Infertility is often a devastating circumstance to trudge through. The last step in the infertility ladder is Surrogacy. Surrogacy is when an infertile woman commissions another woman to get pregnant for her, and carries and delivers the baby.
This process is one that has been established by the legal system in order to avoid any doubts as to who the parents of the baby are. For example, the embryo cannot be genetically related to the Surrogate. In other words, the commissioning parents must have an embryo created with their own egg and sperm or with the aid of donors. But the donor cannot be the same woman as the Surrogate.
Surrogates are healthy women 21 to 39 years old who have already completed at least one pregnancy. Reproductive endocrinologists (fertility doctors) request records of previous pregnancies as part of the pre-screening process. In order to be considered, Surrogates must have had complication-free pregnancies. Agencies perform background checks on all the adults in the Surrogate’s household as well as a psychological screening, which includes a long questionnaire and an interview with the Surrogate and her partner.
Once the Surrogate is accepted by the fertility doctor, the Commissioning Parents and the Surrogate sign a contract, which includes all the financial terms and in which the Surrogate gives up any rights to the child. This contract is prepared by the Commissioning Parents’ lawyer and presented to the Surrogate’s lawyer. The clinic requires a letter from both parties’ lawyers stating that the contract was signed, before the clinic moves forward with treatment. The agency will make sure the commissioning parents buy insurance on behalf of the surrogate so that there is a health and life insurance plan in place. In addition, the agency will forward all monies to an escrow company that will disburse all the monies per the terms of the contract.
Surrogates have a chance to meet the Commissioning Parents before the transfer of the embryo at a friendly meeting. A member of Bundles of Joy, LLC, staff will be present at the meeting to facilitate discussions about the amount of contact during and after pregnancy, abortion, and selective reduction, etc. The relationship between the Surrogate and the Commissioning Parents is completely open throughout the pregnancy. Most Surrogates even welcome the Commissioning Parents to all their OB/GYN visits and to their delivery.
After all these preliminary steps have been trod, everything is ready to start the protocol that will prepare the Surrogate for the transfer of the embryo into her uterus. The clinic will prepare a calendar with clear daily instructions for both parties up until the day of the transfer. Ten days after the transfer, it will be known if there is a chemical pregnancy. From there, the infertility doctor will continue treatment until he sees a heartbeat on the ultrasound. Afterwards, this becomes a normal pregnancy where the Surrogate becomes a patient of her own OB/GYN.
Bundles of Joy, LLC, serves as a mediator between the Surrogate and the Commissioning Parents. We want this to be a very pleasant experience for everybody involved. We understand that the Surrogate is doing “the heavy lifting” but all the members of her family are being affected by her changes. We find that the Commissioning Parents are so thankful for their Surrogate’s generosity that they do everything in their power to ease her discomfort and to make her journey an unforgettable experience. For this reason, most Surrogates come back and embark on more journeys down the road.