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Finding a surrogacy clinic right for you is a key step in beginning your surrogacy journey. In addition to taking into account a range of considerations—from location to success rates to providers—we strongly suggest consulting your surrogacy agency for recommendations. Before diving into the selection process, let’s first walk through what role a surrogacy clinic (also known as a “fertility clinic” or “IVF clinic”) plays in the surrogacy process.

What does a surrogacy clinic do?

A surrogacy clinic is a fertility clinic staffed by medical professionals trained in a range of obstetric and gynecological procedures including IVF. In the context of the surrogacy process, surrogacy clinics perform surrogate medical screening, egg fertilization and implantation, and pregnancy testing.

Screening 

The medical screening process for surrogates involves a series of medical exams conducted by medical professionals at a surrogacy clinic. The process is designed to explore whether the surrogate is physically able to carry a healthy baby to term. While the list of procedures varies slightly by clinic, they always include collecting a urine and blood sample for an STD panel and drug screening for the surrogate and their partner.

Additionally, the surrogate will receive a comprehensive uterine exam in two parts: a saline sonogram and hysteroscopy. A saline sonogram uses a uterine saline flush to detect fibroids; a hysteroscopy is an exploratory procedure conducted by inserting a thin scope into the cervix to examine the shape, size, and viability of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Finally, the clinic will perform a pap smear to test for infection and cell irregularities and a general physical to confirm the surrogate is physically prepared for a healthy, full- term pregnancy. 

Fertilization 

The fertilization process varies depending on whether the intended parents and surrogate have decided on a gestational or traditional surrogacy. This decision can be based on a number of factors including the preference, values, and medical viability. Whichever path intended parents and surrogates choose, fertility clinics are equipped to guide them through the process. 

In the case of a traditional surrogacy, a fertility clinic will begin by obtaining sperm from the intended parent or a donor. Then, during the surrogate’s ovulation, the sperm is then inserted into the surrogate’s uterus, cervix, or fallopian tubes through artificial insemination, a process known as intrauterine insemination (IUI). If the IUI is successful, the sperm will inseminate one of the surrogate’s eggs. 

In the case of a gestational pregnancy, the process involves in vitro fertilization (IVF). A fertility clinic A mock cycle is a practice round preceding  Assuming the intended parents don’t already have a fertilized egg, the fertility clinic will begin by collecting sperm from the intended parent or a donor. 

Then, the clinic will harvest an egg from the intended parent or a donor. Egg donation occurs in two stages. First, the donor receives a regime of medications administered via subcutaneous injection to hyperstimulate the ovaries: one that controls egg maturation, one that stimulates egg follicles, and one that triggers ovulation. The result is that the egg donor produces more than one egg in a single cycle. Next, the egg donor will be scheduled for the donation, a minimally invasive medical procedure performed under conscious sedation. The egg retrieval is a surgical procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration: the doctor extracts the egg by inserting an ultrasound probe affixed to a needle into the vaginal tissue. 

Once harvested, the eggs are fertilized using the collected sperm. Then, the egg is inserted into the surrogate’s uterus through the cervix.

Pregnancy Testing

After the surrogate has undergone fertilization treatment, they will need to be tested to confirm the pregnancy. Doctors will typically wait two weeks after an IVF procedure to administer a pregnancy test; in the case of IUI, doctors can test for pregnancy as soon as a week after insemination.

There are two types of pregnancy tests—quantitative and qualitative—both of which test for levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone only present in the person’s body when they are pregnant. Qualitative tests, like at-home urine tests, only test for the presence of hCG and, because they cannot detect very small amounts of hCG, are less accurate. Quantitative tests, typically blood tests administered by a professional, test for the amount of hCG present in the body and are extremely accurate. Surrogates will visit their fertility clinic in the weeks following their fertilization treatment to receive a quantitative pregnancy test via blood draw followed by a pelvic exam.

What do fertility clinics not do?

Fertility clinics do not handle parental matching, psychological screening, or legal matters—these aspects of the process of the purview of the surrogate agency.

After a fertility clinic has confirmed the surrogate’s pregnancy, their services typically come to an end. The administration of prenatal care—including medical guidance, supplements, fetal and pelvic exams, and ultrasounds—is typically carried out by the surrogate’s local obstetrician. Fertility clinics are not responsible for monitoring the pregnancy, only screening, fertilization, and pregnancy testing.

How do you select a surrogacy clinic? 

When selecting a surrogacy clinic, location is a key consideration. The fertility clinic or clinics will be visited by both the intended parents (for IVF and egg donation) as well as the surrogate, so it’s essential the clinic is convenient for all parties involved.

The next natural consideration is prospective fertility clinic’s success rate. However, consider success rates with a degree of healthy skepticism: success rates can be influenced heavily by the patients and cases a given fertility clinic chooses to take on. For example, a clinic that exclusively takes on low-risk surrogacies might have a very high success rate while another more inclusive clinic that takes on more challenging cases might have a lower success rate. While success rates can be a valuable metric when assessing different fertility clinics, it should by no means be the only consideration.

The more pressing consideration when choosing the surrogacy clinic right for you is what the clinic itself offers, a consideration that can only be explored through doing research and asking questions about each clinic you consider. Who are the providers who staff that particular fertility clinic? What technologies are available at this location? Are the facilities clean, safe, and comfortable? Does the fertility clinic have a good reputation? Finding the answers to these questions can provide clarity when making this decision.

Surrogacy agencies vary in cost, so financial considerations should also be taken into account when selecting a surrogacy clinic. Intended parents should consider their budget and priorities when assessing their local options. Different fertility clinics accept different health insurance, so all involved parties should agree on a fertility clinic that accommodates the surrogate’s insurance plan.

What are the best IVF clinics for surrogacy?

When looking for the right IVF clinic for surrogacy, intended parents must take into account location. For your convenience, below is a compilation of the best clinics on the West Coast.

Surrogacy clinics in California 

San Diego Fertility Center in San Diego

California Fertility Partners in Los Angeles

Family Tree Surrogacy Center, LLC in Chula Vista

ISC Surrogacy Center in Murrieta 

Genesis Egg Donor and Surrogacy Group, Inc. in Pasadena 

Surrogacy clinics in Oregon

Northwest Fertility Center in Portland

OHSU Center for Women’s Health in Portland

Oregon Fertility Institute in Tigard

Fertility Center of Oregon in Eugene

Oregon Reproductive Medicine in Portland

Surrogacy clinics in Washington State

ORM Fertility in Bellevue

Northwest Surrogacy Clinic in Seattle

Seattle Reproductive Medicine in Seattle

Pacific NW Fertility in Seattle

Seattle Reproductive Medicine in Seattle

How do I connect with a fertility clinic?

Occasionally, intended parents come to a surrogacy agency having already formed a relationship with a surrogacy clinic. Some, specifically those who’ve chosen gestational pregnancy, have already used IVF to fertilize an egg. In this case, Surrogacy by Faith establishes a relationship with the selected fertility clinic and, with the consent of the involved parties, collaborates with the fertility clinic to coordinate screening, care, and fertilization for the surrogate.

In the case of intended parents and surrogates who do not have a preexisting relationship with a fertility clinic, selecting the right surrogacy clinic can make all the difference. The medical component of the surrogacy process can feel daunting, but with the right agency and clinic, it doesn’t have to. 

At Surrogacy by Faith, we believe the medical portion of the surrogacy process should be an exciting, beautiful, life-giving moment for the surrogate and intended parents. Surrogacy by Faith exclusively works with the top surrogacy clinics in each state, clinics that prioritize patient health, safety, and experience above all else. When you partner with Surrogacy by Faith on your surrogacy journey, we work closely with you to find the right clinic for your needs, values, and lifestyle, a clinic that is reliable, attentive, and convenient for you. Below is a list of fertility clinics we trust and recommend to surrogates and intended parents.

  • Huntington Reproductive Center (HRC) (in Pasadena, Newport Beach, and Encino)
  • Southern California Reproductive Center (SCRC)
  • Fertility Centers of Orange County (FCOC)
  • Life IVF (LIFE)
  • California Fertility Partners (CFP)
  • Fertility & Surgical Associates of California (FSAC)
  • California IVF (CAIVF)
  • Northern California Fertility Medical Center (NCFMC)

 

What makes Surrogacy by Faith different?

Surrogacy by Faith is a surrogacy agency built on the foundation of Christian values. We believe the surrogacy journey is a blessing for intended parents and surrogates, that the process of bringing life into the world is a time to reflect on the wonder of one of God’s many miracles. We support our intended parents and surrogates through the surrogacy journey with care, experience, and faith. We connect intended parents and surrogates with knowledgeable legal guidance, empathetic support networks, and top fertility clinics. 

If you’re ready to start your surrogacy journey, we’d love to hear from you—complete a surrogate initial inquiry or intended parent inquiry, and we’ll get in touch. If you still have questions, please visit our frequently asked questions page for surrogates and intended parents