Frequently Asked Questions by Surrogate Mothers
Below is a list of common questions we receive from potential surrogates.
Q: Can I qualify to be a surrogate if I’m not married?
A: Yes. Donor Concierge believes single mothers are just as capable of being surrogates as women who are married. If you are single, you will need a caring, supportive network of friends and family around you, to help you through your surrogacy journey.
Q: Do I have to use my own eggs?
A: No. Donor Concierge only works with gestational surrogates and not traditional surrogates. Being a gestational surrogate means the intended parents use their own eggs or donor eggs to create the embryos transferred, so there is no genetic link to you.
Q: How soon will I get matched with intended parents?
A: It varies. We will work hard to make sure you have the best possible match but, generally, it ranges from a few weeks to a few months. There are many factors that contribute finding a good match such as location, frequency of contact desired, willingness to carry multiples, etc. The surrogacy agency matches you with an individual or couple based on your needs and desires to make sure both you and the intended parents to have an experience that is enriching and fulfilling.
Q: Can I choose the individual or couple that I work with?
A: Yes. The decision to work with an individual or couple is mutually agreed upon by you both. You will be presented with profiles of available intended parents who meet your criteria and you choose which individuals you would like to meet in person. The relationship between you and the parent(s) you work with is crucial and your role in this process is very important.
Q: Can I be a surrogate if I don’t have health insurance?
A: Yes. If you do not have health insurance, a surrogate-specific medical plan will be purchased for you by the intended parents for the duration of your pregnancy.
Q: If I do have health insurance, will it be used for the surrogacy?
A: You will use your own health ONLY in the case that your policy does not have explicit exclusions for a surrogate pregnancy. We will have your policy reviewed by an expert and can recommend alternate coverage should your own policy exclude surrogacy. Your monthly premiums and any surrogacy related out-of-pocket expenses will be paid by the intended parents.
Q: What medications will I have to take as a gestational surrogate?
A: Each fertility clinic requires its own, specific protocols. The typical medications taken are prenatal vitamins, birth control, Lupron, progesterone, and estrogen. Some medications are taken orally and others are in the form of injections.
Q: Can I go to my own OB once I am pregnant?
A: Yes, provided that your OB accepts the health insurance plan being used for the pregnancy, is board certified, and has privileges to practice at a hospital with a NICU. Together, you and your intended parents will decide on the physician that cares for you during pregnancy. Many surrogates return to the physician that delivered their own children for the surrogate pregnancy.
Q: Will all of my expenses be covered?
A: Yes. There are no out-of-pocket surrogacy-related expenses for our surrogates. All necessary expenses for the screening, transfer, pregnancy, and birth are covered. You will also receive a monthly payment from your IPs to assist with miscellaneous expenses that you incur due to the surrogacy.
Q: Will I be required to travel?
A: You may. But your surrogacy agency would not match you with a family that would require travel unless you have agreed ahead of time that you are willing to travel. Should you be required to travel, the intended parents will pay all expenses.
Q: Who pays for me to travel if I don’t live near the agency or the intended parents?
A: The intended parents you are matched with will pay any travel expenses related to your surrogacy.
Q: How are financial issues handled?
A: All funds related to your surrogacy will be held in a trust/escrow account managed by an independent attorney or an experienced escrow company. All surrogate fees and reimbursement of related expenses are paid to you via the trust account. All financial matters will be handled by the surrogacy agency so it will never affect your relationship with the intended parents.
Q: Is surrogacy legal in my state?
A: If you are uncertain about the laws in your state regarding surrogacy, please call our office. We only work with surrogates who reside in states where compensated surrogacy is legal and where establishing the intended parents as the legal parents of the child that you carry can be done as simply as possible. Our preference is to work with surrogates residing in states that offer a pre-birth order to establish pregnancy so that when the baby is born the intended parents' names appear on the birth certificate.
Q: What if I am a little overweight?
A: Being overweight does not necessarily disqualify you from being a surrogate but, to be a surrogate, you should be within a healthy BMI of no more than 31 maximum, as required by most IVF centers. Some physicians may prefer a lower BMI to ensure your safety, minimize complications, and optimize the chances of success for a healthy surrogacy journey.
Q: Are the intended parents also screened?
A: Yes. Each surrogacy agency has its own requirements for the screening of the intended parents, including the same psychological evaluation as the surrogates. Plus, all intended parents are required by federal law to undergo specific genetic and sexually transmitted disease testing.
Q: How many embryos are transferred?
A: The final decision is usually made on the day of the embryo transfer. However, this number is often predetermined during the matching process and the terms are written into the contract you will sign with your intended parents. The language will also state the number of fetuses you are willing to carry. However, everyone may agree to a different number to transfer once the quantity and quality of the embryos is determined. With the success rates most IVF centers now report, the number of embryos transferred is generally 1 or 2, but may go up to 3 if they are of poor quality. You should never agree to transfer more embryos than the amount of fetuses you are willing to carry unless you are also willing to reduce to one or two fetuses should all the transferred embryos develop.
Q: Is the embryo transfer procedure painful?
A: Our surrogate community report that it is not painful though you may have some slight discomfort, including cramping afterwards.
Q: How do I explain surrogacy to my kids?
A: For young children a simple explanation about how “the other mommy’s tummy is broken and can’t grow a baby, so my tummy is going to grow their baby for them” is straightforward, honest and understandable. Older children may be ready to hear a more sophisticated explanation. In general, kids are very accepting of surrogacy as just another way of bringing a child into the world.
Q: What do I say to family members who don’t support my wish to become a surrogate?
A: It is very important that your spouse/partner supports a surrogacy but, there may be some family members who don’t understand your desire to deliver a baby to hopeful parents. Often they don’t have an understanding of the medical science of surrogacy and make false assumptions about your connection to someone else’s baby. You will inevitably field hundreds of questions from curious or questioning friends and strangers alike over the course of the surrogacy. Typically, when surrogates explain that they will not be genetically related to the baby they carry and that it is their desire to fulfill the dreams of intended parents who desperately want a family, people will listen. Remember, it is always up to you how much and what you want to share.
Q: What does it feel like carrying and delivering someone else’s baby?
A: Many surrogates say they feel like a caretaker, never a mother, while they are carrying the baby for their intended parents and that they look forward with great anticipation to delivering the baby to its parents at the end of an incredible journey. The moment you hand the baby back to its parents is often described as one of the most fulfilling moments of your life.
Q: What would my husband/partner need to do if I become a surrogate?
A: The only physical tasks required of the surrogate’s partner are a medical screening at the reproductive endocrinologist's office and assistance with your daily hormone shots for several weeks. However, he will also need to be there for you and your kids when you go back and forth to screening and doctor’s appointments, or when you are sidelined by morning sickness nausea or pregnancy exhaustion. Most importantly, you will rely on him for emotional support and strength when you come across challenges along your journey. Your partner is a very important piece of the surrogacy puzzle.
Q: Can I get childcare paid for if I need it to go to appointments?
A: Absolutely. That is a typical use of the monthly funds provided for you by the IPs for miscellaneous surrogacy-related expenses over the course of your journey.
Q: How often will I have contact with the intended parents during the surrogacy journey and after the baby is born?
A: That will depend on your relationship with the IPs, your mutual wishes for your journey together, and geographic proximity. You can figure out together how often you want to communicate by email, phone, Skype, etc., and whether it is possible for them to attend your doctor appointments at the fertility clinic and with your OB. If they live close by you may choose to visit with each other outside of the medical appointments as well. They will be there for the birth of the baby, and you will decide together how often to communicate after the baby is born, perhaps exchanging photos and even visiting each other periodically for years. It is up to you and your intended parents and, because you want your wishes to be mutual, it is an important part of how you choose your IPs so that you will have the surrogacy relationship you are hoping for with them.
Q: What if I don’t get pregnant on the first try?
A: It will be up to the intended parents and their reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to determine whether they will try another transfer, depending on medical indications, embryos available, and timing. Embryo transfers are successful on average one out of every two to three times, depending on a number of factors, and often it may take more than one transfer to be successful. You will be still compensated for all fees and expenses up through the transfer if it doesn’t result in a pregnancy.