Surrogacy is an opportunity as a surrogate to give the gift of parenthood, and it hopefully allows prospective parents who could otherwise not have children to complete their family.
When considering surrogacy, most people tend to have many questions regarding how the whole process will work. Though a surrogacy process may vary depending on individual circumstances, surrogacy state regulation and the professionals who you will work with, there are some common steps you can follow to have a successful journey.
Prepare for Surrogacy
As you begin your journey, it’s important to thoughtfully consider whether or not the process suits you.
During this preliminary phase, make it your goal to learn everything you can, and develop relationships with reputable surrogacy professionals whom you can trust.
Surrogacy can be a rewarding journey, but also an emotional and long process that requires a great commitment from both parties. By learning as much as you can about the surrogacy process and making sure you are emotionally ready, you can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Work on Your Surrogacy Plan
Once you have done your homework and you have determined that surrogacy is the right option for you and your family, it’s time to start creating your surrogacy plan to define what your expectations, goals and desires are for this adventure.
During this step you need to:
- Be aware of the different types of surrogacy and the decisions you will need to make. A surrogacy process comes with a number of decisions to be made about essential matters. For example, are you interested in pursuing a traditional or a gestational surrogacy? Are you going to work with an agency or would you prefer to complete a private journey?
- Choose the right professionals to assist you. Who you work with during your surrogacy is normally the most critical factor in making the experience smooth and positive. The safer approach is to develop relationships with reputable surrogacy agencies and lawyers with experience in surrogacy.
These types of decisions should be made as you begin the surrogacy process.
Find a Match
As you start your surrogacy search, it is a good idea to have some thoughts as to what is important to you. This is probably one of the most important decisions you will make, since your surrogacy experience will be shaped by the intended parents or surrogate you will choose.
Surrogacy agencies can help to source, screen, and match surrogates with intended parents, but you can also find your ideal match on your own.
During this phase, it’s important that you don’t rush. Take your time, ask a lot of questions and make sure the other party is on the same page as you regarding expectations and goals for the journey. This is key to having a successful journey.
Once you have found a match, it’s time to move on to the medical phase.
Medical Screening and Legal Contract
Before starting the IVF treatment, there is one milestone to complete: the medical screening. The fertility clinic will need to assess the health of the surrogate candidate and clear her for surrogacy.
Once the surrogate has been cleared, the next steps consist of drafting a legal contract between the intended parents and the surrogate. The surrogacy contract ensures that everyone’s rights and wishes are known and protected throughout the entire journey.
The IVF Treatment and Pregnancy
The medical treatment process can be broken down into three parts:
- Cycle synchronization: the cycles of the surrogate and the intended mother (or egg donor, if the intended mother cannot provide the eggs) are synchronized.
- Ovarian stimulation and preparation of the uterus: the prospective mother or donor begins the hormone therapy to stimulate egg production. At the same time, the surrogate starts with the hormone preparation of her uterus.
- Egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer: the final step involves retrieving, fertilizing and transferring the embryo.
About ten days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test will be done to confirm the pregnancy.
As with any other important decision, prospective parents and surrogates considering surrogacy should begin the process by learning about surrogacy, and also consider getting in contact with various surrogacy professionals to truly determine if the process is right for them and their families.
David Bull is the founder of MySurrogateMom, an online surrogacy community dedicated to everyone considering pursuing a surrogacy process in the US and Canada. He is a passionate advocate of surrogacy education and access for all seeking their third-party path to parenthood.