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What Does a Surrogate Primary Support Person Do?

A surrogate's Primary Support Person (PSP) is the person who mostly closely shares the surrogacy journey with the surrogate. The PSP provides the surrogate support at every step of the process. Being a Primary Support Person to a surrogate is an important job in the surrogacy process. We often refer to them as the unsung heroes in the surrogacy journey!

What is a Primary Support Person?

A Primary Support Person is someone who agrees to be the person who shares in the surrogacy journey with a gestational carrier. The role of a surrogate mother’s Primary Support Person is to be the emotional, physical and mental support of the surrogate throughout her journey. This role is so important, that having a PSP is a requirement for all gestational carriers who apply to become surrogate mothers with Circle Surrogacy.

Who should be a surrogate's Primary Support Person?

If the surrogate has a spouse or partner, that is usually who her Primary Support Person will be. If the surrogate is single – or if there is another person in her life who she chooses to be the most involved in the journey – the Primary Support Person can be a mother, sister or friend. The PSP should be someone who is reliable, committed and is ready to take on the task.

How does the Primary Support Person fit into the surrogacy process?

The primary support person will have responsibilities throughout the surrogacy journey, starting during the surrogate screening process.

Here is what a primary support personal can expect during a surrogacy journey:

  • The Surrogacy Consultation. While the surrogate will undergo a 2 to 2/12 hour conversation with her Social Worker, the PSP can expect to also have a long-form interview. This conversation usually lasts approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours over the phone. During this call the PSP will answer questions about themselves, their family (if the spouse), and the commitments required to be a primary support person.
  • Matching with Intended Parents. The matching process is one of the most exciting of the journey, and the first time that intended parents meet a potential surrogate. This call allows them to get to know each other, and as such an important part of the journey, the Primary Support Person will also be on this call. It's important for intended parents to see who will supporting the surrogate.
  • Contracts and Medical Screening. During the contract phase, the surrogate will select outside counsel (paid for by the Intended Parents) to guide her through the Carrier Agreement and ensure her rights are protected. During this time. the surrogate will have her Medical Screening at the intended parent's clinic. The Primary Support Person will be the person to accompany the surrogate on this trip, which is typically an overnight trip. If the PSP is the surrogate's husband or partner, they may be required to undergo routine blood testing.
  • Embryo Transfer. The embryo transfer is the second of two travel times for the surrogate and her PSP. This trip can be 4-7 days, back to the IPs' fertility clinic. The PSP may be the one to travel with the surrogate, or they may stay home with the children and another friend or family member attends the embryo transfer.
  • Pregnancy. Right after the embryo transfer and throughout pregnancy the surrogate will have many appointments. The Primary Support Person may choose to attend these appointments, or s/he may not. What the PSP will do is provide emotional support to the surrogate, as well as any other support she needs, which includes caring for children, preparing meals, or just being someone to lean on.
  • Labor and Delivery. On the big day, the surrogate will likely be able to have her support person in the delivery room. The intended parents will often be in the delivery room as well. The PSP's role is to keep the surrogate comfortable and calm. Many PSPs say their role during the delivery has been to be the photographer for the intended parents!
  • Post-birth. The PSP will provide whatever type of support the surrogate needs!
 Intended Parents with their hands on their surrogate's belly

What can a Primary Support Person expect to do?

Expected Responsibilities

A Primary Support Person should expect the below responsibilities in their role:

  • Communication. The PSP is encouraged to speak with intended parents as often as they like.
  • Traveling. Most clinics require PSPs to attend the medical screening (if it’s the surrogate’s partner) for testing.
  • Condoms and Abstinence for PSPs who are spouses/partners. Surrogates and PSPs are expected to engage in condom use at times in the journey, and will be asked to commit to at least two weeks of abstinence before and after an embryo transfer. More guidelines may be given by clinics.
  • Pregnancy. A PSP should be there for the gestational surrogate during her pregnancy to help in any way possible: making meals, childcare, or even a foot rub!
  • Delivery. Most PSPs are present in the delivery room during the surrogate delivery.

Unexpected Responsibilities

We are able to plan for many things in a surrogacy journey, however there may be things that pop up unexpectedly for a Primary Support Person.

  • Childcare. There may be times in the journey when a surrogate will be unable to partake in her typical responsibilities and expectations. This may require additional involvement on behalf of the PSP, and can be in the form of organizing childcare for children.
  • Medications and Injections. A gestational surrogate can expect to participate in injections and medications within the IVF cycle for up to 15 weeks. Often her support person will be the go-to to help her with the injections. It can be challenging to see your partner sore or uncomfortable from these medications. Please know, the discomfort is short-term and has no impact on her long-term health!
  • Time Commitment. While a surrogacy journey can initially sound like another 9-month pregnancy, the length of time to commit to this journey can last between one and two years.

Common questions from a Primary Support Person

Not only is being a surrogate a big job, but being a surrogate's primary support person is a big responsibility, too. When a woman becomes a surrogate, her whole family is involved. That's why it's important for a PSP to ask all the questions and be 100% comfortable!

Will I be paid lost wages when I'm traveling with the surrogate for her screening and embryo transfer?

Yes! Both you and the surrogate will be paid lost wages. See all payments and benefits here.

Will the surrogate have insurance during the journey?

Yes! Circle ensures that every surrogate has proper insurance in place, both health and life insurance. Both policies are paid for by the intended parents.

How much time off work do I need to take as a Primary Support Person?

If you plan to attend the medical screening, you will likely need to only take 1-2 days. For the embryo transfer, you may need to take 4-7 days. However, every journey is different, and the doctor will be able to tell you exactly how much time is needed.

Can I talk to another husband or Primary Support Person before the surrogate applies?

100% yes! You can email Circle at applicatio[email protected] and ask to speak with an experienced PSP.