Surrogacy is a wonderful option for family building, especially within the LGBTQIA+ community. Celebrities such as Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, and Tan France have publicly shared their journeys to fatherhood.
While surrogacy has gained in popularity, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the surrogacy process, including costs and how it all works. At Circle Surrogacy and Egg Donation, we support individuals and couples – who are referred to as “Intended Parents” – from all over the world who are interested in growing their families. A natural early step for intended parents interested in learning more about surrogacy is research and getting answers to questions about the process and how it works. We’ve outlined 10 Questions for Intended Parents who are thinking about surrogacy as a family-building option.
- What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction that allows intended parents to have a biological connection to the baby born. There are two types of surrogacy: Tradition and Gestational. Gestational surrogacy – the more common of the two, and the one most practiced by surrogacy agencies – involves a gestational surrogate who has no genetic connection to the baby she carries and cares for until the baby’s birth. The intended parents will create an embryo using their own eggs and sperm, or those of a donor, and the embryo is then transferred into the surrogate.
- Why should I choose surrogacy?
Surrogacy a family-building option that allows intended parents to have a biological connection to their child. For gay men specifically, surrogacy is the only option for having a biological child. Most intended parents also want to be involved in the pregnancy and have the option to attend appointments and ultrasounds. Surrogacy allows for a relationship to form between the intended parents and their surrogate before the embryo is even transferred. This relationship often continues through the pregnancy process until childbirth.
- Do I need to use a surrogacy agency?
The surrogacy journey can be complex, especially to someone who is new to the process. Working with a surrogacy agency is not required for having a successful surrogacy journey. Those who choose not to use an agency will embark on what is called an independent journey (or indy journey). Often, people choose to do an independent journey when they already know the person who will act as their surrogate. It’s important to note that intended parents who have their own surrogate can still choose to work with an agency to manage the overall journey. When choosing an independent journey, the responsibility for finding a surrogate, egg donor, and lawyers falls on the intended parents. They are also responsible for all coordination between these parties throughout the process, which can become very complicated and stressful. It is often recommended that a surrogacy agency is used, particularly for a first journey, as the process is unfamiliar to the intended parents, and an agency can serve as an additional source of support.
- What are the benefits of working with an agency?
The benefits of working with a surrogacy agency can vary depending on the agency. Some agencies offer a la carte benefits for their intended parents depending on their needs. At Circle Surrogacy, we are a full-service agency and provide access to all the professionals needed to have a successful journey. These include program managers, program coordinators, attorneys, medical billing specialists, and more. Having all these services under one roof makes for a very cohesive and seamless experience for intended parents, allowing them to focus on building a relationship with their surrogate and enjoying the process as it unfolds.
- How do I choose a surrogacy agency?
The surrogacy agency you choose to work with is a very personal choice, as intended parents have different priorities for their journey. As a guide, intended parents should look for an agency that:
- Shares your values and beliefs in what you expect from your surrogacy journey
- Fully screens their gestational surrogates prior to matching
- Is transparent about their costs and fees
- Can provide success rates and information about the number of surrogacy journeys they have completed as an agency
Once you find a few agencies in which you are interested, having a phone call or meeting is a great way to see if they feel like a good fit. Go with your gut!
- How much does surrogacy cost?
This is perhaps the most-asked question about surrogacy! The average cost of surrogacy in the United States is between $100,000 and $200,000+ depending on several factors including: whether an agency is being used, the surrogate is known to the intended parents, the surrogate has insurance, an egg donor is needed, and more. Understanding the costs of surrogacy is incredibly important when choosing an agency. Surrogacy is a large financial investment; and with such a big range of costs, it can be hard to plan.
Understanding the importance to have intended parents plan financially for their journey – and to reduce surprise costs and invoices in the middle of a journey – Circle Surrogacy offers one all-inclusive program to provide financial security for intended parents: The Journey Protection Guarantee Program. Under this program, the cost for a surrogacy journey is $142,250 and the cost for surrogacy plus an egg donor is $163,250 (these costs do not include IVF or intended parents’ travel during the journey). The Journey Protection Guarantee offers intended parents unlimited transfers for a fixed price, plus the Circle Promise: we’ll refund 100% of our agency fee if you have no embryos remaining and do not bring home a baby!
- How do I find a surrogate mother?
There are two ways to go about finding and matching with a surrogate: using an agency to match you with a gestational carrier, or finding a surrogate on your own. If you are working with an agency, the agency will match you with a surrogate based on criteria and preferences you share with them. If you are finding a surrogate mother on your own, this could be a family or friend, or you can utilize social groups and matching groups to find a surrogate match. If you match with a surrogate independent of an agency, your surrogate will need to undergo background checks and psychological and medical screening with your clinic in order to determine if she’s a good fit for a surrogate pregnancy.
- Do I need a surrogacy lawyer?
Yes! Surrogacy is a complex process and one that requires legal expertise. There are contracts with your surrogate that will need to be drawn up (as well as one with your egg donor if you require one), plus a lawyer will help you in establishing your parental rights for your baby. If you live internationally, you may also need guidance in obtaining your baby’s passport and traveling home. If you choose to work with a full-service surrogacy agency, you will have a lawyer dedicated to you and your journey. If you are pursuing an independent journey, you may be required to find a lawyer.
- Do I need surrogacy insurance?
As an intended parent, you will be responsible to cover the medical costs associated with the surrogate pregnancy for your gestational carrier. If your surrogate has surrogacy-friendly insurance, she may be able to use that, however Intended Parents should be responsible for deductibles, copays, etc. For most surrogacies, intended parents would purchase surrogacy insurance to cover the pregnancy. Many intended parents also purchase complications insurance and life insurance for their surrogate as well.
- How do I get started with surrogacy?
Deciding to begin a surrogacy journey is a big step that requires a lot of research, education, and resources. To learn more about surrogacy specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community, visit surrogacy resources.
If you are interested in having a free consultation with Circle Surrogacy, fill out our parent form and someone from our experienced team will reach out to set up a call. Circle Surrogacy has experienced parents through surrogacy on staff who are always open to sharing their stories and answering any of your questions. You can also email us to be connected with a parent through surrogacy to learn more!