What is my first step as a surrogate? Becoming Informed!
I am Nicole, a Surrogate Coordinator here at IARC and an experienced Gestational Carrier. I have been working with IARC for 8 years now and my number one goal in terms of surrogacy is to ensure that prospective surrogates feel supported, well-educated and prepared for this journey. One of the first things you will do when you decide to look more into our surrogacy program is have an informational call with a Surrogate Coordinator (all three are experienced surros!) so we can get to know more about you and talk through the surrogacy process steps. We also take the time to answer any questions and get you started on next steps when you are ready.
Here is a snapshot of the topics we go over on the call.
The very first step is the pre-screening. Pre-screening involves completing an application, our request and physician review of medical records, putting together your match profile, reviewing health insurance options, and connecting you with a psychologist to complete the psychological evaluation. You will then feel fully prepared to go ahead with matching, knowing what you would like in your match and knowing you are fully qualified to move ahead!
Matching with Intended Parents
We think matching is your most important step! We want you to feel like your intended parent match is a great fit for you, and you have total say in who that will be. Our matching coordinator will work with you one-on-one to find your match. The parents view your profile, you view their profile, and then you each decide whether it’s a potential match. If so, you have a match call to get to know each other and determine if you feel the right connection.
After a match is made, surrogates are introduced to a Program Coordinator at IARC. The Program Coordinator will be the surrogate’s and intended parents’ support person from that point forward and will take you from the time of being matched all the way through the pregnancy to guide you through each and every step.
Final Medical Screening at Fertility Clinic
Medical screening is specific to the fertility clinic and their standard protocol. It is a physical that involves blood work to determine a surrogate’s hormone levels, immunity, and clearance from infectious diseases. Each clinic will have some form of a uterine cavity assessment and a surrogate will be educated and prepared for this particular test. This may involve a hysteroscopy or a hysterosalpingography procedure. The Program Coordinator will schedule this appointment and any travel required for this appointment.
When the clinic gives you final medical clearance after screening, the date of the embryo transfer will be set and you will begin the fertility medication protocol. The medication protocol will be specific to the fertility clinic and will generally require 4-6 weeks of medication leading up to the embryo transfer and 4-6 weeks of medication after the embryo transfer, if a pregnancy is achieved. We will discuss the various factors in knowing which clinic, doctor, and protocol you’ll be working with and what time commitments may be involved in the process for this part of your journey. Although this can be a difficult physical commitment for some, many are comforted to know it maximizes the chances the transfer will be a success.
We will discuss transitioning care from the fertility clinic to your doctor. We will also talk about things like insurance, updating the parents throughout the pregnancy, and the delivery itself. We want you and the parents to enjoy the pregnancy together and not worry about any of the administrative steps required, so your Program Coordinator takes care of all of this for you each week.
Whether you are going to begin screening right away or in the coming months, we will send you application materials and instructions once the call is done so that you know exactly where to go when you want to begin your journey.
Feel free to write down questions you have before and during the call and we will go over them.
Educating potential surrogates so that you are safe and self-determinative in this journey is extremely important to us and a cornerstone of our agency’s mission. We want every woman to know the ins and outs of the surrogacy process and make sure they are making the best decisions for them and their families, first and foremost. Our surrogates and intended parents become our family, and we always want what is best for them. The IARC Surrogate Coordinators have all been surrogates themselves and we love to share our own experiences! We want to make sure you know each step as it comes and give you the support you need to go through this process. We look forward to hopefully working with you and welcoming you to our amazing IARC surrogate community!