- What is a Gestational Carrier (GC)/Surrogate?
A gestational carrier is a woman who gets pregnant via the In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process and delivers a child who is not, in any way, biologically her own. We use the word surrogate very loosely as the true meaning of a traditional surrogate is a woman who becomes pregnant by using her own egg and is simply artificially inseminated; the child would be biologically hers. Our agency does not use traditional surrogates but, instead we use gestational carriers. This simplifies the legal process and eases the internal conflict while being pregnant and when it comes time to leave the hospital without a child.
We are just the oven for baking someone else's bun!
- What is an Intended Parent (IP)?
The intended parent(s) is the person (or couple) receiving the child(ren) after the surrogate delivers. They have provided the embryo(s) to create the pregnancy either by using her egg, his sperm, donor products, or a combination of the two.
- How does the Surrogate get pregnant?
The surrogate gets pregnant through the Invitro Fertilization (IVF) process. The egg comes from the intended mother or an egg donor and the sperm comes from the intended father or a sperm donor. Then, the embryo is placed inside the uterus of the surrogate in a simple and painless procedure very similar to an annual exam. Again, the embryo is in no way biologically related to the surrogate.
This is a difficult and very personal question to answer as each situation varies greatly. Please review our Intended Parent Fee Page that describes the costs associated with a surrogate pregnancy and the Agency Fee Page that goes into more detail. We will be happy to explain and discuss any of these fees and their purpose.
- Can I use my own eggs or sperm?
Absolutely! If you have already donated and have frozen products or have already created frozen embryos, the transfer process is very simple. If you would like to use your own products but don't know if you can, please speak to your doctor or reproductive endocrinologist about the retrieval process. If either of you are unable to produce a healthy egg or sperm, using donor products is an excellent option available from many clinics nationwide. Some couples choose to use an "adopted embryo" allowing them to participate in the pregnancy and delivery of the child. This allows for much more involvement throughout the entire process as opposed to a traditional adoption scenario.
- Can we use the clinic we are already working with?
Yes, we would be happy to coordinate with the clinic of your choice. The surrogate can travel to attend appointments or to do the transfer at the clinic you are already using. Follow-up appointments, ultrasounds and labs are usually done here in Boise at the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine (ICRM), or Lab Corp and the reports or tests can be sent directly to your clinic.
- How and when does the Surrogate get paid?
The surrogate's compensation will be held in an escrow account of the agency's choosing. The surrogate will begin receiving a $200 monthly allowance the month the match is confirmed. A match is confirmed once the non-refundable $5,000 portion of the Agency Fee is paid in full and once all parties are committed and verbally agree to move forward. She will receive payments once a month in a pro-rated amount drawn from the escrow account. If, for example, she lost the pregnancy at 15 weeks, she will have been paid up to that point. If she were to deliver any time after 32 weeks, she will receive a balloon payment, due after delivery, to fulfill the entire amount of the compensation.
The escrow account alleviates a multitude of problems including: non-payment, late payments, personal checks bouncing, the wrong amount being sent, and most importantly, provides security to the surrogate knowing she will be paid, and the funds are available for the duration of the pregnancy.
Everyone can then enjoy the pregnancy without a lingering worry of financial issues. We feel very strongly about this and would be happy to discuss it further with you.
- Can we tell the Surrogate what to eat or what not to eat?
One very important thing to keep in mind is that this is a healthy woman who has given birth to a healthy child(ren). She is responsible and will do her very best to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the pregnancy. However, if you have specific requests such as a particular vitamin or herb (per the OB's approval) then yes, you may ask her to add such things to her diet. Please remember, your child's health and development is her top priority.
- Can we attend clinic or OB appointments?
Yes, for those who can come or live nearby this is a great way to stay involved. Most parents will want to participate in and be as much a part of the pregnancy as possible. If you are unable to attend and you want the surrogate to have support, the owner or an associate of Miracles in the Making would be more than happy to go with her, upon request and availability. Most parents will make an extra effort to be at the mid-pregnancy, 20 week ultrasound; this is usually when the gender is revealed. A momentous day for everyone! It is also nice for the parents to meet the provider who will most likely be in the delivery room.
- Where do we stay while we wait for the birth?
If you come to town ahead of time, you will want to reserve a room at a local hotel or rental property, etc. At the current time, the hospital does not provide sleeping accommodations for intended parents. This is something the agency is trying to get changed with hospital administration, as there are so many surrogate-related deliveries taking place. Take a look at the Resources page for a complete list of hotels near the hospital that offer medical discounts.
- Can we be in the delivery room?
This is a very special, but also a very personal day for everyone. Typically, the surrogate and her spouse or friend will be in the delivery room and she will ask you ahead of time if you would like to be in the room or just outside waiting to come in. Please be respectful of her choice as she will do the same for you. In the event of a twin or triplet delivery, the situation changes. That type of delivery will take place in the operating room; this is in case of an emergency with either the surrogate or babies. Hospital policy is that one person can accompany the surrogate to the operating room. All efforts will be made to accommodate the wishes of everyone, and this will all have been discussed well before the birth.
- Who gets to hold the baby first?
Details like this will have been discussed in depth ahead of time. It varies from surrogate to surrogate on what their preferences are. Some want to hold and comfort the child, and then pass it to the intended mother, other surrogates want the intended mother to be the first to hold the child. Either way, this is a precious moment for both women.
- Will the Surrogate nurse the baby?
If she is asked ahead of time and agrees to nurse the baby, then yes, accommodations will be made in the hospital for this to take place. She may not want to breastfeed, but may choose to pump the milk, and you can bottle feed the baby. The nursery will provide formula to those who do not want any breast milk, or to supplement the breast milk. Several surrogates choose to pump and freeze the milk and mail it at a later date. Supplies and shipping will be at the expense of the Intended Parents. If you choose not to receive the milk, it can be donated to a local milk bank.
- What if she doesn't want to give the baby up?
This is probably the biggest fear any parent will have in a surrogacy arrangement. This is an extremely rare event, but still very real and at the forefront of a new parent's mind. Our surrogates are well informed, supported and prepared for this moment. Yes, she may have an emotional connection with your baby(ies), but not in the same way it would be with a child of her own. She knows from the beginning this is not, in any way, her child(ren), and she has already consented to give up her maternal rights after delivery. The baby(ies) will always have a special place in her heart. She has worked so hard to make this day a reality for you; the moment she is finally able to give you the baby(ies), will be unforgettable. If you ever have any concerns, please bring this to our attention and it will be addressed immediately.
- Why is the Surrogate's name on the birth certificate when I am the mother?
In the state of Idaho the surrogate's name, as well as the intended father's name, will temporarily be put on the birth certificate. Once all documents are signed and submitted to Vital Records, the intended mother's name will be put on the birth certificate permanently. This is just a formality and does not in any way signify the surrogate will remain, or wants to be, the mother of the child(ren).
- How much communication will we have with the Surrogate after the birth?
This all depends on the dynamic of the relationship formed throughout the pregnancy. Some intended parents and surrogates become very close and have a continued relationship for many years. Phone calls, texts, or e-mails can happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Others cut all ties and move on. It varies greatly and cannot be determined ahead of time. It is just something both the intended parents and surrogate will have to discuss and work out on their own terms.