Surrogate Process: Here is what to expect.
Surrogacy is an incredibly rewarding process but is really unfamiliar to most people when they first begin. This post intends to walk you through the Roots Surrogacy process and hopefully, to answer a lot of the questions most surrogates have when they begin.
Here we go...
Paperwork: In order to determine if you are a qualified surrogate candidate, we will ask that you fill out a series of forms that give us background information, contact information and pregnancy history. These forms are a little time consuming but are an essential part of the process.
Prenatal Records: While you are filling out the forms, you should start collecting your pregnancy records from every pregnancy you have had. This can often times take 2-4 weeks so the sooner you start, the better. You can have them faxed directly to us at (818) 919-2434 or mailed to 1699 Torino Loop Lincoln, CA 95648.
Pregnancy records reviewed: Your records will be reviewed by our agency coordinator, Sarah Ortiz. If she has any questions, she will reach out to you for clarification. If you have questions, you can also reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Background Check: You and any person in your household over the age of 18 will need to be background checked. We use a company named GoodHire. You will receive an email from them and will need to give them some information.
Initial video conference: In order to create the most personalized journeys for our clients, Roots likes to do an initial meet and greet via video chat to introduce ourselves, the business and walk through the surrogacy process with you. We want to get to know you and your expectations and start building our relationship with you as clients. We look forward to chatting with you “face to face”.
Psychological Screening: Psychological clearance is one of the three major components of clearance (the other two are medical clearance and legal clearance). You (and your partner, should one exist) will meet, in person, with a mental health professional for an interview that walks you through the surrogacy process and make sure that you are in a good emotional space to be able to enjoy the journey. Additionally, you will take a personality profile exam (not a test you need to study for or worry about) that puts you on sliding scales of social and emotional parameters. The key is to be honest. It is 500 yes/no questions.
Matching: Roots Surrogacy uses all the information we know about you to try and find the best possible parent match. We will send you the parent’s “Dear Surrogate Letter” from the parent themselves, explaining their story. If you would like to move forward with them, you are now pre-matched.
Pregnancy Record Approval: We will then send your records to the clinic where the parent’s embryos are stored or being created. Most of the time, the clinic is somewhere in California. Once the clinic reviews and approves your records, you are on to the next step.
Video chat with parents: Once your pregnancy records have been approved by the clinic, we will schedule a video call with the agency, the parents and you. This chat is a low stress, informal introduction where we get to know each other. Roots will walk through the surrogacy process and we will then discuss the specifics pertaining to your personal journey.
Medical Screening: After the call, if everyone is still excited to move forward, we will be ready for your medical screening appointment. This will be done at the clinic where the parents’ embryos are located. All travel costs will be paid by Roots. Depending on where the clinic is, you may need to travel for the day. An agent from Roots will attend the screening with you to ensure a level of comfort and to answer any questions that may arise. This is scheduled based on your menstrual cycle and can take up to 30 days.
Medical Clearance: Once you and Roots attends the medical screening, your lab work will go out to the lab for results. The clinic should receive results in 7-14 business days. Once received and assuming everything looks good, we will have medical clearance
(Medical clearance- CHECK :) )
Legal Clearance: Once you have medical clearance, your parent(s)’ attorney will draft the Gestational Carrier Agreement. This document is the legal binding contract between you and your parents. It will detail all information related to payments, medical parameters, travel, safety and health expectations. This document will be reviewed with you by your attorney and then will be sent to the attorney representing the parents. Once both parties agree, each party will need to sign AND NOTARIZE the contract. This is true whether the parent is domestic or international. Timelines vary in this process but can range from 2 weeks to 4 weeks depending of various scheduling factors.
Medications and Transfer: Once both surrogate and Intended Parent have signed the legal agreement, a calendar will be sent to you by the clinic detailing her medications protocol and transfer date. This process is typically 4-6 weeks long and varies from clinic to clinic. The transfer will occur at the clinic where the medical screening happened. It is a relatively quick process and is not painful for most women. After the transfer, you will be asked to take it easy for a couple days. Typically, bed rest is not required and you can do regular mom-life stuff the following day. It is important to note here that not all first-time transfers are successful, and it may take several attempts to have a successful pregnancy. We caution both surrogates and Intended Parents to be cautiously optimistic during this time.
Pregnancy and Delivery: Once you complete your medication protocol and have confirmed pregnancy through both blood work and fetal heart beat (at about 6-8 weeks gestation), you will ‘graduate’ to your own OB/GYN. You will attend regular appointments (typically monthly) for monitoring, just as a natural pregnancy would require.
Payments: Prior to confirmation of fetal heartbeat, there are several bonuses that will be paid to you. You will be paid a $4000 bonus when you sign your legal agreement with your parents. You will receive a $500 bonus when you start medications. Once we confirm fetal heartbeat, you will start receiving compensation monthly for the pregnancy. It is paid out over ten months. If you are a first-time surrogate, you will be paid $4000 a month plus a $250 allowance each month until birth. The total amount still due will then be paid within 14 days of birth.
- First time surrogates: $40,000 base compensation/ $50,000 TOTAL
- Second time surrogates: $50,000 base compensation/$60,000 TOTAL
- Third time surrogates: $60,000 base compensation/$70,000 TOTAL
Delivery: Approximately 10 months after transfer, you will deliver in a hospital near your home. You will not be required to deliver at or near the original IVF clinic. If the Intended Parents are international, they should expect to spend 4-8 weeks in the United States both leading up to and post birth. Domestic parents will be able to travel with their baby shortly after he/she is released from the hospital.
**This document is aimed to outline the basic timeline for surrogates and is not a substitute for an agency or professional representation. Roots Surrogacy offers unlimited client consults to educate, inform and answer questions regarding the process and how to tackle this process with success.
We look forward to guiding you through this process and are happy to answer questions any time!
Brooke Kimbrough, co-founder Roots Surrogacy