Becoming a surrogate is a big step that can generate a lot of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive:
- What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the act of a woman carrying and giving birth to a baby that isn’t hers.
- What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?
In gestational surrogacy, intended parents create embryos and one of these embryos is implanted in a surrogate (sometimes known as a gestational carrier), who carries the child, but has no genetic relationship to them. Gestational surrogacies make up the vast majority of modern surrogacy arrangements. In contrast, traditional surrogates become pregnant through artificial insemination and have a genetic connection to the child they carry for their intended parents.
- Can I work with a surrogate I already know?
Yes, intended parents sometimes work with a friend or family member.
- Is surrogacy legal everywhere?
Intended parents may live anywhere in the United States, and Modern Conceptions will work with intended parents in any US state and a number of countries overseas. However, since statutes and case law are different in every state, carriers must reside and deliver in a state where it is legally accepted.
- Do you work with gay couples and singles?
Modern Conceptions is an agency that works with intended parents of all backgrounds – same-sex couples, married or unmarried, single men and women, as well as heterosexual couples who are ready to start or add to their family through surrogacy.
- If I am or my partner is HIV positive, can we be a parent?
Absolutely! Thanks to HIV testing and a sperm washing technique, it is possible for HIV positive men to safely father a biological child of their own with no risk to the baby or surrogate.
- Does your agency partner with international intended parents?
Modern Conceptions works with intended parents worldwide. We have the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex process of international surrogacy.
- What is the average time frame for the surrogacy process?
The length of the surrogacy process depends on a myriad of factors. Intended parents should plan on average, a year and a half from the time they sign on with our agency until they have a child. However, this time frame could vary based on the legal requirements involved and the course of the IVF treatment.
- How do I begin the process?
Starting your surrogacy begins with a free consultation with Modern Conceptions staff. We will provide an overview of our surrogacy program, ask you about your needs and wants, and answer any questions you have.
- What is a gestational carrier?
Gestational carriers are women who choose to carry a pregnancy for those who cannot carry a pregnancy to term without help, there is no genetic connection on the part of the surrogate.
- I had my tubes tied, can I still be a gestational surrogate?
Absolutely! A pregnancy in a gestational surrogate is accomplished through in vitro fertilization (IVF). In IVF, the embryos are placed directly into the surrogate’s uterus, so it is not necessary to use the surrogate’s fallopian tubes.
- Will I meet the intended parents?
Yes, unless you and the intended parents reach an agreement to the contrary. Usually, you meet via Skype before you are officially matched and the medical evaluation begins.
- Is there anything required of my husband/partner?
Your husband or partner must agree to participate in medical screening (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, CMV, and any other sexually transmitted diseases or disorders, as well as illegal drugs, including marijuana). The same request must be made of any person with whom you have had sexual contact during the three months prior to applying as a surrogate. For surrogates who are married or are in a committed long-term relationship, husbands/partners must become parties to the contract and must cooperate with all provisions of the contract. The husband or partner will also join you for a psychologist evaluation.
- What if I have already found the intended parents I want to help? Can Modern Conceptions help us?
Absolutely! We are happy to assist those surrogates and intended parents along their journey with contract needs, fertility clinic coordination, and finalizing the parent and child relationship after delivery. Our agency fees for helping in this way are reduced accordingly. If you are a surrogate who has already found a family you want to help, call us at (503) 949-9800. We will be glad to answer your questions and further describe how we can help you and your couple.
- Can I be a surrogate if I don’t have health insurance?
Yes! You can be a surrogate even if you don’t have health insurance or if your current health insurance plan does not cover a surrogate pregnancy. Intended parents will purchase a health insurance policy for you for the duration of your surrogacy.
- Why would someone choose surrogacy over adoption?
Adoption is a wonderful choice for many people. However, surrogacy has several practical and medical advantages. When the egg and/or sperm from the intended parents are used, there will be an actual genetic relationship to the child. In gestational surrogacies, embryos are created outside the womb through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Before implantation occurs, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can detect certain chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo typically discovered mid-pregnancy. Moreover, unlike in most adoptions, intended parents closely monitor the health and progress of the pregnancy and birth. The surrogate’s obligations and compensation are governed by contract, which provides a distinct measure of security to all involved. In contrast with adoption, the carrier in a surrogacy has significantly diminished to non-existent parental rights once the baby is born.
- Can the surrogate acquire legal custody to the child?
If the intended parents fulfill their contractual obligations, it would be virtually impossible for a gestational carrier to acquire legal custody after birth. The surrogate has no genetic relation to the child. In states where a pre-birth order can be obtained, the intended parents appear on the original birth certificate.
- Where can the medical procedures take place?
The participants decide, along with Modern Conceptions recommendations, on a reputable IVF clinic that is conveniently located to the intended parents, and/or donor and/or carrier. Travel may be required for some of the parties.