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Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman (or “surrogate”) agrees to carry a child for a single parent or couple who are typically otherwise unable (medically or logistically) to carry a child themselves. The surrogate has the rare opportunity to bring others the joy of parenthood and is usually financially compensated for her services. Oftentimes, the arrangement between prospective parents and surrogate is mediated by an agency like Surrogacy by Faith that handles the legal, medical, and financial components of the process. 

Gestational versus Traditional Surrogacy 

Surrogates can become pregnant through two means: traditional and gestational. In a traditional surrogate pregnancy, the surrogate acts as the egg donor—she has a genetic relationship to the child she carries. The child can be conceived through intrauterine insemination ((“IUI”) or in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) using sperm from a donor or prospective parent. Traditional pregnancies are popular among homosexual male couples, single male prospective parents, and couples without viable eggs.  

In a gestational surrogate pregnancy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. Instead, the child is conceived through IVF using sperm from a donor or intended parent and an egg from a donor or intended parent. Gestational pregnancies are popular with intended parents who have viable eggs or a particular egg donor in mind. 

The Step-by-Step Process of Carrying Someone Else’s Child

Becoming a surrogate is a serious undertaking—the steps involved are designed to protect the surrogate, prospective parents, and child. 

Determine if carrying someone else’s child is right for you

The decision to become a surrogate is a complicated one, and it’s not the right fit for everyone. First, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re eligible to be a surrogate. While the parameters vary slightly by agency, the most common eligibility requirements are that you be a non-smoking U.S. citizen between 21 and 40 years old and not receiving federal or state financial aid. You must be in excellent physical and mental health—neither underweight or overweight—with a healthy reproductive history. 

You must be have had an uncomplicated, full-term pregnancy, and cannot have had more than two cesarean sections. Finally, you must be willing to undergo psychological and physical exams, a background check, and intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.

Beyond meeting eligibility requirements, potential surrogates must consider if they are prepared for the emotional implications of embarking on a surrogacy journey.

Select a surrogacy agency or attorney right for you

Selecting the right agency or attorney can make all the difference when embarking on your surrogacy journey. Surrogacy attorneys provide surrogates with legal guidance throughout the process, coaching surrogates through contracts with intended parents as well as relinquishing parental rights in the case of traditional surrogacy pregnancies.

 However, surrogacy attorneys do not offer financial oversight, parental matching services, management, or counseling. Surrogates interested in a more comprehensive support system throughout the process should consider turning to a surrogate agency. 

Surrogacy agencies provide surrogates with invaluable guidance, screening, parental matching, and financial oversight as well as legal protections. 

However, different agencies offer a range of specialties. For example, Surrogacy by Faith offers a Christian, faith-based approach to surrogates and prospective parents, providing religious support in addition to the range of services typically expected of an agency. 

Get matched with a family

Surrogates can get matched with prospective parents through a surrogacy agency like Surrogacy by Faith. 

Because agencies thoroughly screen both surrogates and prospective parents, agencies are a safer means of initiating a relationship between parties. Upon passing an initial screening by a surrogacy agency, potential surrogates undergo a rigorous psychological and physical evaluation to verify they are mentally, emotionally, and physically fit to serve as a surrogate. 

Once the potential surrogate has been approved by the agency, she will be paired with prospective parents. There are more intended parents seeking surrogates than surrogates seeking intended parents, so the wait times are much longer for intended parents than for surrogates.

Create a binding legal contract

Surrogacy is an agreement often made in conjunction with a binding legal contract, the terms of which are determined by both the surrogate and prospective parents with the aid of their own lawyers. The contract is an essential part of protecting the interests of the surrogate, prospective parents, and baby before, during, and after the pregnancy. 

The content of the contract will vary by agreement but typically outlines the payment plan for the surrogate, the expectations for how the surrogate will behave during the pregnancy, which parties will be present at prenatal appointments, and how the baby will be legally transferred to the protective parents after their birth.

Fertilization and Pregnancy

Once the surrogate has passed all background checks and exams and the legal contract has been signed, the surrogate will begin the fertilization process at a fertility clinic. First, the egg is extracted from the egg donor, who is either the surrogate, the prospective parent, or a third-party donor, depending on whether the parties have agreed upon a gestational or traditional pregnancy. 

Prior to extraction, the intended mother or egg donor will receive a number of injections to prepare the eggs. The eggs are then extracted in a minimally invasive procedure, fertilized with the intended father’s sperm or from a donor, and implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. 

The surrogate will typically begin receiving payments once the pregnancy is confirmed and start a prenatal care regimen. Throughout the pregnancy, the surrogate is required to attend regular medical appointments to stay up-to-date on the baby’s development, and this progress will be shared with the intended parents.

How much do you get paid to carry someone’s baby?

Compensation for surrogacy varies by state but typically ranges from $30,000 to $40,000. The cost of screening, doctor’s appointments, and medical procedures are covered by the agency and intended parents. 

Becoming a Surrogate with Surrogacy By Faith

When embarking on a surrogacy journey, partnering with an agency you trust makes all the difference. At Surrogacy by Faith, we’re guided by the kindness faith brings: the health and happiness of our surrogates, families, and babies is our first priority. We care deeply about making the surrogacy experience joyful—Surrogacy by Faith streamlines the medical and legal aspects of surrogacy and makes matching with the right intended parents easy. 

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a surrogate with Surrogacy by Faith, visit our FAQ page, contact us, or begin the pre-screening process today by filling out a surrogate inquiry form.