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FAQs: Surrogates

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!

Common questions from women interested in becoming surrogate mothers.

Why should I choose Circle Surrogacy?

As a surrogate, when you embark on a journey with Circle, we promise to be beside you every step of the way. We promise to educate, lead and guide you through your surrogacy journey. We will work tirelessly to support you as you help make parents' dreams come true.

Many women on the Circle staff are experienced surrogates – some have completed 3 journeys! – and are open to sharing their experiences and answer any questions. Our two-way matching process focuses on finding the best fit for you and your intended parents. We offer extensive support to our surrogates from the moment you start researching through the pregnancy and delivery, and beyond. By becoming a surrogate with Circle, you are joining a family of hundreds of incredible women who have helped build families. We have been supporting surrogates for over two decades, and we're seen – and navigated – almost every situation.
At Circle, we have the highest level of dedication to our surrogates than any other agency. We offer and exclusive private social community for our surrogates to connect with other surrogates, as well as local meet ups. We'll help you navigate the road, smooth the bumps, and cheer when we reach our destination. Every person who works at Circle is dedicated to you and your journey.

How much do surrogates make?

Circle offers a comprehensive benefits package for all surrogates. We are flexible, and as a surrogate you can customize your benefits, and how you'll use your payments. Surrogate compensation varies depending on your insurance, state of residence, whether you've been a surrogate before, and the terms outlined in your Carrier Agreement.

What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?

Gestational Surrogacy is the process by which a fertilized embryo is implanted in a gestational carrier, who will carry the resulting child/children to term, but bears no genetic relationship to them. These are the types of arrangements that Circle Surrogacy facilitates. By contrast, traditional surrogates are both genetic and gestational mothers, and undergo artificial insemination and relinquish custody of the resulting child/children upon birth.

How do I apply with Circle Surrogacy to become a surrogate?

If you are interested in applying to our program to become a surrogate, you can fill out an online form here. The application takes about 10 minutes, and it's easy to apply right from your phone. You will be contacted within about 24 hours to inform you of the next steps.

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 journey are handled by our team, from matching, to screening, to legal work, to social work support. We handle any issues that may arise.

If I have more questions what should I do?

If I have any other questions about gestational surrogacy, please email us!

What are Circle Surrogacy's requirements for surrogates?

Successful surrogate applicants:

• Have delivered a child of their own
• Are between the ages of 21-44 years of age
• Do not participate in certain government aid programs including cash assistance, welfare, public housing or section 8. All other forms of government assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis
• Typically have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33
• Live in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we cannot accept gestational carriers who reside in Nebraska, Louisiana or Michigan)
• Have the support of family and friends
• Do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol You can view our full list of surrogate requirements here.

I am currently enrolled in a government assistance program. Can I be a surrogate?

We are unable to accept applicants who are enrolled in certain government programs, including cash assistance, welfare, public housing, and Section 8 housing. The income requirements for these programs are generally stricter than other programs, such as food stamps, WIC, and subsidized childcare. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for certain benefits.

Why is BMI important?

BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics, and we require documentation that verifies your current BMI. The BMI requirements are established not only for health reasons, but also to ensure that you will respond appropriately to the medications necessary for this process. To learn more about about the importance of BMI, click here.

I do not believe in selective reduction or abortion. Can I still apply to become a surrogate?

We do occasionally have couples who share these beliefs, however it is a rare occurrence as most of our intended parents ultimately want the choice to make decisions about their own family. You are encouraged to inquire with our staff whether or not we currently have intended parents who would not terminate a pregnancy due to a severe medical diagnosis of the fetus.

I am currently breastfeeding. Can I still apply to become a surrogate?

Yes! If you are breastfeeding please feel free to apply and we can discuss a timeline that works best for you.

How long do I have to wait after my last delivery before I can become a surrogate?

Based on guidelines set by fertility clinics, we can work with surrogates 3 months after a vaginal delivery or 6 months after a delivery by C-section.

I needed to take anti-depressants after the birth of my last baby for postpartum depression. Can I still be a surrogate mother?

At this time we are unable to accept applicants who have experienced postpartum depression for which they were prescribed anti-depressants after their most recent delivery, numerous prior deliveries, or all prior deliveries.

I have been prescribed anti-depressants in the past. Can I be a surrogate mother?

We review anti-depressant use on a case by case basis and would love to speak with you about any questions you may have. We will review medical records.

My significant other doesn't seem on board with my being a surrogate. Can I still move forward?

We are sorry but we require that all surrogates and egg donors in our program have the full support of their husband or partner. If you are not married, you must have a support person in place with whom you will share the journey. Your primary support person will also have a screening with our social work team.

If I have a sexually-transmitted disease/infection (STI/STD), can I still be a carrier?

Some STIs/STDs will disqualify you. HIV and Hepatitis (or any others that could be communicated to a fetus/baby) would disqualify you, whereas others, such as genital warts and genital herpes, may not.

I am currently pregnant. Can I be a surrogate mother to the child I am carrying?

You cannot be a surrogate mother to a child you are currently carrying, as intended parents typically contribute their own genetic material to children born through surrogacy, and the surrogacy process requires a great deal of planning before you become pregnant. However, you might consider adoption as an alternative. Feel free to contact our office and we can provide contact information for an adoption agency or attorney near you.

I've submitted my initial online application. What comes next?

Once we receive your online application, we’ll be in contact with you within 1-2 business days. If you meet our initial qualifications, you will gain access to our Surrogate Portal, where you can move forward in the pre-screening and screening processes. The Portal contains online forms that allow you to submit photos, medical history information, insurance details, matching preferences, etc. Once you’ve completed these tasks and we have reviewed your medical records as well as insurance information, we will schedule screening calls for you and your support person with one of our licensed social workers.

What does the phone screening with one of Circle's social workers entail?

A member of our experienced social work team will speak to you in detail about the surrogacy process and what you should expect. You will have the opportunity to ask all of your questions about our program, the IVF cycle, the matching process as well as how we support you during the pregnancy, insurance issues, compensation, etc. During this screening, we will ask you many questions about your support system and your motivations for being a surrogate mother. In addition, your husband/partner or support person, will also be screened.

What "surrogate fee" should I put on my screening form?

We have recommended limits. Your social worker will discuss a suggested fee with you if you are unsure. She will also talk with you about the added fees you will receive, such as multiple pregnancy, caesarean section, travel allowance, maternity clothing, invasive procedures, transfer fee, signing bonus, monthly miscellaneous fees, and other fees you may require. Review our surrogate compensation and benefits here.

Can I choose whom I help?

Yes. We have all kinds of families who are looking for surrogate mothers, including married couples, single parents, same-sex couples, domestic and foreign couples, and single people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. We have parents who are hoping to add to their families and others who are having a child for the first time.

What is the typical profile of intended parents in Circle's program?

It's difficult to give a sense of "typical" intended parents in our program since they come from around the world and all types of backgrounds. Generally, about 55% of our intended parents identify as straight and 45% identify as LGBTQ+. Approximately 43% of Circle's intended parents live in the United States and 57% live abroad. Finally, 88% are couples and 12% are single individuals. When you apply to become a surrogate, we will ask about your matching preferences to make sure you are comfortable with the intended parents you will be working with.

I would like to match as quickly as possible. Where is the need for surrogate mothers the greatest?

Being open and flexible with your matching preferences can help reduce the time it takes to match you. For example, being open to working with either straight or LGBTQ+ single or couple, domestic or international. Keep in mind that where you live may determine with whom we can match you. Unfortunately, we are not always able to facilitate surrogate matching with women from some states with same-sex couples or gay individuals, as the local laws and policy do not allow this.

Can I meet the family with which I might be matched?

Typically our surrogates and intended parents will meet each other via Skype call before moving forward with a match. We encourage both parties to get to know each other and to make sure you "click." Occasionally, intended parents will fly out for an initial meeting. More often you will meet them in person for the first time at the screening or transfer stage.

What kind of contact should I expect during my surrogacy?

You should expect whatever level of contact makes you comfortable, as every journey is unique. We do ask all of our intended parents to be in touch at least once a week from the time they meet you until delivery. Some people choose to have more frequent contact than this, especially around the time of the birth. However, it is not required. Before you cycle and during the pregnancy, you can expect phone calls, emails, and maybe an occasional visit, particularly for OB appointments and ultrasounds. After you deliver, we encourage our surrogate mothers and families to remain in contact through emails, phone calls, pictures and letters or maybe an occasional visit. Everyone is encouraged to do what makes them most comfortable. For most, the relationship develops naturally over time.

I would love to work with an international family. When would they come for the birth?

Our international couples and single individuals make every effort to be there for the delivery and often times are there earlier to support you. Our intended parents cannot ensure that they will be on time for the arrival regardless of where they live. However, most of our couples and singles to date have been able to make it in time.

Who pays for all the medical bills?

Your insurance company (or the surrogate maternity insurance coverage we obtain for you and your intended parents) will pay most of the bills related to your pregnancy and delivery. If there are any additional unexpected costs, your intended parents will cover those costs. The family you choose to work with will pay for all IVF medical procedures, expenses, co-payments, and deductibles related to your surrogate pregnancy.

How are my surrogacy reimbursements dispersed?

Surrogate reimbursements are divided up into equal monthly installments following the confirmation of heartbeat (around the 6-8 week mark) and paid on the first of every month. If you are carrying multiple children, a multiples fee is paid to you over the last five months. After 34 weeks, the pregnancy is considered viable (32 weeks for multiples). If you deliver before 40 weeks, you are given a lump sum for the remaining balance. The remainder of the miscellaneous fees are distributed at various times throughout the pregnancy and will be discussed in your screening.

How much life insurance does the potential family pay for?

Our coordinator works to find you a $250,000 life insurance policy. The intended parents pay the premiums; however, you choose the beneficiaries.

Do I have to pay for anything related to being a surrogate mother?

The family you match with will pay the fees outlined for you in your screening and agreed upon in the contract. This is not meant to be an out-of-pocket expense to you.

Do I have to travel?

Yes. You should plan to be available to travel for the transfer, which is typically a four- to seven-day trip. You can be medically screened and monitored closer to home but you will need to travel to the IVF clinic for the transfer. At times, the overseeing IVF clinic will require you to travel for an initial screening. This is typically a one- or two-day trip.

I have small children. Will the intended parents help with daycare costs?

Yes. You can ask for a daycare allowance or have your lost wages compensated so your children can be cared for while you are gone.

Who picks my OB or midwife?

You select your OB or midwife for your prenatal care. We ask that if a midwife is chosen, that he/she is overseen by an OB. In the instance you are carrying multiples, you may be asked to see a maternal fetal medicine doctor.

Can I request that no more than 1 embryo be transferred?

Yes. Your surrogate coordinator and your social worker will discuss your comfort level in transferring more than 1 embryo.

Does a surrogate have to go on bed rest after the transfer?

Guidelines vary from one IVF clinic to another. However, there is usually some type of modified bed rest required for 24-36 hours post-transfer.

How long do you have to abstain from sexual intercourse when being a surrogate?

In the surrogacy medical process, carriers are usually expected to abstain from sexual intercourse for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after a transfer; however, your IVF clinic will give you more specific guidelines.

Will my pregnancy be physically any different from my other pregnancies since I am not related to the baby, or babies?

Physically speaking, the pregnancy is no different than a traditional pregnancy. Circle and your medical providers will be there to answer any questions and support you in this process.

Will the medications have an emotional effect on me?

You may experience symptoms similar to those you would experience during your monthly cycle, such as mood swings. Your hormones will be changing and these changes in mood are normal, as they are during any pregnancy.

My blood type is AB+. What if the family I work with has two different blood types than me?

This is generally not an issue. For any medical questions, you can speak to the IVF doctor for more information.

How do the parents get their names on the birth certificate?

The law varies from state to state so it will depend on where you live as well as where your intended parents are from. The attorneys in our program take this into account when matching you with your intended parents. This attention to detail ensures all legal work can be accomplished. Sometimes this is done by a pre-birth order, sometimes by virtue of a single, or a second-parent adoption.

Who chooses the attorney to review contracts with me?

We'll recommend attorneys whom we have worked with in the past and with whom we know have a strong understanding of Assisted Reproduction Technology law. We do this because we want to be sure that the attorney is familiar with surrogacy. We also prefer working with attorneys who are comfortable accepting a flat fee for services. That said, you are free to find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable. Of course, your legal fees are covered by your intended parents.

Do the parents have wills in place before beginning a surrogacy?

Yes. This legal aspect of surrogacy is taken care of before we proceed with a transfer.

What happens if the baby, or babies, die before full term? Who gets custody and takes care of the details?

The intended parents.

Have you ever had any parents change their minds and not take the baby/ies?

No. Never.

What happens if the family gets divorced? Who gets the child/ren?

We screen our intended parents to make an assessment of the stability in their relationship. If a divorce should occur, you would NOT have to assume care of the child. Custody would be worked out between the intended parents.

Is surrogate pay taxable income?

The IRS does not require 1099s for surrogacy payments. However, you must speak to your tax attorney or accountant about your specific situation. Laws vary from state to state and you should have advice from a tax attorney or accountant to discuss your surrogacy payments and if they are taxable.