Find a Surrogate
The Surrogacy Source™ is here to guide you, step by step, toward your goal of becoming a parent through our surrogacy program.
Finding a Surrogate
Fertility Source Companies’ division, “The Surrogacy Source,” has been helping intended parents (IPs) and qualified surrogates find each other since 2003. Our user-friendly online database allows surrogates and IPs to navigate the application process and profile searches easily. To make the process even more seamless, IPs and surrogates are assigned a dedicated director to assist them through the matching process and help them find the best fit.
How to Find a Surrogate
Finding qualified gestational surrogates is a very complex process. Although surrogates often reside in cities, towns, and rural locations across the country, it would be a daunting endeavor for IPs to find a well-suited, qualified surrogate on their own. That’s the reason most IPs employ a gestational surrogacy agency. At Fertility Source Companies, we have a database of suitable surrogates ready for you to start browsing right away. We ensure that our surrogates are fully screened via background checks, insurance reviews, psychological evaluations, and in-depth pregnancy record reviews performed by our on-staff RN.
Working With a Surrogacy Agency
Fertility Source Companies has a membership with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), abiding by all guidelines set for egg donors and surrogates. We provide support and guidance throughout the entire surrogacy experience, from the initial consultation and matching process, understanding the legalities of your surrogacy contract, to your child’s birth, and plans to return home. We manage every aspect of your journey, including:
- Education (regarding medications, legalities, screening processes, etc.)
- Medical guidance (e.g., helping you understand how the IVF process works)
- Attorney referral (to locate an attorney experienced in helping you navigate the legalities of the surrogacy contract and establishing parentage)
- Financial resources
- Emotional Support
- Monthly support group meetings
How Surrogates & Intended Parents Are Screened
Surrogates are screened by experienced professionals to ensure they are suitable for surrogacy, screenings include mental health evaluations, medical screening and tests, fertility evaluation, and criminal background checks. Examples of surrogate screening methods include:
- Pre-applicant and full-applicant interviews (including financial and commitment assessments)
- In-home assessments (to evaluate family interaction)
- Medical diagnostic tests and fertility testing (performed by healthcare professionals)
- Mental health screenings (psychiatric tests performed by a mental health professional)
- Past pregnancy reviews for surrogates (evaluated by FSC's on-staff RN)
The Intended Parents’ Profile
Just as you can view potential surrogates' profiles to help decide on a match, your profile will be available for surrogates to examine. In the IP profile, you provide a glimpse of what your parenting style will look like and who you are as a family. Your profile will include photos of you and your family and your interests and values.
The Surrogate Matching Process
The match meeting is usually the aspect of the matching process that causes the most anxiety for IPs. Although you may be nervous about what to expect, what questions to ask, and other concerns, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not uncommon for IPs to explain, “As soon as we met her, we knew she was the right match for us.”
Things to Consider During the Surrogate Matching Process
When considering which surrogate is right for you, there are some important factors to consider, such as:
- Medical requirements (e.g., vaccines and testing for surrogate candidate and spouse)
- Family medical history (consider a genetics counselor to help with the match)
- Religious preferences
- Motivation for surrogacy
- Surrogate candidate’s personality
- Geographic location
- Family situation (e.g., number of children, single vs. married surrogate)
Understanding the Surrogacy Contract
The surrogacy contract is a legal document that details the rights and responsibilities of both the IPs and the gestational surrogate. The contract is a foundation for establishing the IPs’ legal parental rights. A quality surrogacy agreement provides the IPs with legal protection during the surrogacy process and ensures that the IPs have legal parental rights at the time of the baby’s birth. Fertility Source Companies will refer you to one of our in-network legal professionals, who is experienced in surrogacy laws and contracts.
Meeting Your Surrogate
Fertility Source Companies coordinates and moderates the initial match meeting between surrogates and intended parents. Feeling prepared can help facilitate a smooth meeting between all parties. Here are some tips for getting ready for your initial meeting:
Tip #1: Take some time to prepare for the meeting – write a list of questions you want to ask, such as why the candidate decided to become a surrogate mother.
Tip #2: Start the interview with a friendly conversation.
Tip #3: Share information about who you and (if applicable) your partner are with the candidate and ask questions that give you a good idea of the surrogate's personality.
Tip #4: Listen attentively during the interview.
Tip #5: Don't hesitate to discuss important complex topics (such as asking how much support she would like from you or how her extended family feels about her participation as a surrogate).Tip #6: Take a relaxed stance and see it as an enjoyable opportunity to get to know the surrogate candidate.
Your Relationship With the Surrogate
Building and maintaining a relationship with the surrogate is an integral part of the surrogate journey. The emotional well-being of the surrogate as well as the baby’s health are important factors during the surrogacy process. Anything you can do to support her will ultimately help the surrogate and your baby. It’s common for surrogates and IPs to build long-lasting relationships, even after the baby is born. Remember that part of a surrogate’s motive is to help a family struggling to have a child.
The Surrogate Pregnancy
Gestational surrogates get pregnant via an intrauterine in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. This involves fertilization with either a donor egg or an egg from one of the IPs in a laboratory. Approximately six to ten days after fertilization, the embryo is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus in a fertility clinic. Toward the end of the first trimester, the surrogate is released to her OBGYN.
During the Birthing Process
During the birth of a surrogate baby, the IPs may be allowed in the hospital room during the labor and delivery; this depends on specific circumstances (e.g., the institution’s policies and other factors, such as restrictions during COVID-19). When allowed in the labor and delivery room, IPs are often invited to bond with the baby immediately after birth; a popular ritual is for IPs to engage in skin-to-skin contact with the baby. They may even be allowed to cut the baby’s cord after delivery.
IPs must be established as the baby's legal parents through legal action in every surrogacy arrangement. Establishing parentage allows IPs to be named legal parents on the birth certificate. In some states, including California, IPs can open a case to establish parentage during the surrogate’s pregnancy. The exact legal process varies depending on the situation (e.g., whether one or both IPs are the genetic parents) and the state's surrogacy laws. Fertility Source Companies refers all our IPs to our in-network legal counsel to learn more about the legalities of establishing parentage.
All of the legal paperwork should be in place at the time of birth to ensure you have medical decision-making rights. Some states require IPs to sign a parentage order after the baby's birth; in this instance, the paperwork is submitted to the birthing institution to ensure you have legal parental rights and can make decisions for your child.
IPs must apply for a birth certificate designating them as legal parents after the child’s birth. The time it takes to complete the process of applying for a birth certificate depends on the baby’s birth state. After hospital discharge, you can take your new baby home and begin your exciting new family journey together!
Finding a Surrogate FAQ
How long will it take to take the baby home after the birth?
The length of the baby's hospital stay depends on the baby's health after birth. Each state has different statutes regarding how long it takes to issue a birth certificate. Some states allow IPs to file for a pre-birth order as early as the fourth month of pregnancy, but exactly when you can apply depends on the laws in the baby’s birth state. Your surrogacy attorney and surrogacy director will assist you in having you named as the legal parent/s on the birth certificate. International IPs must usually wait two to three weeks to allow time to apply for passports and complete the legal paperwork before taking the baby home.
How long will it take to find a surrogate?
The length of time it takes to find a surrogate varies for every IP, depending on several factors, such as the fertility clinic, state laws, and IPs and surrogate preferences. Location influences the length of time to find a surrogate as well; for example, international IPs have a few more steps to go through during the process. What's most important to understand is that every person's surrogacy journey is different. Becoming a parent through surrogacy is most often a long process that requires trust, hope, and lots of patience.
In the event of a health complication during pregnancy or just after the baby’s birth, who is responsible for making medical decisions for the baby?
If a medical complication occurs, the IPs usually make medical decisions depending on state laws (where the baby is born) and the terms (which must be agreed upon in advance) in the surrogate contract. If the state allows for a pre-birth order for parental custody, it helps clarify that the IPs have the legal right to make decisions in an emergency.
Find Your Surrogate With Fertility Source Companies
If you’re ready to take the first step towards finding a surrogate, we invite you to browse our surrogate database. Register now for free access!