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Getting Started with Surrogacy or Gestational Care
If you’ve decided on surrogacy, your first steps are to coordinate your plans with your fertility clinic and recruit a surrogate. Your fertility clinic may have its own surrogacy program, or you may want to locate your own surrogate. There are two common routes.
- Some people ask a sister, a close relative or friend — someone they know and trust. Often called a “known carrier,” this woman must be willing to undergo the fertility drugs and medical procedures necessary to prepare her to receive the embryos (generally fertilized via IVF), and then to carry the pregnancy to term.
- Most people aren’t fortunate to have friend or relative to carry their baby, so they turn to a surrogacy agency. Your fertility clinic should have a referral list of reputable agencies. Or you can network with others struggling with infertility in support groups and in online chat rooms.
Agencies that specialize in recruiting surrogates, commonly called gestational carriers, generally screen applicants psychologically and physically. Most require candidates to have children, a stable relationship and economic security. (That is, money should not be their main motivation.) Most surrogates enjoy being pregnant and have a history of uncomplicated pregnancies. Most agencies have experienced surrogates who are familiar with the emotional, medical, and legal aspects of carrying a baby to term.
When you explore surrogacy agencies, as with locating any other critical service, get referrals from professionals, meet with the staff, and clarify the range of issues from fees and fee schedules to screening processes and legal protocols.
Whether you plan to use your own gametes (sperm and eggs), donor gametes, or a combination thereof, your fertility clinic needs to work closely with you and your gestational carrier. Also, you must retain an attorney experienced in gestational surrogacy. Some states and countries prohibit surrogacy practices; others don’t recognize surrogacy agreements.