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Frequently Asked Questions for Intended Parents

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy helps those who are unable to have children become parents. Gestational surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction where intended parents work with a gestational surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth. Intended parents use surrogacy to start or grow their families when they can’t do so on their own. It’s a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as a strong support process throughout the journey.

How does surrogacy work?

Through IVF, embryos are created in a lab at a fertility clinic. Sometimes the intended parents use their own genetic material. Sometimes, an egg donor is required. At the fertility clinic, 1-2 embryos are implanted into a gestational carrier, who carries the baby(ies) to term.

What is the surrogacy process?

While it’s relatively simple to understand ‘What is Surrogacy?”, understanding the process is a bit more involved. The surrogacy process can be complex, and working with an experienced agency like Adoption and Surrogacy Choices helps navigate the milestones and provides support when you need it most.

A general overview of the surrogacy process looks like this:

  • Apply as a surrogate or as an intended parent
  • Meet all requirements (surrogates) and complete initial consultation (intended parents)
  • Surrogate and Parent Matching
  • Medical screenings, surrogate medications, and embryo transfer
  • Confirmation of pregnancy
  • Delivery day and beyond
What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?

There are two types of surrogacy: gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In a typical gestational surrogacy arrangement, intended parents create embryos through in vitro fertilization. One or more of these embryos is implanted in a surrogate (sometimes known as a gestational carrier), who carries the child or children to term, but has no genetic relationship to them. Gestational surrogacies make up the vast majority of modern surrogacy arrangements. 

By contrast, traditional surrogates typically become pregnant through artificial insemination, and have a genetic connection to the child or children they carry for their intended parents. At Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Nevada, we only provide gestational surrogacy services.

 

 

Why choose surrogacy to grow your family?

Surrogacy allows couples and individuals from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations to build their families.

Intended parents who use surrogacy include:

  • Heterosexual couples who have struggled with infertility
  • Intended mothers who are unable to carry a child
  • Intended parents who have a genetic defect or health condition they don’t want to pass onto the child
  • Same sex intended parents who want to have a genetic link to their baby

Each surrogacy journey is unique!

How much do surrogate mothers cost?

Surrogate mother pay depends on a few factors: where she lives, if she has insurance, and whether or not she’s a first time carrier. On average, surrogate mothers are paid a base fee of $30k-$40k, plus additional compensation and benefits.

If you live in the U.S. you can estimate surrogacy costs around $108K-$156K for a journey, exclusive of IVF costs. The actual journey costs depend on the services intended parents need, your insurance and the details of your specific journey. Each journey is unique – there is no “one cost fits all”.

How much do surrogates get paid?

The monetary benefits of becoming a surrogate mother are significant, but the indescribable sense of fulfillment our surrogates get from helping intended families bring a child into the world cannot be found doing anything else.

Surrogate pay depends on a few factors: where the surrogate lives, whether or not she has insurance, and if she’s an experienced gestational carrier.

Surrogates can earn up to $60k in pay and benefits.

How long does the surrogacy process take?

The length of the process depends on several factors. We typically tell intended parents that they should plan on a year and a half from the time they sign on with our agency until they have a child, although it can be quicker or longer depending on the legal requirements involved and the course of the IVF treatment.

How do I begin the process?

Starting your surrogacy journey begins with a consultation with our experienced team. You’ll speak with a surrogacy specialist. In this meeting you’ll have an opportunity to share your story with us and why you’ve chosen surrogacy to grow your family, and we’ll explain about our process and program offerings, and answer any questions you have.

How does the matching process work?

Once we have accepted a surrogate applicant into our program, our matching and legal teams determine possible matching options based on a variety of factors, including: the state she lives in, whether she has insurance, and the matching preferences from both intended parents and surrogates.

We will send the redacted profile of the intended parents (with no identifying information) to the surrogate. If she expresses interest, we will send her profile to the intended parents, similarly leaving out all identifying information. Once the surrogate and the prospective parents express a mutual interest, we will put them in touch by telephone, Skype or email so they can begin to get to know each other.

After communicating with each other, the surrogate and the prospective parents meet in person at their mutual convenience: at the surrogate’s home, the intended parents’ home, or some place in between. If the surrogate has children and/or a partner or spouse, the intended parents meet them as well.

An IVF physician medically screens them after a match is made. If for any reason the surrogate doesn’t pass the medical screening (which is rare), Adoption and Surrogacy Choices presents a new match.

Will I have contact with my surrogate?

Openness, honesty, and communication are core values at Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Nevada. We encourage building meaningful relationships that will continue to exist throughout the life of the child. Intended Parents are encouraged to visit their surrogate in her home town at least once – and when possible, more often – to get to knew her family and where she’s from.

Where will my surrogate deliver my child?

Most of our surrogates already have relationships with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and many will deliver at the same hospital where they gave birth to their own children. All surrogates will deliver at a hospital near their home. The decision about where to deliver is typically made in conjunction with the OBGYN and the insurance company, which may have a network of approved providers and hospitals. Occasionally, our legal team will recommend that a delivery occur at a specific hospital.

Intended parents often wish to be a part of the labor and delivery process. Hospital policy and your surrogate’s comfort play a large role in determining who will be able to be present in the delivery room. Following the birth, the baby will either remain in the nursery or a room assigned to you. According to most hospital policies, the child cannot be released from the hospital until the surrogate has been released.

Why do women choose to become surrogates (gestational carriers)?

Some surrogates have had a personal experience with infertility and are eager to help a couple or individual to become parents. Others may feel that their family is complete but love being pregnant and feel that helping prospective parents is a greater calling. What unites all of them is the desire to help a family grow.

How are surrogate applicants screened?

A woman applies to become a surrogate with Adoption and Surrogacy Choices by filling out a detailed questionnaire. We review her answers and if we think she would be a good fit for our program, a consulting IVF physician examines her medical records, including a history of recent pregnancies. Our legal team reviews any medical insurance plans. Next, she participates in a detailed assessment by phone with one of our licensed social workers. We evaluate the applicant’s support network and run a criminal background and bankruptcy/judgment history check on her and her husband/partner.

What are the requirements to become a surrogate (gestational carrier)?

We’ve established strict requirements for our surrogate applicants to ensure the continued success of our program. Here are some of our requirements for surrogate applicants:

  • Has delivered a child of her own, and is currently parenting at least one child
  • 21-41 years of age
  • Is a citizen, legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States
  • No participation in certain government aid programs
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33,
  • Residence in a surrogacy-friendly state in the United States
  • Support of family and friends
  • No use of illegal drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol abuse
  • No currently use of anti-depressants
  • Leads a stable, responsible lifestyle
What does the legal process involve before and after the birth?

Our legal team coordinates with local attorneys to ensure that you are properly matched with a surrogate in a state where you can accomplish the necessary legal work to finalize your parental rights. You will need to have wills finalized prior to the embryo transfer that ensure that a guardian is in place to care for your children in the event of your death (if you live in the United States, our legal team can draft these for you). Once you are matched, we negotiate contracts on your behalf with independent attorneys who represent the egg donor and/or surrogate. We work with local attorneys in the states where the surrogates reside in order to accomplish the legal work necessary to secure your parental rights. Depending on a variety of factors, your surrogacy legal work may include a pre-birth order, a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, a judgment of paternity, a custody orders, or an adoption.

Will I need an attorney?

Again, if you live outside the United States, you may find it advantageous to work with an immigration and/or citizenship specialist from your home country. You may also need to consult with a family law attorney in your country for help finalizing your parental rights when you return. Finally, some intended parents hire an independent attorney to review our Agreement for Services before signing on with us. Most people do not feel it necessary to find counsel for this purpose, but they do review the Agreement carefully and occasionally request edits and make comments before signing.

Once you have joined our program, however, our legal team will act as your counsel for all legal matters related to the surrogacy in the United States. We will represent you for the negotiation of any contracts with the surrogate and egg donor and will work with local attorneys across the United States to finalize your parental rights.

Can I be a parent if me or my partner is HIV+?

Yes. Thanks to the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), intended parents who are HIV+ are able to grow their families with surrogacy. Through a sperm washing technique and HIV testing, it is possible for HIV+ men to safely father a biological child of their own with no risk to the baby or surrogate.

Can I be a parent if I’m single?

Of course! We work with intended parents of all backgrounds—single individuals, same-sex couples, and heterosexual couples.

Frequently Asked Questions for Surrogates (Gestational Carriers)

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy helps those who are unable to have children become parents. Gestational surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction where intended parents work with a gestational surrogate who will carry and care for their baby(ies) until birth. Intended parents use surrogacy to start or grow their families when they can’t do so on their own. It’s a process that requires medical and legal expertise, as well as a strong support process throughout the journey.

What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?

Gestational Surrogacy is the process by which a fertilized embryo is implanted in a gestational carrier, who will carry the resulting child/children to term, but bears no genetic relationship to them. These are the types of arrangements that we facilitate. By contrast, traditional surrogates are both genetic and gestational mothers, and undergo artificial insemination and relinquish custody of the resulting child/children upon birth.

How does surrogacy work?

Through IVF, embryos are created in a lab at a fertility clinic. Sometimes the intended parents use their own genetic material. Sometimes, an egg donor is required. At the fertility clinic, 1-2 embryos are implanted into a gestational carrier, who carries the baby(ies) to term.

How much do surrogates make?

Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Nevada offers a comprehensive benefits package for all surrogates. We are flexible, and as a surrogate, you can customize your benefits and how you’ll use your payments. Surrogate compensation varies depending on your insurance, state of residence, whether you’ve been a surrogate before, and the terms outlined in your Agreement. 

Surrogate pay depends on a few factors: where the surrogate lives, whether or not she has insurance, and if she’s an experienced gestational carrier.

Surrogates can earn up to $60k in pay and benefits.

Do I need to have insurance that will cover surrogacy?

No. If you do have medical insurance coverage, we’ll take a look at the plan to see if it is likely to cover surrogacy. If so, you may be entitled to a higher base fee. But if you don’t have insurance, it’s not a problem. We’ll find a plan that will cover you and your intended parents will pay any associated costs.

Who pays for all the medical bills?

Your insurance company (or the surrogate maternity insurance coverage we obtain for you and your intended parents) will pay most of the bills related to your pregnancy and delivery. If there are any additional unexpected costs, your intended parents will cover those costs. The family you choose to work with will pay for all IVF medical procedures, expenses, co-payments, and deductibles related to your surrogate pregnancy.

Why should I choose Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Nevada?

As a surrogate, when you embark on a journey with us, we promise to be next to you every step of the way. We promise to educate, lead, and guide you through your surrogacy journey. We will work tirelessly to support you as you help make a family’s dream come true. 

Our two-way matching process focuses on finding the best fit for you and your intended parents. We offer extensive support to our surrogates from the moment you start researching through the pregnancy and delivery, and beyond. We have the highest level of dedication to our surrogates than any other surrogacy agency in Nevada. 

 

 

Why should I choose working with an agency versus going independent?

We believe working with an agency is to your advantage as we provide full support and guidance throughout the entire process. All aspects of the surrogacy journey are handled by our team, from matching, to screening, to legal work, to social work support. We handle any issues that may arise.

How do I apply to become a surrogate?

If you are interested in applying to our program to become a surrogate, you can email us here. You will be contacted within about 24 hours to inform you of the next steps.

What are our surrogate mother qualifications?

Women interested in becoming surrogate mothers with us:

• Must have delivered a child of their own, and is currently parenting at least one child.
• Must have completed successful pregnancy and birth, without complications, as documented by medical records.
• Must be between 21-41 years of age.
• In most circumstances, must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33.
• Must be a citizen, legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States. If a surrogate is a legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, the surrogate must be able to provide documentation that is valid for at least 2 years.
• Must not participate in the following government aid programs: cash assistance, welfare, public housing and section 8. All other forms of government assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
• Must live in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we cannot accept gestational carriers who reside in Nebraska, Louisiana or Michigan. We can begin accepting applications from New York starting at the end of 2020).
• Must have a valid driver’s license.
• Must have the support of her family. If married or partnered, the surrogate must have her partner’s support. Also, the surrogate and her partner/primary support person must agree to participate in a social work screening.
• Must be financially secure.
• Must lead a stable, responsible lifestyle.
•Must be willing to travel to a fertility clinic for the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process. Please note, often these trips include overnight stays.
• Must not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol.

I am currently enrolled in a government assistance program. Can I be a surrogate?

We are unable to accept applicants who are enrolled in certain government programs, including cash assistance, welfare, public housing, and Section 8 housing. The income requirements for these programs are generally stricter than other programs, such as food stamps, WIC, and subsidized childcare. Reimbursements received while you are acting as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for certain benefits.

Can I meet the family with which I might be matched?

Typically our surrogates and intended parents will meet each other via Skype call before moving forward with a match. We encourage both parties to get to know each other and to make sure you “click.” Occasionally, intended parents will fly out for an initial meeting. More often you will meet them in person for the first time at the screening or transfer stage.

What kind of contact should I expect during my surrogacy?

You should expect whatever level of contact makes you comfortable, as every journey is unique. We do ask all of our intended parents to be in touch at least once a week from the time they meet you until delivery. Some people choose to have more frequent contact than this, especially around the time of the birth. However, it is not required. Before you cycle and during the pregnancy, you can expect phone calls, emails, and maybe an occasional visit, particularly for OB appointments and ultrasounds. After you deliver, we encourage our surrogate mothers and families to remain in contact through emails, phone calls, pictures and letters or maybe an occasional visit. Everyone is encouraged to do what makes them most comfortable. For most, the relationship develops naturally over time.

Why is BMI important?

BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics. For surrogate mothers whose BMI is between 28-33, we require documentation that verifies your current BMI. The BMI requirements are established not only for health reasons, but also to ensure that you will respond appropriately to the medications necessary for this process.

I have had my tubes tied. Can I still be a gestational carrier?

Absolutely. Having your tubes tied will not affect your ability to be a successful surrogate.

I am currently breastfeeding. Can I still apply to become a surrogate?

Yes! If you are breastfeeding please feel free to apply and we can discuss a timeline that works best for you.

How long do I have to wait after my last delivery before I can become a surrogate?

Based on guidelines set by fertility clinics, we can work with surrogates 3 months after a vaginal delivery or 6 months after a delivery by C-section.

I needed to take anti-depressants after the birth of my last baby for postpartum depression. Can I still be a surrogate mother?

At this time we are unable to accept applicants who have experienced postpartum depression for which they were prescribed anti-depressants after their most recent delivery, numerous prior deliveries, or all prior deliveries.

I have been prescribed anti-depressants in the past. Can I be a surrogate mother?

In order to be considered to be a surrogate, you must have ceased using any anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications for 6-12 months before applying to our program. In many cases, we may require supporting documentation from a prescribing doctor, prescription refill history, as well as other documentation.

My significant other doesn't seem on board with my being a surrogate. Can I still move forward?

We are sorry but we require that all surrogates and egg donors in our program have the full support of their husband or partner. If you are not married, you must have a support person in place with whom you will share the journey. Your primary support person will also have a screening with our social work team.

I am currently pregnant. Can I be a surrogate mother to the child I am carrying?

You cannot be a surrogate mother to a child you are currently carrying, as intended parents typically contribute their own genetic material to children born through surrogacy, and the surrogacy process requires a great deal of planning before you become pregnant. However, you might consider adoption as an alternative. Feel free to contact our office as we are a licensed adoption agency and can find a loving home for your baby.

I have small children. Will the intended parents help with daycare costs?

Yes. You can ask for a daycare allowance or have your lost wages compensated so your children can be cared for while you are gone.

Who picks my OB or midwife?

You select your OB or midwife for your prenatal care. We ask that if a midwife is chosen, that he/she is overseen by an OB. In the instance you are carrying multiples, you may be asked to see a maternal fetal medicine doctor.

Can I request that no more than 1 embryo be transferred?

Yes. Your surrogate coordinator and your social worker will discuss your comfort level in transferring more than 1 embryo.

Does a surrogate have to go on bed rest after the transfer?

Guidelines vary from one IVF clinic to another. However, there is usually some type of modified bed rest required for 24-36 hours post-transfer.

How long do you have to abstain from sexual intercourse when being a surrogate?

In the surrogacy medical process, carriers are usually expected to abstain from sexual intercourse for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after a transfer; however, your IVF clinic will give you more specific guidelines.

Will my pregnancy be physically any different from my other pregnancies since I am not related to the baby, or babies?

Physically speaking, the pregnancy is no different than a traditional pregnancy. Adoption and Surrogacy Choices and your medical providers will be there to answer any questions and support you in this process.

How do the parents get their names on the birth certificate?

The law varies from state to state so it will depend on where you live as well as where your intended parents are from. The attorneys in our program take this into account when matching you with your intended parents. This attention to detail ensures all legal work can be accomplished. Sometimes this is done by a pre-birth order, sometimes by virtue of a single, or a second-parent adoption.

 

Do the parents have wills in place before beginning a surrogacy?

Yes. This legal aspect of surrogacy is taken care of before we proceed with a transfer.

What happens if the baby, or babies, die before full term? Who gets custody and takes care of the details?

The intended parents.

Have you ever had any parents change their minds and not take the baby/ies?

No. Never.

What happens if the family gets divorced? Who gets the child/ren?

We screen our intended parents to make an assessment of the stability in their relationship. If a divorce should occur, you would NOT have to assume care of the child. Custody would be worked out between the intended parents.

Will the medications have an emotional effect on me?

You may experience symptoms similar to those you would experience during your monthly cycle, such as mood swings. Your hormones will be changing and these changes in mood are normal, as they are during any pregnancy.

We are operating full service during this time and will not be shutting down operations. Please let us know how we can help.

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