The Matching Process
Making a great match is of the highest priority at Family Source. Our Co-founders Staci Swiderski and Zara Griswold personally handle each match, ensuring that all parties have similar expectations for their journey. Surrogacy is an extremely emotional and intimate experience and making the proper match takes not only skill, but intuition.
Zara and Staci are both mothers through Surrogacy and can appreciate the gamut of emotions that the matching process can evoke. Having made nearly a thousand successful matches is a testimony to their expertise.
Surrogate Screening Process
All prospective Surrogates have been carefully pre-screened.
- In-depth application
- Personal interview with Family Source
- Written consent from OB
- Complete medical history, including previous pregnancy and delivery records
- Criminal background check (on both candidate and their spouse/partner)
- Professional psychological screening (of candidate and spouse/partner)
Family Source requires that all candidates meet the below criteria to be considered for our Surrogacy Program.
Be a resident of the United States
- Be between the ages of 21-43
- Be healthy overall
Be height-weight proportionate with BMI of 35 or less
- 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
- Not be on any form of state public assistance
- Not smoke or take illegal drugs
- Not have any psychiatric illness
- Enjoy pregnancy and be motivated by the wish to help others create or add to their family
Frequently Asked Questions
Family Source Consultants provide a non-biased liaison service for Intended Parents and Surrogates/Egg Donors.
Our goal is to encourage communication throughout the process and ensure a positive and healthy relationship between all parties involved. In order to make certain the journey is gratifying for all parties involved, we will oversee each step of the process in a supportive and proficient manner.
Whether you are an Egg Donor or Recipient Parents, we know that determining the type of egg donation with which you are comfortable is an important and personal decision. Our staff has first-hand knowledge of the pros and cons surrounding the different types of egg donation relationships, and we are happy to discuss our own personal experiences with you.
Anonymous Donation – The Recipient Parent/s will typically choose an Egg Donor who has similar physical and personal characteristics or perhaps particular traits that are appealing for various reasons. The Donor’s identity will be kept confidential; any information identifying her will not be given to the Recipient/s. The Recipient/s will, however, be able to view all pertinent information including medical and genetic history, physical description, photographs of the potential Donor, and photographs of her child/ren if she’s willing to share them. In an anonymous donation, the Recipient(s) will have important information about you, but you will never meet or know each other’s names. Many Recipient Parents and Egg Donors choose the anonymous route because they are most comfortable with this type of arrangement for many valid reasons.
Semi-Open Donation – This is an alternative that offers somewhat of a middle-ground solution in choosing anonymous vs. open egg donation. Oftentimes, Recipient Parents do not feel comfortable with anonymous donation because they would prefer to have the option of contacting the woman who shared her genetics with their child/ren. Additionally, many Recipient Parents would not feel comfortable with a totally open donation. With a semi-open relationship, the Recipient Parent/s have been given the Donor’s profile information, but do not necessarily know her last name, address and other detailed information. Similarly, the Egg Donor will be given basic information about the Recipient Parents, but will not necessarily know more specific information as she would in an open donation situation. The Recipient/s and the Egg Donor may decide to chat via telephone or e-mail, for example, but there will not necessarily be a commitment to stay in touch after the egg donation has occurred. The benefit to semi-known vs. anonymous, however, is that enough general information is exchanged so that the Recipient Parent/s know their Egg Donor (and vice versa) on a basic level, and can contact her if they have any questions and such. With a semi-open donation, the Egg Donor will most likely be informed about the results of the egg retrieval and whether or not a pregnancy occurs.
Open Donation – In an open donation arrangement, all parties have agreed to completely disclose information about each other, including last names, addresses, occupations, etc. The Recipient Parents and the Egg Donor, in this case, will sometimes decide to meet in person before the egg retrieval takes place, and if not possible due to logistics (location or scheduling conflicts) there will at least be conversations via email and/or telephone. In this type of arrangement, everyone is mutually interested in maintaining contact—potentially throughout the life of the child/ren born via the donation. An open donation may also occur because the Recipient Parents have a friend, a sister, or another relative who has offered to help them. Regardless of whether the Egg Donor is known previously, or whether she is someone the Recipient Parents have been matched with via Family Source, it is most important that all parties have discussed their long-term expectations of the relationship. For example, the Donor and Recipient Parent/s should discuss who they plan to tell and when. Additionally, and even more importantly, everyone must be on the same page in regards to what the Donor’s future relationship will be with the child/ren. There are certainly many issues to consider when going the open donation route, but open (or open/known) egg donation can be a wonderfully positive experience for the Recipient Parent/s, the Egg Donor, and any future children that may result.
In the case of a gestational surrogate, the woman carrying the pregnancy is in no way biologically related to the child(ren) she is carrying. A Gestational Surrogate becomes pregnant through the IVF procedure, in which the eggs of the Intended Mother (or Egg Donor) and the sperm of the Intended Father (or a Sperm Donor) are combined to create embryos, which are then implanted into the womb of the Surrogate.
Adoption and surrogacy are both wonderful ways to create or add to families—and we are not necessarily promoting one or the other or stating that either option is “better.” However, as a surrogacy agency, we feel it is our responsibility to provide you with some of the reasons people may choose surrogacy vs. adoption. We hope this information will help you determine the route that is best for you.
One of the major benefits to surrogacy, is that in most cases, at least one of the parents has the opportunity to be biologically related to their future child/ren. With Gestational Surrogacy, much of the time, the Intended Mother is using her own eggs and the Intended Father is using his sperm—thus, the baby/ies created are the genetic offspring of both parents. Even when, for example, an Egg Donor or a Sperm Donor is used, again, at least one of the parents will pass on his/her genetics to the child/ren conceived. Either way, even if both an Egg Donor and a Sperm Donor are used—or even with Traditional Surrogacy, in which the Surrogate is providing her own egg and is thus the “genetic mother” to the baby/ies she is carrying—the advantage to the Intended Parents (as opposed to adoption) is they at least can CHOOSE the genetic material they are passing along to their potential children. With adoption, there is no choice. This is not necessarily a bad thing—and again, we do not mean to come across as biased—this is simply a fact. For many Intended Parents, it is desirable to have a genetic link if at all possible, and surrogacy provides them with this opportunity.
Children conceived via surrogacy are done so with intent. Women who choose to become Surrogates are fertile—they have their own children and can have more if they so choose. They have made a conscious and well thought out decision to become Surrogates. They have endured doctor appointments, medications, poking and prodding, and probably some personal inconveniences because they want to help someone else achieve their family building dream. On the other hand, it is not all that unusual, in terms of adoption, for the birth mother to change her mind—even when she has already agreed to give up her baby to the adoptive parents. It’s perfectly understandable that a birth mother would change her mind, especially after giving birth, but again, we just want to point out the different perspectives.
Finally, if Intended Parents and their Surrogate choose to have a close (or “somewhat close”) relationship throughout the pregnancy—the Intended Parents have the opportunity to be completely involved in the pregnancy and birth experience. Of course, what matters most of all is the child not the pregnancy; however, for some women, especially those who have had their fertility taken away from them, or for some men, who truly are interested in “going through a pregnancy” from beginning to end, this is certainly an added bonus.
Again, we acknowledge that adoption is an absolutely beautiful way to create a family, and we are not trying to sway potential Intended Parents to make any decisions in regards to what feels right to them. There are certainly risks with all of the options, and pros and cons from many angles. However, we are just so grateful that we live in a world today where we have so many choices. Domestic adoption, international adoption, surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation, embryo adoption—we are thankful that all of these alternatives exist. We at Family Source simply encourage you to explore all of your options to determine the one with which you are most comfortable.
Family Source will only work with Surrogates who reside in the United States. There currently is no nationwide law regarding surrogacy in the United States; rather, each state has its’ own surrogacy laws. Fortunately, our agency is located in Illinois—one of the MOST surrogacy-friendly states in the United States. Keep in mind, even if you live somewhere where surrogacy or “paid surrogacy” is considered illegal (or the laws are undefined) this does not mean you cannot pursue surrogacy to build your family. It simply means that you will want to work with a Surrogate who is willing to deliver in a “surrogacy-friendly” state. A state is considered 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. Surrogacy laws in the United States and around the world are ever-changing; thus, we advise that you verify the most current laws in your state with an attorney who specializes in this area.
* We at Family Source can help you find out what the surrogacy laws are in your particular state; however, because we are not attorneys, we cannot advise you legally. When working with our agency, you will be referred to a reputable collaborative reproduction attorney who can provide you with professional legal counsel.
If you match with a Surrogate or Egg Donor and she decides not to go forward before the egg retrieval or transfer has taken place (although, due to our intense pre-screening process it’s unlikely this will occur)—or if, during medical or psychological screening it is determined there is a problem that disqualifies her from becoming a Surrogate or Egg Donor— will match you with another Surrogate or Egg Donor at no additional charge.
This is a decision you will need to make depending on your own level of comfort. Some Intended Parents prefer a lot of contact throughout the pregnancy; i.e., regular updates via e-mail and/or phone, and the expectation to attend most (if not all) of the doctor appointments (RE and OB) with their Surrogate. It is highly important to them to be “included” in the pregnancy. Similarly, some Surrogates also like the prospect of a close relationship with their Intended Parents—they may be disappointed if the Intended Parent/s did not maintain regular contact with them throughout the pregnancy and beyond. Many Surrogates and Intended Parents hope to have a life-long friendship—even after the birth of the baby/ies—and in many cases, this is a completely realistic notion.
A percentage of Intended Parents and Surrogates commit to a fairly low level of contact—perhaps occasional updates or phone calls—but do not necessarily want a close relationship throughout the pregnancy and after. This may be viewed by some as a “business relationship” of sorts. The Intended Parent/s may not be able to (or may choose not to) attend doctor appointments and may not see the Surrogate very often (or at all) throughout the pregnancy. A lot of Surrogates may also prefer this type of relationship because, although they are fulfilled in helping someone else have children, it isn’t crucial to them that they develop a strong relationship with their Intended Parent/s. Of course there are many degrees of what constitutes a “close” relationship, and there are many scenarios that are somewhere in between the different ends of the spectrum mentioned above. We at Family Source find it most important that, regardless of the expectations you have of your Intended Parent-Surrogate relationship, you are on the same page when entering into an contract together and make every effort to follow through with your agreements.
This can vary on all different aspects. The reproductive endocrinologist will guide you in making a well-informed decision, based on several factors, one of which is embryo quality. Typically, if the embryos are considered to be of very good or excellent quality, the reproductive endocrinologist will recommend that two embryos are transferred. Some reproductive endocrinologists will suggest transferring three or more embryos, especially if the quality is considered poor or below average. The Intended Parents and Surrogate will need to agree (and this will be in the contract) how many babies the Surrogate is willing to carry. If she is not willing to carry more than two, for example, and the Intended Parents and Surrogate are unwilling to reduce, the reproductive endocrinologist will likely advise that no more than two are transferred.
* We are not medical professionals and do not claim to have the medical knowledge you need to make the important decisions you will make throughout the process. When working with our agency, you will be referred to a reputable infertility clinic (reproductive endocrinologist) that will provide you with professional medical advice.
Family Source can recommend many highly qualified reproductive endocrinologists to you.
Absolutely. We do not discriminate against any person based on marital status.