Deciding where to start your surrogacy journey can be daunting, if not downright intimidating. Follow this beginner guide on how to start your surrogacy program and take out some of the uncertainty.
As a parent that is considering surrogacy, chances are you’ve already surpassed what seems like hundreds of milestones. The journey of becoming a parent via surrogacy rarely starts there. Most couples will have to contend with the difficulties of infertility, as well as go through multiple stages of testing and some medical procedures before they reach the point of considering surrogacy.
While this can be difficult and exhausting, don’t fret, your child is waiting for you! When considering starting a surrogacy program, there is important information that you will need to consult with your healthcare provider. You might also need advice from family, friends, and surrogacy agencies.
When choosing a gestational surrogacy program, it’s important to consider the unique needs of your family. Will you choose a program abroad? Or will you want to look a little closer to home? What are the different types of surrogacy and which one should you choose according to your personal circumstances? How much does it cost? Are there any effects on the child in the future?
Generally, as you investigate which surrogacy agency will be the right fit for you and your family according to your needs, you’ll get a better idea on which specific programs are best for you.
Start your Surrogacy Process: Ask for a Consultation
The best agencies will offer you a free consultation to introduce you to this technique of assisted reproduction. At this point, you should be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the entire surrogate journey. It would be great to prepare some questions in advance, as most parents are pretty nervous during this stage. If you’re considering a surrogacy program abroad, make sure to ask if the agency offers such option and how much experience they have with these types of programs.
Bring in any relevant healthcare records and your spouse, if you are a couple. Now is the time to ask any of those burning questions that you’ve had. The consultants that speak with you during the counselling will need you to express in details what it is that you and your family are looking for; once they know, they will be able to refer you to the ideal program providing the answers to all the questions they can and guide you when you need it most.
Start Your Program
Once you’ve chosen a package, the journey begins! Make sure to ask during your consultation if your program is party to any waiting lists or delays so that you get a rough idea of how quickly you expect the process to move. This stage is all about paperwork. But don’t get frustrated! Although all the anticipation of having a child can seem overwhelming, this is an important part of the whole process.
The consultants of your choice will walk you through all the necessary documents and contracts that must be signed. A good agency will offer in-house solicitation and have the paperwork prepared in your native language.
You may also be invited to meet their staff and tour facilities. This is a great chance to get to know the clinic that you and your family will be working closely with.
The next step is the egg retrieval and starts matching you with the ideal surrogate.
Prepare for Testing and Select Donor Material
Now is the time to start the medical process of IVF. If you choose to use your own genetic materials, women will go through an egg collection process and males shall make a sperm deposit. The clinic’s staff will walk you through that process.
If you have chosen to use donor materials, you might be able to pick your donor. Depending on the jurisdiction you chose for your surrogacy program, agencies might be able to show pictures of the donors from their extensive databases.
Depending on whether you’ve chosen a domestic program or abroad, and whether you’re using your own materials or donor oocytes, you may need to travel at this point.
Your agency will help you organize the logistics of your trip, as well as the schedule of appointments for tests and consultations with the specialists.
Choose a Surrogate
Some agencies will search for a perfectly matched candidate based on the discussions you have had during the start of your program. Surrogates and intended parents will be assessed thoroughly for mental, physical, and emotional preparedness. This is to ensure that both you and your gestational carrier are ready for the road ahead. Agencies should consider your goals as a parent as well as the overall health of the parties involved when making the initial selections.
Some agencies offer intended parents a few profiles of potential candidates prior to choosing a surrogate. This is a great way to be involved in the decision-making process although it’s a completely subjective choice.
Sign and Negotiate Contracts
Once the gestational carrier has been selected, you will then be required to sign a Surrogacy contract, if such a contract is enforced in the country you choose your surrogate from. These contracts outline the roles, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties involved in the surrogate process.
If you’ve chosen a surrogacy program abroad, you may not be required to travel at this time, as the agency has the ability to complete this step remotely. Talk with your particular agency to see what their travel requirements are at this stage. Most agencies will allow you to meet your chosen gestational carrier should you wish so. Now is the time to consider what type of relationship you want to have with your surrogate.
Your surrogate has been selected and the paperwork has been signed! Now things get very exciting! Once all of the biomaterials have been obtained, and the embryos have been allowed to grow, some clinics will allow PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) before implantation which shows the genetic health of the embryos. Then, your surrogate will be invited in to undergo implantation.
Once healthy embryos have been selected and implanted into the uterus of the surrogate, then it’s just two short weeks to discover whether your surrogate is pregnant or not. This can be a harrowing time for most intended parents, so do your best to relax and prepare for the pregnancy to come.
Prepare for Pregnancy
Occasionally, it takes more than one attempt for a pregnancy to occur, but don’t stress. Your agency and clinic will be with you every step of the way. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, supervision programs begin. During this time, your surrogate will have regular checkups and ultrasounds.
If you’ve chosen to have a close relationship with your surrogate, you could also accompany her to the appointments.
It’s okay to be a bit nervous. But if you’ve chosen the good agency and surrogate, remember that your child is in great hands. As the birth comes closer, travel arrangements can be made so you can hold your child immediately. Some agencies and surrogates will allow you and your spouse to be present at the birth if you desire. These are sure to be some very exciting months for you and your family.
Birth of Your Baby and Return Home
If you’ve chosen a domestic program, you will only need to be present for a short time before and after the birth. For international programs, you and your family may need to plan a few weeks of travel and accommodation in the birth country, to finalize the paperwork and obtain the birth certificate and passport for your baby.
In most countries, your baby will be holder of the nationality of one of the parents (most frequently, the father).
For surrogacy programs in the United States, however, the child will be awarded a US passport but can apply for their parent’s citizenship upon arrival to their home country. Then the only thing you have to worry about is planning the arrival party!
Start your Surrogacy Process: Agencies and Programs
As you can see, the provider you choose will help you navigate all the legal, medical, and even emotional needs you might encounter during your surrogacy journey. This is why it’s so incredibly important to choose the company that fits you and your family best. ilaya provides surrogacy services in the US and Ukraine, with expertise and experience in both countries.
Only you will be able to decide which program is right for your family. But whatever your decision, at ilaya, we’ll have your back during the entire process. Knowing that you can count on us in the present, for the future of your family, is the second-best gift you will receive.