To be a surrogate mother is to give the gift of love to a deserving family. Without selfless women willing to go through the surrogacy process, parents who struggle with infertility would never get to experience the joy of having a biological child.
If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate mother but are wondering how exactly does surrogacy work? Then you’ve come to the right place.
The decision to be a surrogate is a big one. It will be life-changing for both you and the family whose child you carry. The entire surrogacy process can last over a year, so it’s important to know what to expect.
Working with an experienced agency like Surrogacy By Faith that is there to support you can help make your surrogacy journey as rewarding as possible.
Since most agency staff members at Surrogacy By Faith have also been surrogates themselves, they understand the surrogacy process on a spiritual and emotional level. This allows them to offer sage advice throughout each phase of your journey.
How Each Phase Of The Surrogacy Process Works
The surrogacy process, while exciting, can also seem a little overwhelming at first. That’s completely understandable.
But don’t worry, many amazing women have made the journey you’re about to embark on. Let their wisdom and experience guide you.
While the entire surrogacy process can last well over a year, looking at the individual steps that make up the entire journey is a good way to really answer the question “how does surrogacy work”.
We’ve broken the surrogacy process down into six (6) phases to help you understand the entire journey from start to finish. Bless you as you consider taking the first steps towards becoming a surrogate mother.
Phase 1: Prescreening
This is where you start your surrogacy journey. The basic steps in our pre screening process are:
- Complete initial application/inquiry form
- Create an account in the Surrogacy By Faith portal
- Complete a full profile and screening questions
- Medical records review
- Background check
You’ll begin the surrogacy process by filling out an initial application. The inquiry form is short, and will only require about 10 minutes to complete.
Once we review your application and determine you’re a good candidate for surrogacy, you’ll be given access to our surrogate portal. Here you will create an account, complete a full profile and answer more in-depth screening questions.
You’ll also be asked to submit some documentation, such as a copy of your insurance card, medical records, etc. Your Surrogacy Coordinator will review all submissions and coordinate with you throughout the entire process.
“We believe it is of the utmost importance to become friends with our surrogates so they feel comfortable throughout this process. Our friendships last far beyond the end of the journey, which is an added blessing! Most Surrogate Mothers of ours express this experience as God—filled, life-changing, and extremely meaningful.” – Surrogacy By Faith
At Surrogacy By Faith we really want to get to know you, so we can help make the best possible surrogacy match. It’s an important part of the process that we take very seriously.
During the pre screening phase we will also order a criminal background check. This is required for all surrogate applicants.
We’ll also be here to answer any initial questions you might have about how the surrogacy process works. Like we said earlier, one of the advantages of working with an agency is having someone there to support you through every phase of your journey.
Phase 2: Evaluation
Once all pre screening requirements have been met, it’s time for the evaluation phase of the surrogacy process. The main steps of this phase include:
- Financial review
- Drug test
- Home or Skype visit
- Psychological evaluation
In addition to a complete background check, all surrogate candidates must pass a financial review and drug test. From there we will coordinate a home or Skype visit.
This allows us to get a feel for your everyday environment, and is one more way we get to know our surrogates better. We want to ensure all our surrogates live a harmonious stress-free lifestyle as this leads to the best possible pregnancy outcomes.
The final step in our evaluation phase is setting up a psychological examination for you and your spouse (as applicable). The psychologist will conduct an in-depth interview to ensure surrogates and their primary support person are truly ready, mentally and emotionally, to begin the surrogacy journey.
“When I first agreed to sign up for it, I’m preparing my heart and praying over this family and know God will protect me from my own emotions.” – Alisha K., 3x Surrogate
This is also a wonderful time to ask any lingering questions you might have about becoming a surrogate. Including how the entire surrogacy process will impact both you and your family.
Phase 3: Matching
At Surrogacy By Faith, we ensure all requirements and evaluations are completed before you can be matched with intended parents. This guarantees that we won’t set up a match, get everyone excited, only to find out over the next month that a requirement wasn’t met.
By the time you get to phase 3, you are 100% ready to begin your surrogacy journey! Here’s what happens next:
- Profile exchange with intended parents
- Video call with intended parents
The matching phase is one of the most exciting. It’s here that you’ll be meeting the intended parents whose dreams you’ll make come true!
When we identify a good match for both the surrogate and the intended parents, profiles are exchanged. You have the chance to review the intended parents’ profile to learn all about who they are and what brought them to surrogacy, and they will do the same for you.
“Because carrying a child for someone else is such a compassionate act, we understand that surrogates often form a special bond with the baby’s parents. We nurture this bond by providing extensive support for both surrogates and intended parents, to ensure that surrogacy is a positive experience for everyone involved.” – Surrogacy By Faith
If both parties agree, we set up a video call so you can get to know each other more. You might be a little nervous, which is totally okay! Almost everyone feels the exact same way at the first meeting, including the intended parents.
Once the conversation flows and there is a real connection, it will feel like something just clicks. If both parties feel the same way – then you’ve been matched! And you’ll both move forward with the surrogacy process.
Phase 4: Medical and Legal Clearance
You’re matched! Now it’s time to move one step closer to bringing a beautiful baby into the world. The next phase of the surrogacy process includes:
- Medical screening at IVF clinic
- Contract finalization with attorney
The first time you may need to travel for the surrogacy process is for your medical screening, which takes place at the Intended Parents’ IVF clinic with their IVF doctor.
At the medical screening you will have a physical exam, as well as sonogram and blood tests. You’ll also learn about the types of medications you will need to take for your surrogate pregnancy.
Even more exciting, this could be the first time you meet your intended parents in person! Many times IPs will attend the medical screening at the clinic. This is a great opportunity to start building a special relationship with the couple whose child you will be carrying.
Once the blood work comes back from the IVF clinic, it’s time to finalize the legalities of the surrogacy process. Our surrogate attorney draws up a contract and forwards it to the IPs attorney. They can accept or request changes.
At Surrogacy By Faith the legal process generally goes quite smoothly because all parties have already agreed on the “non termination” clause prior to beginning the surrogacy process.
We uphold strong Christian values and are therefore one of the only surrogate agencies in the country that does not support fetal reduction and/or pregnancy termination.
Once everyone agrees and signs the contract, it’s on to the next phase – embryo transfer.
Phase 5: Medication and Embryo Transfer
In this phase, the medical process begins in earnest as you actively work towards establishing a pregnancy. The next steps are:
- Begin treatments and medications
- Attend monitoring appointments
- Embryo transfer!
During this phase you’ll begin your medical treatments (estrogen and progesterone injections) to prepare your body for pregnancy. You’ll also start attending local monitoring appointments which consist of bloodwork and ultrasounds to ensure your body is responding properly to the fertility meds.
Once your body is ready, the embryo transfer is relatively quick. We require all our intended Parents (lP’s) to do the Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) prior to freezing their embryos.
The PGS tests the genetics of the embryo, so we can be confident there are no abnormalities. This helps us reduce the chances of a failed transfer or early miscarriage.
Following the transfer, you’ll be given instructions from the IVF doctor on protocols you’ll need to follow. Many intended parents attend the embryo transfer if they can, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with them.
Phase 6: Pregnancy and Delivery
You’ve come to the last phase of the surrogacy process, pregnancy and delivery. The final steps are:
- Blood tests (usually at local doctor)
- Ultrasound at 6-7 weeks for confirmation of heartbeat(s)
- Routine appointments
- Develop your relationship with your IPs and share updates
- Delivery day!
After you return home from the embryo transfer, you’ll go back to your local monitoring clinic for blood tests to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing. Then you’ll have an ultrasound at around 6-7 weeks for a confirmation of heartbeat(s).
The moment you and your intended parents have prayed for has finally come to pass. You are officially pregnant!
At this point, you’ll begin routine OB/GYN appointments. You’ll also continue to develop your relationship with your intended parents by giving them weekly updates and sharing your pregnancy experience.
Then, before you know it, delivery day will arrive and you’ll witness your intended parents meeting their baby for the first time. This is a powerful moment like no other.
“The best part of being a surrogate is when the parents meet their child for the first time. Their joy and just knowing that you were able to give them that gift, that’s the best part.” – Alisha K., 3x Surrogat
To ensure your delivery day goes smoothly, you usually work on a birth plan with your Intended Parents the last month of pregnancy. Babies can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to have a document in place that outlines everyone’s wishes for delivery.
Saying Goodbye To Your Surro Baby
A surrogacy journey is emotional for everyone. It can be particularly emotional when it’s time to say goodbye to your surro baby and intended parents.
Just remember what a blessing the entire surrogacy process has been. You have done an amazing act of service for someone. You’ve helped grow a family, and they will be forever grateful for that.
And just because you say goodbye as you leave the hospital doesn’t mean it’s a true goodbye. Think of it more like “see you soon”.
Many surrogates continue the relationship with their intended parents far beyond birth. Ongoing phone calls, visits, emails, and photos are all possible, depending on the wishes of both parties. Receiving updates about the beautiful baby/babies you helped bring forth into the world is another source of joy for many surrogates.
Ready To Begin The Surrogacy Process?
At Surrogacy By Faith, we will navigate the entire journey with you, every step of the way. We know that we are truly doing God’s work, and we understand the intricacy and miracle of bringing a new life into this world.
We want to keep things as simple as possible for you. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a surrogate with Surrogacy By Faith, please complete our initial Inquiry Form.
After an initial conversation, you can decide if you are ready to start your surrogacy journey. If yes, you’ll begin the pre screening process and move forward from there.
God bless you as you take your first steps of your surrogacy journey!