The Surrogate Process
Step-By-Step Surrogacy Process for Surrogates
The surrogacy process – from application to post-partum – can take an average of 16-18 months. With Circle as the agency by your side, you’ll be supported and informed every step of the way to help ensure you have as rewarding of a journey as possible.
7 Steps in the Surrogate Process
While the surrogacy process can feel a little overwhelming at first (and filled with all sorts of emotions), we advise you to look at the full journey in seven steps. Our goal is to ensure you understand what the process steps are, what is expected of you as a surrogate, as well as approximate timing. Remember, every surrogacy is different, so timing may not be exact for your journey.
2. Surrogacy Consultation & Screening
3. Matching with Intended Parents
4. Medical Screening & Legal Contracts
5. Monitoring Appointments & Embryo Transfer
7. Fourth Trimester and Postpartum
The first step in the process to becoming a surrogate is to complete our surrogate application. The initial surrogate application allows us to collect some information about you, as well as helps you determine if you'll be a good surrogate candidate. You'll answer questions about:
Fill out application
Connect with Surrogate Advisor
Medical records review
Evaluation and background checks
Personal Information (such as your name, email and phone number)
Health and pregnancy information (you will be required to obtain medical records at a later date)
Your support network
After completing the surrogate application, you'll be given access to our Surrogate Portal. After your application is received and reviewed, if approved, a Surrogate Advisor will reach out to you to meet you and answer your questions. Your medical records will be requested and reviewed. You'll work closely with your Surrogate Advisor until you are matched with intended parents.
These first steps in the application process will help you understand what goes into being a surrogate mother, how the surrogate process works, and if you qualify to become a surrogate.
Surrogacy Consultation & Screening
During the surrogacy consultation process you'll have a video interview with a social worker. This detailed call can last approximately 2-2 ½ hours, however you can break it up into 2 shorter meetings if that works better for your schedule. During your surrogacy consultation, the social worker will conduct an in-depth interview with you, asking questions such as:
Video call with social worker
Phone call with primary support person
Your motivation to become a surrogate
What your support system looks like
Your pregnancy history
About your family
Your interpersonal relationships
Your life experiences
Every surrogate is required to have a Primary Support Person (PSP) with them on their journey. Responsibilities for the PSP can be anything from driving her to and from appointments, accompanying her on her medical screening or embryo transfer, watching her children and just being there when she needs emotional support.
As you complete your surrogacy consultation and appear to be a strong surrogate candidate, you will complete psychological testing through the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) which is interpreted by a licensed psychologist.
All surrogates will complete a 3-step screening process to ensure they are a good fit for the surrogacy process.
Matching with Intended Parents
Your Surrogate Advisor will support you in finding the right intended parent match. Surrogate matching criteria includes your preferences on the types of intended parents you’d like to work with, the number of embryos to transfer and your views on selective reduction and termination. Circle follows a thorough surrogate/parent matching process.
If you are interested in meeting intended parents after reading their profile (and they are interested after reading yours), the Circle team will set up a video call so you can officially meet to see if you’d be a good match. On this call surrogates and intended parents will get to know each other a little bit more, talk about their families and friends and their hopes for their surrogacy journey. There is no script for this video call, and the Circle team does not attend. After the call, if both parties feel a connection and would like to move forward, you can share with the Circle team that you’d like to move forward with a match.
Review profile(s) for intended parent match
Video call with potential match
Medical Screening &
Your medical screening takes place at your intended parents’ IVF clinic with their doctor. This is usually an overnight trip, and expenses are covered by your intended parents.
Here’s what you can expect at the medical screening:
Medical screening at the IVF clinic (overnight trip)
Contract negotiation and finalization with attorney
You’ll also be working closely with your legal counsel finalizing your Carrier Agreement (contract). This will be completed with your intended parents’ lawyer. Your contract will outline all aspects of the surrogacy journey, including number of transfers, compensation, parental rights and more.
& Embryo Transfer
During this phase you'll begin your surrogate medications (shots!) and start attending your local monitoring appointments. These appointments will be at a clinic near where you live (not at your IPs' IVF clinic). Monitoring appointments consist of bloodwork and ultrasounds to ensure your body is responding properly to the fertility medications.
When the doctor has determined that your body is ready, you will travel for the embryo transfer. This is usually a 3-7 day trip with a travel companion to your intended parents’ IVF clinic. The embryo transfer itself is relatively quick, and the doctor will give you protocols following the transfer. Many intended parents will attend the embryo transfer if they can, and spend time in person with their surrogate.
Attend local monitoring appointments
Embryo transfer (3-7 day trip)
After you return home from the embryo transfer, you’ll continue with appointments at your local monitoring clinic for beta tests (blood tests). These visits are to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing as it should. The first test is usually 10 days after the embryo transfer. Provided you have positive beta tests, you'll have an ultrasound at the monitoring clinic around 6 weeks for a confirmation of heartbeat(s). This is when Circle considers you officially pregnant!
Around week 10 of pregnancy you'll be released to your OB/GYN to continue your care until delivery. During this time, you can deepen your relationship with your intended parents; we recommend you maintain at least weekly contact with them to give them updates, share photos and get to know them even better. You’ll attend your routine appointments and before you know it, delivery day will be here and you'll witness your intended parents meeting their baby for the first time!
Beta tests at local clinic
Ultrasound around 6 weeks for confirmation of heartbeat
Routine doctor appointments
Deepen relationship and share the pregnancy with IPs
Fourth Trimester and Postpartum
The fourth trimester can be filled with many emotions – excitement, sadness, pride and emptiness, to name a few. All of these emotions are normal as you adjust to life after surrogacy. We encourage you to spend time with your intended parents and the baby if you wish to do so, while they are still local to you. Saying goodbye can be difficult, but remember, it does not have to be a forever goodbye. Many of our surrogates and parents continue their friendship beyond the birth of the baby; you’ll find the right level of relationship that works for you.
Say goodbye to your intended parents and their baby
Allow your body to heal
Adjust to “normal” life
Spend time with your family
Reflect on what an AMAZING thing you did
Once we receive your online application, we will contact 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.
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 support person will also be screened.