In a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she carries. A fertility clinic creates embryos consisting of eggs and sperm from the intended parents and/or from donors and then transfers the embryos to a surrogate via IVF (in vitro fertilization). The intended parents usually establish parental rights before the baby is born. NWSC works exclusively on gestational surrogacy.
In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are fertilized via artificial insemination with the sperm of a donor or an intended parent. The baby shares genetic material with the surrogate mother as well as with an intended parent or donor.
The costs of surrogacy can vary widely based on a number of factors, including whether you need the assistance of an egg donor, whether you are expecting twins, and your surrogate’s individual situation.
NWSC is aware of the financial stress that intended parents may have experienced before deciding to pursue surrogacy. We are continually striving to keep expenses down and have designed our program to minimize the surrogacy costs. Our fees are lower than those at many other surrogacy agencies. We also do not have any of the hidden fees that are common in other agencies’ estimates; our listed agency fees cover all of our work, and we aim to make our estimates of the surrogacy and medical expenses as realistic and comprehensive as possible. Please see surrogacy prices for more information.
Wherever you live, we encourage you to attend as many of your surrogate’s medical appointments as you are interested in and able to, and to attend the birth of your child. You are welcome to spend as much time in the surrogate’s state with her as you and she wish, and you may choose to connect with her by phone, Skype, and email when you are not able to be physically present.
Currently we only accept surrogates who live in Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado.
We work with several prestigious medical clinics, including:
We encourage you to arrange a consultation with the clinic of your choice at the same time that you begin the process with NWSC.
Our surrogates genuinely want to help other people have children. Most of them love being pregnant and have easy pregnancies. They may know that they are done having children for themselves but want to continue to experience being pregnant. And the compensation they receive may allow them to stay home with their children, go back to school, or fulfill a lifelong dream.
We rigorously recruit the best candidates for surrogacy. We seek out women who are mature, stable, and enjoy being pregnant. Our surrogates range in age, experience, and personality type, but all of them want to help people have children.
Surrogates in our program have previously given birth to a healthy child and are actively parenting their child. Many are married and employed. A surrogate must be between 21 and 42 years old. We do not accept smokers, and surrogates are required to abstain from drugs and alcohol. They must be willing and able to go through the demands of medical procedures, pregnancy, and placement of the baby. Potential surrogates must pass an interview with our agency, a background check, a psychological evaluation performed by a clinical psychologist, a home visit, and medical examinations.
NWSC begins by identifying a surrogate or surrogates we believe will be a good match for you based on a number of factors, especially shared expectations and goals for the surrogacy process. We then provide you with detailed information on these potential surrogates. You receive a profile with information including the surrogate’s biographical information, medical and social history, personal interests, and photos of her and her family. We also provide information on the surrogate’s spouse or partner, if she has one. Most importantly, you have the opportunity to meet and get to know your surrogate. You may continue to review profiles and meet candidates until we find a surrogate you feel comfortable with.
The nature of the relationship between you and your surrogate is up to you and her. However, NWSC encourages you to spend time with your surrogate beyond the introductory meetings in our office. We believe that a relationship between a surrogate and intended parents creates trust and serves as an important foundation for the surrogacy process.
Some intended parents prefer to be involved only for major medical events, such as the embryo transfer and the birth. Many others want to be intimately involved in the pregnancy and attend many of their surrogate’s appointments and procedures, or spend time with their surrogate socially. Surrogates and intended parents sometimes develop an intense and lifelong bond, and almost all of them remain in contact in some fashion after the birth.
Whatever kind of relationship you are looking for, NWSC is careful to match intended parents and surrogates who have similar goals and expectations.
The West Coast and Colorado are uniquely welcoming and progressive regions of the United States. Many of our surrogates are eager to work with LGBT couples or individuals, and wish to help you grow your family. A large percentage of our intended parents are gay.
While some surrogacy agencies accept intended parents who are medically able to experience pregnancy, NWSC works only with intended parents who are physically unable to carry a pregnancy.
Depending on your particular needs and expectations, finding the right surrogate for you might happen in a few months or it may take longer. Please contact us for an estimate of how long it may take to find you a surrogate based on when you sign up.
It typically takes at least three months from the initial meeting to the first IVF attempt. We have to conduct additional screenings and draw up contracts, and your surrogate will have to undergo six weeks of medications to prepare for the embryo transfer. If you are using an egg donor it may take longer, as the donor will have to synchronize her cycle with the surrogate’s cycle. However, many of our clients are welcoming a new baby to the world about a year after they meet their surrogate for the first time.
Some of our surrogates do have health insurance of their own. If yours does not, you will provide her with health insurance for the duration of the surrogacy.
Most surrogates agree to undergo up to three rounds of IVF. While a surrogate is never required to undergo an IVF procedure if she does not want to, most wish to continue trying until a pregnancy is achieved.
If your surrogate does not become pregnant, you will not recover any fees and expenses you have paid up until that point. You will need to continue paying the embryo transfer fee and your surrogate’s monthly allowance through additional attempts. Your surrogate does not start receiving her base fee until confirmation of pregnancy by ultrasound.
Your last fee to NWSC is only due upon confirmation of pregnancy by ultrasound. NWSC will continue to work with you and your surrogate through multiple transfers, and will help you find a different surrogate if a failure was related to your chosen surrogate.
In our more than 20 years of experience, we have never had a surrogate want to keep an intended parent’s baby. Surrogates are aware from the beginning that the baby is not theirs, genetically or practically, and report that they do not experience the same level of bonding as they did with their own children.
Even in the extremely unlikely event that your surrogate decided she wanted to keep your baby, legal precedent is on your side. Under the current system, no court in Oregon has ever granted custody to a gestational surrogate. In addition, it is likely that you will establish your parental rights before the birth of your child.
There are well-established procedures in Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado to create the intended parents’ legal rights. Both parties enter into a contract before the surrogacy begins. If the surrogate is married, her spouse must also be a party to the contract. The contract includes the terms required for the parties prior to conception, during the pregnancy, and after the birth.
There must also be a legal proceeding to create the intended parents’ legal relationship with the child, terminate the surrogate’s relationship with the child, and grant the intended parents the right to make medical decisions for the baby after he or she is born. The particular proceedings used depend on the intended parents’ specific circumstances and preferences.
This is a very personal decision, and one that you must make for yourself and your family. Most people who have children by surrogacy are open about their experience throughout the process, but some prefer to keep it private.
Surrogacy has become increasingly mainstream in recent years. NWSC believes that it is an amazing experience for parents and surrogates alike, and we encourage them to celebrate it openly. More importantly, however, we encourage you to discuss this decision with other parents who have had children through surrogacy, as well as with a therapist specializing in assisted reproduction.