When we first realized that we would need the help of a gestational carrier, we didn’t know where to start. There isn’t an all-inclusive guide out there, and while this won’t be it, maybe it will serve as some kind of rough road map…
During/ after this journey, many have reached out to ask questions as to how to navigate this journey. I hope this helps….
After 2 IVF cycles, we finally got the wonderful news that we had two PGT normal embryos. To maximize our chances of success for a live birth, my RE suggested we consider a gestational carrier given the extensive scarring in my uterus despite a prior hysteroscopy and lysis of adhesions. My prior c-section, as it was emergent and extensive, also put me at higher risk for uterine abruption.
We didn’t know where to start with surrogacy.
I interviewed a few agencies, and the most important benefit of an agency is matching you with a gestational carrier. The second most important benefit is they keep the journey organized. I couldn’t realize decipher the difference between agencies. Essentially, the cost of an entire surrogacy journey is somewhere between 100-125k through an agency. Going independent (not using an agency) will save you agency fees which is likely around 25k.
If you want to match independently, there are matching and info groups on Facebook. There is Surrogates & IP’s Match/ chat or Surrogates and Intended Parents Match Group. You can peruse posts made by GCs, or you can post one.
My GC posted, and after reading her words, I knew she would be the one for us. I reached out to her via PM and our conversation organically flowed. We set up a FaceTime date, and the conversation with her and her husband couldn’t have been easier. During the initial conversation, you need to ascertain each other’s stances on single vs. double transfer, selective reduction/ termination, COVID vaccination status, site of delivery, insurance, and compensation. There is base compensation, and there is a monthly allowance. There are also reimbursements for the milestones of the journey.
By Monday, we had “committed” to each other and I set up an appointment for her to see my RE for medical clearance. You will need to do this before formally signing a contract. This will include H&P by the RE, potential HSG, etc.
If you are doing this for the first time, and the GC is as well, you should probably go through an agency. There are ALOT of steps and organization is key. My GC had previously gone through a journey, and is EXTREMELY organized and proactive, so we felt comfortable proceeding independently.
After medical clearance is obtained, you set up legal. You each need a representative attorney, and they need to be licensed in the state of planned delivery. I can absolutely recommend my attorney- Lori Meyers of Meyers O’Hara if you are planning to deliver in California. A rough draft will be shared between parties and you will come to agreement on all of the terms. There is so much nitty gritty.
You will discuss diet/ caffeine. Medications. Tattooing/ cosmetic procedures. Travel restrictions. Travel expenses. COVID. Abortion/ miscarriage/ selective reduction. Medical insurance. Life insurance. Lost wages. Establishment of an escrow account for payments. We used Seed Trust and they were awesome. Expense reimbursements. Base compensation. Monthly allowances. Reimbursement for invasive procedures.
Once contracts are signed, you will move on to scheduling of medications and embryo transfer. We chose to do a mock cycle and ERA which did change our approach for the transfer. The ERA showed she was preceptive and needed one more day of progesterone.
The following month, we finally transferred. It was a magical experience. It’s hard to believe something so tiny on the US screen can turn into a baby. Science is truly amazing.
Beta hCG for confirmation was scheduled on Day 14; on day 10, we finally broke down and had her test. It was positive!
Every subsequent month, the escrow company disburses monthly payments and also coordinates reimbursements submitted by the GC.
I had and have an amazing relationship with her. We text freely and she feels like a part of our family.
She kept me updated as to what was happening day-to-day. I was able to attend some doctor’s appointments, and FaceTimed into others.
The day finally arrived and she gave birth to our beautiful baby boy. After the delivery, we hung out together in her room. We were subsequently moved to our own room in the post-partum unit. We had two beds and a private bathroom. It was amazing. We were discharged after two days.
The escrow company continues to disburse final payments, and the escrow account is kept open for a total of a year.
Hope this helps…if there are additional questions, I’m happy to add more information to this post.