How do I become a surrogate in South Carolina?
You’ve been thinking about becoming a gestational surrogate for a while now. More than likely, you’ve had the idea in your mind for years. It’s something you’ve felt called to do, and you’re wondering if now is the time to move ahead. Surrogacy is a noble and compassionate calling. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, as a gestational surrogate, you could be the answer to someone’s prayers.
It’s not easy: you’ll be dedicating your body, time, and emotions to helping someone fulfill their dreams of parenthood. Yes, there is compensation for your commitment, but there’s so much more to the journey than that, and there are more than a few hurdles you have to cross to qualify.
So how do you know if now is the right time to move ahead with your calling to be a gestational surrogate? Here are the first questions you should ask yourself as you consider becoming a surrogate:
- Do you qualify? Only about 5% of women who apply to become surrogates will make it through the entire screening process. Things like age, health, past pregnancy and birth records, fiscal stability, and mental health will be considered. In general, surrogacy is open to women aged 21-40 years old who are raising at least one of their own children. You need to have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and no more than two previous C-section deliveries. Additionally, you cannot be on any form of federal aid (food stamps, etc.). You will also be tested for nicotine and illegal drugs in your system. A quick and easy way to find out if you qualify is to take our Surrogate Score Quiz – a high score means you’re ready to take on this role of a lifetime.
- What are you willing to consent to? Part of your research should include considering what type of experience you’re hoping to have. Gestational surrogacy means that the child that you will carry will have no genetic connection to you or to your husband, so you will not need to worry about being asked to donate your own eggs. However, you will have a say on things like the number of embryos that you’re comfortable having transferred to your uterus, and the number of fetuses you’re willing to carry. You’ll also want to consider if you’d be willing to terminate a pregnancy, and if so, under what conditions.
- What is a realistic compensation expectation? A quick search through Craigslist or Google can have you thinking that surrogacy means a six-figure income in under a year flat. We want to be the first ones to tell you that this is a bold-faced lie. The first thing that you need to know is that surrogacy can be a long process. You don’t earn compensation until you’re pregnant with a confirmed heartbeat, which means it could take months before you ever earn any compensation. In addition, many places inflate compensation number to attract applicants. Before jumping at the highest compensation package that you find, consider your motives. If you’re in this simply for the compensation, you’re not likely to have an enjoyable experience at all. Finally, compare compensation packages from many agencies. The ones paying the highest amount of compensation may be lacking in areas of perks and support. You’ll want to be educated on the total picture of compensation before signing with a particular agency.
- What will be expected of you? You already know that you’ll be pregnant, but will you also be required to eat only organic whole foods? The answer to this is probably not, but it does highlight the importance of learning what is expected of your behavior during the course of your experience before moving forward. You may be placed on travel restrictions, which could impact family vacations. Additionally, you’ll be expected to make and keep medical appointments as well as communicate about how those visits go.
Once you’ve considered these things you will be in a much better place to decide if you’d like to move forward or not as a surrogate in South Carolina. If you’re still interested and feel as though you’re ready to make this bold choice, you can find out more on our website: How to Become a Surrogate
Can I talk with someone and ask specific questions about becoming a surrogate?
Yes! The most important thing about a successful surrogacy journey is that you are comfortable every step of the way. At no time should you feel anxious or like you aren’t being heard. The easiest way to get all the information you need to make the right decision for you is to set up a call and talk to a real, live person. That’s our job, and we’d love to connect. Click here to schedule a 15 Minute (No Pressure!) Consultation with Rebecca, our Surrogacy Coordinator.
What are the requirements for becoming a gestational surrogate in South Carolina?
To become a Gestational Surrogate in SC, we at Family Inceptions need to learn some information about your personal and medical history. Our knowledge of your health and medical history allows us to determine if you are compatible with the surrogacy process for Gestational Surrogacy so that it will not involve any increased risks for you. This will also help us to match you to an appropriate recipient.
First, you should know what the requirements are for becoming a surrogate. You must fulfill the following criteria:
- Must be between the ages of 21-40.
- Delivered at least one healthy child that you yourself has raised or is raising.
- No prior pregnancy complications – No deliveries before 35 weeks-unless delivered twins or more.
- No more than 2 c-sections
- No more than 5 deliveries
- Provide proof of support person.
- A willingness to be completely committed to the Intended Parents.
- Adherence to our strict screening and counseling protocol.
- Have a stable financial base – Not receiving any form of government assistance (State funded insurance, Food stamps, WIC, Housing, AFDC)
- Clear a criminal background checks
- Non-Smoker and non-drug user
- Reliable form of transportation.
- U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status.
- Meet height and weight guidelines for your body mass index (BMI).
- Able to provide medical records to clinic.
- Must be willing to undergo a psychological evaluation
- Medical testing will be required of both you and your husband/partner.
- Absence of any active sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, substance abuse, significant medication use, and prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Willing to do a home assessment.
Read more about the requirements to become a surrogate in SC: Do I Qualify to be a Surrogate?
How much do surrogate mothers in South Carolina make?
Gestational surrogates in SC can make up to $65,000 with Family Inceptions. This includes a $35,000-$45,000 base compensation, plus additional monthly stipends and allowances throughout your surrogacy journey.
Family Inceptions offers a generous compensation package to our surrogate mothers, and what you choose to do with the money you earn as a surrogate is completely up to you. Whether you choose to put a down payment on your home, save up to send your own children to college, or create a small business for yourself, there are many ways that this money can greatly benefit you and your family.
Of course, there is no way that the gift you bring to the future parents—and the rest of the world—could ever be quantified. It is a gift for which no one can ever repay you in full precisely because the life you will nurture, and all the hopes and dreams you carry, are priceless.
Get an estimate of your specific compensation as a surrogate in South Carolina using our free calculator tool: How Much Can I Make as a Surrogate?
Find out more about surrogate compensation and benefits: Benefits and Compensation for Surrogates
What are the benefits of using a surrogacy agency vs. independent surrogacy in South Carolina?
When it comes to matters of fertility and family building, the DIY route may result in undue amounts of stress and frustration. Going through a reputable agency will ensure that all parties involved are protected from scams (which unfortunately, does happen) or from being matched with an unreliable donor or surrogate. Here are some pros and cons to consider about going through a surrogacy agency or going the independent route:
Matching through a surrogacy agency if:
- You’re a first-time surrogate: You are unsure about how to start or find intended parents for your journey
- Support & Guidance: You would like help, guidance, counseling and support, readily available and throughout the entire process including the pregnancy and delivery
- Matching: You are insecure about interviewing and negotiating compensation directly with the intended parents
- Advocate: You like that there is someone else ensuring your best interest is paramount.
- Legal: You’re not sure about what all should be included in your contract with your intended parents
- Security peace of mind: you want to make sure your intended parents can afford the journey and that they will be there to get the baby
- Professional referrals: You want to make sure all the professionals that will assist you in your journey are experienced and understand the process
Matching independently if:
- You’re an experienced surrogate: You’ve already done a successful journey and know the time and commitment it takes to complete a successful journey
- No middleman: you like the idea of organizing every aspect of the surrogacy journey on your own including interviewing the intended parents, matching, medical, and compensation negotiation
- Saving money: You want to help the intended parents save money
- Complications/Disagreements: You are confidant you can handle any issues that arises between you and your intended parents
- Compensation: Just because you decide to go independently, does not mean you are going to get a higher compensation
Read more about using a surrogacy agency vs. doing independent surrogacy on our blog: Becoming a Gestational Surrogate or an Egg Donor: Benefits of Working with an Agency and Surrogacy Agency Journey vs. Independent Surrogacy Journey
Is surrogacy legal in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, gestational surrogacy is permitted because no statutes or case law prohibit it. There is case law on the books declaring it valid by way of acknowledging the validity of surrogacy agreements: Mid-South Ins. Co. v. Doe. Consequently, South Carolina is an intent based parenting state. Under In re Baby Doe, 291 S.C. 389, 392 (1987) that court determined that evidence of a parent’s intent to create life and hold a child out as their own, despite a lack of genetics, will result in legal parentage rights.
Traditional (genetic) surrogacy is also legal in South Carolina, but is treated more like adoption and, therefore, may be illegal—unless payments are reasonable pursuant to the adoption statute S.C. Code Sec. 63-9-310(F)(1).
The legal process to secure parental rights can vary across the state—it could be different in Columbia from how it is in Charleston, different in Myrtle Beach from how it is in Greenville. We strongly recommend retaining legal counsel, knowledgeable of reproductive law in the state. This is of particular importance if you’re pursuing surrogacy as an international candidate- that is, if you’re from outside of the United States and working with a surrogate in South Carolina.
NOTE: The laws around surrogacy are constantly changing and may vary from state-to-state (sometimes varied by county). Based on our experience, written law and practiced law in a number of states can differ widely. Thus, it is very important that you not only get yourself familiar with the law of your state, but also seek legal representation to assist and guide you in your unique circumstances.
- Read more about the laws regarding surrogacy in the state of SC: Surrogacy Law in South Carolina
- Research the surrogacy laws in your state: US Surrogacy Law by State
How do I apply to be a surrogate in SC?
Just because you want to be a surrogate doesn’t mean everyone qualifies to be one. There are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration. Candidates are evaluated on their age, medical history, financial independence, location, their thoughts on termination and even their desire for contact and communication.
I referenced ASRM previously which is the governing body professionals seek to help develop the standard they use in their practices.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, or ASRM, (the governing body professionals seek to help develop the standard they use in their practice), to be a surrogate or a gestational carrier, a woman…
- Must be at least 21 years old
- Have carried and successfully delivered a full-term baby
In addition to that, clinics as well as agencies will have their own specific requirements that must be considered. Here are the specific requirements we at Family Inceptions require for our select group of surrogate mothers: Do I Qualify to be a Surrogate?
Ready to go ahead and apply? If you think surrogacy might be for you, reach out to our team today or visit this page to get started on your initial application.
Do I have to pay taxes on my surrogacy compensation in the state of South Carolina?
When tax season rolls around, it’s normal for surrogates to wonder whether their surrogate compensation is taxable — and whether they have to report their pay as a surrogate to the Internal Revenue Service.
The best way to determine whether you must pay taxes is whether or not you received a 1099-MISC form from your intended parents, your surrogacy agency, or your escrow service. If you receive a 1099-MISC for your compensation, you must definitely claim income on your taxes.
What if your surrogacy agency or intended parents don’t issue a 1099? Is surrogate compensation taxed in this situation?
Often, the question of whether a surrogate mother will pay taxes first arises during the drafting of the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement. Your lawyer may include a clause that holds intended parents accountable for any taxes that a gestational carrier may or may not be expected to pay on her compensation. As soon as you have a surrogacy attorney, talk with them in depth about this process to make sure you understand what taxes (if any) you might expect to pay after your surrogacy journey. You and your intended parents should always be on the same page about this topic before your surrogacy contract is finalized and signed.
In the debate about whether income from being a surrogate is taxable or not, the answer often comes down to the language used in the surrogacy contract and the tax laws of the state where a surrogate resides. In your research, you may find a few phrases thrown about:
- “Gift”: Some accountants can avoid certain taxes on surrogate compensation by claiming a percentage of the compensation as a “gift” from the intended parents. However, compensation usually is higher than the annual exemption for gift tax, so surrogates may need to pay taxes on a portion of their compensation payments.
- “Pain and suffering”: Some accountants and surrogacy professionals will avoid taxation by claiming that surrogate compensation is payment for pain and suffering. How well this holds up in court is debatable; after all, a gestational carrier is voluntarily entering into this process of “pain and suffering,” which may negate that tax-exemption status.
- “Pre-birth child support”: Child support is tax-exempt, so some attorneys word compensation as pre-birth child support in order to protect carriers from taxes. But, there is no legal standard for “pre-birth” child support, so enforcement and legal interpretation may vary.
As mentioned, because there are no court cases setting a precedent for this topic, the effectiveness of this language is up for debate. When it comes to taxes on surrogacy compensation, it’s a good idea not to assume anything without the assistance of a professional.
Read more about whether or not you need to pay taxes on surrogacy compensation on our blog: Do I Pay Taxes on My Surrogacy Compensation?
Will I need to have insurance as a surrogate in SC?
Medical insurance in surrogacy is so important. Not only is surrogacy a major financial undertaking for the intended parents, but the idea of unchecked medical costs could also be downright terrifying. This is why, for the protection of both our surrogates and our intended parents, we require every match that we facilitate carry insurance.
While most people in the US do have health insurance, surrogacy is a tricky thing. Many insurance plans will have exclusions for surrogacy pregnancy. This is particularly true for women serving in or covered by a spouse who serves, in the armed forces.
If a surrogate does not have a personal insurance plan that covers surrogacy, an intended parent is required to purchase and carry a medical insurance plan that will cover your related medical expenses during the course of your pregnancy.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get affordable health care coverage is with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This plan is open to anyone and does cover surrogate pregnancies (in most states), but you can only be enrolled in the plan over one period of six weeks every year. This period is known as open enrollment.
Read more about surrogacy and insurance on our blog: Insurance Enrollment for Surrogates: Will Insurance Cover My Surrogacy?
Is there a podcast that discusses surrogacy in South Carolina?
Yes! You want to listen as real surrogates tell their stories. You want to be fully informed about surrogacy before taking the leap. You want a podcast that gives it to you straight.
Have you heard of the podcast Fertility Cafe? If not, you’re totally missing out. Host Eloise Drane cuts through the crap and gives you the information you really need and want to know. The good and the not-so-good. Eloise covers a wide variety of topics related to fertility and modern family building, but we’ve gathered a binge-worthy collection of Fertility Cafe episodes related specifically to becoming a gestational surrogate.
Top Podcasts About Becoming a Surrogate: https://familyinceptions.com/top-podcasts-about-becoming-a-surrogate/
How long is the surrogacy process in South Carolina?
In general, the surrogacy process could take up to 15-18 months. Of course, this time frame can vary greatly depending on your circumstances. If you need to find an egg or sperm donor or create embryos, this may add an additional 3-4 months to the process. The bottom line is that surrogacy is not a quick process. But, up ‘til this point, has anything in your journey to parenthood been quick? So you know what it takes to be patient. The surrogacy process will be long, but well worth it in the end.
Click here to see the step-by-step process Family Inceptions Surrogacy Agency takes to ensure your surrogacy journey is smooth, as we walk beside you every step of the way: The Surrogacy Process
How do I find surrogacy agencies near me in South Carolina?
Family Inceptions is a surrogacy and egg donation agency, first established in 2008, and has been helping local families and surrogates looking to complete the journey of surrogacy in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, and Sumter, as well as the surrounding cities. We help families from metro Spartanburg, to Myrtle Beach, Florence on down to Anderson. We are a full-service Surrogacy and Egg Donation agency, providing both surrogates and egg donors for intended parents across the state. While we have general guidelines, we make sure to individualize plans intended for specific timelines, preferences, and locations. This individualization is what makes Family Inceptions one of the top surrogacy agencies in the US and the most sought-after agency for surrogates. And although we are headquartered just outside Atlanta, GA, we work with intended parents and surrogates across the United States. In today’s age of travel restrictions and virtual meetings, there is no reason your surrogacy agency needs to be close by. For your health and safety, all meetings would be done virtually even if you did live around the corner from our office. The Family Inceptions team is readily available 24/7 to support you and guide you step-by-step through the surrogacy journey. You’ll never lack the feeling of connection with us no matter how far away you live.
Dedicated to Your Journey: Click to learn about our Surrogacy Support Team
You know what’s more important than the location of the surrogacy agency you work with? How they treat you. Click here to read “6 Red Flags to Watch Out For When Selecting a Surrogacy Agency as a Potential Surrogate”
What Are the Next Steps in Becoming a Surrogate?
>>> Download “The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Surrogate”
Women who consider giving the gift of parenthood to another family often think about it for years before they even reach out to an agency to start the process. They often say “it keeps coming back to my heart”. Taking a few more months to fully research and learn more about proven agencies often leads them to fulfill their dream of giving the gift of a child to a well-deserving family. Family inceptions has developed The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Surrogate – a free download that offers in-depth information for any woman considering surrogacy. Click here to download your guide.
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Interested in learning more about surrogacy from real surrogates and intended parents? Join one of our Facebook groups and join the conversation.
- Northeast Surrogacy Journey
- Southeast Surrogacy Journey
- Western US Surrogacy Journey
- Midwest+Southwest Surrogacy Journey
- Milspouse Surrogacy Journey
>>> Keep Binging on Surrogacy Info!
Discover what it takes to become a gestational surrogate and how to kick off your surrogacy journey with a series of articles written just for you! Click here to check out the full collection of posts all about becoming a surrogate. Or click below to check out some of our most popular articles:
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Whether you live in Greenville, Columbia, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Spartanburg, Florence, or Sumter these FAQs about surrogacy in SC will help you find a surrogate, become a surrogate, or start your surrogacy journey.