Finding a Surrogate and the Matching Process
After reviewing your needs and situation, we go to work to find a well-suited Gestational Surrogate (also known as surrogate mother) for you. Once we have a gestational surrogate candidate, we send you information about her to review. If you feel she is a qualified candidate, we arrange a meeting with you (either in person or by phone) , the surrogate and her spouse, and a case manager of West Coast Surrogacy. If the parties agree to work together the surrogacy process begins, and psychological and medical evaluations are scheduled.
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Psychological Evaluation and Support
Our surrogacy agency adheres to the highest standards of psychological screening, following the guidelines for the surrogacy process set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Your surrogate mother will be psychologically tested and evaluated. Additionally, a licensed mental health professional conducts a comprehensive interview with the surrogate candidate and her spouse, exploring her background, motivation and suitability. Once pregnant and through the postpartum months, your surrogate has the opportunity to attend monthly support group sessions led by either our psychotherapist or certified life coach, and have unlimited access to our on-line surrogacy support group. Additionally, phone and email support are provided to your surrogate on an on-going basis. Additional counseling is available if needed.
As the intended parents, you will also be required to meet with an independent mental health professionals. Your session provides the opportunity to ask questions specific to your surrogate and her situation as well as confirm that you have explored all the contingencies associated with creating your family in this way. During the pregnancy and post partum months, optional phone and/or email support is available to you as needed. A preliminary meeting with all parties (the intended parents, the surrogate, and her spouse) is highly recommended prior to starting the embryo transfer cycle.
West Coast Surrogacy will act as the liaison between your surrogate and your IVF physician to coordinate all necessary medical tests and evaluations. A West Coast Surrogacy case manager will speak directly with your IVF center’s Third Party Coordinator to discuss the testing requirements for their fertility center. A representative from West Coast Surrogacy will also attend screening visits with your gestational surrogate and report the results of these visits to you if you are unable to attend.
Independent attorneys specializing in reproductive law are available to answer legal questions you may have regarding the surrogacy process you are undertaking. You may select one of these attorneys to draft the gestational surrogate contract as well as establish parental rights prior to the birth of your baby. The legal contract is then reviewed by the surrogate and her attorney. Once all parties have signed the contract, the embryo transfer cycle and the rest of the surrogacy process can begin.
You can check out this informational resource on the legal process of surrogacy for extra materials. You can also learn more about California surrogacy laws here.
If your surrogate resides in a state other than California, you will have access to an independent attorney in her area for the contract drafting and parental rights establishment process. Please refer here for laws regarding surrogacy in other states.
You will be required to establish a trust fund account prior to your surrogate starting medications for the embryo transfer cycle. This account is used to pay for the costs and fees associated with the surrogacy process. We will provide you with a list of attorneys and/or escrow companies to assist you in the management of this trust account.
The Embryo Transfer Cycle
We work very closely with your IVF physician, nursing staff, and surrogate to keep everyone well informed during each step of the gestational process. We will attend many of the physician appointments with your surrogate during the screening phase as well as the embryo transfer cycle, and report the results of each visit to you, if you are unable to attend. A representative from West Coast Surrogacy will be with you and your surrogate at the embryo transfer and will assist to ensure a calm and easy transition for your surrogate during her required period of bed rest. The average period of physician ordered bed rest is 3 days immediately following the embryo transfer. West Coast Surrogacy requests that all surrogates spend this time resting in a hotel, away from their daily responsibilities.
Our surrogacy agency’s role in your journey will continue throughout pregnancy. Provided your surrogate is in the state of California, we will attend select OB visits throughout the pregnancy. Should your surrogate reside outside of California, a representative of West Coast Surrogacy will attend appointments upon your request. The director and your case manager will act as a liaison between you and your surrogate.
For the final phase of the surrogacy process, your independent attorney will file parental establishment documents with the courts prior to the birth of your baby! These documents will be sent to the birthing hospital so that all relevant parties at the hospital are aware of your situation.
At West Coast Surrogacy, we will also assist you in creating a birth plan for your baby that meets the needs of both you and your surrogate, creating an experience of harmony and fulfillment for everyone involved. We will provide you with the opportunity to attend childbirth classes with your surrogate.
A lactation consultant will provide the necessary information and resources for you, the intended mother, to induce lactation prior to the birth of your baby. Using this amazing process, we have seen, time and time again, a newborn baby being breast fed by its mother moments after a surrogate has given birth.
We will be there for the birth of your baby, as support for you and your surrogate, and to answer any questions the hospital staff may have regarding surrogate protocol and parental establishment. We want this time for you to be solely about enjoying and bonding with your new baby or babies!