Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
by prospective surrogates
No, they are not. The embryo(s) that are transferred to our gestational carriers are created in IVF using eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors.
Yes, all reasonable and necessary expenses are reimbursed. All potential expenses are included as part of the surrogate’s compensation package as well as in the agreement between the surrogate and the intended parents.
Most surrogates are required to travel. Travel usually includes one time for the medical screening by the fertility clinic, and a second time for the embryo transfer. Some clinics will allow outside monitoring, in which case, the surrogate will only need to travel once for the embryo transfer. Of course, there are instances where the surrogate lives near the fertility clinic, and no travel is required. However, many surrogacy arrangements require out of state travel.
The standard of care in most fertility clinics today calls for a single embryo to be transferred at a time. The odds of an embryo splitting into a twin pregnancy are roughly 1-5 in 100.
At times, multiple embryos may also be transferred at one time which increases the odds of pregnancy.
No. While thanks to advancement in medical technology, even though it would be possible for a woman who has experienced menopause to still become pregnant, generally speaking, women who have experienced menopause do not meet the age requirements for surrogacy.
You always have control over who you match with and will be the person who ultimate decides to move forward in the process at every step.
Before a match meeting is made, you will be shown the intended parents profile. If you think they will be a good fit, the match meeting will take place. If for some reason you don’t feel like they are a good fit, we will work to match you with a new family.
Same goes with after the match meeting. After the match meeting, you will be asked if you would like to proceed with the match. It is 100% up to you!
Usually children do not travel with the surrogate, but exceptions are made.
No. You can not be matched with an intended parent and start your surrogacy journey if you are currently breastfeeding.
However, you are more than welcome to apply to become a surrogate if you are currently breastfeeding so that we can review your application and complete other aspects of the onboarding process so that you may start your surrogacy journey soon after you are finished breastfeeding.
You are unable to be a gestational carrier if you have section 8 housing. This is for your own protection as the compensation you receive as a gestational surrogate could potentially make you ineligible for this benefit and thus harm the quality of your life.
Some STIs (commonly known as STDs) will disqualify you from being a gestational carrier. For example, HIV, Hepatitis, or any other STIs that could be transmitted to a fetus/baby would disqualify you. Others, such as genital warts or herpes, may not.
Technically yes, though it is not recommended. Every pregnancy comes with inherent risks and it is possible that your surrogacy pregnancy leaves you unable to get pregnant or carry a child naturally in the future.
We review anti-depressant usage on a case by case basis, but if you are not currently on antidepressants there is a good chance you can still be a surrogate. We would be happy to take a look at your case, review your medical records, and answer any questions you may have.
Unfortunately not. Surrogacy is a major commitment and requires your partner to be supportive.
Yes, the process of establishing a surrogate pregnancy is called an Embryo Transfer and completely bypasses the fallopian tubes. Therefore you can still be a surrogate if your tubes are tied or even if you have your tubes completely removed.
No, the intended parents are responsible for paying for or reimbursing you for all approved surrogacy related expenses.
Yes. You are always in control of who you match with. We have families of all kinds who are looking for gestational carriers, including married heterosexual and homosexual couples, single parents, domestic and foreign couples, parents who are having their first child and those looking to grow or complete their family.
Surrogates get to meet the baby before the baby is discharged from the hospital. Many surrogates also continue to be in contact with the parents and receive updates regarding the child long after its birth.
Ultimately, it is up to you, the parents, the contacts you sign, as well as the relationship you establish with them during your surrogacy journey.
Most surrogates are required to use injectable medications as part of their embryo transfer medications.
Yes, having a Last Will and Testament in place before the embryo transfer is a requirement.
No, you do not need to be married or be in a long term committed relationship. However, you must always have a support system in place for your surrogacy journey, such as your family and/or friends.
This varies depending on the state where you and the intended parents reside, and state where the child is born
This is accomplished by obtaining a birth order, sometimes also referred to as a parentage order. In very rare situations, this may also need to be obtained by a single, or a second-parent adoption.
Generally, this is not something to be worried about as this is handled by our expert team.
Generally, it takes approximately 12-15 months from the time that you apply with our agency to the time you deliver. Of course, this is highly variable and depends upon many factors including how on top of the intake process you are, negotiations regarding the surrogacy agreement, the fertility clinic schedule and more.
Surrogates typically make between $45,000-$70,000 after accounting for their main pregnancy distribution as well as bonuses for things like previous surrogacies, embryo transfers, and more.
You must be between the age of 23-41 to be a surrogate with some occasional exceptions made if you have had another recent successful surrogacy journey.
Generally, you can start a surrogacy journey 3 months after a vaginal delivery or 6 months after a C-section. This will also depend on your OBGYN’s recommendation as well as the recommendation of the fertility clinic.
Yes, however it may be harder to match you with an intended parent. You are welcome to contact us to see if we currently have any intended parents who would not terminate a pregnancy even in the event of a serious medical diagnosis of the fetus.
The gestational carrier is compensated for childcare if she requires childcare during long distance travel, if she is confined to bed rest by the treating physician , or other times that she requires childcare while complying with her obligations under the Agreement between her and the intended parents.
After submitting your initial application, one of our Surrogate Intake Coordinators will review your answers. If you pass our initial screening, you will be contacted (usually at first by email, then by phone) and asked to submit an in-depth secondary application which gives us important insight into your medical history, family life, socioeconomic status and more.
If you pass the second screening we will request and review medical records from your previous pregnancies, clearance from your OB for pregnancy, and have you sign an agreement.
If you are able to obtain medical clearance form your OB and clear our own medical review of your records, we will begin the matching process.
You will always have control over who you match with. First, you will be shown a profile of intended parents we think would make a good match. If you approve, a video meeting will be arranged, and should all go well, finalized
After the match is made we will coordinate and finalize medical and legal clearances, and start arranging for the embryo transfer and fingers crossed, you’ll be pregnant and giving birth to the intended parent’s long awaited child.
A surrogate must:
- be between the ages of 23-41
- be a non active smoke
- Have no history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Have 1 or more living children that they gave birth to
- Have no serious pregnancy or birth complications from previous pregnancies
- Not be on section 8 housing
- Reside in a state other than Louisiana, Michigan, or Nebraska.
- Be generally healthy and able to obtain medical clearance from your OBGYN and be approved for surrogacy from the intended parent’s fertility clinic
- Have the support of your partner (if in a committed relationship) or family
There are risks that come with every pregnancy including the possibility of loss of reproductive potential and even death. Surrogates are asked to speak with their doctor regarding the risks associated with surrogacy and pregnancy. Please also visit the CDC’s site for more information on the risks of pregnancy.
There is no “best age” to be a surrogate, but demonstrating maturity is an important factor in our surrogate screening process. Generally, you must be between the age of 23-41 to be a surrogate.
There isn’t necessarily one thing that makes a good surrogate, but good surrogates are usually:
- Reliable and responsive
- Have a strong birthing record (previous births with no complications)
- Have a supportive family
- Have a profound desire to help others
We will recommend a number of independent attorneys we have a relationship with who we know have a strong understanding of surrogacy law. This ensures the attorney representing you is familiar with surrogacy law and is acting in your best interest.
You are of course free to find an attorney yourself, but our expert team will require the attorney to be independent, be experienced in surrogacy law, and have no conflict of interest.
Surrogates help all family types. Domestic and international. Heterosexual and homosexual. Married and Single. Those looking to have their first child and those looking to expand their family. And just about every other difference imaginable with one thing uniting them all, the profound desire for a baby in their life.
Intended parents are rigorously screened and part of that assessment ensures the stability of their relationship. However, if a divorce were to occur custody would be worked out between the intended parents. You would NEVER assume care of the child.
Age limits are set by IVF clinics and professional reproductive health organizations. We occasionally make exceptions, but only for women who have recently given birth – usually in part of another surrogacy arrangement. You can contact us to see if you’d be eligible given your unique circumstances.
You must have had children to be a surrogate as a source of proof that you are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term. Intended parents spend a tremendous amount of money, time and emotion in the process so it is only fair that they are working with a surrogate with a strong proven birth record.
BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics and professional reproductive organizations. BMI requirements are in place for health reasons and to ensure that you will respond well to the medications necessary for the embryo transfer.
When you start your journey as a surrogate, you are entering a strange new world with a lot at stake so it’s important for you to choose your surrogacy agency carefully.
Dozens of top fertility clinics refer intended parents to Surrogate Steps for a number of reasons.
- We have top quality surrogates: our surrogates are screened using the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s surrogacy standards by trained medical professionals before they are ever sent to clinics for approval.
- Compassionate and highly experienced surrogate and parent coordinators: each and every one of our staff members is a repeat surrogate meaning they’ve successfully completed multiple surrogacy journeys. That means you’ll have a compassionate, empathetic, and highly experienced guide you can lean on at every step of the way.
- Attorney Directed: Surrogate steps is directed by one of the leading legal experts in reproductive and surrogacy law, Yifat Shaltiel. As an attorney directed agency, our ethical standards are set high so you know you’ll always be treated fairly and honestly.
- Fair and Competitive Compensation: You paid a competitive base salary of $40,000 with bonuses for major steps along the way including medical and legal clearance, medication start, completion of embryo transfer, maternity clothing bonus, health/gym club membership fees, nutrition courses, lost wages, lost wages for partner, life insurance, and so much more.
- We are a Licensed Surrogacy Agency: surrogacy agencies are highly unregulated and are not required to be licensed, and lack checks and balances to ensure that surrogates are fully informed and that their rights are fully protected. Surrogate Steps is a fully licensed agency.
All of this means our surrogates are HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY that they chose to work with Surrogate Steps. In fact, over 80% of our surrogates come back to pursue additional surrogacies.
If you have insurance, your insurance will be used for your surrogate related prenatal care and delivery, so long as your insurance is surrogate friendly. Of course, the intended parents will pay for all deductibles, co-pays, and out of pocket medical expenses required for your prenatal care and delivery.
If you do not have medical insurance, or if you have a health insurance policy that is not surrogate friendly, the intended parent will be responsible for paying for a health insurance plan to cover your surrogate related expenses.
Our experts will review your health insurance policy to determine if it is surrogate friendly, or will assist in placing a surrogate friendly insurance in place for your surrogacy journey.
While each situation is unique and depends upon the protocol provided by the fertility clinic and medical doctor, most surrogates are required to take injectable medications.
Generally, a surrogate pregnancy is no different from a traditional pregnancy from a physical standpoint. However, knowing that the fetus you are carrying is not genetically related to you and that you are participating in creating a miracle and helping another family build or complete their family, does make the surrogacy experience very different from the traditional pregnancy experience. Surrogates know that the child they are carrying and growing is not related to them, and take great joy in seeing how happy the intended parents are throughout the pregnancy and especially when intended parents hold their child for the first time. There is no greater gift than being part of a miracle and giving someone the gift of a child that they otherwise are unable to have on their own.
Possibly. Many experience symptoms similar to those often experienced during menses.
The intended parents are responsible for all costs related to the surrogacy journey, including medical bills for the fertility treatment, pregnancy, and delivery.
If the surrogate has health insurance, it will be reviewed to determine if it will cover medical bills associated with the surrogacy journey. If it does, the intended parents would pay for any deductible or co-pays the insurance requires.
If the surrogate does not have health insurance or if the health insurance does not cover medical bills relating to surrogacy, the intended parents will be responsible for all costs associated with obtaining and paying for a health insurance plan to cover your surrogacy-related medical bills.
In its simplest, surrogacy simply means carrying a baby for someone else. There are however two major types of surrogacy, gestational and traditional surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy is the process where one person, whose egg is not used in conception, carries a fetus through pregnancy for another person or couple. The person who carries the pregnancy is called a “surrogate” or “gestational carrier.”
In traditional surrogacy, the carrier’s own eggs are used. Thus, the carrier is both the “egg donor” as well as the surrogate. As such, the surrogate is the biological mother to the child that she carries.
At Surrogate Steps, we only practice gestational surrogacy, where the carrier is not the biological mother to the child that she carries.
Our agency and the independent escrow agencies that we work with do not issue 1099 forms. However, you must speak to your tax specialist about your unique situation regarding any IRS requirements involving your surrogacy journey.
Have Questions or Ready to Get Started
Surrogacy is a beautiful but often intimidating process. No matter where you are in exploring the possibility of growing your family or becoming a surrogate, we are here to help!