What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the process where a woman (the Surrogate), helps those who are unable to carry a pregnancy. Intended Parents, bring their child to life.
Every surrogacy journey is unique, but here are some elements that you can expect to see:
- Intended Parents need an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) clinic to create embryos.
- Intended Parents may use their own egg and sperm to create these embryos, or they might need the help of an Egg Donor and/or a Sperm Donor.
- Once the embryos are created, they are transferred to the Surrogate who will carry and care for the baby until delivery.
- Gestational Surrogates have no genetic connection with the baby.
Learn more details about a surrogacy journey
1,100 Babies Born Under Our Care And Counting
While understanding the concept of surrogacy is rather simple, the process can be complex and overwhelming for some people – this is why it is important to work with an experienced and compassionate agency – like The Fertility Agency.
We have been in business since 2004, and have helped bring over 1100+ babies into the world. Plus, our co-founders Kathryn and Lauri are both former Intended Parents and went through their own journeys to create their families. Our Agency’s years of experience and personal journeys have given us exposure to a wide variety of scenarios, expertise in anticipating problems before they arise, and enable us to create a perfect balance between business and passion.
We Welcome and Respect Everyone
At The Fertility Agency, we believe that everyone has the right to experience the joy of becoming a parent. We work with Intended Parents from all over the globe, from different backgrounds, ages, sexual orientations, married or not! Our caring, experienced staff will provide you with the proper guidance and respect that you need for a smooth surrogacy journey.
Where To Start Your Surrogacy Journey
No matter how much (or how little) research you might have done so far, you still might be wondering where to start, how long will all of this take, what professionals are needed, how much it will cost, and finally – how you will find the perfect surrogate.That is what we are here for!
Our experienced staff oversees all the elements of your journey – from carefully screening each Surrogate candidate to making referrals to reproductive endocrinologists (aka REs), attorneys, psychologists, surrogacy escrow companies and most importantly finding your TrueMatch™ Surrogate!
Your first step is to set up a complimentary consultation. During your consultation, you will speak with one of our agency co-founders. They will answer all your questions about surrogacy (and egg donation, if you need one) and discuss your specific needs. See, we’re here to make things easier for you.
When working with a Gestational Surrogate, your Surrogate will not have any biological connection to the child she is carrying. Therefore you will need to select an IVF clinic to create embryos and transfer them to your Surrogate. Here’s how to get started. You should start the search for Egg Donors and a clinic at the same time or before you begin your surrogacy journey.
If you haven’t already done so, select an IVF clinic and a Reproductive Endocrinologist (aka RE, aka fertility doctor). Clinics can greatly impact your journey. Clinics with low success rates (or that don’t regularly handle surrogacy and egg donation journeys) may be more difficult to work with, causing you and your surrogate greater frustration, and costing you more money and time. So, the key factors in finding a good clinic are:
- success rates
- ease of communication
Once you have your doctor and clinic selected you will need to create embryos with either:
- your own eggs (if possible).
- an Egg Donor’s eggs
- sperm from a male partner
- a Sperm Donor’s sperm
Finding the right clinic and Egg Donor for yourself is something we can discuss during our free consultation. We are happy to make some introductions for you if you’d like. Just let us know!
We know that each journey is unique, but here are some of the milestones you can expect to encounter.
Consultation and Agency Paperwork/Sign up
- Sign up/have a complimentary consultation
- Sign Agency Agreement
- Complete Intended Parent Profile
- Pay first Agency fee
- Select your IVF Clinic/Reproductive Endocrinologist
- Select an Egg Donor (if needed)
Already have a surrogacy clinic? You can skip to the next section.
Need a clinic? We are happy to recommend the ones with the best success rates. Just ask us.
Need an Egg Donor? This is the right time to get started on the search – don’t worry, we can guide you through it as well.
Using your own eggs? Now is the time to create your embryos (if you haven’t done so already).
Congratulations! You’re all set and ready to get matched with your Surrogate!
Match With Your Perfect Surrogate
- Find your TrueMatch™
- Case Manager assigned
- Meet your Surrogate
This is where our years of expertise and talent shine! Your TrueMatch™ Surrogate will be someone who –
- Has already had at least one child
- Has passed a background check
- Is a great communicator
- Lives in a surro-friendly state
- Will meet all of our other agency's & your clinic’s requirements
We will exchange profiles between you and your Surrogate and if you like each other your Case Manager is assigned.
What Your Case Manager Does Next
- Advocate – they are your point person, cheerleader, and support for both you and your Surrogate throughout your journey.
- Guide – they will lead you through every step of the process.
- Call – they will help to set up a video call, which we host
- Inform – you get to meet and talk with your surrogate and learn more about each other.
- Share – during this call we will help you to share expectations –
- communication preferences
- who is going to be in the delivery room
- get to know a bit more about each other.
If all goes well during the video call, and it usually does, we’ll make the match official!
Now it’s time to get pregnant!
- Psychological Evaluation
- Medical Evaluation
- Medical Clearance
- Your Case Manager oversees having your Surrogate psychologically screened by a mental health professional specialized in evaluating your Surrogate’s mental capabilities and preparedness to do this very special job.
- Your surrogate will have an in-person evaluation with your RE, where lab work will also be done.
- Your Case Manager will coordinate all of these appointments for payment from your escrow account. This includes travel and submitting appropriate requests.
- At the end of this stage, your clinic will issue a medical clearance letter, and we are cleared to move on to contracts.
- Draft and Review Contracts
- Legal Clearance
Your attorney will draft your surrogacy contract and review it with you. Then they will forward it to your surrogate and her own attorney for their review.
During the matching phase, we will have created what we call “contract points”. This will help guide both attorneys during the drafting and signing of contracts and is our way of helping make the legal phase run as smoothly as possible.
Once contracts are completed and all parties review and sign them, your attorney will issue legal clearance.
The IVF Cycle
Surrogate Medical Calendar
Now that you have legal clearance and your team of experts is in place, it’s time to focus on the on the fun part – creating your baby! At this point you will already have your embryos ready for transfer, so your clinic will issue a medical calendar for your Surrogate with the medication start date, monitoring appointments and transfer date. Finally, it is time for the Embryo Transfer. This is a very important milestone, and some Intended Parents like to attend it in person if they can.
After the transfer, your Surrogate returns home and she will go to a local clinic for her beta tests and confirmation of heartbeat. YAY! You’re pregnant!
- Pregnancy monitoring appointments
- Birth Plan
- Parental Rights/Birth Order
- The birth
Now that you are pregnant, for the first 9-12 weeks –
- Your surrogate remains under the care of your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).
- She is released to her Obstetrician (OB) with monthly visits, ultrasounds, tests – like every other pregnancy.
- We encourage surrogates to share belly pictures, their cravings, and their good and not-so-good days.
- You experience it all alongside her while developing your relationship and bond.
- Of all the monitoring appointments, the 20-week ultrasound is a very in-depth one, and many IPs do try to come to this if they can’t make it for other appointments – but for some, it’s not an option and that’s okay.
Around 22 Weeks
- We assist with creating the birth plan.
- We set you up with a hospital tour.
- Your attorney will assist with establishing parental rights. This way your name goes on the birth certificate.
Before you know it, it will be time to go to the hospital for your baby’s arrival.
Congratulations, your baby is here!
Beyond the birth
- Post-birth Support for Your GS
- Travel Documents
- Paying Bills and Closing Escrow
While your surrogate’s big job is done, ours is not.
- She will still need to attend some post-birth doctor appointments.
- There will be bills to be paid from your escrow.
- International Intended Parents may need assistance getting their baby home with them.
- Your Surrogate might be pumping breast milk for you.
We stay with you for as long as you need us.
Six months post-birth, your escrow account will be closed and that is usually the end of your journey with us…unless you want to start working on your sibling journey!
Questions Intended Parents Are Asking
How Does The Fertility Agency Screen Their Surrogates?
When a Surrogate applies to work with The Fertility Agency, she first fills out an in-depth questionnaire. Once the questionnaire is completed, Surrogate intake team screens each applicant to assure that the Surrogate is a good candidate for our program.
Next we work with the Surrogate to collect her medical records, including pregnancy history and any other information that the IVF clinic might find relevant.
Our team will work with an insurance specialist to review the Surrogate's medical insurance (if she has it). This review will determine if her policy is favorable to cover Surrogacy, or if the Surrogate will need a new policy that has no exclusions for Surrogacy coverage.
We look at the Surrogate’s support network and then do a criminal background check.
Once matched, she will have a psychological evaluation and an in-person appointment with your Reproductive Endocrinologist, aka RE, along with lab work and then be medically approved by your doctor.
Should I Work With The Fertility Agency?
How Much Contact Can I Expect With My Surrogate?
What Things Should I Anticipate Paying For?
What Is The Timeline For The Egg Donor And Surrogacy Journey?
Does It Matter What State My Surrogate Lives In?