If you are considering using a surrogate as part of your fertility journey, it is important to learn how surrogacy works and what to expect during the process.
Couples decide to use a surrogate for many different reasons, from same-sex marriages to high risk pregnancy concerns. If you are considering this option then it is important to know all the facts and how to navigate the whole process.
In guest post from My Surrogate Mom, a resource for prospective parents and surrogates, we will walk step-by-step through everything you need to know.
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How Surrogacy Works
It is normal for intended parent or prospective surrogates to have doubts and fears. However, many people have said that once they decided to go forward with surrogacy, the doubts and fears vanished.
This step-by-step guide will give you a general idea of how surrogacy works. It will help you decide whether it is the best path for you.
Whether you are a surrogate or an intended parent, the first step of every surrogacy journey involves learning, learning and more learning. Surrogacy is a complex process, so you need to be sure it’s the right option for you and your family.
There are a lot of resources to learn from. You can search online specialized websites, talk with former intended parents and surrogates, or get in contact with a surrogacy specialist.
If you decide to proceed with surrogacy, you will need to decide on the type of surrogacy you want to pursue. You will also need to choose the surrogacy professionals you will work with.
Which Type of Surrogacy Is Right for Me?
Once you have chosen the surrogacy route, the next big choice is deciding on your ideal form of surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, the woman who carries the baby also provides the eggs; the embryos are created using sperm from the intended father (or a donor) in a process called intrauterine insemination (IUI). This type of surrogacy is also known as full surrogacy or genetic surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy differs from traditional surrogacy in that the surrogate has no genetic connection to the baby.
The intended mother’s eggs (or donated eggs) will be fertilized via in vitro fertilization (IVF), then the embryos will be transferred to the surrogate. This form of surrogacy is also called host surrogacy or partial surrogacy.
Of the two forms, traditional surrogacy is legally and emotionally more complicated. This is why it is far less common than gestational surrogacy.
Create Your Surrogacy Plan
Before your start searching for your surrogate or intended parents, you need to work on your surrogacy plan. This is where you will work on defining your expectations and goals.
During this phase you will also need to think about the surrogacy professionals you want to work with. It’s important you keep in mind that a surrogacy lawyer is necessary regardless of the route you choose (i.e., independent surrogacy or agency surrogacy).
Finding Your Match
Finding your ideal intended parents or surrogate is probably one of the most important steps in the process and is a uniquely personal decision.
You are going to spend at least one year working together and living a very personal experience. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you both share the same expectations and goals.
Passing the Psychological Evaluation
The psychological screening is ensure that you are mentally prepared for the journey. Not everyone is ready or able to complete a surrogacy journey, even if they believe that they can. That’s why this evaluation is so important – it will let you know if you are ready to pursue surrogacy.
Undergo the Medical Screening
First, the surrogate will undergo a medical screening at the chosen fertility clinic. This will be a day of testing and examinations.
Once the surrogate has been cleared by the IVF doctor, it’s time to move to the legal phase.
Signing the Legal Agreement
The surrogacy agreement is one of the most important pieces of the surrogacy journey.
The contract governs the entire surrogacy journey.
It clearly outlines expectations and safeguards the parties involved from risks and liabilities, before, during and after the pregnancy.
During this time, you will both work with your attorneys to draft your surrogacy agreement. (Yes, each party will have their own attorney.)
Once the surrogacy agreement is drafted and signed, the surrogate will receive her medical protocol.
She will take medications and her local clinic will monitor her.
When the time is right, the surrogate will go to the fertility clinic for the embryo transfer!
About two weeks after the transfer, a beta test will be done to confirm pregnancy.
Once pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate visits the fertility clinic for regular check- ups to ensure that everything is going according to plan.
Around ten weeks, the gestational carrier will be released to her own obstetrician and will continue with the regular check-ups. From there on, the surrogate pregnancy will be like any other pregnancy.
The birth! It will be a life-changing event for, both, the surrogate, and the prospective parents.
Once the baby is born, the surrogate, the intended parents and the baby, will return to their homes.
For information on how surrogacy works, you can refer to the My Surrogate Mom information pages.
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