We are so glad you are inquiring with Family Source about helping a deserving couple/individual achieve their dreams of parenthood. It certainly takes a most extraordinary person to even consider such a deed. Thanks to the giving spirit of women, such as yourself, there are many joyous parents around the world whose hearts and lives have been fulfilled by the children they so wanted. Our staff is comprised of two former Intended Mothers as well as four former Gestational Surrogates and a six time Egg Donor; combined with all of our staff, we represent a unique group of individuals who completely understand all that encompasses the significance of creating a family through surrogacy.
We are truly grateful that women with compassion for those unable to carry pregnancies have stepped forward to take on this awesome responsibility. Thank you for considering this tremendous act of selflessness. Family Source welcomes you to our agency and we look forward to assisting you through this amazing and miraculous process.
In order to be qualified to work with our agency as a Gestational Surrogate, you must:
- Be a resident of the United States
- Be between the ages of 21-40
- Be healthy overall
- Be height-weight proportionate (Some overweight women think they are too large to become surrogates; many times, this is not the case. Please check with your doctor.)
- Have at least one child and be raising (or have raised) that child
- Have experienced a full-term pregnancy and delivery
- Be in a stable living situation
- Have the support of your spouse or partner (when applicable)
- Not be on public assistance
- Never have been convicted of a crime
- Have a minimum of a high school education
- Be willing to take medications via injection (when instructed by RE)
- Not smoke or take illegal drugs
- Be willing to refrain from alcohol throughout the pregnancy
- Be willing to keep caffeine intake to a minimum for the duration of the pregnancy
- Not have any sexually transmitted diseases
- Not have any psychiatric illness
- Have reliable transportation: You will have several doctor (RE) appointments previous to the transfer and during the first trimester, and then you will continue to see your OB regularly throughout the pregnancy
- Enjoy pregnancy and be motivated by the wish to help others create or add to their family
Once you contact us by phone or e-mail expressing interest in our agency, we will schedule an initial phone consultation. We will then send you a thorough profile packet and application, which you will complete and return to us. (See below regarding determining your compensation.) In addition to filling out an extensive questionnaire, we will also require a letter of consent from your OB to add to your profile, and finally, we will run a complete background check. Upon clear results of all of the above, we will schedule an in-person interview, and at this time we will review the responses provided in your profile packet and answer any questions you may have.
You will then sign our agency’s agreement, which states that you agree to work with us and gives us permission to present your profile to prospective Intended Parents. (Your name and personal information will be confidential until you match with Intended Parents.) You are officially on your way to becoming a Gestational Surrogate!
Family Source handles gestational surrogacy arrangements. If the Intended Mother is not able to use her own eggs, this option is still possible with the help of an Egg Donor.
Moving Right Along
Once Intended Parents express interest in you as their potential Gestational Surrogate, we will present you with the Intended Parents’ profile and you will have the opportunity to determine whether you have a mutual interest in meeting with them. If so, Family Source will coordinate and schedule a conference call between all parties. If the conference call goes well, we will arrange an in-person meeting so that you and your potential Intended Parents are able to solidify your decision to work together. If the meeting confirms that you do indeed want to go forward, you are matched and on your way to the screening process.
Your Journey is in Full Swing
You will go through required medical screening with the Intended Parents’ reproductive endocrinologist to determine that you are healthy and able to carry a pregnancy. You will then have the required blood tests—including but not limited to HIV and other sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests—as will your spouse/partner when applicable. You will meet with a clinical psychologist who specializes in third party reproduction and you will be administered the MMPI, which is a psychological assessment test. When applicable, your spouse/partner is typically required to meet with the psychologist as well. Family Source will locate life insurance for you, which is mandatory per the Intended Parent/Gestational Surrogate contract. If needed, we will help you to locate appropriate medical insurance, although in the majority of cases, most Gestational Surrogates already have medical coverage for the pregnancy and birth, so this may not be necessary.
On Your Way!
When the screening process is complete, you will work with one of our agency recommended collaborative reproduction attorneys to put together your contract. Family Source will help negotiate all fees on the contract and set up an escrow account for the Intended Parents (you will be paid your compensation and all other miscellaneous expenses from this account). The reproductive endocrinologist will work with your Intended Parents to determine the cycle plans and your medication protocol. There are many variations in protocols depending on your Intended Parents’ reproductive endocrinologist’s recommendations; however, to give you a general idea of what will occur: Your cycle will be synchronized with your Intended Mother’s (or Egg Donor’s) cycle so that your body is being prepared for pregnancy (and your uterine lining is thickening) as the Intended Mother (or Egg Donor) is being prepared for her egg retrieval. Typically, you should expect to take birth control pills, Lupron, estrogen and progesterone in either oral, patch, injection or a combination of two or more forms. There may be other medications that the reproductive endocrinologist prescribes depending on each individual situation. We at Family Source will absolutely go over all of the information with you to make sure you understand the cycle and medication instructions, as it is vital that all directions are followed precisely. We will be happy to attend the transfer, if permissible and possible, as well as accompany you during subsequent doctor appointments throughout the pregnancy. And of course, we would be thrilled to attend the birth when at all feasible!
Surrogacy LAWS in the United States and around the world:
There currently is no nationwide law regarding surrogacy in the United States; rather, each state has its’ own surrogacy laws. Certain states in the United States are considered more “surrogacy-friendly” than others. A state is referred to as surrogacy-friendly when there are no residency requirements for the Intended Parents and a birth certificate (pre-birth order) can be issued without court proceedings.
Fortunately, our agency is located in Illinois – which has some of the most surrogacy-friendly laws in the United States!