There are many differences when you are surrogate, than what you may remember while having your own children. As a surrogate, the IVF Physician will manipulate your natural fertility cycle to trick your body into the pregnancy. This is done with the use of hormones so that your body will accept an embryo even though it was not created by your body.
Once you are pregnant, the pregnancy is monitored by the IVF Physician throughout the first trimester. The IVF Physician will monitor your hormone levels to make certain your body has enough to maintain the pregnancy as well as making sure that the embryo is growing at a normal rate.
Once you reach 10 – 12 weeks of gestation you will be released to your own OB/GYN. It is at this point in the pregnancy that the pregnancy is considered to be “normal”. You will no longer be taking hormones to maintain the pregnancy and your body will be producing the hormones on its own. Most surrogates enjoy the second trimester of pregnancy the most. You may still continue to have regular ultrasounds with your Physician and you are likely feeling good. It is also at this point that your Intended Parents begin to relax and understand that the pregnancy is doing well.
For most surrogates, the time of delivery is the greatest difference between past pregnancy and surrogacy. So many surrogates say it is like having a light switch turned off. When you have your own child you experience the excitement of your family and friends for the birth of the new baby. As a surrogate, you have had the attention of the Intended Parents for nearly a year. Once the baby is born, the Intended Parent’s focus changes and is now on their baby. When you deliver your own baby, family and friends gather to see the baby and congratulate you, as a surrogate you are still there, but you are more ready for life to get back to what it used to be. You may feel overwhelmed with feeling like you need to get back to being the “soccer mom”.
In addition, when you have your own baby, you begin to have pediatrician appointments and everywhere you go people comment on “what a beautiful baby”. As a surrogate, all the doctor’s appointments are gone (your OB will see you in 6-8 weeks), when you go out your clothes don’t quite fit like they used to, people don’t know that you just had a baby (since there is no baby) and you still have the overflow of hormones working their way out. It is important to recognize that you could feel overwhelmed and need to take time for you. You did just deliver a baby and sometimes you need to remind family and friends of this. We prepare our surrogates for this so they know what to expect as they reach the end of their surrogacy.
A: It involves matching you to Intended Parents. It is a process (matching) that is best described as a combination of dating and a job interview. Like dating, and accepting a new job, both parties have to like each other. Like accepting a job, there is an agreed upon task to be completed. Like getting a job and dating, it is a two way street. Both parties have to like one another and decide to work together.
Once you are matched, the lawyers will draft the surrogacy contact which is between you and the Intended Parents. Omega Family Global, also puts into escrow (trust fund) all of your compensation and anticipated medical expenses.
With this in place legal clearance is given to start the hormone treatments.
During the legal clearance phase we will have undergo the medical exam.
Hormonal preperation enables your uterus to accept the transferred embryos.
The step-by-step actions involved in becoming a surrogate include:
All candidates receive an initial call from one of or team members to discuss the gestational surrogates interest in being a surrogate. This screening call is either before or after the surrogacy questionnaire is filled out. Almost, all then get a second call once the questionnaire is filled out to clarify the surrogates understanding of the questions, and be certain of the answers.
We start by asking some basic questions to determine your qualifications. These include information about past pregnancies and your motivation to be a surrogate. We ask you to complete a questionnaire. Later, we will conduct a criminal background check, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, a medical exam, and a psychological exam.
A: After Omega Family has completed your profile, it can take anywhere from less than a week to about six months. Sometimes it can take more than four months to find just the right match. Like dating, there is somebody for everybody.
A: Yes you can. The process is a match, and each of the parties has a choice in selection of the other. In our screening questionnaire, you can state what type of IPs you want to work with.
A: Almost all IPs what to have interaction with the surrogate throughout the entire process. We have seen couples from other countries move to the area to be closer to the surrogate. We have seen IPs make recordings of their voice for the surrogate to play for the baby while she is pregnant. In the end, it is up to you to decide how much you want to interact with them. We often see the IPs and the surrogate become extended family of sorts.
A: The national average in surrogacy is 1.2. The vast majority of the time only one is transferred because pregnancy success rates have climbed dramatically over the past few years. Most IPs only want a single birth. If they want more children, we see IPs ask for two surrogates.
A: The total compensation package amount is $55,000. It is paid starting when you start hormonal preparation for the embryo transfer and is completed at the birth of the baby.
A: Omega Family Global will be with you through the entire process. We have liaisons that will coordinate all of your visits with the IPs and the medical appointments. We work to attend the medical appointments with you. We also keep in contact with you and the IPs throughout the entire process. Both OFG and the IPs like to be active in communication and be present when the baby is born.
Being a surrogate is a rewarding experience. Since each woman’s pain tolerance is different, the level of discomfort can vary. Some IVF Centers require injectable medications while others do not. As you can suspect, the delivery of the baby is the greatest pain and discomfort that you will experience.
Every pregnancy is different so it may be that your surrogacy experience is different than what your own pregnancy/pregnancies was/were (some for the better and some not). You may experience emotional ups and downs throughout the surrogacy such as a negative pregnancy result after an embryo transfer or the possibility of a miscarriage. It is for this reason that having family and friends support as well as the emotional support we provide is so important throughout your surrogacy.
As a gestational surrogate the embryo is created using eggs from the Intended Mother or a Donor and the sperm is from the Intended Father or a donor. For this reason there is no genetic connection between the surrogate (you) and the unborn baby. This makes it easier for the surrogate (you) to understand that it is not your baby you are carrying. However, when carrying the baby you do care for the well-being of the baby as if it were your own child, but psychologically you know you are caring for the Intended Parent’s baby.
As you approach the end of the pregnancy you are anxious to have the delivery and have your own body back. For most surrogates, they look forward to being able to sleep through the night and get back to their life as it used to be before the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, the feelings the surrogate goes through are overjoy for the Intended Parents, relief that the delivery is done, and the love/care for the baby is much like what you would have for a niece or nephew. You care about the baby, but you don’t need to be involved every moment.
A: Experience and professionalism. Our team has managed over 2000 surrogacies over the past 12 years. Our key management team includes lawyers and a doctor. We are not here to just match you, but work with you every step of the way. Some surrogates will want to do this again and we value our reputation. We hope they will join us again for another surrogacy journey and encourage their friends to do the same.
Tracy Armato has been a surrogate 4 times, and has three children of her own…