becoming a parent
At Avenues to Surrogacy, the surrogacy process is a team effort. Your team consists of you, your gestational carrier, our agency, your attorney, and your IVF clinic. We are here to make each stage of the process as smooth as possible and to ensure that it is fulfilling and enjoyable. Our team understands that you may have a lot of questions about the process and whether it is right for you and your family. Avenues to Surrogacy will walk alongside you through the entire process. We will be here to answer questions, guide, and support you every step of the way.
There are many stages to the Gestational Surrogacy Process. An overview can be found below. Should you have additional questions or would like to learn more, the Avenues to Surrogacy team is ready to explain these steps in detail.
Once you have contacted Avenues to Surrogacy by phone or email, a team member will connect with you and schedule a time for an initial conversation. We will answer any questions you might have about our agency and the surrogacy process. We will also review the application and documentation needed in order to move forward.
If you are interested in moving forward, you will be given the full application packet. You will be asked to provide the following: the completed intended parent application, signed medical records releases, releases for criminal background checks and child abuse registry checks, and photos of you and your family to use for your matching profile.
Your completed packet will be reviewed by the Avenues to Surrogacy team and you may be contacted for answers to follow-up questions. Additionally, we will also set up a meeting with our licensed clinical social worker to complete a thorough screening in order to address or shed light on any outstanding questions or issues that may arise.
Avenues to Surrogacy will create a match profile based on the information you provided through the application and during our initial conversation. The profile will include your first names, the answers you provided to the questions on the application, and a photo. It will not include your last name or any identifying information. We then review the match profiles of both the gestational surrogate and intended parents, and match parties according to the preferences and criteria stated in their applications. It is important to spend the time in this initial stage to make sure that the parties are compatible.
Once we have identified a potential match, the gestational surrogate’s profile is sent to the intended parents for review. If the intended parents are interested in pursuing a match, the gestational surrogate would be sent your profile for review. If both the intended parents and gestational surrogate agree to the match, Avenues to Surrogacy would schedule an initial phone call between the parties. After the phone call, if everyone is still interested in pursuing the match, an in-person meeting or video conference is scheduled. This meeting assists both the intended parents and gestational surrogate in determining if they feel they can work together. After this meeting, if both parties wish to move forward, the next step is the screening stage.
Some of our intended parents already have relationships with an IVF clinic or fertility doctor; if this is the case the intended parents may continue working with this clinic. If the intended parents do not have a relationship, we can recommend IVF clinics and fertility doctors from whom the intended parents can choose. During this stage, the gestational surrogate’s information would be shared with the clinic and the clinic would schedule medical and psychological screenings for all parties.
The gestational surrogate and intended parents are each represented by separate attorneys to prepare the Gestational Surrogate Contract. The intended parents’ attorney will prepare the Gestational Surrogate Contract with your input and will forward the document to the gestational surrogate’s attorney for their review. The gestational surrogate’s attorney will guide her through the contract, make any changes requested and resubmit the amended contract back to the intended parents’ attorney.
To eliminate any uncertainty about the payment of fees and expenses to the gestational surrogate, the payment schedule is documented in the contract. All funds paid by the intended parents are placed into an escrow account in advance and are paid out as agreed upon according to the schedule in the Gestational Surrogate Contract.
Once both the intended parents and gestational surrogate agree, the contract is signed. The Gestational Surrogate Contract must be signed before the IVF stage can begin. Often, the screening stage and contract stage can be done simultaneously.
The IVF clinic will set up a protocol to prepare the gestational surrogate’s body to carry the pregnancy. This will involve taking medications and synchronizing the surrogate’s cycle with that of the intended mother or egg donor. Once everyone is ready, a transfer day is scheduled.
The clinic will do a pregnancy test approximately two weeks after the transfer. If the test is positive, we move onto the pregnancy stage. If the test is negative, the IVF process may be repeated with the permission of both parties.
After a positive pregnancy test, the clinic will make an appointment for an ultrasound to confirm a visible heartbeat. The clinic will monitor the gestational surrogate for a period of time before releasing her to her own OB/GYN, who will resume the prenatal care for the remainder of the pregnancy.
During this time, we encourage the intended parents develop a relationship with the gestational surrogate. We suggest our intended parents attend as many prenatal appointments as possible. You will also have ongoing support and contact from the Avenues to Surrogacy team. We will check in with you regularly and be available to answer any questions along the way.
During the second trimester, the intended parents’ attorney will file a pre-birth order with the court stating that this will be a surrogate birth and the names of the intended parents should be identified on the birth certificate. Around the same time you will collaborate with the gestational surrogate to develop a birth plan in order to clarify and define expectations relating to labor and delivery. Avenues to Surrogacy will reach out to the hospital where your baby will be born and make sure they have a copy of the birth plan and understand that this is a surrogate birth.
The long awaited birth day will arrive. You will spend time in the hospital with the gestational surrogate and getting to know your new baby. What an amazing gift!