Becoming a Surrogate in Southern California
The decision to become a surrogate is a monumental and life-changing commitment for both the surrogate and the family. Families may choose surrogacy if they have experienced multiple miscarriages, if it would be detrimental for the mother or fetus if the intended mom were to carry the baby, or if they are a same sex male couple. Those who once thought it was impossible to start or add to their family can now fulfill their goals through surrogacy.
Surrogacy can be beneficial for both the family and the surrogate. At Reproductive Fertility, Dr. Saadat is dedicated to helping the surrogate and family have a positive experience with surrogacy.
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I wanted to say thank you to the entire staff for making us feel welcome to our first visit especially on a Saturday. We met with Dr. Sadaat and was very informative and took time with us with all of our questions. For the financial department, Melissa was very helpful with keeping in contact with us regarding any paperwork that we needed as well as with setting our appointment. We do look forward for treatment with Dr. Saadat.”
What Are the Ideal Qualities of a Surrogate?
You Are Willing to Commit a Year to This Process
Becoming a surrogate is a rewarding process because you are going through the pregnancy experience for someone unable to do so by themselves. An important quality of becoming a surrogate is understanding that the process requires a year-long commitment. You should make sure you are at the right point in your life to commit a full year to becoming a surrogate for a deserving family.
You Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Before you can qualify to become a surrogate, you will complete a questionnaire about your history and undergo a physical. This will allow the physician to ensure that you are healthy and able to fulfill the requirements of being a surrogate, which include being drug-free and alcohol-free.
Knowing that you are healthy and will continue a healthy lifestyle will help to put the intended parent(s) at ease during the initial process and throughout the pregnancy.
You Have Had at Least One Issue-Free Pregnancy
One of the most important qualities of a surrogate is that they have had at least one full-term pregnancy and delivery with no major complications.
This demonstrates that the potential surrogate is healthy and that their body has been able to carry a baby to term with no complications.
What Are the Steps to Become a Surrogate?
Medical History Report and Questionnaire
Once you understand all of the preliminary requirements and decide that becoming a surrogate is the right choice for you, you will provide a complete report of your medical history to a recommended gestational surrogacy agency. This report should include information and records of your previous pregnancy, most recent pap smear, and yearly gynecological exams, along with a fully completed questionnaire.
Matching With Intended Parents and Undergoing a Series of Exams
After you’ve demonstrated that you meet the preliminary requirements, the agency will search for a match and set up your first meeting with the intended parents looking for a gestational surrogate via phone or in person.
Once the match has been made, the medical exam will be completed, which includes lab work, vaginal exams, and a physical examination. You will also submit a complete history of your medical records and receive a psychological evaluation. If you have a partner, you and your partner will receive a psychological evaluation to ensure that you both understand the decision you are making to become a surrogate. If you are intimate, he or she may need to have lab work for STD testing done.
Once you have been cleared as a surrogate, legal contracts will be prepared. You and the intended parents will have different lawyers, which ensures that your rights and the rights of the intended parents are protected. The process can be complex, and Dr. Saadat and his team work with attorneys and lawyers who specialize in these legal matters.
Embryo Transfer Treatment Begins
Once you have been medically and psychologically cleared and the legal contracts are in place, preparations can be made for the embryo transfer. This will include taking injectable medication that will thicken your uterine lining. This generally takes about a month. After the transfer, there will be a period of bed rest, generally about three days.
You will need to be available for as many visits as needed during the embryo transfer cycle—you should plan on a minimum of six visits during this time.
You should give special attention to caring for yourself and the baby by eating healthy foods and resting regularly. Lastly, you should try to enjoy the experience as much as you can.
How Do Surrogates Become Pregnant?
Gestational Surrogacy Using IVF and the Intended Parents’ Egg and Sperm
A process called in vitro fertilization (IVF) takes the intended mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm and creates an embryo of their combined DNA.
After the embryo has developed (one to five days after fertilization), it is transferred into the uterus of the surrogate.
Gestational Surrogacy Using IVF and an Egg Donor and/or Sperm Donor
If the intended mother is unable to produce healthy eggs for fertilization and/or the intended father is unable to produce viable sperm, gestational surrogacy using an egg donor and/or sperm donor are alternative options. We work with both sperm banks and egg donation agencies to help meet the needs of our patients.
Once the egg donor is chosen and the eggs are retrieved, the eggs can be fertilized with the father’s sperm or donor sperm (or, alternatively, the intended mother’s egg can be fertilized with donor sperm) during a treatment called in vitro fertilization.
The embryos are then incubated and carefully watched as they develop. Typically, one to five days after fertilization, an embryo is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate.
Gestational Surrogacy Using Frozen Embryos
In some cases, frozen embryo transfer (FET) is the best course of treatment. Cryopreserving (freezing) the embryos allows for transfer to occur at the optimal time. FET can be beneficial for when the intended parents desire genetic testing (PGT) or for various other reasons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone be a surrogate mother?
No. Becoming a surrogate is not as simple as signing a piece of paper. Becoming a surrogate requires prerequisites (certain medical and psychological tests ensuring you are the right fit to be a surrogate) as well as a year-long commitment. Check out our blog to see an overview of what it takes to be a surrogate.
Where do the embryos for surrogacy come from?
Embryos can be created from the intended mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm during in vitro fertilization, or they can be created using an egg donor, sperm donor, or both. In some cases, the intended parents may already have frozen embryos that can be used.
How much compensation do surrogates receive?
Surrogates in California are generously compensated for their time, effort, and any costs incurred from living expenses.
How long does it take to become a surrogate?
The process of becoming a surrogate may take up to a year. There are important and mandatory steps to take before you can be matched with a couple seeking a gestational surrogate.