Surrogate Mother FAQ
Shared Conception, Houston’s premier, yet affordable surrogacy agency, hopes you contact us soon!
We are experienced, compassionate and eager to help you reach your familial goals and fulfill your very personal dreams. When you contact this unique surrogacy agency, you will immediately find that you will receive customized service and superior results. Contact us today!
Who is a Gestational Surrogate?
With no genetic link to the baby she is carrying, a gestational surrogate is simply the carrier of the fetus. The intended mother or egg donor provides the egg and the intended father or sperm donor provides the sperm. The gestational surrogate has absolutely NO biological connection to the child.
Who is a traditional surrogate?
A traditional surrogate is where the surrogate uses her own biological eggs. As there are numerous emotional and legal aspects of traditional surrogacy, Shared Conception does not handle traditional surrogacy agreements and exclusively offers gestational surrogacy where the eggs of the surrogate mother are never used.
Why should I choose Shared Conception over another agency?
Finding the right agency takes time and research. Like a healthy marriage, you have to know you’ve made a good decision. Shared Conception’s custom-matching process, stellar customer service, sincere compassion and unbiased professionalism certainly allows us to stand out from the rest.
Our agency also respects you, your family and the choices you have made. We are not here to judge anyone -only to help add to and enhance happy families.
As you work with Shared Conception, you will journey through a life-changing experience -an experience you will never forget!
Why would a couple choose to have a child through surrogacy?
For infertility, adoption or childlessness used to be the only alternatives. Over time, there are now a myriad of options for an infertile couple. One of these options is surrogacy. Surrogacy is popular as the baby is genetically related to one or both of the intended parents.
Do you use my eggs for the pregnancy?
No, at Shared Conception, the surrogates’ eggs are never used in gestational surrogacy.
Why would a woman choose to be a surrogate?
There are many reasons a woman chooses to become a surrogate and they are all valid and very personal ones. Having listened to so many surrogates, Shared Conception has determined the most popular reason is that these unique women are sympathetic towards those couples unable to conceive or carry their own children. Often they have seen the devastation infertility causes with a family member or close friend first hand, and feel compelled to do something to help. These women also honestly enjoy the experience of being pregnant and particularly enjoy low-risk pregnancies.
Where do I find out how to become a Surrogate Mother in your program?
How to become a surrogate mother is not as complicated as it may seem. Being a surrogate is a very generous and selfless act on your part. First visit our surrogate pages to fully understand the surrogacy process. When you are ready to proceed, simply fill out the brief Preliminary Surrogate Application. We promise to contact you within 24 hours!
How long is the process to be a surrogate?
Initial screening and matching – from weeks to months (difficult to predict)
Medical and psychological testing – 1 to 3 months
Embryo transfer cycle – 1 to 3 months
Pregnancy – 9 months
What are the requirements for being a surrogate?
- Overall good health without any psychiatric illness or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Financially secure and not be in need of or receiving state or federal government assistance.
- Birthed at least one child that she is currently raising and experienced uncomplicated pregnancies.
- Be between the ages of 21-38.
- Be in a happy, stable living environment and have the full support of her spouse or partner.
- Non-smoker and not be exposed to second hand smoke.
- Must not use illegal drugs.
- Have a healthy height to weight ratio (BMI) as determined by a medical professional – Recognize that an individual does not have to be as skinny as a stick, just be healthy and comfortably fit!
- Possess a high school diploma.
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.A.
- Responsibly take all medications (oral, patches, injections, etc.) as instructed.
- Have a reliable mode of transportation.
- Enjoy being pregnant and have a sincere desire help others create or add to their family.
- After meeting these rigorous requirements, Shared Conception proceeds with the screening phase.
- Detailed interview.
- Completion of a comprehensive application which includes medical and psychological questions.
- Psychological evaluation and clearance.
- Full and thorough review of all official medical records directly obtained from treating physicians. These records will be reviewed only by a medical professional.
- Successful completion of Criminal and Residential background check.
My BMI is elevated even though I have had healthy pregnancies with no complications, Why is BMI so important?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. BMI guidelines are set by the IVF clinics that we work with, so they could vary. The right height/weight ratio is important so you’ll positively respond to the IVF medications. However, a few extra pounds are not necessarily an issue. If you have any concerns, please call us and we’ll be happy to discuss it further.
Do I qualify as a surrogate mother even though I am 40 years old? I just had a baby last year.
As a woman gets closer to 40 years of age, hormones tend to fluctuate more and the health risks for her and the baby may increase. The IVF clinic sets the age limit and sometimes they make rare exceptions for women who have been surrogates recently.
How do I know I'm a good fit for surrogacy?
The fact that you are even researching surrogacy says a lot about your eligibility. Most surrogates have already given birth to their own child or multiple kids. They are usually fun-loving, with a heart that is more precious than gold! Surrogates are typically involved in long-term, stable relationships and have enjoyed low-risk, healthy pregnancies. Shared Conception also understands that there are single, unattached women who feel just as passionate about birthing a baby for a deserving couple.
Altruistic motives are a huge component of a woman’s surrogate decisions. Although they typically receive some form of compensation, for many, that is not the driving force for choosing this path.
Of course, a potential surrogate is fully aware of any mental and physical repercussions that may occur. They DO NOT form a maternal attachment to the baby/babies they carry and are able and willing to follow an intense medical protocol while in a stable and supportive environment.
Can I still be a surrogate if I took an anti-depressant for post-partum depression?
You should not be a surrogate if you took anti-depressants within the last 6-12 months. Your medical records will be reviewed and perhaps a letter will be necessary from your physician stating that it is okay for you to become pregnant again.
Can I still be a surrogate if my husband (or significant other) isn't excited about my decision to be a surrogate?
All surrogates and egg donors in Shared Conception’s program have the full support of their husband or partner. If they are single, they must have a stable support person in place that can assist them in a time of an emergency. That support infrastructure is needed and necessary for all surrogates who participate in our program.
May I still be a surrogate even though I do not believe in selective reduction or abortion for any reason?
ABSOLUTELY. Shared Conception has intended parents who similarly disagree with selective reduction or abortion, so we can certainly custom-match you. However, as this position is less common, it just may take a little longer to match you.
Will my personal health insurance be used for surrogacy?
We will guide you in reviewing your health insurance policy for surrogacy exclusions. If there are no such exclusions and if you agree, then your policy will be used to pay for pregnancy and delivery-related expenses. The intended parents pays for all expenses related to medical procedures, co-pays, deductibles and any other expenses related to your pregnancy.
Can I be a surrogate if I don't have health insurance?
Shared Conception can assist with locating an insurance policy that the intended parents may purchase for the duration of the pregnancy.
Why do you need my social security number?
Shared Conception needs your social security number to conduct a criminal history and financial background check which is a requirement for participating in our surrogacy program.
How do I determine my fee for being a surrogate mother?
Shared Conception can suggest fee amounts but ultimately, it is your decision. Typically our first-time surrogates receive approximately $18,000 to 23,000 as their base fee and second-time carriers typically receive approximately $25,000+ as their base fee. Of course, this number could change based on whether you have health insurance or if that needs to be purchased by the intended parents. Additional fees may include birthing multiples, having a c-section, maternity clothing, travel, etc.
I've submitted my preliminary surrogate application on your website. What's next?
A member of the Shared Conception staff will call you within 1-2 business days. You can also review the Surrogate Mother Process page to peruse next steps.
Do I get to choose the couple I work with?
Absolutely! We take matching intended parents and surrogates very seriously and you will certainly guide us to the most appropriate couple for you. A good match on both sides can result in long-term friendships and mutual respect.
What types of couples do you work with?
Shared Conception works with a diverse group of individuals including married couples, same sex couples, single parents, International couples, International singles and people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Dynamics also vary as some Intended Parents want to add to their families and others are having their first child.
Does Shared Conception work with out-of-state couples and International couples?
Yes. We work with couples throughout the United States and globally.
How long does it take to be matched with intended parents?
As Shared Conception custom-matches you with the intended parents, the length of time can greatly vary. Some Surrogates are matched within in a few days or weeks and others in a few months. Honestly, sometimes, it can take longer. A custom and thoughtful match depends on many factors including personalities, location, fees, insurance coverage, willingness to terminate if there are chromosomal defects (ie: Down Syndrome), willingness to reduce if there are triplets or a higher order multiples and the list goes on and on. Although we realize you are eager to get started on your surrogacy journey, we strive to ensure the best possible match based on both party’s desires and needs.
Do I get to meet the family with whom I might be matched?
Absolutely! Shared Conception strongly encourages the surrogate and intended parents to meet and make sure that a healthy rapport exists. It is also nice to, perhaps, introduce your intended parents to your family and to ensure that everyone is comfortable moving forward.
What kind of contact with the intended parents should I expect during my surrogacy?
Shared Conception will ensure that the level of interaction between you and the intended parents is acceptable and comfortable for everyone BEFORE entering into a contract together. That way, all expectations are managed.
How much do surrogate mothers get paid?
Please see the Surrogate Compensation page.
Will I get compensated more for multiple births?
Who pays for all the medical bills?
Your health insurance policy (if you have one) should pay most of the bills related to your pregnancy and delivery. The intended parents will pay for all expenses related to medical procedures, co-pays, deductibles and any unexpected costs related to your pregnancy.
How is my surrogacy payments disbursed?
Surrogacy payments are disbursed according to your contract with the intended parents. Usually, it is divided up into equal amounts in monthly payments once the confirmation of a heartbeat is heard (around 6-8 weeks into the pregnancy) and is paid on the 1st of every month. If you are carrying multiples, your multiples fee is divided up and paid to you over the last five months. It is also important to note that between 30-32 weeks, (as determined in your contract) the pregnancy is considered a viable pregnancy and if you deliver before 40 weeks, then you are given a lump sum of the remaining balance. The remainder of the miscellaneous fees are distributed at various times throughout the pregnancy and will be discussed in your screening.
Is there a chance that I may not receive the compensation we contractually agreed upon?
Payments of monies are a sensitive topic that obviously must be addressed. Thus, Shared Conception can help coordinate all financial matters, removing this component from your relationship with the intended parents. An independent, attorney run escrow company holds all funds related to your surrogacy in a managed trust account, ensuring all monies are paid in a timely manner.
Will I need to travel and if so, who pays for my travel costs?
If you live in a different city from the intended parents, you will need to make two trips to their city of residence. The first trip, more than likely, will be for the initial medical screening and typically lasts 1-2 days. The second trip is for the transfer and lasts approximately 2-4 days. The intended parents pay for all travel fees as stated in your surrogacy agreement.
Can I continue to go to my current OB?
Yes, as long as your OB accepts the health plan you’re using for the surrogate pregnancy. If there is extra care required, such as a multiple pregnancy, you, the intended parents and your physician will decide if you need to see a Perinatologist or high risk-OB.
May I request that no more then two embryos be transferred?
Yes. Shared Conception will discuss your comfort level in carrying multiples during your application and screening process.
What medications will I be on, as the gestational surrogate?
Medications could include prenatal vitamins, birth control pills, Lupron, Estrogen, and Progesterone. These medications may come in a variety of forms such as pills, patches and injections.
Does a surrogate have to be on bed rest after the transfer?
Typically, the IVF clinic will require some type of bed rest for 1-3 days
How long do I have to abstain from sexual intercourse when being a gestational surrogate?
The IVF clinic will give you specific details but usually they ask you to abstain for ten days before a transfer and ten days after a transfer.
Will my pregnancy be any different from my other pregnancies?
An In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancy requires earlier attention that your past pregnancies.
Whose name goes on the birth certificate?
In Texas, when certain guidelines set by the law are met, the intended mother and intended father’s name is placed on the child’s original birth certificate and no adoption is required. Please see the Surrogacy in Texas page for specifics.
Who chooses the attorney to review contracts with myself and my husband?
You choose your attorney. If you don’t already have an attorney, we will give you a list of qualified attorneys experienced in Reproductive Law to review your contract.
Do the parents have wills in place before beginning a surrogacy specifying guardianship of the unborn child?
Yes, validated wills be set in place before the embryo transfer.
What happens if the family gets divorced? Who gets the child?
If a divorce should occur, custody would be worked out exclusively between the intended parents. The child will never be your responsibility.