Surrogate Mother Process
Shared Conception works hard to simplify the surrogate mother process. To follow is a breakdown of the steps involved.
- The Surrogate Mother Process – Application and Evaluation
- The Matching Process
- Psychological Screening and Evaluation
- Medical Screening
- Legal Process
- The Embryo Transfer
- Pregnancy and Delivery
The Surrogate Mother Process – Application and Evaluation
- Start by completing the online Information Request or call Shared Conception (713-622-1144) to schedule an initial phone consultation. We will ask a few brief questions and then explain the surrogate process to you and see if you have any questions.
- If we both decide to proceed, we will email or mail you our application packet, which also requests 2-4 pictures of yourself, as well as inquire about your medical history, psychological history, lifestyle, and preferences related to surrogacy. Complete the application thoroughly and honestly so that we can start the “getting to know you” process, thus matching you with the most appropriate intended parents.
- If your application is accepted, Shared Conception will contact you to gather more information about you and your family. We want to get to know you better including your preferences related to surrogacy and what your ideal match would be. We want you to have the opportunity to ask any and all questions you may have before you decide to join our program. If you are married, it is also helpful for your spouse to attend these meetings. His presence allows us to get to know you both thus custom-matching you with the most appropriate intended parents.
- If all goes well, and we are mutually pleased with each other, Shared Conception will present you with our Agency agreement which spells out both parties rights and responsibilities and gives us permission to present your profile to prospective intended parents.
- Next, we will start gathering medical records from your previous pregnancies. As this can take a while, it’s important that you provide us with your OBGYN and hospital info as soon as possible.
- If you have medical insurance, we will also ask that you send your insurance benefits information to us. The goal is to see if your health insurance policy has any surrogacy exclusions relating to pregnancy. Once you’re matched, we’ll have an insurance specialist review this as well. If you do not have insurance, we will assist you in finding a policy. The intended parents will be responsible for the premium.
- While your insurance and medical records are being gathered, Shared Conception will simultaneously conduct a thorough criminal background check.
The Matching Process
Shared Conception’s objective is that the surrogate and intended parents interact in an extraordinarily comfortable environment and that both parties build a good rapport and partnership. That said, we strive to pinpoint your core beliefs and innate desires that are in-line with the intended parents, so that you are mentally comfortable throughout the pregnancy.
Once Shared Conception accepts you into our surrogate mother program, we will expertly determine which couples to present to you based upon the criteria you expressed to us during the screening process and the preferences the couples have shared with us. This timeline could either be quick or it could take some time, as we are looking for someone whose needs, expectations and views are similar to yours.
If you are comfortable with the intended parents we present to you, we will immediately contact them. If they, too, are interested in moving forward, Shared Conception will coordinate a three-way phone conversation between the intended parents, Surrogate and a member of our team. If all parties agree to move forward, then the next step is to arrange a face-to-face meeting so everyone can discuss the partnership and expectations.
Psychological Screening and Evaluation
Once this match meeting is successfully completed and all parties agree to work together, you and your husband or partner (if applicable) will be psychologically tested and evaluated by a licensed mental health professional experienced in fertility counseling. This step is recommended by The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and will ensure that you are well informed of the risks involved in a gestational arrangement, as well as the psychological, physical and mental aspects of the surrogacy process. All psychological screening and evaluation fees are paid for by the intended parents.
Medical Screening and Evaluation
Your medical records will need be thoroughly reviewed and approved by the intended parent’s IVF physician, who will want to meet you for a consultation and medical evaluation. Each clinic varies in the types of medical screening they perform but they will often include infectious disease screening, vaginal ultrasound, etc. Your spouse or partner is also screened for infectious diseases. The intended parents pay for all expenses related to the medical screening and evaluation.
We encourage you to take this time to discuss all potential medical risks with the IVF physician, including the various medical procedures, medications and pregnancy.
The actual surrogacy contract is drafted by the intended parents’ attorney. If you do not have an attorney, we will give you a list of qualified attorneys experienced in Reproductive Law to review your contract. Your attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding the contract and advise you on any items that may need modifying. The intended parents will pay all fees associated with the legal process.
Once the contract is signed by all parties, your couple will deposit funds into an escrow account which will be used to cover your expenses and fees as agreed upon in the contract. At that point, you are able to start medications in preparation for the embryo transfer.
The Embryo Transfer
The IVF clinic will give you full details and specific instructions about the embryo transfer process, medications needed, and their expectations of you. There are several aspects of the embryo transfer process.
- You may be asked to take contraceptives, and possibly Lupron, to prepare you for the embryo transfer.
- Multiple subcutaneous and intramuscular injections will be administered during the embryo transfer cycle until the twelfth week of pregnancy.
- You will be asked to take estrogen and progesterone in the form of a patch, pill, suppository or injection.
- During the embryo transfer, a small catheter is inserted into your vagina then uterus. The embryos will then be placed through the catheter and up into the uterus for anticipated implantation.
- Be prepared for multiple blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the progress of the cycle, as well as the first twelve weeks of pregnancy
- Mandatory bed rest may occur for 1-3 days immediately following the embryo transfer.
- Within 8 to 14 days following the embryo transfer, you will take a pregnancy test at the IVF clinic.
Shared Conception works very closely with you, the surrogate, the IVF physician and the nursing staff, to ensure that everyone remains well informed and on the same page during each step of the process.
Pregnancy and Delivery
An In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancy requires earlier attention that your past pregnancies.
- The IVF clinic will closely monitor you for approximately twelve weeks before being released to the obstetrician of your choice.
- Know that there may be a possibility of multiples and if this occurs, you may be required to attend additional office visits, go on bed rest and just be more closely monitored.
- As this pregnancy is shared with the intended parents, it is crucial to have ongoing communication with them about the developing fetus, your health status, etc.
- The delivery of this baby is such a memorable time for everyone! In most cases the surrogate, along with her family, share this very exciting and rewarding moment with the intended parents. After delivery and the release of the baby (by its pediatrician), the intended parents leave the hospital as a complete family unit while the surrogate goes home to her own family satisfied knowing she fulfilled the wishes of a couple or individual.
Shared Conception’s Pledge
Shared Conception pledges to wholeheartedly support you throughout the surrogate mother process. Our director will expertly act as a liaison between you and the intended parents. We will ensure that any sensitive or difficult subject matters are tactfully brought up and handled. We want you to be informed, fulfilled and satisfied knowing you contributed to the world in a unique and precious way.