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.
Many surrogates report that their surrogacy is a wonderful, enriching experience for their whole family. It can create an opportunity to demonstrate generosity and thoughtfulness to their children, and to teach them that families are made in all sorts of ways. We always encourage women to speak openly with their children and partners before deciding to become a surrogate so that everyone is involved and knows what to expect. You may also enjoy watching this interview with a NWSC surrogate and her partner about their experience:
If you are married or in a relationship, your partner must support your surrogacy. He or she will be required to undergo a background check and medical screenings, and to sign a surrogacy contract with you and the intended parents. If your partner has questions, visit our ‘Partner Perspective’ page. We’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions from husbands who have hesitations about surrogacy and the answers from three men whose wives have been surrogates.
Yes. Tubal ligation does not impact pregnancy and delivery through IVF.
The intended parents will also pay for your medical and psychological screening, medical expenses at the fertility clinic, uninsured medical expenses during pregnancy, counseling, and attorney fees. If you have to travel more than 40 miles one way for medical appointments, the intended parents will also pay for your transportation and lodging. For more information, see Surrogate Compensation.
Payment structures vary, but you will receive regular payments throughout the pregnancy, with a balance paid after the baby is born and placed with the intended parents. You will also receive a $200 monthly allowance for miscellaneous expenses beginning when you sign a contract with the intended parents, and several additional payments for completing various parts of the screening process and IVF cycle.
If you do not have health insurance or if your insurance does not cover surrogate pregnancy, the intended parents will pay for a new health insurance policy for you for the duration of the surrogacy.
All of your surrogacy-related medical bills and other expenses will be paid for by the intended parents. NWSC will deliver your payments via a escrow account set up by the intended parents.
Surrogacy is legal in Oregon, Washington, California, Minnesota, Nevada, Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts state law provides that a surrogate can be compensated for her services.
Yes, NWSC works with intended parents throughout the United States and abroad. Intended parents who live out of state or abroad may still choose to travel to attend some of your medical appointments, and will be present for the birth. Most intended parents still wish to connect with you regularly by phone, text, Zoom, or email even when they are not able to be physically present.
No, currently we only accept surrogates who live in those states.
NWSC begins by identifying intended parents 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 provide them with your profile and share some information about them with you, and then give you the opportunity to meet and get to know them in our office. If you aren’t comfortable with the intended parents we have matched you with, you may meet additional ones until you find the right match.
Most intended parents want to experience as much of the pregnancy as you are comfortable with, and would love to be invited to your obstetrical appointments and ultrasounds, whether in person or via Skype or phone. They may also want to spend time with you socially and get to know you better during the pregnancy. All of the intended parents are present for the birth. 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.
We encourage you to think about how involved you would like the intended parents to be during and after your pregnancy. Whatever kind of relationship you are looking for, NWSC is careful to match intended parents and surrogates who have similar goals and expectations.
Depending on your particular needs and expectations, finding the right intended parents for you might happen within a few weeks or might take a few months or more. We have many intended families who are waiting to be matched, so for surrogates who are open to working with all kinds of families, there is rarely a long wait.
It typically takes at least three months from the initial meeting to the beginning of the IVF cycle. We first have to conduct additional screenings and draw up a contract, and you will undergo about four weeks of medications before the embryo transfer. Many of our surrogates give birth a year or so after they meet the intended parents for the first time.
The IVF process involves taking a variety of medications, both orally and by daily injection, beginning about one month before the embryo transfer and continuing for about two months into the pregnancy. The physicians at the IVF clinic will assist you with any concerns or questions you have about these medications.
Intended parents are screened for any diseases that could be transmitted to you via the transfer or pregnancy.
The intended parents will be working with an IVF clinic that will perform most of your medical screening and your IVF procedures and will coordinate as needed with your personal medical clinic. The fertility clinic will oversee your medical care for the first eight to ten weeks of your pregnancy, during which time you may be able to see your own doctor for minor appointments such as blood draws and other monitoring. About two months into the pregnancy you will be released back to your OB for the rest of your pregnancy care and delivery.
You may work with an intended family whose medical clinic is nearby, or you may be asked to travel to a non-local or an out-of-state fertility clinic if you are comfortable doing so. In those cases, you would likely make two trips to the family’s clinic, including a trip of several days for the embryo transfer. The intended parents will pay for all of your travel expenses, including airfare, lodging, and food, and they will pay travel costs for a companion to accompany you for the embryo transfer trip. You will also work with a local clinic that will monitor you for the fertility clinic to reduce the number of times you need to travel.
Eight to ten weeks into your pregnancy, the IVF clinic or your local monitoring clinic will release you back to your own OB, who will oversee the rest of your prenatal care and your delivery.
We do not find that our intended parents or the reproductive endocrinologists they work with are comfortable with a surrogate delivering at home or in a birthing center. However, many of our surrogates work with midwives and doulas within the hospital setting, and some hospitals offer alternative birthing options such as water birth. You are also welcome to seek out an OB who is sympathetic to the type of hospital birth experience you hope to have.
Throughout the attempts, the intended parents will pay your surrogacy-related medical bills and you will receive a $200 monthly allowance. However, you will not begin receiving your base compensation until confirmation of pregnancy by ultrasound.
If you have to go on bed rest during your pregnancy, the intended parents will compensate you for lost wages, housekeeping expenses, and childcare above your usual amount, up to an agreed-upon limit. They also pay any uncovered expenses for pregnancy-related medical complications.
In our more than 27 years of experience, we have never had either of these situations occur. In the extremely unlikely scenario that they do, you will not be responsible for the baby after the birth. Our intended families establish wills and choose a legal guardian for the baby in the event that something happens to them during the pregnancy. If the intended parents divorce, they will go through the usual custody proceedings to determine who will receive custody of the child.
If you do not have life insurance, the intended parents will provide you with a policy for the duration of the pregnancy to protect your family in the unlikely event that something happens to you.
If you do want to talk to someone about your experience, your surrogacy contract will likely allow you to receive counseling, paid for by the intended parents, during your pregnancy, and for up to a year after the birth.
Most surrogates and intended parents prefer that the surrogate not breastfeed the baby, but many families would be grateful if you chose to pump breastmilk for a few weeks to a few months and gave it to the intended parents. Some surrogates even donate their excess breast milk to a family in need. You do not have to pump if you prefer not to. Surrogates and intended parents talk about this possibility in the match meeting so you know each other’s preferences early.
Since COVID-19 all surrogate screening steps are completed over email and video, although if you live in the Portland or Seattle area and would like to meet us in person, we would be happy to see you. Most match meetings are held over Zoom, and surrogates and families are able to move forward as they normally would after a successful match meeting. Please note that most of the fertility clinics our clients work with require that surrogates are vaccinated for COVID-19.
We do! Three of our employees have been surrogates, and they are available to speak with you to answer any questions you might have along throughout the process. Their first-hand insight helps us refine our programs as our surrogate and intended family support systems evolve.