Frequently asked questions
HOW DOES SURROGACY WORK?
There are many parties involved in a surrogacy journey. That can be overwhelming. As an agency, our job is like an orchestra director, bringing together different players to create a harmonious journey.
Besides the Gestational Carrier and the Intended Parents, there is the fertility clinic that performs the medical cycle and many other professionals – attorneys that draw up contracts between all parties, psychologists that explore the motivations and mental state of everyone involved, and escrow companies that hold all the funds to be paid to the gestational carrier in a safe and secure account.
At the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, our decade-plus of experience helps you confidently navigate this process.
INTERNATIONAL SURROGACY. HOW DOES IT WORK?
Not every agency is familiar with the complexities of international surrogacy. We are proud to have facilitated a number of journeys with Intended Parents that reside outside of the United States.
We provide online consultations and facilitated video conference matching sessions. We work closely with your home-country attorney to ensure all legal documents are properly recognized. We offer highly personal post-delivery support – from helping you get passports to go home, to providing you with baby supplies, making your family’s stay here as comfortable as possible.
WHAT DOES THE MEDICAL CYCLE INVOLVE?
A gestational carrier will carry embryos created through IVF. Prior to the embryo transfer, the gestational carrier will be on cycling medications. These medications are hormones that can control and suppress ovulation, as well as build up the uterine lining so the body is ready to receive the embryos. The hormones are taken in the form of injections.
The gestational carrier will have regular visits to the clinic to monitor her hormone levels and measure the thickness of her uterine lining. At the appropriate time, the doctor will transfer the embryos into the gestational carrier’s uterus via a tiny catheter. It is a short, painless procedure. The gestational carrier then goes home to rest for a day or two before resuming normal activities.
WHO IS INVOLVED IN SURROGACY?
Besides the gestational carrier and the Intended Parents, there is the fertility clinic that performs the medical cycle and many other professionals – attorneys that draw up contracts between all parties, psychologists that explore the motivations and mental state of everyone involved, escrow companies that hold all the funds to be paid to the gestational carrier in a safe and secure account, and finally, an agency that coordinates all the parties involved.
HOW DO I PICK A SURROGATE?
Surrogates in our program have undergone comprehensive medical, psychological and background screening. Our agency fees cover all of the following:
- Local, state and federal criminal background checks
- Credit and financial background check
- Medical records review
- Insurance evaluation
- Testing and evaluation by an independent psychologist who is familiar with the issues surrounding surrogacy
Our team will present you with pre-screened candidates that match your preferences. We will facilitate a meetup before you make a commitment to any surrogate in our program.
Will I be in contact with my surrogate?
Good communication is key to a healthy relationship. We will never match you with a gestational carrier who has different values than your family or differing preferences on important issues like communication. We encourage Intended Parents and Surrogates to communicate directly. We also attend appointments and keep you updated throughout your pregnancy.
Can I become a parent if I’m single?
Absolutely. We have worked with many single parents. We can help refer you to outstanding local donor programs and clinics to create your embryos before finding you a wonderful surrogate to complete your family.
How much does surrogacy cost?
We believe in financial transparency and affordability. Our agency will provide you with a detailed cost estimate based on your circumstances, in conjunction with the clinic of your choosing. Our agency fee is $21,000 and is divided into three reasonable payments.
On average, a complete surrogacy journey costs around $86,000. We have financial advisors to help clients fund their journeys through grants, scholarships, discount programs, and other options.
HOW DO I START THE PROCESS?
Please complete our inquiry form. We will provide you with an information packet on our program and set up a consultation. If our waitlist for matching is open, we will have you complete our intake forms and matching profile so we can find you a great surrogate. The Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia believes in giving our Intended Parents and Surrogates highly personalized care and consideration, therefore we limit the number of cases we take on each year.
WHAT IS GESTATIONAL SURROGACY?
Intended parents use their own embryos and the surrogate carries the child for them. The embryos can be created in several ways. Parents can donor ovum or the mother’s own ovum. They can use donor sperm or the father’s own sperm. It’s important to understand that the surrogate mother does not have any genetic relationship with the baby in a gestational surrogacy. She simply carries the precious cargo until it’s ready to enter the world through the miracle of birth.
Will I be able to select my intended parents?
Of course. You will be able to look through detailed profiles of families that could be potential matches for you. If you feel like connecting with them, our team will set up a meeting that we facilitate. After the meeting, and follow up conversations, you will be matched if all parties are in agreement with the decision.
Why should I choose the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia?
We are unique in that we offer exceptionally personalized support during the surrogacy process along with competitive, fair compensation packages. Our coordinators attend critical appointments, promptly answer emails, texts, and phone calls, act as advocates for you along the way, and are present when you give birth. Additionally, we host social events like play-dates and fun lunches for surrogates and their families who are in our program. We differ from most national surrogacy agencies because we minimize your travel. The majority of Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia families live right in the Greater Philadelphia area and work closely with local clinics.
If I choose to become a surrogate mother, how do I get paid?
You and the intended parents sign a detailed contract that outlines all the compensation you receive. This is called a “gestational carrier agreement,” and it spells out everything you need to know. For instance, all your payments are maintained by a professional escrow company. Each month, you’ll get a direct deposit from the escrow firm. Plus, you will be able to log into your escrow account whenever you wish and view your total compensation amount, see how much has already been paid, and what remains to be paid to you.
Will I have to cover medical co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses?
No. It’s important to understand from the beginning that the intended parents cover all costs related to your surrogacy. Some of these items include childcare expenses, co-payments for medical services, insurance premiums, and more. These represent totally separate payments that are in addition to the compensation you get for being pregnant and carrying their baby.
Does becoming a surrogate mean I’ll have to travel?
You won’t have to travel far. That’s because the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, unlike most surrogacy agencies, works exclusively with local clinics. In fact, it’s rare for any of our surrogate mothers to have to travel a long distance. We understand that travel can be a challenge. It’s even more of a burden when you have to take care of your own family at the same time. But, in the rare event that you do have to travel, all of your expenses are covered.
Why is BMI important?
Body mass index (BMI) is the measurement of body mass based on weight and height. For a woman who wants to become a gestational carrier, one of the surrogate requirements is that her BMI should be between 20-32. This is because the hormone medications that one takes during a surrogacy cycle cannot be managed as well once your BMI exceeds 32. Additionally, obesity increases the risk of pregnancy complications like premature labor, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and stillbirth.
Do I need to have insurance that will cover surrogacy?
Part of the compensation package for surrogates is 100% medical coverage for surrogacy. Some insurance companies provide coverage for surrogacy, and some don’t. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the intended parents to cover all of the surrogate’s medical costs. If you do not have medical insurance or don’t have surrogacy-friendly insurance, a policy will be obtained for you and paid for by the parents.
Why should I choose the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia?
The Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia is a professional, friendly, and experienced center for those who wish to be gestational surrogates. If you meet our qualifications, we offer highly competitive compensation packages that include base compensation plus many other benefits: 100% medical insurance coverage, maternity clothing allowances, lost wages, childcare and housekeeping, and much more. We also provide every surrogate with financial advising, nutritional, and psychological support, and assign a personal case manager who is with the surrogate from the beginning to the end of her journey.
I have had a tubal ligation (had my tubes tied). Can I still be a gestational carrier?
Yes, you can still be a surrogate even though you’ve had your tubes tied. Tubal ligation prevents eggs from traveling to the uterus to prevent future pregnancy. However, it doesn’t stop a woman from carrying a baby. During the surrogacy process, the intended parent’s embryo is transferred into the gestational carrier’s uterus. The ovaries and fallopian tubes of the gestational carrier or surrogate are not needed.
I am currently breastfeeding. Can I apply to become a surrogate?
When a woman breastfeeds, it naturally delays ovulation and menstruation. Even if your menstrual cycle has resumed, you must take a variety of medications and hormones for the embryo transfer that are not safe for breastfeeding. Therefore, we want surrogates to have weaned and have at least one menstrual cycle before we begin the medical portion of your surrogacy journey.
What’s the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy?
There are two kinds of surrogates – traditional or gestational. With a traditional surrogate, the surrogate is providing her eggs for fertilization, as well as carrying the child to term. Therefore, she is genetically related to the baby. In gestational surrogacy, the intended parents create an embryo either with their egg and sperm or a donated egg or sperm. The embryo is then transferred into the surrogate. Therefore, the surrogate mother and the baby share no genetic material. The Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia only provides gestational surrogacy services.
WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Whether you are an Intended Parent or a Surrogate, we know you will have questions and concerns. That is why we make communicating with us easy and convenient. We also have an extensive partner network of professionals to support you. We work hard to make sure you are confident and informed throughout the process.