Intended Parents FAQ; How Does Surrogacy Work?

Frequently asked questions

1. How do we begin our journey to parenthood?

The first step is to click on the “Parents Apply” button and complete the short, Intended Parents Form. A Case Manager will contact you to inquire about your availability for a consultation. Surrogacy Partnership consultations are conducted Monday through Friday. The consultation usually lasts about an hour. During this consultation, you will speak with one of the agency owners who specializes in the field of surrogacy, and/or a lead case manager. The consultation can occur in person, telephone or Skype conference call. Whatever you feel more comfortable with. This consultation allows you the opportunity to meet our professional Surrogacy Partnership team and to learn about the surrogacy process. All intended parent questions will be answered!

2. Do we need to complete a consultation?

Yes. However, if you are not ready for a full 4 hour consultation, you can come in for a 45-60 minute mini-consultation, or we can also conduct either a mini consultation or the full consultation via Skype.

3. Some questions to be considered during your psychological consultation:
  • Why have you chosen to pursue Surrogacy Partnership? Have you told anyone of your plans to work with a surrogate, and if so what were their reactions? Do you need help in explaining surrogacy to a family member or friend?
  • What qualities do you want your surrogate to have? What type of contact do you want to have with your surrogate during the pregnancy and after birth?
  • Will you request your surrogate undergoes an amniocentesis, and if so what will you do with the results?
  • Will you elect to terminate a pregnancy if there is a diagnosis for Down syndrome, or only for something more severe?
  • Will you choose selective reduction in the case of a triplet pregnancy?
  • What changes will occur in your life after you have a child?
  • What do you plan to tell your child about his/her unique origins?
  • How has the struggle of infertility affected your marriage/relationship?
  • How would you describe yourselves to a potential surrogate mother?
4. Do we get more "personal" service with a "small" program like Surrogacy Partnership?
  • Surrogacy is not a professional endeavor that anyone could have prior training for. The art of Surrogacy Partnership can only be mastered through experience in the field. No other program has the hands-on experience that we have.
  • After office hours, there is always someone for you to call anytime to reach the program directors or one of our staff members. You have an extraordinary team working on your behalf.
  • Surrogacy Partnership has an array of contacts for psychologists, attorneys (that specialize in the field of reproductive law), and IVF clinics that are available to assist you.
5. Is Surrogacy Partnership more expensive than other programs?

No, not if you compare “apples” to “apples” Our program is comprehensive. We have staff who are trained and ready to assist intended parents and surrogate mothers. In addition, we are associated with a psychological team of experienced counselors. We are also associated with a law firms that assists our clients in drafting and finalizing contracts, verifies insurance coverage, finalizes parental rights and assists intended parents in obtaining birth certificates and passports, if necessary.

We also state all costs up front. Our estimate anticipates all of your expenses, instead of giving you an initial low fee that excludes many expenses you will later be asked to pay. If other agencies give you the same service, with the same caliber staff and professionals, their costs would no doubt be greater than ours. Our fee is $18,000. Most clients are with our program for one to two years. (i.e. 9 months of pregnancy, several months of trying to get pregnant, and several months after the birth to finalize medical bills.) The remainder of the costs are medical, psychological, legal and surrogate mother fees and expenses. Please note that these fees are incurred no matter which program you select. Compare our estimated cost sheet line-by-line with any other agency. This will clearly show you what costs are being overlooked by other agencies.

Some intended parents believe they are paying us to match them with a surrogate mother. In other words, they are paying to be introduced to a surrogate mother. However, this is only the beginning of our work on your behalf. You are paying our program for our accumulated experience in this field. There is no book or class you can attend that will teach you how to accomplish Surrogacy.

6. What contact should occur after birth?

After delivery of your baby, you will be legally recognized as the baby’s parents. Every surrogate mother would like time with your child, so simply say “goodbye”. She has carried and nurtured your child for 9 months, and now is the time to say farewell. However, the most important times for your surrogate mother is to see you become parents. She wants to see you cry when your first see your baby, she wants to see you hold your baby and witness the bonding process begin. The birth is not really about the baby being born; it is about you becoming parents. In reality it is about your surrogate mother completing her promise to you that she would help you become parents.

Intended parents visit their surrogate mother frequently while their baby and surrogate mother are still in the hospital. Most babies stay in the hospital for approximately 24-48 hours after birth and are then released. Most airlines will not allow a baby to travel that is under ten days old; you will have to stay in town for a while. Please note that airlines frequently change their rules, so you should always check what age your baby needs to be before traveling. Once your return home it is important to call your surrogate mother so that she knows you have arrived safely. Although you will be overwhelmed at times by having a newborn at home, it is important to take time to contact your surrogate mother at least once every five days for the first month. It is also very important that you send her pictures of the baby as agreed upon in your contract. The first month after birth is especially important to a surrogate mother. It is natural that she may have feelings of loneliness or emptiness. The most important project of her life is over, she is unsure if she will ever hear from you again, and she has lost a very special friend.

NEVER treat surrogacy as if it were a business arrangement. If your surrogate mother wanted little or no contact after birth, she probably said this BEFORE you became friends. Her feelings of loss are over the loss of your friendship. Over time the relationship will naturally slow down as all parties return to their own lives. Typically intended parents keep in contact for the first year and thereafter send holiday pictures once a year to each other.

7. What happens if we do not get along during the pregnancy?

Always remember that pregnancy can cause emotional behavior in women! It is important that you stay calm and immediately contact your case manager to discuss this behavior. Remember that technically you are also pregnant and therefore this statement applies to both parties. You will become overly protective of your child and want your surrogate mother to report what she is eating, how much rest she is getting, etc. If you have the need to control, criticize your surrogate mother’s eating habits, experience feelings of jealousy that she is pregnant, etc., than call your case manager. All these feelings are natural and your case manager can share “coping” skills with you. All relationships have bumps, this is expected. Participants in a surrogacy relationship are very interested in fulfilling one another’s wishes and therefore there is goodwill on both sides.

We are continually pleased at how well our intended parents and surrogate mothers get along and work as a team. The important issue is that you have retained professionals who are here to help.

8. What happens if our match doesn't "work"?

We are very attuned to the “workings” of a match. Your case manager is there to advise and assist. The golden rule of surrogacy is do not work with a surrogate mother you do not get along with. If you are uncomfortable, immediately notify your case manager and Surrogacy Partnership will have you matched with another surrogate mother. At Surrogacy Partnership, we make sure that part of our resources are devoted to continued advertising to ensure an appropriate rematch with another surrogate mother within a reasonable time period.

9. Do we have to be married to participate in surrogacy?

You do not have to be married to participate in our program. When you elect to participate in a gestational surrogacy (IVF) program or gestational surrogacy with an egg donor (IVF/ED), you do not have to be married. We do not require any legal documents for a same-sex intended parents. We have a separate legal process for finalizing parental rights for same-sex intended parents.

However, your marital status will probably be an issue in the matching process. Some surrogate mothers prefer that the couple they assist is married and that the child will have a two-parent family. Surrogate mothers are often cautious and ask if intended parents cannot commit to each other, will they commit to their child? Some surrogate mothers will not be overly concerned about you not being married, but will want an explanation and want to know how long you have been together. Some intended parents have gotten married once they retained us or once they were matched with a surrogate mother. For some surrogate mothers the fact that you have been in a long-term relationship is very acceptable.

10. Do surrogate mothers do this for the money?

Yes and No. Surrogate mothers often describe their feelings toward the child they carry for another intended parents as different from their feelings toward their own children. They feel affectionate towards the child and protective, but no more than they feel towards a sibling’s child or a friend’s child. When they think about their experience of surrogacy, they often talk about their intended parents and the intended parents feelings of happiness. The bonding that usually occurs is with the intended parents. Often a surrogate mother will grieve the loss of their special relationship and will miss the attention she received when she was going through the surrogacy process. Contact from the intended parents after birth, such as a card and occasional photographs, helps the surrogate mother through this transitional time as she returns her focus to her own family and life. Almost all women experience some degree of post-partum depression following a birth. Surrogate mothers are not immune from PPD. However, with contact from her intended parents and her case manager, she will often recover and return to her life within weeks of delivering her intended parent’s child.

11. Do couples report a change in their feelings about surrogacy once they become parents?

Yes. “Surprised” is the word most often used by intended parents to describe their feelings about surrogacy once their child is born. They are surprised by their very positive feelings towards their surrogate mother. One intended mother, who helped deliver the baby, said she felt an intense love and connection with her surrogate mother. Intended parents often report that they predicted they would feel indebted towards their surrogate mother, but they were surprised at how much they learned from her and the high regard they felt for her as a person. One intended mother who was worried about the possible exploitative nature of surrogacy was amazed to discover how many benefits the surrogate mother enjoyed, independent of the financial aspects. She watched her surrogate mother grow in confidence, having managed and completed the surrogacy process with such success. According to Dr. Hilary Hanafin, many surrogate mothers report that they felt surrogacy was beneficial to their self-esteem and self-confidence. Many report an increase in their confidence and self-worth. Often they report that their marriage has grown stronger and that they both have a greater appreciation of their family. Intended parents often report that all parties had grown and changed, having learned a great deal from each other.

A common “surprise” reported by most intended parents was the desire to “let the world know”. Often they would start the surrogacy process unsure of what they would tell friends, colleagues and even their own child. However, having participated in surrogacy, grown close to their surrogate mother and actively participated in the pregnancy and birth, their caution about letting anyone know about their participation in surrogacy changed. They became proud and open about the unique circumstances of their child’s birth.

12. Do you work with gay intended parents?

Yes. Our policy has always been that intended parents who are ready and willing to take on the responsibility of parenthood deserve that opportunity.

13. Am I crazy to consider surrogacy?

No. Surrogacy works … and will continue to help childless intended parents realize their dream of parenting. We know that surrogacy is not anyone’s first choice in creating a family. However, surrogacy offers you the opportunity of creating your child and playing an integral role in the pregnancy. Surrogacy offers you the opportunity to “relax and enjoy” the pregnancy. Most intended parents turn to surrogacy after suffering several losses in trying to have a baby. Surrogacy is safe because you work with a wonderful woman who has carried at least one child already and has a good pregnancy history. The gift you offer your child is a safe environment for your baby to grow in until he/she is ready to come home with you. If you are ready to become parents, we are ready to assist you in your journey towards parenthood.