Surrogacy FAQ

I get asked a lot of the same questions by people wanting to know more about surrogacy and our experience.  So I thought I'd put them all together here as a "resource" if you will...

  1. How long did the whole process take from start to finish?  Well, we first started seriously considering it as a viable option for ourselves in June of 2011.  We spent from June to Sept researching agencies, reading blogs and books on the matter.  I also reached out to several acquaintances that had gone through the process.  We then officially signed the papers to get started with our agency on Sept 1st, 2011.  Fourteen months later our daughter was born.  

  2. How much did everything cost?  Obviously this is a very personal question, and like my mom always told me..."Don't tell everyone your business."  However, since this is one of the most important questions a couple faces when thinking about surrogacy, I will tell you a few things...  First, the cost of each surrogacy will vary greatly with each journey.  The costs differ b/c each agency charges different fees, different surrogates ask for different fees (and extras like c-section, bed rest, babysitting, maternity clothes).  Do you need to pay for an egg donor (and attorney fee) or not?  Do you need to fly to a different state or not?  How much does your IVF doctor cost?  Etc.  You get the point.  I will also say that had someone told me what we'd spend at the beginning of this process, I might have been scared to get started.  But each journey begins with a single step.  And there were many decisions we chose to make because we wanted to.  Not because we had to.  Here's a general checklist of the expenses you can expect might come up during the process though:

    • Surrogacy Agency Fee - aprox $5000
    • Surrogate Fee - depends on the surrogate ($15K - $30K or more...??)
    • Surrogacy Attorney Fees - aprox $2000 
    • Egg Donor Agency Fees - aprox $5000
    • Egg Donor Fee - aprox $5000-20,000
    • Egg Donor Attorney Fees - aprox $2000
    • IVF + meds - $15K to $20K
    • Travel costs (airfare, hotel, rental cars)
    • Medical costs for delivery - ?
    • Misc Extra costs like lost wages, insurance copays, etc.

  3. Do you think it's necessary to use an agency?  Although there are message boards online to meet an independent surrogate or egg donor, there are also many stories of broken-hearted intended parents getting scammed.  For me an agency offered peace of mind, and all I can say is that I'm very glad we used an agency.  Our agent provided not only consultation on a myriad of questions, but helped set up an escrow account and dealt with all payments, put us in contact with doctors and others we could trust to get information and guidance, and generally let us freak out when necessary.  I can't imagine having gone through it without our agent, and consider it money well spent.  Now I also consider her a friend.  

  4. How often did you talk to your surrogate during the pregnancy and do you plan on keeping in touch afterwards?  First of all, each surrogate and intended parent should honestly discuss how frequently they'd like to be in contact prior to deciding to work together.  This is a very bonding experience for all parties involved, but expectations should be discussed up front.  Nothing is worse than someone wanting constant contact, and the other person not wanting to give it.  Or giving constant contact (during pregnancy) and then disappearing afterwards.   As for us, we kept in touch about once a week via text message, and once a month via phone call.  We've tapered off a bit since then b/c we've been busy with a new baby.  But yes, we still keep in contact mostly with pictures and text messages.  Eventually we'll be keeping her updated more sporadically as we do with all our friends who aren't local.  Ultimately, the parties involved in this process should agree on how often they'd like to stay in contact.  There is no perfect answer.

  5. Do you plan on telling your daughter about her birth story?  Yes.  We plan on starting to tell her early that she's special and came to us in a very special way.  That it took many people who loved her very much to help us become a family.

  6. Did you consider adoption?  Yes, we did briefly, but not seriously.  The answer is that surrogacy was simply the way that I wanted to build our family.  I've known several people that have done it beforehand, so I had a comfort level with it that helped prepare me for what I was getting into.   And also it felt like the closest thing I could get to "normal."  (With my genetic issues, that felt important to me.)  Also, I love my husband so much that I couldn't help but want to bring a mini-him into the world.  I have a great respect for people who adopt (and their adopted children), but there is also a lot of potential heartache that can go into that process that I didn't think I was ready to deal with.  

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