Choosing a Surrogate
Choosing a surrogate requires a huge commitment of trust. Gail’s best advice: Trust your instincts, but make sure your surrogate has been well screened both psychologically and physically and that you both have a clear understanding of all the legalities up front.
- Choose a woman who has a close, happy family with children living at home with her.
- If you don’t already have one, find a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) and set an appointment. You need an RE in order to work with a surrogate.
- Make sure your surrogate has had easy pregnancies.
- Make sure your surrogate is financially stable.
- Make sure your surrogate is between ages 23 and 42. Younger isn’t necessarily better.
- Make sure your surrogate and her partner have had full psychological screening.
- Make sure that if your surrogate is 40 or over, her youngest child is under age four, preferably closer to two.
- Choose a surrogate with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or less (though a BMI of up to 32 is fine if everything else is good).
- Be sure your surrogate has a supportive community.
- Have regular contact with your surrogate. Talk weekly; go to appointments with her whenever you can; take her to lunch.
- Remember surrogates don’t always get pregnant on the first transfer. It may take three or more transfers to achieve pregnancy.
- Set aside more money than you think you will need.
- Choose a surrogate who has had gestational diabetes, premature deliveries, serious health issues, or more than three C-sections.
- Try to micromanage your surrogate’s life. Remember that she has been pregnant before and is a responsible adult.
- Choose a surrogate with a BMI over 32. She will be more susceptible to gestational diabetes and other complications.
- Choose a surrogate who has never had a child.
- Choose a surrogate who has had a child but does not have custody of that child.
- Choose a surrogate who has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
- Discuss finances with your surrogate. All financial issues should be addressed in the contract with your surrogate and handled by the surrogacy agency.
- Cross the line by inviting your surrogate to live with you. There is such a thing as too much togetherness.
- Work with a surrogate who is on public assistance. She may need the money, but this is seen as coercion. You need to be sure that your surrogate is financially stable and not choosing surrogacy as the families financial salvation.
Choosing a Surrogacy Program
Should I use my clinic’s internal surrogacy program or an agency surrogacy program?
Very few clinics have internal surrogacy programs. If the clinic you work with does have an internal surrogacy program, it is likely to have already medically evaluated the surrogates, and the surrogates are probably strong candidates. But it is also likely that you will need to wait to be matched with a surrogate, because good surrogates are not plentiful and most clinics don’t have full time staff dedicated to searching for and screening surrogate candidates. Therefore, you are usually better off working with a surrogacy agency. Donor Concierge has chosen a select group of surrogacy agencies that have proven to be extremely supportive and that won’t put you on a waiting list.
Agency surrogacy programs focus on finding women who are interested in being surrogates. Therefore, they tend to find more candidates than clinics do. Agencies cannot usually clinically screen surrogate candidates because they are not medical facilities. Their screening process should include an initial phone interview with the surrogate candidate, followed by a personal interview in the candidate’s home, then a psychological evaluation.
The surrogacy cycle is long and complex. You need an agency that is supportive from the first call to the birth of your child. Do your homework and get recommendations. Not all surrogacy agencies are created equal. Some just match you with a surrogate and expect you and the surrogate to be self-sufficient once you are matched. Most agencies have waiting lists because they have more couples looking than they have surrogates who are ready to be matched. Don’t be discouraged when one agency tells you the waiting time for a surrogate is 3–6 months. There are surrogates waiting to be matched, if you know where to look. Donor Concierge has close working relationships with at least 20 surrogacy programs that have proven to be very accommodating.
• Choose an agency that helps you with insurance arrangements for your surrogate.
• Choose an agency that can act as a liaison between you and your surrogate and smooth out any disputes that may arise.
• Choose an agency that will be supportive of both you and your surrogate.
• Choose an agency that will keep you informed regarding cycle progress.
• Choose an agency that will recommend attorneys.
• Request a monthly statement of the accounting for the trust fund used to pay your surrogate.
• Choose an agency that will handle all financial issues between you and your surrogate.
• Choose an agency that will respond to your queries within 24 hours. Even if they don’t have the answer yet, you need to know you’ve been heard and that they are working on it.
• Make the mistake of thinking only one agency or one surrogate can help you. There are many options for you if you know where to look and Donor Concierge can help you with that.
• Wait for 3–6 months to be matched with a surrogate. Some surrogacy agencies will put you on a waiting list to be matched. If the wait is a month or less that’s great but if it’s predicted to take longer than that you should know that there are surrogates available with other agencies that Donor Concierge can help you to find.
• Keep a surrogate waiting for over 6 months before moving forward with a transfer. If you must ask her to wait due to medical reasons, you should compensate her. Remember not only is your life on hold in a situation like this but her’s is as well.