Why should I choose Family Forward Surrogacy?
Why should I work with an agency rather than working directly with Intended Parents (IP’s)?
How does the matching process work?
What are requirements for becoming a Gestational Surrogate with FFS?
What will my compensation be?
Will I have a contract and a lawyer who will look out for my best interests?
How can I be sure that the IP’s will have legal and financial responsibility for the baby or babies after birth?
What happens if the IP’s die before the birth?
Who decides which IVF clinic we use, which OB/GYN we will see, and the hospital at which I will deliver? Where are these located?
Can you explain the medical aspects of IVF required for surrogacy?
- What happens after the birth?
1. Why should I choose Family Forward Surrogacy?
You should choose FFS because the majority of our staff members have personally been through the surrogacy process, and we understand the issues more thoroughly as a result of our personal experiences. On our team we have a former Intended Parent, a former Gestational Surrogate and an LGBT advocate. Collectively, we have someone who has stood in each party’s shoes and have worked through most issues you may experience during the surrogacy process. At FFS, we are passionate about and committed to what we do. FFS is a boutique agency that will take the time to get to know you and treat you as an individual. When you work with FFS you will never feel like a number.
Peace of Mind: FFS performs a criminal background check of Intended Parents or the Intended Parent (for simplicity, we will refer to all Intended Parents in the plural, “IP’s”) before we accept them as clients. We also require IP’s to participate in a psychological counseling session to ensure that they are stable and emotionally capable of handling the stress and responsibilities of becoming IP’s, including being supportive of you.
Third Party Escrow Account: FFS works with a third party escrow company that will ensure that you are paid in a timely manner throughout your pregnancy. We estimate the costs of the surrogacy process for you and your specific IP’s in advance and require the IP’s to deposit all anticipated funds into the account within seven (7) business days of signing the Surrogacy Agreement contract. If there are complications with the pregnancy, we will ask your IP’s to add additional funds to the escrow account as soon as we have knowledge of the complications. For this reason, you will never have to worry about being paid or reimbursed in a timely manner. Using a third party escrow company to administer the funds also protects your relationship with your IP’s, because you will never have to ask them directly for a check.
Assistance: You will have a dedicated case worker, herself a former Gestational Surrogate, to help you in scheduling appointments, make sure you understand the medical protocol, or just to provide a shoulder to lean on – in good moments or bad. In addition, if any issues arise between you and your IP’s you can call on your case manager, the founder of FFS, or our Director of LGBT Outreach to assist you in working through these issues or in averting them altogether through regular communications.
FFS believes that one of the most important parts of our job is to make a good match. FFS will ask in-depth questions about your preferences regarding the type of Intended Parent or Intended Parents you wish to be matched with, and will strive to match you with IP’s who meet your preferences. FFS also asks the IP’s what they are seeking in a Surrogate. FFS will have a very good idea that you will be a good match before you even meet. As a Surrogate you will have the right to decide not to work with particular IP’s at the beginning of the process, and to be matched with other IP’s. However, if you are very particular the matching process may take longer.
FFS has created a short questionnaire (only 16 questions) so that you can quickly determine whether you qualify to become a Surrogate with FFS. If you live in the following states you will not qualify to become a Gestational Surrogate as a result of laws in these states: AK, AZ, DC, DE, HI, ID, IN, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NU, OK, VT, WI, WY.
Please click on the following link to view or complete the questionnaire. Gestational Surrogate Online Application
If you meet the minimum criteria, you will be asked to answer some additional questions online. If the answers to the additional questions meet our minimum qualifications, then a case worker from FFS will call you to start the formal application process. As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide personal information and medical records. We will also send a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to meet with you and your family in your home at a time that is convenient for you. In addition, you (and the Intended Parents) will be assessed by a psychologist who specializes in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and surrogacy, and then conduct a joint session with you and the IP’s. After this process is complete, and all parties agree that you and your IP’s are a good fit, you will be matched with your IP’s, subject to confirmation by the IP’s IVF clinic that you are medically qualified to become a Surrogate.
Surrogacy Fee: First time Surrogates with health insurance with a history of being “friendly to surrogacy” should expect compensation of $25,000.
First time Surrogates with no health insurance, health insurance with an exclusion for surrogacy or health insurance deemed to be “at risk for surrogacy” should expect compensation of $22,000.
Experienced Surrogates can add $5,000 to the above amounts or can negotiate another rate with their IP’s depending upon how many successful surrogacies they have had.
Multiples Fee: If you become pregnant with multiples, you will be paid an additional $5,000.
Additional Expenses and Compensation: You will also be entitled to a $200 per month incidentals expense account, a $500 maternity clothes allowance ($750 for a multiples pregnancy), payment of your health insurance premiums or a maternity health insurance plan, and a life insurance policy. All of the co-pays and deductibles for your health insurance (for medical cost related to the pregnancy) will also be paid for by your IP’s through the escrow account.
Additional Medical Procedures: If additional medical procedures are required, you will be compensated for them as follows:
- Additional Transfer Fee $750 (per additional transfer)
- Invasive Procedure Fees $500 (for most procedures)
- Caesarian Section (if ordered by OB) $1000
- Loss of Uterus $2,500
Travel, Lodging and Meals: If you live more than 90 miles from the IP’s IVF clinic, all of your travel, lodging and meals during trips to the IVF clinic will be paid by the Intended Parents through the escrow account. For invasive procedures, your spouse or another companion may join you and their travel, lodging and meals will be paid for as well.
You and your spouse or another companion will be compensated for lost wages for work days missed as a result of travel for IVF or pregnancy related procedures. This compensation will be capped at a mutually agreed upon amount based on your and your spouse or companion’s salary or hourly wage. You and your spouse or companion will have to provide proof of your salaries or wages.
Doctor Ordered Bed Rest:
- Lost Wages: If you are put on doctor ordered bed rest you will be entitled to lost wages. Again, this compensation will be based upon your salary or hourly wage, and your short-term or long-term disability benefits, if applicable. Disability policies will have to be provided to FFS and our attorneys in order to set lost wages reimbursement rates and caps for doctor ordered bed rest.
- Childcare Allowance: If on doctor ordered bed rest, a childcare allowance will be made. Childcare will be available only for hours when you would not have been at work or if you are a stay at home mother. For example, if you are employed and have to go on bed rest, you should keep your child or children in school or daycare as if you were at work. Childcare allowances will be made for after business hours childcare or for stay at home mothers at a rate not to exceed $10 per hour or $100 per day.
- Housekeeping Allowance: If on doctor ordered bed rest, a housekeeping allowance will be made. The housekeeping allowance is not to exceed $300 per week.
Absolutely. The Surrogacy Agreement contract will outline all of the rights, responsibilities and commitments required by you, your spouse or partner (if applicable), and the IP or IP’s throughout the surrogacy process. You will be given a stipend with which to hire your own independent attorney who specializes in Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy to review the Surrogacy Agreement contract, and to make sure that it is fair to you.
The Surrogacy Agreement contract will require you to participate in any court proceedings required to establish the IP’s rights as the sole legal parents of the baby or babies. In some states, a pre-birth order will be issued so that the Intended Parents’ names will appear on the birth certificate. In other states, you may be required to complete paperwork after the birth which will terminate your parental rights and ensure that the Intended Parents are the legal parents of the baby. The specific procedure for you and your Intended Parents will be outlined in detail in the Surrogacy Agreement.
The Surrogacy Agreement names the person who will be the legal guardian of the baby or babies if the Intended Parents die prior to birth. This guardian is required to be a party to the Surrogacy Agreement and to sign it, so the guardian will be well aware of his/her responsibility to become the legal guardian of the baby.
Usually the IP’s choose an IVF clinic near their home. If you live more than 90 miles from the clinic the IP’s will cover the costs of travel, hotel, and meals while visiting the area. At about 8 weeks gestation, the IVF doctor or Reproductive Endocrinologist will hand over primary responsibility to an OB/GYN. Sometimes you can continue to use the OB/GYN you already see, but in most cases the IP’s will want to have you work with a high risk OB/GYN or Perinatologist. You will work with your IP’s to find a doctor with whom you all feel comfortable. Usually, the IP’s will choose the hospital at which you will deliver. Most often this is dictated by where the high risk OB/GYN or Perinatologist has hospital privileges. The hospital may also be chosen for legal reasons, i.e., a hospital in a jurisdiction which allows the IP’s names to be put on the birth certificate.
First, you and your partner (if applicable) will have to undergo blood tests to screen for sexually transmitted and infectious diseases. The Intended Parents and Egg Donor (if applicable) will also have to undergo such tests. These tests are intended to protect all parties, and are required by the FDA.
Next, usually at the same visit, you will undergo a gynecological exam. The Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) will conduct an ultrasound and may order additional tests assess your uterus. Once you have been cleared medically, and after the Surrogacy Agreement has been signed, you will receive instructions from the RE about the specific protocol you and your Intended Mother or Egg Donor (from this point forward we will refer to the Intended Mother as the Egg Donor) will follow to synchronize your menstrual cycles so that your uterus will be ready to accept the embryos created by inseminating the Egg Donor’s eggs with the Intended Father’s or donor sperm. It is imperative that you follow the protocol strictly.
You will be required to give yourself injections, (or have your partner or a reliable relative or friend give them to you). If someone else is going to give you injections, that person should be trained on how to give the injections. The doses of medication may vary, as per the protocol, so you must be vigilant about knowing how much medication you have on hand and alerting the staff at the IVF clinic if you are running low on any of the medications. As per the medical protocol, the Egg Donor will undergo a retrieval procedure, and 3 or 5 days later the embryo or embryos will be transferred into your uterus vaginally via a painless procedure. You will continue to take injections after the transfer as per the medical protocol. Approximately 10-14 days later, you will have a pregnancy test. If pregnant, you will continue to take injections as per the instructions of the RE. At about 8 weeks gestation, the IVF doctor or Reproductive Endocrinologist will hand over primary responsibility to a high risk OB/GYN or Perinatologist.
The Intended Parents will have all parental rights to the baby or babies, and will make all medical decisions regarding the baby. The baby will be covered under the Intended Parents’ health insurance from the moment of birth. You will be compensated, as described above, for lost wages for up to four weeks after a vaginal delivery or six weeks after a caesarian section.