We're here to cover any (and every) thing you need to know about surrogacy.
We totally understand that surrogacy can be overwhelming. You’ll likely have a new set of questions for every step of the process. We also get that due to the nature of surrogacy, some people may feel intimidated in asking the questions that they have.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions.
What exactly is surrogacy?
Great question. There are two different kinds of surrogacy – traditional and gestational. In traditional surrogacy, a woman will become pregnant with a biological child that does not intend to raise. In traditional surrogacy, the conceived child is meant to be raised by others. In gestational surrogacy, an embryo is made outside of the body using the egg of a second woman. The conceived child will have no biological link to the surrogate in this form of surrogacy.
Family Inceptions deals exclusively in gestational surrogacy.
I am considering becoming a gestational surrogate mother, what are the expectations?
Carrying another person’s child is an enormous responsibility because you are carrying their hopes, dreams, and future. Intended parents want somebody they can trust. As such, honesty, integrity, and good health are critical. Similar values and emotional compatibility are also important.
You’ll be expected to make, keep, and communicate about a series of doctors’ appointments. There may be travel, dietary, and physical limitations prescribed to you by doctors. You will be expected to follow all the doctor’s orders.
What kind of screening tests will I need to take? What type of medical tests will I undergo? Do I need to have a perfect health history?
Family Inceptions pre-screens all potential gestational surrogates. The pre-screening tests include a criminal background check on you and your spouse/partner (if you have one), a psychological evaluation (to determine if your level of commitment to the surrogacy is sufficient to proceed), and a thorough review of your medical records. You will also undergo a medical examination that will involve screening both you and your spouse/partner for sexually transmitted diseases as well as a gynecological examination for you. It’s important to note that each clinic has its own individual protocols and medical screenings that it deems necessary.
We understand that this sounds like a lot. Don’t worry. It’s more intimidating on paper than in practice.
How long does the gestational surrogacy process take?
The surrogacy journey timeframe varies—however, on average the length of time is approximately 16 to 18 months. When done correctly, this is a lengthy journey, so a deep commitment to the process is necessary. At times, you’ll be inconvenienced and be unable to do certain things that may take away from your own family. We ask you to remember that this process is deeply gratifying, but it does take time.
Can I become a gestational surrogate if I have my tubes tied?
Yes, you can. Since you are not using your eggs to create the embryos, you do not even need to have tubes at all! You will become pregnant following in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant, meaning that your tubes will never be used in the pregnancy process at all.
Will I be able to choose my own care provider (Obstetrician)?
Yes, but there are a few limitations. You’ll need to make sure that your OB is onboard with a surrogate pregnancy, though most are. You’ll also need to make sure that your OB has delivery rights at a hospital with an appropriate NICU. (rednote: Also, note that you will be required to waive your HIPAA rights so that the intended parents are able to be informed of how the pregnancy is moving along. )
What happens when it is time to deliver?
There will be a plan in place. Surrogates and intended parents will work together with our assistance to create a detailed birth plan that covers where, when, and how the delivery will happen under ideal circumstances. Of course, babies do not always go along with the plan, so there might be last-minute changes when you deliver.
Does my spouse/partner need to do anything?
In order for you to become a gestational surrogate, your spouse must be in full support of your decision. He or she will be required to complete the medical and psychological screening, background check and sign the legal agreements.
Is it possible that I would have to keep the baby after delivery? Do intended parents ever refuse the baby once it is born? What would happen if they did?
No. Our agency deals only with gestational surrogacy and so you will not be genetically related to the child or children. As such, you would have no legal rights or responsibilities toward the child after it has been handed over to the intended parents. Before you begin the surrogacy journey, the intended parents are contractually obligated to specify what would happen to the child in the event of their demise, even though this is very rare in our experience. If that were to happen we would arrange an adoption to a loving family.
What are "intended parents" or "future parents"?
“Intended parents” or “future parents” are couples or individuals who would like to have children of their own but are unable to do so due to specific circumstances. For example, a woman may be infertile, or a same-sex couple might want children. In these situations, a gestational surrogate is an attractive option for creating a family.
Will insurance cover a gestational surrogacy pregnancy?
Family Inceptions will review your insurance policy to see if it is appropriate for surrogacy. If it is not, the intended parents will pay for a policy. In addition, Family Inceptions also requires that the intended parents take out a life insurance policy on you with your family as the beneficiary along with other insurance policies that will benefit you.
Do I need medical insurance to become a gestational surrogate?
No, you do not need health insurance to become a surrogate. We will find a medical plan for you that will be paid for by the intended parents on your behalf. Do note, however, that only expenses related to the pregnancy will be paid for by the intended parents.
Will the intended parents be involved in the pregnancy? Will it be more like a business arrangement or a personal relationship?
The level of involvement is entirely up to you and your intended parents. Most intended parents are eager to start a family and want to personally experience the surrogacy journey with you. We encourage intended parents to be involved because it is a unique and beautiful experience. However, if you would prefer less of a personal relationship with the parents, we will support your decision and help articulate that to the intended parents. There may also be individual intended parents who prefer a more “hands-off” relationship.
The relationship you have is what you and your intended parents agree upon. We want to emphasize that you have a voice and we want you to feel comfortable in establishing how you would like your journey to be.
What sort of screening do intended parents go through? Will I be able to choose the intended parents?
All intended parents are interviewed to assess their motivations, emotional state, and financial capability before we decide to proceed. The intended parents also go through an application process and a background check. And yes, you get to select the intended parents that you would like to work with as well. (All parties must agree to work with one another.)
Why should I go through a surrogacy agency versus independently?
There are many reasons to work with an agency for your surrogacy journey. While some fear that introducing an agency will compromise the interpersonal relationship between a surrogate and her intended parents, we find the opposite to be true.
With an agency managing the legal, financial, and medical aspects of your journey with expert ease, you are free to focus on growing your relationship with your intended parents.
Additionally, you also have the peace of mind that your compensation benefits are funded into escrow and disbursed to you when they are due.
Why should I choose Family Inceptions as my surrogacy agency?
To begin with, you are not just a number to us. We are a boutique agency that offers a personalized approach to support you throughout the surrogacy process. A few other things to consider:
- We offer an exclusive and complimentary wellness program for surrogates, which makes your surrogacy journey easier. (Learn more about our SURRONIQUE ™ Wellness Program.)
- We are able to match you with intended parents relatively quickly.
- We are here for you 24/7 and are only a phone call away.
- We offer one of the highest compensations in the industry.
- Our members of staff were once surrogates themselves, and so we know and understand the enormous sacrifice involved.
We love surrogacy. Every single step, every single time. Working with a dedicated, passionate team working for you, your experience is designed to personal and executed with precision.
Is it legal to be paid for surrogacy?
This depends completely on what state and county you are in. In the United States, the law varies according to the state. In Canada receiving compensation for surrogacy is wholly unlawful and is subject to stiff fines. Paid surrogacy is by no means a global phenomenon.
How do I receive my compensation payments?
Family Inceptions works with an escrow company that maintains and distributes funds that are due to you directly. Intended parents will fund the escrow accounts and you will receive your payment based off the contractual obligation you and your intended parents agreed upon.
Will I receive a 1099 for the gestational surrogacy compensation?
No, currently we do not provide 1099s. We do recommend you speak with a tax professional regarding your benefits as we are not tax professionals and cannot give you any tax advice.
I have never given birth before. Can I still be a surrogate?
No. Unfortunately, you cannot be a surrogate if you have never given birth previously. This is because we require previous birthing records to assess how your past pregnancies proceeded. Further, it is best to already have a child of your own to really understand how will you cope with a pregnancy and a child that in the end, you will not be able to keep.
How much will I have to travel as a surrogate mother?
Typically, you only have to travel to a clinic for your medical evaluations and for the transfer. This clinic can be located in the city nearest you. Any travels that are necessary for your surrogacy journey will be paid for by the intended parents.
I am single/divorced/separated. Am I still allowed to be a surrogate?
Yes, you most certainly can become a gestational surrogate if you are single or divorced. If you are separated from your spouse and not legally divorced it is best to wait until you are, as there can sometimes be factors that could impact the surrogacy journey.
Will I have to pay for legal counsel?
No. The intended parents pay for all legal counsel and any attorney fees involved in the drawing up of contracts etc.
What are the requirements for becoming a surrogate?
There are several requirements for becoming a surrogate. Check out the Requirements page for a complete breakdown of the necessary criteria.
If your question isn’t answered here, or if you have a round of new questions after reading this post (don’t worry, that’s totally normal), feel free to reach out to us directly. There is nothing that you can ask us that hasn’t been asked before, and our staff is trained to manage all questions with respect and poise.