Have a Question? Please email Kayla@gsmoms.com for a response within 24 hours and your question and answer will be posted here along with a direct response.
Surrogates Frequently Asked Questions:
Surrogate Question: How does compensation work? Answer: GS Moms allows you to set the compensation you are most comfortable with for your surrogacy journey. There is a variety of fees related to your surrogate path. Typically, your monthly allowance will start the first of the month following the signing of your contract with the Intended Parents. The payment of your base fee occurs in equal monthly payments usually starting the first month after confirmation of heartbeat and disbursed over the course of the pregnancy. Other costs, like the transfer fee, the start of medication, maternity clothing, and other expenses are paid out upon set milestones set in your contract and on your fee schedule that you fill out when you submit your paperwork to join the GSMoms Surrogacy Program!
Can I be a surrogate if I haven’t had a child?
No. It is difficult to consent to something for someone else that one hasn’t done already for themselves. If you have not completed a pregnancy and a successful delivery it will be impossible to give your informed consent because you have not experienced the process. You must have given birth to and be raising at least one child. Part of our screening process involves the review of your prenatal and delivery records to ensure you have a history of healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies & deliveries. This also protects the parents from discovering that you might also have some infertility issues that have yet to be diagnosed.
Would any expenses come out of my pocket?
Small expenses like a copay for a doctor visit or pharmacy charge may come out of pocket, but can and will be reimbursed. You will also receive a $200 monthly allowance to cover small expenses like parking, child care and local mileage. Anything covered by your monthly allowance will not be reimbursed.
Will I have to travel to be a surrogate?
Depending on where you live and what clinic your intended parents are using, you may need to travel for medical screening and the embryo transfer. All other appointments can usually be arranged at a clinic or doctor’s office local to where you live. All travel arrangements are made for you through our in-house travel agency at no cost to the surrogate.
Can I apply to be a surrogate if I am breastfeeding?
Yes. You can apply to become a surrogate while still breastfeeding, but will need to stop before medical clearance. Breastfeeding hormones can be passed along to your breastfeeding child, and no one wants to worry about how much your child may or may not be getting.
Will they use my eggs?
No. A gestational surrogate does not use her own eggs, so there will be no genetic relation to the child(ren). Intended Parents will either use the eggs of the Intended Mother or an egg donor.
What is the difference between a gestational surrogacy and a traditional surrogacy?
Gestational Surrogacy is the process in which a fertilized embryo is transferred to a Surrogate’s uterus. This embryo is of no genetic relation to the surrogate. Gestational Surrogacy is the type of surrogacy that our agency specializes in. Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate and the embryo are genetically related. The surrogate undergoes artificial insemination, carries the embryo to term and them gives up custody upon birth.
Will my intended parents live near me?
It is not common for surrogates and their intended parents to live near one another. Technology has made building a close relationship possible through texting, emails, phone and video calls. Matching with couples from other countries lends to the opportunity to learn about different cultures and build relationships that span the globe!
Do parents ever refuse to take their baby?
This is a question we are asked all the time. In all our years in the industry we have never had a case where the intended parents did not want their baby. Most of our intended parents have struggled for years to have a child, surrogacy is the process to help them attain their dreams and help them have their miracle child. However, if this did occur, the Intended Parents are legally obligated to take the child if there is a pre-birth order in place and they can arrange for an adoption. If there is not a pre-birth order in place then we will work with the attorneys to arrange for a loving adoptive home.
How much is the compensation for being a surrogate mother? You are free to set your fees for compensation. A typical base fee for a first-time surrogate in California is between $25,000 and $35,000. You will receive other fees on top of your base fee. If a surrogate has a base price of $30,000, then she will end up getting around $35,000 to $40,000 for a single pregnancy without complication, which does not cover insurance payments or other items paid for by the Intended Parents. This is an average and can be a little more or less depending on what you set up in your fee schedule and your particular journey, like an additional $5000 if you carry twins.
Surrogate Question: How soon after my match do I go for screening? Answer: This can vary depending on the clinic and when, in your cycle, the clinic would like to see you. Typically, medical clearance is scheduled within a few weeks of the match with the Intended Parents depending on where you are in your cycle or if you are on birth control pills.
Surrogate Question: Has anyone ever worked with HIV positive parents? Answer: Yes, we have surrogates who choose to work with HIV positive parents, and we specifically work with doctors who specialize in the field. All of our surrogates, doctors, and Intended Parents participate in the HART Program. Any surrogate interested in this program can request a phone consultation with our IVF doctor so he can review the program and answer any questions you may have before committing to the program. As a part of the medical clearance process, you will also have an interview with an infectious disease specialist specializing in this program. Get more details about the HART Program at http://thehartprogram.com/
Surrogate Question: Must I have children of my own to be a surrogate? Answer: Yes, you must have had at least one child in the last ten years to apply to be a surrogate with GS Moms. This is to ensure that you can have a successful pregnancy without any history of complications. If you have questions about this process, please email Celeste@gsmoms.com. We are happy to share our personal experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. Our entire team is made up of repeat egg donors, surrogates, and previous Intended Parents.
Surrogate Question: How soon after delivery can I be a surrogate again? Answer: This will depend on additional medical clearance and your availability. Typically, this is no earlier than six months after delivery. Most RE’s will recommend that you be six months post-delivery with a vaginal birth and 12 months with a C-section until you transfer. All RE’s are different, so it cannot hurt to apply and see when would be best for transfer according to the clinic. Also, many parents are willing to match with a repeat surrogate and then wait for the correct time for transferal. Since the medical clearance, contracts, and completed medications can take three months it is not always a very long wait for the parents by the time you match!
Why can’t I receive financial assistance from the government? It is imperative for you to be financially stable, while pursuing surrogacy, as it ensures that you are not feeling economic pressure or coerced to be a surrogate. In addition, your surrogacy income would often disqualify you from those programs, and no one wants any issues for you or your family should you not report the temporary increase in your income or any financial stress after delivery until you can get back on financial assistance. It is best for your emotional health and that of your family that you choose to be a surrogate because you want to help a deserving couple have a child and not solely for financial gain.
Can I be an egg donor and a still be a surrogate? Of course, we would love our egg donors to become surrogates or our surrogates to become egg donors. We just have to ensure the completion of one contract and one cycle before starting a new one. The qualifications for being an egg donor and the qualifications to be a surrogate are very different. Some women may be more suited to one choice at certain times in their lives and a different choice at a different time. Both are wonderful ways to help create families.
Can I be a surrogate if I have my tubes tied? Yes, you can still be a surrogate if you have had your tubes tied. The gestational surrogate will have an embryo that is approximately 3-6 days old, transferred to your uterus, so fallopian tubes are unnecessary.
Will I still be in contact with the family after I have completed my surrogacy? During the matching process, you should discuss the type of communication that you and the Intended Parents will have. We will discuss communication during the pregnancy and after delivery. If you are looking for a particular relationship with your Intended Parents, then we will help you find parents that want a similar relationship.
What is the medication protocol usually for a Surrogate cycle? Each doctor will have their protocol but most include a form of estrogen in pill, patch, injection or vaginal insert form. The different types include progesterone in pill, patch, injection, or vaginal insert form and often Lupron, taken through a small diabetic needle into the fatty part of your stomach. The Lupron tells your body not to produce the estrogen and progesterone. This allows the doctor to manage the hormones to the required levels.
Why are the medications needed for the IVF procedure? The medications are necessary to stop ovulation and build your lining. After transfer, it is used to sustain the pregnancy until the placenta is producing the hormones and medication is no longer needed. Usually, you will have to take medications 3-4 weeks before transfer and 8-10 weeks after transfer.
What should I do if I do not have medical insurance or do not know if it covers a surrogacy pregnancy? If you do not have insurance, then the parents can purchase a plan that includes a surrogate pregnancy during open enrollment. We review every insurance policy for coverage, so you do not need to find out if your insurance covers a surrogate pregnancy before submitting your application. During the application process, you will send in a copy of your insurance card, your summary of benefits and your insurance booklet. This information can be found online if you log into your account with your insurance company. If you have any trouble finding it, please let us know and we will help you. If you are applying without insurance, and it is not open enrollment, please ask about other options for Intended Parents for insurance outside of open enrollment, which are more costly than a standard policy.
How do I know if my state is surrogate friendly? Our experienced staff can help you know if your state is surrogate friendly, as well as what couples are eligible to have a surrogate in your state. Go ahead and apply and we will walk you through the process and answer all your questions!
Why do I have to live in certain states to be a surrogate? A few states do not allow enforcement of surrogacy arrangements in the courts and there is no protection for the surrogate or intended parents. Laws are always changing. So, please ask us if you are unsure about the laws in your state. Often online resources are outdated and inaccurate.
What types of couples use a surrogate? Parents and families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are trying for your first child, trying for a sibling, same-sex couples, or single, all are welcome to become Intended Parents! You will let us know what type of couples you would like to help, and we will show your profile to them and work on finding the very best match for both of you!
Egg Donors Frequently Asked Questions:
Egg Donor Question: How and when am I matched with Intended Parents? Answer: Our Intended Parents have a password-protected database in which to view your profile. Our match coordinators will also work with our Intended Parents and Egg Donors to find the perfect match. Our organizers considered your profile through our database or handpicked for an Intended Parent. We take the time to ensure that the match is the best possible match for both sides. We take into consideration the type of relationship you are looking for along with the relationship the parents might like for themselves or children. We also consider your location, egg donor fee, and first time or repeat donor status. Once we feel we have a good match in place for you, we will be in contact to confirm your availability for the cycle and willingness to travel. Matching can be immediate or take several months depending on the type of parents we have available to suit your needs. The best chances for a match come from staying in contact with the coordinators when they reach out to you, keeping your profile updated with all information and sending in new photos. If you have any questions about the matching process, please email Kayla@gsmoms.com and we look forward to having you as a donor in our database and giving you the best possible donor experience!
Egg Donor Question: What is the compensation? First-time donors can set their donor fee from $3,500 to $7,000. First-time donors with a lower cost will typically match with our parent much quicker. Repeat donors can ask up to $10,000 or more per cycle based on previous period results and family history. We ensure coverage of medical and travel expenses, so you are not out of pocket for any expenses. Your coordinator will work closely with you to guarantee your well-being during every step of the process. We can send advancements of funds before your travel for expenses like food and transportation. Your coordinator at GSMoms prepays all hotel and airfare expenses. Other than the financial compensation, an egg donor gets to be a part of something so great. You are helping to build a family for very deserving people! Please email Kayla@gsmoms.com to go over the process in more detail or to assist in determining the best egg donor fee for your profile. We are happy to help and decide the best fit for you.
Egg Donor Question: What is involved in the screening process? Answer: The first step is to complete our egg donor initial application followed by our full detailed profile. This will be shown to the Intended Parents to help them decide whom their best-fit egg donor is for growing their family. After you are approved and matched with one of our Intended Parents, we will set you up for full medical screening. This will include a phone psychological consultation and personality test and a phone genetic counseling session to review your family health history. It will also involve a 1-2 day trip to your particular clinic for blood work, medication teaching, ultrasound, and pap smear. We will also have you meet the coordinators at the hospital along with the doctor that will be working with you on your entire cycle including egg retrieval. If you have questions about this process, please email Kayla@gsmoms.com we are happy to share our personal egg donation experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. Our entire team is made up of repeat egg donors, surrogates, or previous Intended Parents.
Egg Donor Question: Becoming an egg donor- How do I get started? Answer: You can apply on our site under “donors”. Our initial application should take about 5 minutes to complete. Once completed, we will be in touch with you to discuss your approval and have you complete our full application. You will also be required to submit a couple of recent photos. If you have questions about the process, please email Kayla@gsmoms.com we look forward to working with you!
Intended Parents Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the First Step toward Surrogacy? Many parents worry that Surrogacy will be a complicated process but when working with an agency surrogacy is a matter of a few simple steps.
Congratulations! Hopefully, you will now be expecting parents. If not, then your Surrogate Coordinator will work with you, your surrogate, and your clinic to set up the next transfer date.
Money Saving Tips for Surrogacy
The cost of surrogacy can be prohibitive for many parents, but some options can make surrogacy more affordable. For lower income families, there are philanthropic programs that can help to make surrogacy a possibility.
How Do I Choose the Right Surrogate? Many Intended Parents are not sure what to look for in a surrogate. We carefully screened all surrogates before accepting them as GSMoms, looking for a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking or drinking alcohol. Beyond these basics, you should ask yourself what kind of relationship you would like to have with your surrogate. Are you looking for someone that can be a friend? Would you like more of a business relationship? Either answer is perfectly fine and acceptable, but it is important that both you and your surrogate expect the same type of relationship from each other. If you would consider terminating the pregnancy if a chromosomal abnormality exists it is vital that you and your surrogate both agree to this option before signing the contracts. Also, if you and your partner believe that the pregnancy should never terminate for any reason, it is also important that you agree on this point. If you are parents hoping for twins, please let your surrogate know, as some surrogates prefer to carry singles, and others are excited to carry multiple babies. It is important that both you and your surrogate be excited about your upcoming delivery and have a solid plan will make the pregnancy experience much easier.
How do I know if Surrogacy is right for me? Many parents consider surrogacy as an option to complete their family. People from all lifestyles are choosing surrogacy as an option to have a child. Surrogacy has been getting more media attention lately as celebrities tell about their journeys through the surrogate process, but ultimately it is a yearning for a child to love that united them all.Different Kinds of Surrogacy: Quite often, when people think of surrogacy, they think of traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy occurs when the Intended Father through artificial insemination fertilizes a woman’s egg. The surrogate is biologically related to the child she is carrying and, in most states, has parental rights toward the child. Due to the legal complications that can evolve from traditional surrogacy, most agencies will only match gestational surrogates. Gestational surrogates carry a child unrelated to her. The embryo can be from the egg and sperm of the Intended Parents, an egg donor and the sperm of the Intended Father, or an egg donor and a sperm donor. The surrogate’s parental rights vary from state to state but are significantly less than that of a traditional surrogate. Occasionally, depending on the laws in the state where the child is born, the Intended Parents’ names can even be on the birth certificate. In most states, a traditional surrogate has parental rights to the child, and there is a time in which she can change her mind. In most states, that right is not afforded to a gestational surrogate.
Intended Parent Question: How do I keep in contact with my surrogate? Answer: The beautiful thing about surrogacy is that this is your journey, and you get to make these decisions with your surrogate. Most surrogates are very open and willing to be transparent with the pregnancy and everything involved. We, as an agency, also encourage you to build that bond with your surrogate if you choose so you can be a part of the experience of your growing baby or babies. There are many means to communicate even if you are international. We have many suggestions that can accommodate both you and the surrogate and can allow videos and voice messages as well as texts. In addition, we encourage you to attend an ultrasound or two and meet the OB before delivery. Keeping communication open can build a great bond and a wonderful birthing experience for both you and your surrogate.
Intended Parent Question: How is my surrogate paid? Answer: We pay your surrogate according to the contract that you both agree to and sign. Most contracts pay the surrogate ten percent of her base fee each month once there is the detection of a heartbeat via ultrasound. This is about 7-8 weeks gestation or about a month or so after transfer. Many contracts begin paying the ten percent on the first of the month following detection of a heartbeat. We pay the balance of her fee within days of delivery of the baby.
Intended Parent Question: Is Surrogacy worth the cost? Answer: If having your biological child is important to you, or you would like to be as involved as possible during the pregnancy of your child, then YES surrogacy is worth the cost. With surrogacy, you can develop a beautiful friendship with your surrogate and be involved every step of the way. You can relax, knowing that a caring woman is taking good care of your child, eating healthy and living a happy life during her pregnancy. These factors have been shown to affect the developing baby. With today’s technology, the child can even bond to your voice during the pregnancy! This involvement happens only with surrogacy. Therefore, though costs may be a consideration, the emotional relationship and bonding are priceless!
Can I use an Egg Donor and a Surrogate? Many women are waiting to start their families and then find out that their eggs do not provide a good chance of a successful pregnancy. If you also need a surrogate to carry the pregnancy to term, many parents are worried that this may make the process more complicated. While an additional person does become involved, the process can still be smooth when you use a reliable agency, like GSMoms, to help put all the pieces together. There are several options if you are using an egg donor and a surrogate. You can find a donor that you like, have the embryos created and frozen for when you are ready to have a surrogate carry your child. If cost is a concern, this option will disperse the funds over a period and can make having an egg donor and surrogate a little easier on the pocketbook. Many parents opt to choose a surrogate, an egg donor, and a surrogate at the same time and do a fresh transfer first and transfer frozen embryos if any other cycles are needed. While this option requires more cash availability initially, a new transfer has a higher probability of implanting and many Intended Parents choose this route. If you have questions about this process, please email Lisa@gsmoms.com we are happy to share our personal experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. Our entire team is made up of repeat egg donors, surrogates, or previous Intended Parents.
Intended Parent Question: Who makes the Decision about Testing and Termination? Answer: Testing and termination can be difficult topics of discussion when choosing a surrogate, but it is an issue to discuss before signing any contracts. The reason these questions are difficult is that the parents may want certain tests performed, but the surrogate is the one that has to bear the invasive testing. Also, while some surrogates are willing to allow the parents to terminate the pregnancy, many surrogates are unwilling to go through abortion.
What would be the reasons you and your partner would choose to end the pregnancy? This is a discussion you and your partner should have before selecting a surrogate. Many quality surrogates are unwilling to terminate due to religious beliefs. If you would only consider aborting the pregnancy if there were genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, then you should talk to your IVF doctor about PGD (a diagnostic test with similar results to an amniocentesis but occurs before implantation) to confirm the welfare of the child. While the cost of this test may seem prohibitive, it is less expensive than terminating the pregnancy and trying again. If these types of abnormalities are the only reason you would terminate, and you are willing to test the embryos, you can choose a dedicated surrogate that will not terminate the pregnancy for any reason. Quite often, because this belief can make them harder to match these surrogates will also have lower fees. If CVS and amniocentesis results are relevant to you and your partner, then you will want a surrogate that is comfortable allowing you to make those decisions regarding the pregnancy. In this situation, the surrogate trusts you only to terminate if necessary. Agencies ask these difficult questions to their surrogates during the initial application process, and once you and your partner have discussed your feelings about the issue, your coordinator can help you find surrogates that agree with your decision. If you have questions about this process, please email Lisa@gsmoms.com. We are happy to share our personal experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. We make up our entire team with repeat egg donors, surrogates, or previous Intended Parents.
Whose Name Will Be on the Birth Certificate? Every state has different laws regarding surrogacy and legal issues like the names that appear on the birth certificate after the child’s birth. In some states, people can procure a pre-birth order, and the Intended Parents’ names go on the birth certificate. Other states place the surrogate’s name on the birth certificate as the mother and put the Intended Father as the Father. In some states, all children born to the wife of a man have assumed their biological children, the surrogate, and her husband’s name go on the birth certificate. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced attorney in reproductive law in the state where your child will be born to ensure the protection of your rights. Intended Parents are often required to adopt their children in states that do not allow pre-birth orders. Every experienced reproductive attorney will be aware of the unique laws in the surrogate friendly state where your surrogate lives and will be glad to help you through this process. At GSMoms, we look at your unique situation when you apply as Intended Parents and show you profiles of surrogates in states that will fit your needs. We will also refer you to a Reproductive Attorney that will go over the state laws and procedures with you once you have matched with your surrogate. If you would like to speak with an attorney before you match, we are happy to provide this referral earlier in the process. Most only practice in one state and can only answer questions regarding their state law. If keeping costs low is not an immediate concern, we can refer you to an International Reproductive attorney that can speak to legislation and practice in each surrogate friendly state. His fees are slightly higher than other reproductive attorneys are.
How long does it take to get a passport for the baby? A passport for a baby can take as little as a week as long as there is proof of travel for the infant within two weeks of the time of the application. If there is no evidence of the trip, then an expedited passport can be available in 3 weeks.
Are there specific criteria for the passport photo? Yes, you must meet the particular conditions for the passport photo. The photo must be 2″x2″, on a plain white background, free of shadows, and include some of the torso. Fortunately, with infants, the processors do accept photos of the child with eyes closed though a picture with eyes open is best. This link gives the guidelines: http://abriggs.com/forms?formname=PassportPhotoGuide.pdf
What it the process once the baby is born? Once the baby is born, you will take complete care of the baby. You will need to fill out the birth certificate according to the laws of the state your child was born. In most cases, you just submit it along with you and/or your partner’s name. If you are international, you will also need to get a passport for the baby. Depending on which country you live in, you may need to get an apostille, stamp as well as another notarized copy of the contract. Our agency will help you with any questions you may have in this process and make sure you are all set to travel home with your precious new baby(ies).
Why would I need to purchase insurance for a surrogate? There are many policies including any government policies that do not cover surrogacy. Everyone needs to ensure the coverage of the surrogate in the case of complications that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars without insurance. We work with very reputable companies to make sure the right policy is in place
What are the risks of surrogacy? Many Intended Parents worry about a surrogate changing her mind and choosing to keep the baby she is carrying. While this is extremely rare, it is an additional reason to make sure that the laws in the state where the child is born will protect your rights as Intended Parents. Surrogates also fear that the Intended Parents will change their mind before taking custody of the child. Parents know how badly they want a child and sometimes forget that the surrogate may also be taking risks beyond the medical risks involved in bringing a child into the world. GSMoms answers these insecurities on both sides by ensuring both sides have competent attorneys and by providing an experienced coordinator to help both the parents and the surrogate through this entire journey. GSMoms also works to match Intended Parents with surrogates with expectations and beliefs similar to the Intended Parents. Having an experienced coordinator can help mediate uneasy feelings and concerns as they arise before they develop into troubling issues. If you have questions about this process, please email Lisa@gsmoms.com we are happy to share our personal experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. Our entire team is made up of repeat egg donors, surrogates, or previous Intended Parents.
What are the laws in my state? Every state in America has different laws regarding surrogacy and who can make use of a surrogate’s services. The good news is that the state in which you live is irrelevant. The relevant laws are the laws in the state where your child will be born. Many couples from unfriendly surrogate states are worried that they are breaking the law by hiring a surrogate from another state. Think of it this way, if your neighboring state does not have a sales tax, so you go across state lines to purchase an item not to pay sales tax and bring that item back home, you have not broken any laws. This is the case with surrogacy. One of the many factors when choosing a surrogate is the state that she lives. Surrogate friendly states are states that have legalized surrogacy. Other states are surrogacy neutral, which means that surrogacy is not challenged in the court system in that state, and while surrogacy is legal there is not any legal precedent to say how that state’s legal system would rule if an issue were brought before the court. Some states have legalized surrogacy but only under certain conditions. It is best to speak to an agency, like GSMoms, about your individual situation so they can best help you decide what state would best meet your needs. GSMoms works with reproductive attorneys all across the country and can recommend one that specializes in reproductive law in the state where you surrogate lives.
Intended Parent Question: What About Breastfeeding? – Doctors agree that breastfeeding is the best option for most babies. So how does that work if you used a surrogate to carry your child? If your surrogate agrees to supply, you with breast milk the process is simple. The Intended Parents open up a FedEx account and purchases or rents a breast pump for the surrogate. The surrogate will pump into bags or bottles and freeze the breast milk. Once the surrogate has enough milk to fill a box she will ship it to the parents via the FedEx account. There are unique packing supplies that will keep the milk cold and fresh during transport, so talk with your local FedEx office regarding the exact supplies that you will need. Especially with twins, a surrogate may not be able to provide enough milk and the babies may need formula, but it is a fantastic option if the parents would like their baby to have the nutrients from breast milk. Thankfully, with advanced medicine, a woman can also breastfeed her baby even though she did not carry or deliver the child. The Intended Mother can work with her doctor so that she starts hormone treatment at the appropriate time and some doctors have the Intended Mother pump before the birth of her baby so get the milking process started so that when your child is born you can immediately begin breastfeeding! You should talk to your doctor during the second trimester so that you can agree upon the right time to start this process. If you have questions about this process, please email Lisa@gsmoms.com and we are happy to share our personal experiences and schedule a phone consultation with you as well. We make up our entire team of repeat egg donors, surrogates, or previous Intended Parents.
Can I be in the delivery room when my baby(ies) are born? While it is customary to have the parents in the room for delivery, it is something that you should talk with your surrogate about to make sure all parties are comfortable. Also, some hospitals only allow one support person in an operating room for a twin delivery or C-section, and it is something to address during the contract phase so those provisions can be in place as to who the one person will be.