How long does surrogacy take?
A surrogacy journey often feels overwhelming at first, and many of our clients want to know: How long does the surrogacy process take? Generally, we advise that from start to finish, a surrogacy journey can take anywhere from 15 months to 2 years. While that’s a timeframe that can seem daunting, we’ve got some tips to help make the surrogacy process more efficient and less stressful.
1. Have your embryos ready to go.
When we’re matching you with a surrogate, our goal is to start your search when you have embryos that are ready. When we present your profile, or Dear Surrogate letter, to a surrogate candidate, she’ll likely want to start her surrogate pregnancy as soon as possible, so knowing you have embryos, the number and the embryologist’s assessment of the embryos, will help to ensure that the surrogacy agency, and the surrogate herself, know that you’re ready to move ahead quickly.
2. Have your finances in order
With a sticker cost of between $120k and $200k, you’ll be expected to fully fund your escrow account once the surrogate is in cycle for you, which means the surrogacy agency won’t allow an embryo transfer without funding. No one wants a scenario where your gestational carrier is pregnant, and you don’t have the funds to pay for the medical costs, newborn insurance, attorneys or other incidentals that can, and do arise during your surrogacy journey. However you are funding your surrogacy journey, whether that is taking out a loan (check out the affordable surrogacy loans from Donor Concierge lending partner Sunfish for the best interest rates), refinancing, fertility benefits or cash payments, having your financial ducks in a row will make for a smooth and successful surrogacy journey.
3. Be very clear up front about what type of relationship you want with your surrogate.
When you start the surrogate matching process with Donor Concierge, your case manager will spend time going over your expectations and desires for your surrogate relationship. Be honest - this is YOUR journey to parenthood and it’s very important for everyone, the surrogate, you, your partner, to have similar goals. Are you expecting to go to every appointment? Do you want to be in the room when your gestational carrier gives birth? How do you want to communicate and how often - every week?
Some intended parents are hoping for a close relationship with their gestational carrier, while others are unable to be there for appointments and want the GC to bring them in on a video call, or just provide a summary. These are all crucial things to discuss BEFORE an agency agreement is signed. If you need help talking through these points, Donor Concierge can recommend an experienced mental health professional to help guide you through your fears and expectations.
4. Have realistic expectations
The most important criteria for a woman to become a gestational carrier is that she is physically and mentally healthy and wants to help a family. Does she meet your clinic requirements and is she located in a state that is safe legally for your particular situation? We know that some hopeful parents want someone who does yoga, eats only organic food or has a masters degree - these are not necessary qualifications for a gestational carrier and waiting for someone like that will slow down the process. Unless your clinic requests that you find a repeat surrogate, this is also unnecessary.
All surrogates are moms and have had uncomplicated pregnancies (at least one) and deliveries and have at least one child living at home. They have been educated on the process and they want to help a family have a baby.
5. Understand that your gestational carrier is a pregnancy expert.
Your gestational carrier has given birth before, enjoys being pregnant and is good at it – that’s why your clinic has approved her. While you may want her to avoid eating fast food, never lift heavy objects, or practice yoga every day, she understands the precious cargo she’s carrying. She also might have a life to live, children to look after, and a job to go to, but be assured, your gestational carrier has passed all of the evaluations. She wants to have a healthy, happy and successful pregnancy. You can decide some things about the surrogate pregnancy (we have clients who provide home delivery of organic food, massage therapy and acupuncture treatments), ultimately it is her life that she is living. And remember, both of you have the same goal.
6. Do your homework!
Your case manager can provide a timeline of what you can expect. If you have questions about what happens next - don’t hesitate to ask. The surrogacy process can be broken down into stages - that’s where your attorney, your agency and your fertility clinic work symbiotically to ensure everything goes smoothly. Talk with your surrogate too about what’s happening with her body, read all the books and if in doubt, ask your Donor Concierge case manager for advice on what to expect.
7. Be gentle with yourself.
Chances are, you’ve already been through a lot to get to this point. It’s ok to have moments of worry and stress. Your fertility team is there to help – from your Donor Concierge case manager, the surrogacy agency, your attorney, escrow manager and mental health support – we all have the goal of you having a healthy baby. Feel free to ask for help and guidance. That’s what we are here for.
Interested in building your family with Donor Concierge? Schedule your free consultation today.