The Ethics of Surrogacy
Committed to an ethical, transparent and fulfilling process for surrogates, intended families and children born through the program.
Northwest Surrogacy Center, LLC (NWSC) encourages all surrogates and families we work with to take an active, hands-on, empathetic approach to their surrogacy process. As one of the largest and most established surrogacy agencies in the US, we have worked with over 1,000 surrogates since 1994. Surrogates and intended families choose NWSC in part because of our long history of providing an ethical, moral, personalized and rewarding experience for everyone involved.
Did you know? In 2019 alone, 87 surrogates returned to NWSC to do a 2nd or 3rd surrogacy. Additionally, 60 intended families returned for another journey. We are proud that their first experiences were so fulfilling that they wanted to return with us.
We ensure the surrogate is at a healthy and appropriate point in her life to help another family grow.
- Surrogate financial stability Every woman who becomes a surrogate through NWSC must demonstrate overall financial stability. We never want her monthly housing or grocery budget to be dependent on her surrogacy compensation. Our surrogates include teachers, accountants, chefs, nurses, office workers, stay at home moms and more! They often use their compensation for the betterment of their own families, including down payments on a home, financing their children’s college funds, traveling or furthering their own education.
- Surrogate medical screening and physical health The safety of NWSC surrogates and the babies they carry is always top of mind. To help lessen potential risks to the surrogate or the baby, every surrogate must pass a medical screening by an outside fertility clinic in order to be approved. They will also review all previous pregnancy records to ensure she has a history of healthy pregnancies and deliveries. These strict guidelines often mean we cannot work with many of the women who contact us.
- Surrogate emotional and social stability We have multiple conversations (both in-person and over the phone) to learn about a surrogate’s life, her family dynamics, her motivations, her lifestyle and what brings her to surrogacy. She will also speak with a licensed psychologist or social worker to ensure she is in a stable place in her life to pursue surrogacy.
- The surrogate’s decision to help another family Our surrogates genuinely want to help other people have children. Most of them love being pregnant and have easy pregnancies. Some are done having children for themselves but want to continue to experience the joy of pregnancy. And the compensation they receive may benefit them in many ways. Take a peek at the heart of a surrogate in this video as they describe the experience in just one word.
- A surrogate’s daily life NWSC surrogates maintain their normal lives throughout their surrogacy, while following their doctor’s recommendations for a healthy pregnancy. Every NWSC surrogate has had at least one healthy pregnancy and delivery prior to the surrogacy – she knows what to expect and how to be safe and thoughtful during the pregnancy. We make sure surrogates have a strong local support system; If she needs help with anything, it is never far away!
We partner with Intended Parents who will support and respect their surrogate.
The importance of the intended family
NWSC requires that the intended family have a medical or physical need for surrogacy. We have multiple conversations with them, and we will only work with families who we believe will respect their surrogate, her family and her integrity.
Encouraging transparency and meaningful relationships
- A cohesive, two-way matching process We have multiple conversations with the surrogate and the intended family to help us make a strong, successful match that is based on common goals and communication styles. Both parties are involved throughout the matching process; they can ask questions at any point, have time to consider the match and can ultimately pass on a match if it just doesn’t feel like the right one (Fun fact: in 2018, we had a 96% acceptance rate on our matches!)
Our matches are very transparent. Both parties will agree to the contract terms, will have full access to communication and are encouraged to grow their relationship!
- The importance of relationships We frequently hear from our surrogates and intended families that these new relationships are one of the best aspects of the surrogacy. Many of our surrogates and intended families form bonds that last long past the delivery date. They maintain contact, share photos and stories, and sometimes even visit each other in the years after the pregnancy. The surrogate’s children and partner often become friends with the intended family, too. Of course, every relationship is unique and dependent on many factors and circumstances. Hear from intended families as they reflect on these fulfilling relationships in this short video.
Legal and financial safety for both parties
- Separate legal representation for both parties The surrogate and the intended family are always represented by different attorneys and each party has input on the legal contracts. These contracts fully outline all compensation figures, parentage/biological aspects and other agreed upon expectations.
- Financial safety for all parties A surrogate’s compensation trust account must be fully funded prior to her starting the IVF medications. All trust accounts are fully insured by NWSC against loss. Her payments are administered by a third party service and are paid based on her legal contract with the intended family. Intended parents will receive monthly statements from the trust accounts for their review.
Our commitment to surrogate health and well-being
- Single embryo transfers NWSC is one of the first agencies to phase out double embryo transfers. This policy dramatically increases the probabilities that babies are born healthy through our program and decreases medical complications for our surrogates.
- US-based fertility clinics We do not send NWSC surrogates to fertility clinics in other countries, which often have different standards for surrogate care, medicine, ethics and quality control.
- Local OB care At the end of her first trimester of pregnancy, the surrogate will switch her pre-natal care from the fertility clinic to her own personal OB in her hometown. She can choose to work with any OB within her surrogacy-friendly insurance network.
- Local support/events/meetups NWSC surrogates can attend monthly events in 14 cities (and growing!) where they share stories, swap experiences and build new friendships with other local surrogates who can relate to the highs and lows of surrogacy. NWSC surrogates also have access to a private Facebook group where they can chat with 600+ other NWSC women. You can see photos from these monthly events here.
- Agency support In addition to the monthly events, NWSC hosts an annual appreciation celebration in each state we work in. We also show our appreciation for our surrogates throughout the pregnancy with t-shirts, care packages, cards, flowers and dinner after the delivery. Surrogates have support from our team before, during, and after pregnancy.
- Counseling Sometimes it’s just helpful to talk about the pregnancy with an experienced counselor. Every NWSC surrogate has access to $1000 for counseling. This is available during the pregnancy and up to a year after the delivery.