The Surrogacy Process
What is the Surrogacy Process Like?
On average, from the date of application to delivery, the entire surrogacy process is about 14-18 months. With Magic Journeys, surrogacy is an especially rewarding and fulfilling experience. Each surrogate is paired with a dedicated case specialist who will provide guidance and support every step of the way. Because each surrogacy experience is unique, timing and requirements may vary. However, below is a description of a typical Magic Journeys surrogacy process.
- Applying to be a Surrogate
- Matching with Intended Parents
- Psychological and Medical Screening
- Legal Process
- Embryo Transfer Preparation
- Preparing for Delivery
- Delivery and Recovery
Every potential surrogate must first complete a quick survey to see if they qualify. If the survey indicates the surrogate may be a good candidate for our program, we send an application that goes into more detail. Once completed, the application is reviewed by a Magic Journeys admissions specialist. If the application is approved, a consultation is scheduled to start the admissions process; this will include providing pay stubs, letting us know about surrogacy preferences, submitting pregnancy-related medical records, and completing general paperwork. Surrogates will also be briefed on what to expect during their medical and psychological screening appointments. Before a surrogate can be matched with parents, she must pass a pre-screening phone call and submit bodily fluids for laboratory analysis.
While the surrogate is going through the admissions process, the Magic Journeys matching team is searching for a parent match. Searching for a match can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Every recommendation we make for a parent match aligns with the surrogate’s hopes and expectations. Our highly-personalized matching process is designed to increase the chances that the first profile we present to a surrogate is approved. Once the surrogate approves the parent profile, we send the surrogate’s profile to the parents. If both parties agree to the match, the Magic Journeys case management team will set up a video match meeting.
Next, the matched surrogate will complete a psychological and medical screening. This can occur as soon as 8 weeks after applying. Magic Journeys will cover travel expenses for the surrogate and her partner. Our Fertility Counseling Services team will conduct the psychological interview and the required testing. An IVF physician will conduct a physical examination and draw blood for a blood test. Medical screening results are usually available within two weeks of the appointment.
Once the surrogate’s health is cleared and the parent match is confirmed, both parties must agree to the legal terms of the surrogacy. The legal process typically takes three weeks. By law, surrogates cannot obtain injectable medications until the contract is signed. Once the legalities are taken care of, the assigned Magic Journeys case specialist will coordinate with the surrogate and an IVF clinic to create a calendar for medical procedures.
The IVF clinic will provide the surrogate with a copy of the cycle calendar and will coordinate the shipment of cycle medications. In addition, the IVF clinic will provide detailed medication instructions and dosage requirements. The surrogate will have a few monitoring appointments at a local medical facility to track progress. Once the surrogate is ready for embryo transfer, the IVF clinic will perform the procedure. A pregnancy test is administered 10 to 12 days after embryo transfer.
During pregnancy, the surrogate is required to continue IVF medications usually until the beginning of the second trimester. Once the IVF process is completed, the surrogate will be released to the care of her OB/GYN. Appointments with the obstetrician are scheduled every four weeks and become more frequent as the delivery date approaches. An assigned case specialist will be available to support the surrogate from the beginning of pregnancy through delivery and postpartum recovery. The case specialist will coordinate milestone calls with the surrogate and the parents to help prepare for delivery. Surrogates will have access to Magic Journeys’ online resource center and will be invited to our private social media group to connect with other surrogates.
During the second trimester, the legal team will begin the paperwork to establish the parents as legal guardians. During the third trimester, the case specialist will communicate with the surrogate’s local hospital to review hospital policies and assist in creating a birth plan that aligns with the wishes of the surrogate and parents.
Once the long-awaited delivery is completed, the baby will be discharged from the hospital with the parents. The surrogate will also be discharged and the assigned case specialist will continue following up postpartum to ensure full recovery.
Prior to being screened, every potential surrogate goes through our qualification and application process. We conduct a phone and video consultation, after which her past obstetrical history is reviewed by an IVF physician. Once she passes these steps, the surrogate is required to go through a medical screening with an IVF physician, a psychological evaluation, and a criminal background check.
We have a highly selective process to ensure our clients receive the best possible matches. Parents can learn more about our process and surrogate requirements by speaking to one of our case managers.
Based on the information provided in the questionnaire, wait times for a surrogate will vary. The more specific your preferences, the longer the wait time may be.
The availability of surrogates depends on the demand. As more parents are seeking out surrogates to start their family, some agencies may be tempted to take questionable shortcuts. It’s important for parents to understand the process requirements and ask questions of the surrogate and the agency to ensure a proper match.
The second factor influencing wait times are the parents’ personal preferences. Surrogacy agencies should take the time to understand parents’ desires and requirements prior to recommending a surrogate. Parents should take the time to consider their preferences and decide if they would like to wait a little longer for a perfect match.
The length of the surrogacy process typically ranges from 13 months to 18 months and is broken up into five stages: search for a surrogate, screening, legal, conception, and pregnancy/delivery.
Phase 1: Search
Most reputable agencies accept fewer than 5% of all surrogate applicants for screening. In addition, the increasing demand for surrogates is further limiting the number of available and qualified surrogates. If parents have additional requirements or personal preferences for their surrogate, finding the right match can take even longer. The fewer restrictions placed on potential surrogates, the quicker this stage can be completed.
Phase 2: Screening
Once a surrogate is matched to the intended parents, the surrogate will go through a medical and psychological screening. After the screening is conducted, the results are available in about 3 weeks. The entire phase can take between one to two months.
Phase 3: Legal
Prior to screening, the surrogate agreed to and signed a compensation package. In this stage, the intended parents must sign the payment agreement. The contract between the surrogate and intended parents must also be signed and finalized. This phase can take a week to a month.
Phase 4: Conception
Once the case is medically and legally cleared and the surrogacy account is fully funded, the surrogate will begin her IVF treatment. The start date of the treatment will be the first day of the surrogate’s menstrual cycle. Medication protocol lasts about two to three weeks, while the entire conception phase is typically one to two months long.
Phase 5: Pregnancy/Delivery
During this phase, the intended parents receive updates on the health and well-being of the surrogate and the case manager notifies either party of any changes or potential complications. If all goes smoothly during all of the five phases, the entire surrogacy process should take about 13 months.
Surrogacy is not regulated at the federal level and state surrogacy laws vary from being supportive, to being restrictive, to even making surrogacy illegal. Some state restrictions may only allow surrogacy for heterosexual couples and some states do not recognize non-biological parents.
The surrogacy agency is responsible for making sure the contract’s legal requirements are enforceable and applicable in the surrogate’s home state. Parents can speak to their agency’s legal team to learn more about state laws and requirements surrounding surrogacy.
Due to the state’s supportive laws, surrogacy is especially popular in California. As a result, there is high demand for surrogates in California.
Parents often worry that their surrogate will want to keep the baby. Surprisingly, surrogates have the opposite concern — that the parents won’t want the baby.
What parents need to know is that surrogates choose surrogacy out of their desire to make a difference and their ability — that they consider a gift — to give parents the child that they desperately want. Many surrogates have their own families and don’t need surrogacy to become pregnant.
Though surrogacy is not typically covered by health insurance policies, some do provide coverage for the insured’s fertility treatment — but not for the egg donor or surrogate.
One option that may be available to pay for surrogacy is employer benefits. Company benefits can cover anywhere from $2,500 to even $75,000 in surrogacy costs. We always encourage parents to find out if such benefits are available to them or if an adoption benefit can be transferred to a surrogacy.
- We are highly selective when choosing surrogates, which helps to ensure a safe and successful surrogacy.
- We have a high match rate and many satisfied parents and surrogates.
- If the surrogate does not pass her screening, Magic Journeys covers the cost of screening. That’s how much we believe in our selection process.
How do I start the surrogacy process?
Parents ready to start the surrogacy process should review and sign the surrogate agency’s client retainer agreement. The agreement should be sent along with the first payment. Once received, a case manager or case specialist will assist parents in completing their profile and provide them with admissions materials. The case specialist will guide parents and their surrogate throughout the entire process and communicate with the medical and healthcare professionals involved in the case.
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