection to the child or children they carry for their intended parents. We do not arrange traditional surrogacies.

​Why should I choose working with an agency versus going independent?

We believe working with an agency is to your advantage as we provide full support and guidance throughout the entire process. All aspects of the surrogacy process are handled by our team, from matching, to screening, to legal work, to social work support. This enables us to handle any challenges that may arise, so that you can focus on your pregnancy, and building a relationship with your intended parents.

​Why should I choose Circle Surrogacy?

Surrogates choose to work with Circle Surrogacy because we are the best surrogacy agency with which to become a surrogate mother! We are a trusted agency with 20+ years experience. We are also a full-service, relationship-based agency. You will work closely with a social worker and Journey Coordination team who will guide and support you throughout your entire journey.

When you apply to become a surrogate with Circle Surrogacy, you'll be connected to one of our experienced surrogates on staff who can answer your questions and guide you through the process.

Circle also offers a community of surrogate mothers who are connected to share their experiences and support one another.