For some women, visiting a surrogacy clinic is something that never has to cross their minds, for others, it can be an overwhelming and sometimes terrifying experience.
Not knowing what to expect from a surrogacy clinic can be a really scary experience for some hopeful mothers. The uncertainty and disappointment that follows receiving the news that you’re not able to conceive can be debilitating, causing some people to freeze. It’s difficult to know what direction to go or what options to pursue. Fortunately, the heartbreak doesn’t have to be here to stay. With the advancements in technology and medical therapies, conception difficulties can be a distant memory. Through the compassion and knowledge of the practitioners and surrogate mothers, surrogacy clinics can provide families with not only a healthy child and happy future, but a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere that makes the process seem so much less alarming.
Surrogacy is a multi-layered process that has many technical aspects that have to go smoothly in order to achieve the desired outcomes. From initial fertility exams, to initiating a surrogate pregnancy, the medical process and care, to the legal aspects, surrogacy can be some rough waters to navigate and is best left to the professionals at a surrogacy clinic. Understanding what’s to be expected of a surrogacy clinic, including options, tests, treatments, and how to choose your surrogate mother, can help ease the tension and trepidation that intending parents naturally experience.
What is a surrogacy clinic?
Surrogacy clinics are located all over the world, in many different countries and throughout many different cultures. In the United States, surrogacy clinics are medical health clinics ran by professionals and physicians that connect intended parents with a surrogate mother. Some surrogacy clinics offer surrogate programs through other countries, allowing for more competitive pricing and a wider selection of possible surrogate mothers. Choosing the appropriate surrogacy clinic ensures that you have the most comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout the surrogacy process. Most surrogacy clinics also offer a range of fertility treatments and exams. Expert clinics will also offer genetic testing prior to implantation, to ensure that your future child will not be at risk for disease, as well as provide counselling, and help with any of the extensive legal procedures involved with becoming an intended parent.
What can you expect from a Surrogacy Clinic?
Surrogacy clinics vary widely in what they can and cannot provide intended parents, so finding the right fit for you and your family isn’t difficult. There is a large range of options and professionals available to you. Make sure that you and your family are aware of what you expect from your surrogacy experience and that you feel comfortable discussing your needs with your surrogacy provider. The most important service that a quality surrogacy clinic provides is being present to manage the surrogacy from start to finish. As an intended parent, making the choice of who will carry your child and being able to celebrate milestones throughout the surrogacy should be your top concern. Surrogacy clinics will provide correspondence between all of the other agencies (like law firms, medical care clinics, governmental bodies and even the surrogate mother herself) for you. Surrogacy is a multistep process that can be really difficult – even impossible in some places – without a great surrogacy clinic. Don’t fret! Even though surrogacy is a really complicated process, your surrogacy clinic will be able to break down the process for you and help you and your family overcome any obstacles that may pop up along the way.
What types of surrogacy are available?
Depending on where you live, surrogacy laws may dictate what options are available to you. Once you visit your prospective surrogacy clinic, you will know exactly which options they can provide. Essentially there are four types of surrogacy
- Gestational Surrogacy
- Gestational surrogacy is the most common, and most widely accepted form of surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, a surrogate mother is implanted, through IVF (in vitro fertilization), with the intended parents fertilized ovum. In such cases that intended parents are unable to provide either sperm or ovum, some surrogacy clinics offer the option of using donor genetic material to implant within the surrogate mother. In gestational surrogacy, no genetic material is taken from the surrogate mother.
- Traditional Surrogacy
- In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is inseminated (either artificially or traditionally) with the intended fathers or donors sperm, leaving the ovum to be provided by the surrogate mother herself. Traditional surrogacy is rarely used in modern medicine owing to possible confusion over parental rights and genetic material. Many places that have surrogacy friendly laws state that the resulting child legally belongs to its genetic relatives.
- Altruistic surrogacy
- Altruistic surrogacy is surrogacy in which the surrogate mother is entitled to no reparation or compensation for her services. Some expenses may qualify for reimbursement, such as medical or living expenses, but guidelines denoting which expenses qualify are left up to the governing bodies of that country/state.
- Commercial surrogacy
- Commercial surrogacy is such that a surrogate mother is compensated for her services. Compensation amounts vary by country, surrogate mother requirements, and surrogacy clinic needs.
What can you expect at your first few surrogacy appointment?
Initial exams are usually carried out to assess the fertility status of intended parents. Some clinics also offer testing and treatment for chronic disease or debility, such as Asherman’s Syndrome, or screening for infertility in either parent. During the initial medical exam of intended parents, some fertility clinics will even assess the overall health of the genetic material being supplied, ensuring that no genetic diseases or abnormalities are present, ensuring a healthy and happy child. Following that, intended parents can expect to be informed of the exciting upcoming process of surrogacy during the consultation. Information on medical, legal, financial, and psychological aspects of surrogate experiences will all be described to the intended parents by their health professional. This is a great time for intended parents to openly discuss any concerns or questions they may have at this stage of the process. Once the intended parents have decided on an agency that they feel meets their needs, contracts, financial particulars and any additional medical testing will be completed. These milestones may not all be achieved within one meeting. The initial process may span several surrogacy appointments, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen all in one day!
How to choose your surrogate
Following the initial process of beginning the journey with a surrogacy clinic, the case manager will provide the intended parents with profiles of their available surrogate mothers. Couples are encouraged to take all the time they need in selecting possible candidates. Once a couple has narrowed down the surrogate mothers to one they believe that they connect with, a surrogate meeting is arranged. At the meeting couples and surrogate mothers meet face to face and discuss expectations and ask any questions that they feel are important. Sometimes this takes a few meetings with more than one potential candidate. Intended parents and surrogate mothers alike are highly encouraged to discuss their desires openly, to ensure a good fit for the pregnancy. If both parties decide that they would be happy to work with one another, further surrogate screening is performed, and additional contracts are negotiated. Once the surrogacy clinic clears the surrogate mother for IVF, the next process can begin!
Happily Ever After
Following successful implantation, pregnancy, and birth, you’ll be ready to bring your child home and start your life as a family! Surrogacy clinics will provide all of the help and support you will need throughout this process. Don’t be afraid to take the first step, because it’s not as difficult as it may first seem.