Surrogacy is emerging as a popular option for helping couples with fertility issues start or grow their families.
A surrogate is a woman who carries and delivers a baby for an infertile couple, and can be a friend, family member or volunteer. All surrogates undergo extensive physical and psychological screening to insure their suitability.
There are many important decisions to make prior to choosing a surrogate. You need to understand—and be prepared for–the costs involved for the whole process. You and your partner must also decide whether to use your own egg and sperm, or if you need a donor. You will then choose a clinic that can best address all your needs.
Why Choose HRC to Find a Surrogate?
- World-class International Surrogacy Specialists
- Onsite Surgery Center to Limit Travel During Treatment
- Dedicated Fertility Doctor to Provide Personalized Care
- Phone or Skype Consultations for International Patients
- Initial Testing and Monitoring at a Local Clinic in Your Community
- 7-10 Days in Sunny California During Treatment
The Role of Agencies
Choosing a surrogate can be a difficult decision, so many parents-to-be decide to use an agency to simplify the process. Agencies can connect you with potential surrogates and provide extensive screening on your behalf. HRC can help you find a recommended agency in your country and work closely with them through the process of expanding your family.
In a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries a child conceived from the genetic material of both intended parents. In this case, the intended parents undergo a standard IVF cycle to produce an embryo with their own genetic material. The embryo is then transferred into the surrogate so she can carry the child to term.
With a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg and the intended father’s sperm to create the embryo. The surrogate undergoes ovulation induction to produce multiple eggs, and most often undergoes IUI to become pregnant. She carries the baby to term with the intention of giving the child to the intended parents.
Surrogacy Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I live internationally. Do I have to come to California to meet with a fertility doctor before I start treatment?
A. No. After an initial phone consultation and testing, patients can start treatment in their own countries and are monitored by a local fertility clinic that works closely with HRC. HRC Fertility manages the cycle remotely.
Q. How long do I have to stay in California?
A. Once patients are halfway through the treatment cycle, they come to California, where they will stay for 7-14 days. During that stay, the following happens:
- The patient’s eggs will be retrieved
- The eggs will be fertilized
- HRC will perform the genetic testing on the embryos
- The embryos will be transferred
Q. How is a gestational surrogate different than a traditional surrogate?
A. With a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg and the intended father’s sperm to create the embryo. The surrogate undergoes ovulation induction in order to produce multiple eggs, and most often undergoes intrauterine insemination to become pregnant. She then carries the baby to term with the intention of giving the child to the intended parents. Since she has genetic ties to the child, the surrogate must legally forfeit her rights before the couple is able to conceive the child.
With a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is only providing the womb for the embryo to develop into a healthy pregnancy. The intended mother and father undergo a standard in vitro fertilization cycle to create an embryo or embryos with their own genetic material. The reproductive cycles of the mother and the surrogate are synchronized, and the embryo is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate to be carried to term. Since the surrogate has no genetic ties to the baby, the intended parents can receive the child immediately following the birth.
Using a gestational surrogate is a great solution for some couples struggling to get and stay pregnant. For some infertile couples that have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive, gestational surrogacy may be the answer to having their biological child.
Q. What are the requirements to be a surrogate?
A. There are several requirements that must be met for a woman to be a surrogate. First, the woman needs to be between the ages of 21 and 39. Second,, she should have had at least one previous successful and uncomplicated pregnancy, although a C-section delivery may be okay. Third, she must be generally healthy for her own sake and for the sake of the unborn child. She will undergo a full medical screening, including a screening for major diseases and STDs, prior to becoming a surrogate.
Most importantly, a woman who is considering becoming a surrogate must have a generous heart and be willing to give this gift to a couple that is looking to complete their family.
Q. Why would I work with an agency?
A. Choosing a surrogate can be a difficult decision. There is a wide range of elements to take into consideration. Many couples decide to use an agency to help simplify the process.
An agency can help sort through the medical histories of potential surrogates, find answers to questions about the surrogate’s lifestyle, oversee physical and mental screenings, and help guide interview conversations about difficult topics such as selective reduction in the case of multiple babies. Additionally, an agency can connect you with legal and insurance experts to ensure you are making educated choices.
We work closely with agencies across the world and can help you choose the right agency for you.