Common Questions from Surrogates
Whether you have been a surrogate before or this is the first time you are considering gestational surrogacy, Forward Fertility always welcomes questions. You will find some of the common questions surrogates have had in the past on this page. However, if there is a question on your mind you do not see answered here, please email Forward Fertility at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be replied to within 1-2 business days.
Asking questions about the process shows you care about the details.
Forward Fertility cares about the details, too.
Surrogacy sounds interesting…..what next?
If after reading these common questions Gestational Surrogacy sounds like something you would like to explore further, click here to complete a short screening application. Or, review the Learn More or Process pages for Gestational Surrogates.
For Gestational Carriers or Surrogates
Yes. Being pregnant is unlike any other physical experience. You need to have gone through it once for yourself before you decide you are interested in being pregnant for someone else. It is also important that you have completed a pregnancy without any serious medical conditions. With gestational surrogacy, we are trying to find the most optimal situation and you successfully completing a health pregnancy and delivery is one way to get us closer to that goal.
No. Forward Fertility works with Gestational Surrogates. These are women who have healthy, strong, bodies that provide a safe and nourishing place for an embryo to grow into a fetus and be delivered as a baby. The egg and sperm used to make that embryo come from other people; either the Parents to Be or possible donated from an egg or sperm donor. A True Surrogate or Traditional Surrogate is a woman who provides the uterus and the egg. Due to more complicated legal and psychosocial issues, Forward Fertility does not screen women for true surrogacy.
You can apply to be a surrogate when you are 20, however you must be at least 21 to match with a recipient couple. At the other end of the window, you can be 40 when you apply to be a surrogate. Some women who are 40 are healthier than 21 year old women. However, we know that as women age, risks with pregnancy can increase, so each applicants health history is carefully reviewed to make increase the odds we have the most optimal situation possible. In some cases, women over 40 can be gestational surrogates, but this is not the general rule.
Yes. Partners play a big role in the support of a gestational surrogate. Of course, actually having the baby is the biggest role, but you need the support of your partner, too. There are four specific things your partner must be able to provide.
1. Emotional support and support at home. When you are 39 weeks pregnant or need to go to an appointment, you might be needing an extra hand with your own kiddos. Forward Fertility wants to make sure you have the supportive partner necessary for the most ideal experience.
2. Infectious Disease Testing. Your husband or partner must agree to participate in medical screening (HIV, Hepatitis B and C, CMV, and any other sexually transmitted diseases or disorders). As we strive to create the most optimal environment for a pregnancy, we want to make sure no infections are present at the beginning. Avoiding any high risk behaviors is also important for your partner (no tattoos with unsterile needles, new sexual partners, etc.).
3. If you have a partner, he or she will need to participate in the psychological meeting that is part of your medical screening process (see Step Four: Preparing for Fertility Treatment on the Process Page for Surrogates).
4. Relinquish rights of the child. If you are legally married, then your legal partner is a party to the Gestational Surrogacy Legal Contract and will need to agree with the contract, sign it, and relinquish any parental rights to the baby, once he or she is born.
Many agencies match you with a recipient couple and you rarely hear from them again – they are warm body finders interested in collecting their agency fee. Not at Forward Fertility. I am interested in you having a positive experience – whether it is at the clinic, with your escrow agent, or with an attorney – you, as a fellow human, are a top priority and Forward Fertility will always work to make your experience the best it can be.
Nationwide, gestational surrogates are compensated between $20,000-30,000 as a first time surrogate and $30,000-35,000+ as a second or third time surrogate. Some surrogate agencies charge $20,000-25,000 for their agency fee. At Forward Fertility, the work done coordinating, sharing knowledge, and providing anticipatory guidance for everyone involved is essential, but pushing a baby into this world is the real gift! Forward Fertility agency fees are on the lower end, so that surrogates, the true heroes, are compensated well and competitively.
Keep it Local.
Sure, you can drive to Chicago or fly to Atlanta to work with an agency there, but why would you? Save the 6+ hours of driving, traffic jams, airports, and toll booths, and work with Forward Fertility where your initial screening visit occurs in the comfort of your own home. Have your fertility clinic appointments done locally, too.
Forward Fertility works with fertility clinics in Wisconsin as well as IVF clinics nationwide and travel to another city may be an option for you, if you choose.
But, with Forward Fertility, there is no medical or financial advantage for you to work with a surrogacy agency outside of Wisconsin or the upper Midwest.
If you’re considering being a gestational surrogate ~ keep it local!
Parents to Be are Looking for Surrogates Now.
Typically, there are several recipients waiting to match with a surrogate, so there is a good chance you will find the right match soon after being accepted into the Forward Fertility program.
Forward Fertility: Knowledgeable & Looking out for You.
Why are you taking a certain medication? How does it work? What will happen at your next medical appointment? What is the psychological evaluation about? What do you need to know when talking to the attorney? Christie’s years of experience coordinating egg donor, gestational surrogate, and other third party reproduction cycles gives her the expertise to a) know the answer or b) connect you with the answer by knowing the right people to ask. Google is great, but not when you are searching for an answer as a gestational surrogate. Chat rooms and blogs have a fantastic place in the world of surrogacy, but getting the right answer for your medical, legal, or really delicate emotional questions is what having Christie on your team is about.
Connecting with YOU
Christie personally gets to know each surrogate and each Parent to Be. She works hard to make the best, most rewarding matches possible. As part of the application process, she will meet you in your home, with your partner, if applicable, to discuss the details of the surrogacy process. As someone considering carrying a baby for a couple not known to you, you deserve the time and attention of Forward Fertility to guide you every step of the way; from those first questions to the very last detail. You don’t need to drive to Madison or take time off work for the interview. Christie will work with your schedule to meet you in the mornings, evenings, or weekends.
Once you meet Christie, you will see for yourself she is approachable, genuine, thoughtful, and works hard for your best interest. Check out the testimonials page to see what others have said about their experience working with her.
COMMON MEDICAL QUESTIONS
Each IVF clinic uses different protocols for their gestational surrogates. Some of the protocols used involve injection medications. Forward Fertility will come to your home to teach you how to do the injections and provide support for you during the process. Some cycles involve no injections at all. Others can involve 1 or more medications you need to take via injection.
The two most common injections are:
1) Leuprolide (low dose lupron): given with a needle similar to an insulin needle; very small and given in the fatty tissue near your belly. This medication keeps your own body from ovulating. Usually, the IVF clinic will provide education about how to give injections. Forward Fertility will also assist you with injection training and injections as needed.
2) Progesterone: This medication is used for all gestational surrogate cycles. It comes in a vaginal formulation as well as in Intramuscular shots. The shots are typically given in the buttocks — similar to the type of shot you get with a vaccine. The area can become tender and sore, but will return to normal after discontinuing the shots.
If you are sexually active, you can generally continue your intimate relationship without restrictions. A healthy sex life is beneficial to your relationship and can reduce stress. However, some IVF clinics may place restrictions on intercourse around the time of the embryo transfer or if you are pregnant and experiencing bleeding. The medical provider at the clinic would be the person to make the final recommendation about intercourse. If you are considering surrogacy, you should be using a reliable birth control method, as being pregnant already would definitely exclude you from being considered!
Each person has their own tolerance for pain.
Becoming pregnant as a surrogate does involve a number of vaginal ultrasounds and speculum exams. These exams are not pleasant and if they are painful, you should let the medical provider seeing you or Forward Fertility know. There are modifications that can be made to make the experience less uncomfortable.
The embryo transfer often requires the surrogate to have a full bladder. It may sound odd, but that is one of the most common things people complain about! The actual embryo transfer, at most would be a little bit crampy, for most clients.
Once your pregnant, your experience of pain is unpredictable. Remember, each pregnancy is different. Severe nausea, cramping, miscarriage, varicose veins, heartburn, etc. are all options, even if you did not experience them before. Before my sister had children, she was worried about pregnancy and delivery being painful. I always reminded her that there were usually treatments or medications that could help for the various discomforts — it was parenting that presented the real challenge and not always an obvious solution. But, that will be for the Parents to Be to discover once you help them attain their dream of parenthood.
According to the 2011 CDC data collected on IVF clinics in the U.S., about 1/3 of births from IVF resulted in twins, despite the national average of transferring 2 embryos per embryo transfer. This data indicates that most embryos transferred into the uterus do not create a pregnancy. Even when the goal of treatment is one single, healthy baby, more than 1 embryo may be necessary to transfer to attain that goal.Based on the patient’s history, the quality of the embryos, if they are fresh vs. frozen, and a number of other factors, the doctor, the embryology lab director, the Parents to Be, and you will decide how many embryos to transfer. This number is also spelled out in the Surrogacy Agreement Contract before you even start.
Many clinics are moving towards Elective Single Embryo Transfer to avoid twin pregnancies, as technology improves and we see better success rates.
Yes, most medications are safe during pregnancy. Forward Fertility will review each medication you take and discuss it in the context of becoming pregnant. The Fertility medical provider you will be seeing at the IVF clinic is the person who will make the final decision about which medications you can take, which ones may need to be switched, and if any meds need to be stopped. Your health and well being is a top priority, so no changes will be made without your agreement.
As a gestational surrogate, you would be expected to take prenatal vitamins and possibly some supplements, based on the vitamin you are taking. These costs would be reimbursed, per your Gestational Surrogacy Agreement.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT COMPENSATION & MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE
When you work with Forward Fertility, you know your compensation as a Gestational Surrogate will always be competitive with the national average. If you live in the Upper Midwest and want to be a surrogate, there is no financial incentive for you to go with some national agency based elsewhere.
Forward Fertility has a minimum base compensation for gestational surrogates, plus additional compensation for certain events. For a first time surrogate, the compensation is $30,000. A second time surrogate is $33,000, and a third time surrogate is $38,000. Surrogates can also request additional compensation if desired. There is a monthly stipend (ranging from $50-250) that each surrogate gets in addition to the base compensation.
For more details, view the Compensation page for Gestational Surrogates with Forward Fertility.
If the gestational surrogate has her own medical insurance, through her employer or her partner’s employer, then typically, the prenatal care and delivery are billed under that insurance. The Parents to Be reimburse the gestational surrogate for any co-pays, deductibles, or out of pocket medical expenses.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has ruled, with most (but not all) insurance plans, if the gestational surrogate’s health insurance covers pregnancy and delivery, the insurance company cannot exclude covering the pregnancy of a gestational surrogate, simply because she is a surrogate. The attorneys that draft and review the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement review the Gestational Surrogate’s health insurance policy to confirm coverage.
In the case where a gestational surrogate does not have health insurance, the Parents to Be could work with that Gestational Surrogate if they were willing to purchase insurance to cover the pregnancy and delivery.
Once the baby is born, their medical expenses are directed to the Parent to Be.
Part of the service that Forward Fertility provides is assisting with getting the right insurance information to the right people. Making sure the right information is available at the right time for the right people will reduce billing problems and keep the surrogacy process smooth. Forward Fertility is forward thinking and will help you and the Parents to Be keep insurance issues to a minimum.
When you sign the Gestational Surrogacy Agreement, the Parents to Be will have a set time to place your agreed compensation, plus some cushion into an Independent Escrow Agency. This agency will also receive a copy of your Gestational Surrogacy Agreement. The Escrow Agency’s job is to hold the money and disperse it according to the contract. They send you checks, usually on a monthly basis, according to your legal contract. Forward Fertility works with well established Escrow agencies with solid reputations of great customer service and timely payments.
Your medical treatment will not start until the money has been received by the Escrow Agency. Forward Fertility is looking out for your best interest and would not allow treatment to start without confirming your compensation is available.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PARENTS TO BE
Yes. Just as the Parents to Be will decide if they want to work with you as the Gestational Surrogate, you get the same opportunity.
A gestational surrogacy arrangement is not something you would want to enter without thoughtful consideration. Forward Fertility works hard to connect with you, so your needs, desires, and visions are well understood. Likewise, Christie connects with the Parents to Be in the same way.
When a good match presents itself, the gestational surrogate and Parents to Be get to meet and decide for themselves if it is a fit. If the Parents to Be and Gestational Surrogate are not geographically close, a Video Conference Call will be arranged.
If you have a partner, s/he will be involved in meeting the Parents to Be as well.
This is highly unlikely, however, it is good to think of the ‘what if’ situations when you are about to make a very serious decision.
If one intended parent dies, the other will take sole custody of the baby and fulfill the contract as if both were still living.
If both intended parents die before the birth of the child, the surrogate mother will relinquish the child at birth to the person named in the wills of the intended parents to serve as guardian of the child.
Intended parents must provide Forward Fertility with the full address and other contact information for guardianship. Intended parents are also required to carry life insurance naming the unborn child or a trust for the exclusive benefit of the unborn child as the beneficiary. The death of the intended parents prior to the birth of the child will not result in you being obligated or permitted to raise the child.
Probably not! Forward Fertility gets to know each participant in the process to help connect you with the right Parent to Be so you are not feeling micromanaged and the Parent to Be is confident the surrogate they are working with is creating the optimal environment for their baby.
Sure, some Parents to Be are invested in every last detail of the surrogacy process. That is ok ~ there is a surrogate for them. Some Parents to Be may not live in your area or may have incredibly busy lives. They have chosen to work with Forward Fertility because they know the quality of people in our program is top notch, so micromanaging is not necessary. If you are a gestational surrogate with Forward Fertility, then you have been selected for your honest, responsible, healthy, and genuine characteristics which will provide extra comfort on the part of the Parent to Be.
It depends. Like any relationship, what you want and get out of it and what you put into it are related.
It’s important to remember, for some people turning to a gestational surrogate for their dream to have a family, it can be a very painful step to take. For some women, it can mean acceptance that she is giving up the dream of being pregnant. In the beginning, she may have mixed feelings toward the surrogate; on one hand feeling grateful and appreciative and on the other hand, feeling jealous and sad. The gestational surrogate needs to be sensitive to these feelings. On the other hand, in the case of being a gestational surrogate for men becoming dads, those feelings of loss and sadness may not be as present.
Most recipients and carriers develop a rich, genuine, respectful, caring relationship over the 12-18 months of treatment and pregnancy and beyond. It is essential to be open, honest, kind, and genuinely interested in helping others. As a gestational surrogate, being sensitive to others and a good communicator are important skills. A sense of humor is a plus, too!