Why do I Need a Fertility Clinic & Surrogacy Agency?

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Many intended parents (dads and/or moms to be) starting the surrogacy process ask why they need both a fertility clinic and a surrogacy agency

. And we understand – surrogacy can be an expensive process, and it seems that cutting out one of those organizations could save valuable funds. However, we know how complicated the process of an IVF & surrogacy journey can be 

– and we want to help you build your family without any unnecessary road blocks or speed bumps.

So sit down, relax, and read on to find out why you really DO need both the surrogacy agency and a fertility clinic.

What is a fertility clinic, and what services do they provide?

The fertility clinic is in charge of all of the clinical (medical) aspects of your journey to surrogacy – from intended parent genetic screening all the way through embryo transfer and 8 weeks of pregnancy. This also includes:

  • Egg donor cycle, ending with a retrieval either from one intended parent or an egg donor
  • Completion of an IVF cycle, and potential genetic testing of embryos in lab
  • Embryo transfer into surrogate’s uterus, and follow up care until 8-10 weeks of pregnancy
  • Storage of any specimens (egg, sperm, frozen embryos) until ready to be used
  • Screening services to ensure each party is mentally, physically & emotionally ready for this process
  • Counseling services

What is a surrogacy agency, and what services do they offer?

A surrogacy agency helps to coordinate your surrogacy journey to make it as easy for you to navigate as possible. They will provide all or most of the services needed to complete the surrogacy part of your family building journey. This may include:

  • Matching services to find your surrogate (gestational carrier)
  • Screening services to ensure each party is mentally, physically & emotionally ready for this process
  • Coordination of information/services between fertility clinics and agency to make sure all steps are completed
  • Counseling services
  • Help nurturing your relationship with your gestational carrier after embryo transfer, up until the birth of your child

So why do you need both the agency and the fertility clinic?

1. Surrogacy is a complicated legal process – and we don’t want you to miss a thing

It is the responsibility of your agency to help you not only match with your gestational carrier, or surrogate, but to also help negotiate the terms of your contract with this person. These contracts cover everything from medical procedures to the surrogate’s compensation to her relationship with you and your child after birth.

Although some surrogacy agencies don’t have legal counsel on staff, it is helpful to choose a “full service” agency, whose staff includes a legal team to take care of all of these matters efficiently.

Depending on your citizenship, residence location, and the location of your surrogate’s home, the legal work related to your surrogacy journey may include a pre-birth order, a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, a custody order, or an adoption.

2. Surrogate (gestational carrier) screening is a two-way street

The clinical team at your fertility clinic (which will most likely consist of your doctor, an assigned nurse, and a patient navigator – along with other support staff) has a few very important jobs.

Before you are even matched with your gestational carrier, it is the reasonability of your clinic to medically screen each surrogate, even after she has been accepted by the surrogacy agency. It’s nice to have two separate groups reviewing these records, to allow you a solid foundation for your relationship with your surrogate.

It is rare that a fertility clinic would disqualify a surrogate who had passed agency screening, but certain factors (such as previous risky pregnancy history or number of births/C-sections) are things that are reviewed by your physician and their staff.

3. Clinical success matters – and so does your relationship with your physician

Whether you have existing embryos at one facility and need to transfer them to a clinic in a surrogacy -friendly state (like Connecticut!) or you’re starting from square one, choosing a clinic you trust is crucial.

Most clinics have their success rates posted on their website, and you can also use SART as a great neutral resource to scope out your options.

Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that a single surrogacy journey can take anywhere from 15 months to beyond two years. Your relationship with your fertility clinic team and your doctor there will be a long term one – make sure that you feel comfortable asking questions, communicating concerns, and genuinely feel taken care of.

Your doctor will be helping you through the process of choosing a donor, retrieving their eggs, fertilizing eggs in the lab, maybe genetically testing your embryos, and ultimately transferring an embryo into your surrogate’s uterus. They will be a key player in your surrogacy journey, as they guide you through the IVF process.

4. What happens after embryo transfer?

After embryo transfer, most gestational carriers will return home within the next few days. Oftentimes, they don’t live locally to the clinic where transfer was completed – remember intended parents, surrogate, and fertility clinic can sometimes all be in different states. However, your fertility specialist will order bloodwork and ultrasounds in your carrier’s local area to continue their monitoring. Once your surrogate is 8-10 weeks pregnant, all care will transition to their local OB.

Over the next few months, and until your due date, your surrogacy agency is responsible for helping to nurture your relationship and helping to complete any outstanding paperwork before your child arrives. They will also help you to build a birth plan that everyone is comfortable with.

 

Although fertility clinic and surrogacy agency have different responsibilities, we all share one common goal – to help you have a healthy, happy family. And we all love receiving baby pictures at the end of the process!

The surrogacy journey may seem like a long road, but your support teams at your clinic and surrogacy agency are there to support you every step of the way.

Gay Parenting Team

Gay Parenting Team

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