Becoming a parent through surrogacy can be difficult, especially if you try and sort through all the information that is on the Internet. Doing so can further complicate the process and leave you with even more unanswered questions.
Below are several important things that every Intended Parent should keep in mind before having a baby via surrogacy.
Create a Budget
The cost for gestational surrogacy can be broken down into two main categories – Mandatory and Optional. Mandatory costs usually include legal fees, psychological evaluations, surrogacy compensation and expenses, medical costs and agency fees. While optional expenses may include having twins, genetic testing or working with an experienced surrogate. Depending on your priorities, some optional items may become mandatory. You may also consider doing multiple surrogacy journey’s, which will increase the cost significantly.
At Physician’s Surrogacy, the first thing we help you do is establish your priorities. Upon identifying what’s most important in the surrogacy process two things can happen. First, before starting the process, you can isolate the costs that match your priorities. This will give you a better idea of what you will need to set aside money for. Second, you might find that things don’t always go according to plan. With your priorities in line, it’s easier to make decisions, which in the long run will save you money. This is one of the many things we do at Physician’s Surrogacy to help our Intended Parents before their journey begins.
If you are confused about how to establish your priorities, or what to look out for, our support team can help you out. Physician’s Surrogacy’s team of experts will be happy to guide you and help you create a tailor-made budget that can meet all your needs and help you assess the risks.
Here’s an example that might give you an idea of how to set your priorities. One of the couples we recently talked with, who were the same sex, decided they wanted to have twins. They preferred that one was biologically related to each of them. To get started, they would need both a surrogate and an egg donor. Each partner would contribute sperm. They then decided that if only one father produced both embryos, they will still transfer them both. In this case, it was more important to them to have twins right away than it was for both fathers to have a biological child. This will save them both time and money.
Have a Timeline
Once you have your budget all set, you are now ready to plan on when to begin your surrogacy journey. In some cases, where the Intended Parents have planned everything out beforehand, the surrogacy process can be completed in less than a year. However, keep in mind this is not normal, an average surrogacy journey ranges between 13 and 18 months. It is important to know that each case is unique and has its own factors that determine the pace of the surrogacy process. The individual factors involved in timing are usually:
- Pregnancy Success- Some cases have a successful pregnancy on the first attempt while others may take multiple tries. These success rates mostly do with the age of the eggs when they’re retrieved. Our experience shows that parents using eggs from someone who is 30 years old or younger have a higher chance of getting pregnant on their first attempt, whereas eggs from someone who is in their mid-thirties or older may take multiple attempts to achieve pregnancy. Each attempt will usually add up to 2-3 months to your timeline.
- Having Embryos Ready – If you already have frozen embryos that are ready for implantation, this will speed up the process once you are matched with a surrogate. If you don’t have embryos, it’s the perfect time to have them created while you’re waiting to be matched. There also shouldn’t be any concern using fresh embryos vs. frozen embryos. The pregnancy success rate remains virtually the same.
- Surrogate Wait Time – It may not be a surprise to see some advertisement that state things like “instant surrogate match” or “Surrogates ready to go”. Do your research first and see what the agency’s protocols are when it comes to selecting surrogates for their program. You’ve waited a long time to start building your family, just make sure everything is done correctly. Let’s start by dispelling a few myths surrounding gestational surrogate matching and in particular surrogate candidates.
Every year thousands of women apply to become a surrogate mother. In fact, some agencies in California receive around 20,000 applicants annually. Only around 7% of the women applying to become a surrogate get accepted into a program.
With the acceptance rate so low and the demand for surrogate mothers increasing, some Intended Parents may have to wait a longer period to find their perfect match. The waiting period can also be beneficial. Some surrogates may not 100% truthful on their initial application. However, they do go through a lengthy screening process. This includes both a medical and psychological screening. Once they’ve gone through the screening process, the truth is usually revealed.
At Physician’s Surrogacy, we have one of the most rigorous surrogate screening protocols. All our surrogates are screened before they are matched with our Intended Parents. This saves our Intended Parents both time and money. They also know that they have a surrogate who is both physically and mentally committed to the journey. When doing your research, make sure that you fully understand each agencies standards when it comes to screening their surrogates. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
The more restrictions you place on your potential surrogate, the fewer surrogate candidates you will have to choose from. For example, if you are looking for a surrogate who resides in California, you will decrease the pool of available surrogates by 70%. If you want a surrogate who is married, the number of potential surrogates will also decrease. In the United States, the divorce rate is a little more than 50%, so you can expect about half of all surrogates to be single moms. Many Intended Parents will also require their surrogates to have a higher education.
While working with a surrogacy agency, expressing your “must haves” and your preferences when being match with a surrogate is important. Some parents require an experienced surrogate who is married and has a college degree. At Physician’s Surrogacy, we like to go a little deeper to see you of some of your “must haves” will really get you what you want. You may want an experienced surrogate because she knows what to do or someone married because they will have support from their significant other. The reasoning is valid, but not always accurate.
Experienced surrogates are a delight to work with. However, there is no data that proves experienced surrogates perform better than non-experienced surrogates. You should make it preference instead of a requirement if your goal is to reduce time. Relating to your surrogate can be very helpful, but a college education might not be what necessarily provides that. Since we do take the time to find out what our Intended Parents are really looking for, our first-time match rate is very high. Your surrogacy journey will have its ups and downs, so take it all in and be open to suggestions.