Common Questions from Intended Parents

Whether you're exploring surrogacy as an intended parent or simply seeking information about the process, we are here to offer guidance and support. Find answers to common questions below!

General Information

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 father. The baby shares genetic material with the surrogate mother as well as with an intended father or donor.

  • We have new surrogates constantly signing up. We hear from over 7,000 women each year, though we work only with the most qualified and interested.
  • We know that surrogacy can be a financial strain, and we do everything we can to keep our costs low. We also strive for absolute transparency. Our costs are competitive even before taking into account the hidden fees some agencies use.
  • We interview and screen all of our surrogates before we introduce them to you. This allows us to get to know them in-depth before connecting you with the right one.
  • We offer intimate, personalized services. Don’t worry about high staff turnover or coordinators who don’t know your name; you’ll connect with the same people every time you call.
  • We are a professional organization started by lawyers over 30 years ago and have the resources, network, and experience to show for it. Additionally, three of our employees have been through the surrogacy experience. We have the legal background to keep you safe, and the practical experience to understand the support system you need.
  • We have helped nearly 2,000 gay and straight clients build their families through surrogacy. During that time we have never had difficulty establishing parentage for any of our clients.
  • We have relationships with prestigious IVF clinics that have some of the highest success rates in the United States.
  • Our flagship office is located in the vibrant city of Portland, Oregon, and we also have offices in Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco, California. We recruit surrogates in these select surrogacy-safe states: Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
  • While some agencies disappear between the transfer and the birth, we support you every step of the way. We are prepared to manage any issues that come up during or after the pregnancy and are always available to assist you with your relationship with your surrogate.
  • At week 20 of the pregnancy, our Intended Parent Concierge will reach out to see how they can assist you in any aspects of preparing for your baby. Leave the arrangements to us while you enjoy the last few weeks of the pregnancy!
    When it’s time for you to take your new baby home, we and the attorneys who represent you will assist with anything you need to complete your surrogacy, whether that’s establishing parentage or returning your child to your own country.

Surrogacy is legal in OregonWashingtonCalifornia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Colorado. State laws there provide that a surrogate can be compensated for her services.

NWSC works with many intended parents throughout the United States and abroad.

Wherever you live, we encourage you to attend as many of your surrogate’s medical appointments as you are interested in 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, Zoom, and email when you are not able to be physically present.

Currently, we only accept surrogates who live in the states we are actively recruiting.

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.

We work with the most prestigious medical clinics throughout the United States.

We encourage you to arrange a consultation with the clinic of your choice at the same time that you begin the process with NWSC.

Ready to take the first step to parenthood?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to answer your questions and discuss the surrogacy process, including matching times and costs.

Finance & Legal Questions

The costs of surrogacy can vary widely based on a number of factors, including whether you need the assistance of an egg donor 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 costs for more information.

NWSC matches you with a surrogate, obtains criminal background checks on her and her partner, and conducts introductory meetings. We arrange for the surrogate’s medical and psychological screenings. We prepare a contract between you and the surrogate, which you will review with separate attorneys. We assist in coordinating medical care; manage the financial relationship between you and the surrogate, and pay other professionals involved in the surrogacy process. We will also actively help to resolve any concerns or issues you have before, during, and after the pregnancy. Our Intended Parent Concierge can help you manage your travel plans and acquire necessary baby items when your surrogate delivers.

In over 30 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. Surrogates tells us that seeing the parents hold their baby for the first time is the best moment of the experience, and they love going home to their own families to sleep through the night.

Even in the extremely unlikely event that your surrogate decided she wanted to keep your baby, legal precedent is on your side. In addition, it is likely that you will establish your parental rights before the birth of your child.

There are well-established procedures in all of our states 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.

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 expenses you have paid up until that point. In the Essential Program, you will need to continue paying the embryo transfer fee and your surrogate’s monthly allowance through additional attempts. In the Guarantee Program, you will not pay additional fees or expenses for subsequent transfers. Your surrogate does not start receiving her base fee until confirmation of pregnancy by ultrasound.

NWSC will continue to work with you and your surrogate through multiple transfers and will re-match you, if your fertility clinic recommends a new surrogate.

The Matching Process & Surrogates

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. Although most families move forward with the first surrogate profile, you may request a new profile 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 embryo transfer and birth. Many others want to be intimately involved in the pregnancy and 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 other states we work in are uniquely welcoming and progressive regions of the United States. Many of our surrogates are eager to work with LGBTQ couples or individuals and wish to help you grow your family. Over 60% of NWSC intended parents have identified as LGBTQ+.

Depending on your particular needs and expectations, the time it takes to find the right surrogate fluctuates. 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 four months from the initial meeting to the first embryo transfer. That timing includes reviewing and finalizing your contract, in-person screening for your surrogate at your clinic, and four weeks of medications to prepare for the embryo transfer. 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.

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 or have been advised against it by their doctor.

Contact Us!

Whether you're curious about surrogacy or ready to take the first step, we're here to answer any questions that you may have. Please complete the contact form on this page, and one of our amazing staff members will respond to you soon.

We look forward to hearing from you!