How Surrogacy Works
A surrogate is a woman who carries a child on behalf of an infertile person or couple, who are usually referred to as the intended parents. The intended parents must have a documented medical need to work with a surrogate, such as lack of a uterus or other medical condition that prevents the intended mother from becoming pregnant or carrying a child to term.
There are two types of surrogacy. The first type is often known as “traditional” surrogacy. In a traditional arrangement, the surrogate donates her egg and is usually artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm. The most common type of surrogacy for many years, traditional surrogacy is seldom seen today because the surrogate must surrender her own biological child.
The second type is known as “gestational” surrogacy. In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the intended parents create their own embryos through an IVF process, and one or two of the resulting embryos are transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no biological relationship to the child she is carrying.
SSA only provides gestational surrogacy arrangements. An SSA surrogate will never be asked to carry her own biological child.
STEP 1. INITIAL SCREENING
Your first step is to contact us or fill out our brief qualifying questionnaire by clicking here. Our coordinators will then guide you through the application process. You will be asked a few questions to confirm that you meet the qualifications to be a surrogate and we will answer your questions at the same time. We have clients available for immediate matches.
STEP 2. APPLICATION
If you pass the initial screening, we will email you a full application to complete and return. Then we will call you to schedule a clinical interview with an SSA counselor. We like to see you while talking with you so these interviews are conducted by videoconference (e.g., Skype, FaceTime, Viber). During this meeting we will provide the counseling required by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, explain the surrogacy process and explore your priorities and desires. We will also schedule a time for you to complete the clinical interview by taking the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), which is a one hour psychological test that consists of true/false questions. If married or living with a partner, you and your spouse/partner will also complete a brief joint counseling/interview session.
STEP 3. MATCHING
Matches are primarily based on similar philosophies and values between you and the intended parents, but personality also plays an important role. Once the counselor has identified a potential match, she will send your application (anonymous basis) to the intended parents for their review. If they would like to meet you, the counselor will send their application (anonymous basis) to you for your review. If you are also interested, your counselor will arrange a joint meeting between you, with an SSA staff member present as a facilitator. This gives you a chance to get to know the intended parents and have your questions answered. We strongly encourage that this meeting be held at one of our offices but it can be held by videoconference depending on everyone’s physical location. Both you and the intended parents are then given a day or two to decide whether you want to move forward. If everyone likes each other and feels it would be a good match, then you will go to the IVF physician for medical clearance.
STEP 4. MEDICAL SCREENING
If, after your meeting, you and the intended parents choose to work together, you will be sent to the intended parents’ IVF physician for your initial medical examination. Upon your passing this examination and receiving medical clearance, the IVF physician will provide a tentative IVF treatment plan and schedule.
STEP 5. LEGAL CONTRACTS
After medical clearance, the next step is the contract (gestational agreement) between you and the intended parents. The intended parents’ attorney will provide this contract. You will be represented by an independent attorney in entering into the contract at no cost to you.
STEP 6. MEDICAL TREATMENT
The process now switches to medical, and IVF treatment typically begins within a few weeks. You will undergo an embryo transfer and then will go back for a pregnancy test 10 to 12 days later. Most IVF physicians will keep you under their care for the 1st trimester of your pregnancy, but this will vary depending on whether you live locally to the IVF clinic.
STEP 7. PRE-BIRTH COURT ORDER
Once you are pregnant, an attorney will go to court for a pre-birth order that will give the intended parents full parental rights to the child at birth and will direct the hospital and Vital Statistics to place them directly on the birth certificate. The intended parents will have exclusive parental rights to the child upon birth and you will have completed your surrogacy journey.