[box]From Start to Finish…[/box]
The following is a simplified version of the steps in a surrogacy journey:
The Beginning Steps
First, fill out our online contact form or contact us by phone or email to set up an initial consultation in person or by phone. We will then email you an Intended Parent Questionnaire to complete – before the consultation if possible. We will review it with you at our initial meeting. This profile will help us to get to know you and your needs better and will eventually be used to help match you. Once we determine that we all want to work together, we’ll send you an agency contract that outlines our mutual responsibilities. You will return it to us with your initial retainer. We are now officially working together and you are on your road to having a baby!
The Matching Process
Next, we will begin looking for a Gestational Surrogate for you. Because we have surrogates from over 15 states and each case is unique, the time between signing and matching can vary. Sometimes we have a surrogate immediately available and other times it can take some time to find the perfect match. We take great care and pride in making our matches, knowing that in some cases, this may be a relationship that lasts a lifetime — assuming that’s what both parties want.
The Screening Process
We choose the Surrogates we work with very carefully. They come to us from numerous locations, (we currently have surrogates located not only in Idaho but Oregon, Utah and Colorado as well,) through a variety of means – referrals from clinics, other Surrogates, lawyers and other professionals we work with; via our Surrogate Recruiters; and through our internet presence. Before we admit them into our program, they go through a rigorous screening process, including several interviews with various people in our agency. In addition, we thoroughly educate them about the surrogacy process. We make sure that they know exactly what they are getting involved in, the highs and lows of this process and what exactly is expected of them.
Once matched, you and your Gestational Surrogate will work with us as we walk you through all of the logistics of the surrogacy, starting with setting up and coordinating the medical evaluation and psychological screenings.
While some insurance policies still provide medical coverage for a Surrogate, many others specifically exclude surrogacy pregnancies. Unfortunately, this is the more common situation. We make sure that either your Surrogate already has appropriate insurance in place or that we can obtain it for her. We will NOT work with Surrogates if we cannot get health insurance in place.
If you are an international Intended Parent, you will need to arrange for private insurance to cover your child(ren) once born – we can direct you to some vendors. If you are insured in the United States, your own health insurance will cover these costs.
The Contract Phase
Surrogacy is a very intimate journey, but it is also a business relationship in which both parties are protected by a contract. Each state has its own laws regarding surrogacy and we only work with Gestational Surrogates residing in states where surrogacy is recognized as legal.
The contract outlines the rules of the surrogacy for both the Intended Parents and the Gestational Surrogate. It specifies what you will be paying for and what the Surrogate is expected to do. Some issues can be difficult to discuss, such as financial arrangements or termination and reduction. So we act as the liaison between you and your surrogate, in order to eliminate embarrassment, confusion or frustration.
Because there are many intricacies unique to the surrogacy relationship, we only work with top lawyers who are highly experienced in surrogacy contracts and reproductive law. We will provide you with a list of professionals with whom we have dealt, however you can provide your own lawyer as long as they are a lawyer practicing or has practiced, in third party reproduction.
A majority of your funds for the Surrogate and her pregnancy must be placed in an escrow account. You may choose to use the lawyer we we work with, that has many years of experience in dispersing escrow funds for surrogacy arrangements, or you may choose to use your own.
Upon signing your contract with your Surrogate, you will be responsible for paying for a $250,000 life insurance policy for your Surrogate. Our agency coordinates to make sure that this is in place and that the Surrogate has named her spouse or children as beneficiaries in the event of her death.
Once the screening process is complete, medical insurance is in place and contracts are signed, you are ready to begin the most exciting part of this journey — the IVF cycle and embryo transfer. We will assist in coordination between you, your Surrogate and your fertility clinic. Communication is the key to this process. We will help stay on top of appointments, medications, payments and general progress, and always welcome your phone calls and questions. If you are unable to attend your Surrogate’s procedures and/or appointments, we will gladly try to attend them for you (if they are local).
One of our favorite parts of helping others is getting your phone call saying, “We’re pregnant!” We never tire of hearing those words. Now the real fun begins. Our role continues in making certain that both sides are communicating and happy. We also make sure that the contract is implemented from the beginning stages and continues on throughout the entire pregnancy. That includes checking that the Surrogate keeps her appointments, is taking her medications, lives up to her obligations, etc. After a pregnancy is well established, your Surrogate will be referred to an obstetrician for prenatal care with regular pre-natal check-ups as determined by her OB.
This is obviously the moment you’ve been waiting for. You will want to focus all of your attention on your little one(s.) But our job is not done yet – we will help facilitate getting your Surrogate’s breast milk to you, paying medical bills as they come in, and assisting in obtaining a passport for your newborn, if necessary. We are there to help with all of these details. We also provide the Surrogate with attention – since yours will naturally be focused on your baby.
Our Agency Pledge
Our goal is to make your surrogacy journey as problem-free and as emotionally rewarding as possible. We will guide you through the process of surrogacy from the initial steps until after you take your baby or babies home with you. Let us put our experience to work for you. We deal with the details of the surrogacy so that you can concentrate on the miracle of your baby.