Frequently Asked Questions for Intended Parents
Why should I use a Surrrogacy Agency?
How much does surrogacy cost?
How long does it take to be matched with a Surrogate?
Does FFS work with all types of Intended Parents: single, heterosexual or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community?
If an Egg Donor is needed, do I have to use FFS to find her?
Why would I want to use FFS to find an Egg Donor?
May I meet the Egg Donor that FFS finds for me?
How can I be sure the Surrogate is trustworthy and medically fit for surrogacy?
How often will I have contact with the Surrogate?
How can I be sure that I/we will have all legal parental rights to the fetus/baby?
What if surrogacy is not legal in my state?
Where will the birth occur?
How do I choose an IVF Clinic?
Will the Surrogate’s health insurance cover pregnancy costs?
How can I be sure that the money I put into an escrow account is safe?
Will my name appear on the birth certificate?
Does FFS work with international clients?
As an Intended Parent from a country other than the US, how many times must I/ we travel to the US?
- Can I obtain a temporary US health insurance policy for my newborn?
1. Why should I use a Surrogacy Agency?
Surrogacy is a complex and costly undertaking. It is also a very emotional experience. The job of a good Surrogacy Agency is to eliminate as much stress as possible for both the Intended Parents and the Gestational Surrogate. There are many issues to consider; for example:
- Selecting the Surrogate (and Egg Donor, if needed)
- Checking her background and the background of her partner
- Evaluating her psychological health
- Ensuring that her home is an appropriate place for a healthy pregnancy
- Choosing an IVF clinic and Reproductive Endocrinologist
- Medical evaluation of the surrogate
- Evaluating health insurance options for the pregnancy
- Ensuring that the Intended Parents retain all parental rights to the baby or babies
- Handling the financial aspects of the surrogacy
Family Forward Surrogacy (FFS) understands all aspects of the surrogacy process and can help Intended Parents navigate this complex process with the objective of fostering and facilitating a positive relationship between the Intended Parent(s) and the Surrogate at all times.
2. How much does surrogacy cost?
The cost of a surrogacy can range from about $80,000 to as much at $130,000+. It depends on the exact circumstances of all the parties involved. There are many factors to consider; such as:
- Is an Egg Donor needed?
- Does the Surrogate’s health insurance policy have an exclusion for surrogacy?
- How many IVF cycles does it take to get the surrogate pregnant?
- Are there complications with the pregnancy?
- Does the Surrogate have to go on bed rest?
Each of these factors can influence the overall cost of surrogacy. Please see our Financial Worksheet for specific costs.
It usually takes from 3-6 months. This timing is highly dependent on what specific criteria you request in a Surrogate. If you are willing to be flexible on location, race, etc., the timeframe will usually be shorter. If you are very specific in your requirements the timeframe will likely be longer.
4. Does FFS work with all types of Intended Parents: single, heterosexual or LGBT?
Yes. FFS helps all kinds of Intended Parents in achieving their dream of becoming parents.
Absolutely not. You can use an egg donor identified and screened by an egg donation agency or by your IVF clinic.
6. Why would I want to use FFS to find an Egg Donor?
Some Intended Parents have very specific requirements for their egg donors, for example, that she be of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage with a certain educational background, or a specific race or ethnicity. In addition, if you wish to meet the Egg Donor instead of choosing from a pool of anonymous donors, you would have to work either with FFS or a seperate Donor Egg Agency that does "known donor" matches. In such cases, FFS can conduct a customized search for an Egg Donor matching the Intended Parents’ preferences.
7. May I meet the Egg Donor that FFS finds for me?
If the Egg Donor is amenable to a face to face meeting, you can meet her. If this is very important to you, you can make it one of the criteria we will use in our search for an Egg Donor for you.
It is difficult for an Intended Parent (or Intended Parents) to ensure that the Surrogate is providing all the information needed to make an informed decision about whom to choose.
Family Forward Surrogacy requires seven (7) levels of lifestyle and medical screening for its Surrogates:
- Web-based initial screening of lifestyle and health issues
- Phone or Skype interview conducted by an FFS representative, concentrating on in-depth lifestyle and health questions
- A written application including medical records from all previous pregnancies, and character references
- An extensive background check of the surrogate and her partner, including: FBI, Child Protective Services, and state police records checks in any state where the surrogate and her partner have lived for the last 10 years
- An in-home interview with by Licensed Clinical Worker
- A psychological screening and evaluation of the Surrogate and her partner
- A thorough medical screening by the IVF clinic chosen by the Intended Parents
In addition, the Surrogate must have given birth to at least one child that she is now raising. This helps to ensure that she knows exactly what a pregnancy entails, and that she is capable of carrying and delivering a child.
9. How often will I have contact with the Surrogate?
This is a matter of personal preference. FFS provides a detailed questionnaire to both the Intended Parents and Surrogates so that it can appropriately match them. One of these questions is about the frequency and type of communication preferred by each party. In addition, preferences for contact after birth are addressed in these questionnaires as well as in the legal agreement between the Intended Parent(s) and the Surrogate.
10. How can I be sure that I/we will have all legal parental rights to the fetus/baby?
Surrogacy is becoming more common, but in many cases the law has not caught up with medical advances or today’s broader definitions of what constitutes a “family.” To add to this complexity, family law is governed state by state, so some states allow surrogacy, some allow surrogacy only for heterosexual couples, and some consider surrogacy illegal altogether. Family Forward Surrogacy handles only Gestational Surrogacy, a surrogacy in which the fetus has no genetic relationship to the Surrogate, which helps protect the rights of the Intended Parents. We work closely with the Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC to be sure that we search for a Surrogate in a state where surrogacy is explicitly legal and/or a state which has a history of case law protecting the rights of the Intended Parent(s) with whom we are working.
11. What if surrogacy is not legal in my state?
The state in which the Surrogate lives, not the state in which you live, is the critical factor in determining the legal parentage of babies born through surrogacy. As noted above, FFS will only match an Intended Parent(s) with a Surrogate in a state which has laws and/or case history that protects the rights of the specific Intended Parents. There are fewer states that recognize parental rights for same-sex couples giving birth through surrogacy or single men having children through surrogacy. FFS will search for a Surrogate only in those states in which the laws are “friendly” to the Intended Parents’ particular circumstances. FFS works with a network of attorneys who specialize in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) law to determine which states are appropriate for specific IP's. These attorneys will initiate a pre-birth order to place the Intended Parents’ name(s) on the birth certificate where possible, or assist the Intended Parent(s) with termination of rights, and a co-parent adoption. In either case, the Intended Parents’ legal rights as sole parents of the baby will be protected by the Surrogacy Agreement contract as well.
12. Where will the birth occur?
Usually the birth occurs near the Surrogate’s home. This ensures that the birth will take place in a jurisdiction that is “friendly” to surrogacy from a legal standpoint.
13. How do I choose an IVF Clinic?
If you have not yet chosen an IVF clinic or Reproductive Endocrinologist, FFS can assist you in finding one. Some clinics are more familiar with surrogacy and have dedicated personnel who specialize in surrogacy and egg donation. We are familiar with all of the major clinics in the Washington, DC area, and are happy to make introductions if needed. We will work with any clinic that is a member of Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). Please see a link to SART on our “Services” tab under “Resources.” The SART website can also provide you with success rates of all the clinics that report their statistics to SART. In most cases, the IVF cycles take place in the Intended Parents’ geographic area, and the birth takes place near the Surrogate’s home.
14. Will the Surrogate’s health insurance cover pregnancy related medical costs?
No agency can guarantee that a Surrogate’s health insurance will cover the costs of a surrogacy, but FFS will refer you to an insurance review specialist who can review your surrogate’s policy and recommend a course of action. FFS highly recommends that Intended Parents obtain at least a “backup” insurance policy which will go into effect only if the Surrogate’s primary insurance denies claims, and will refund all premiums and escrowed “claims funds” minus a $1,500 brokerage fee if the “backup” policy is not used. There is also an option to buy primary maternity insurance for your Surrogate if her policy has an exclusion for surrogacy. FFS can facilitate introductions to insurance providers that specialize in surrogacy.
FFS works with a firm specializing in Surrogacy and Egg Donation escrow services. Escrow funds held with the firm are insured by the FDIC. The firm distributes funds held in escrow based on the terms set forth in the Surrogacy Agreement and/or the Egg Donor Agreement. Using a third party escrow firm ensures that escrow funds are protected, and relieves the Intended Parent(s) of the burden of having to scrutinize expense receipts and insurance paperwork. At the end of each month the escrow management company will provide the Intended Parent(s) and FFS with a detailed accounting of the month’s expenses prior to distributing funds. Using a third party firm also eliminates the awkward situation in which a Surrogate has to ask her Intended Parent(s) for checks to cover her medical or other expenses related to surrogacy.
16. Will my name appear on the birth certificate?
In some states the Intended Parents’ name(s) can appear on the birth certificate. In other states it may be necessary to obtain a termination of rights, and perform a co-parent adoption. Either way, the parental rights of the Intended Parent(s) will be protected by the Surrogacy Agreement contract.
Yes. FFS’s hands-on personal approach is well suited for Intended Parents from countries outside the US. If the Intended Parent(s) cannot travel to an important appointment or procedure, FFS will accompany the Surrogate and/or Egg Donor to the appointment. In addition, the Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC will identify and prepare the documentation that is required to take the baby (or babies) to your home country.
18. As an Intended Parent from a country other than the US, how many times must I/ we travel to the US?
Usually, three (3) trips to the US will be required. Additional trips may be needed if further l IVF cycles are required to achieve pregnancy. When the baby or babies are born, most Intended Parents stay in the country for 2-3 weeks while the Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC assists them in obtaining their child’s birth certificate and a passport for international travel.
19. Can I obtain a temporary US health insurance policy for my newborn?
Yes. FFS can facilitate introductions to insurance carriers specializing in surrogacy which offer such plans. One caveat is that no insurance carrier will provide such insurance for multiples (i.e., twins or triplets, etc.) In such cases, it will be necessary to negotiate a rate with the hospital. The insurance carrier can assist international parents with this process.