What is Surrogacy? – Surrogacy Meaning
Surrogacy is a process where a person (gestational carrier also known as a surrogate) carries a baby for someone else (intended parent/s). An important assisted reproduction option, surrogacy offers an option to parenthood that benefit many individuals and couples, including single men, women, gay male couples, and heterosexual couples.
What is Surrogacy? – Surrogacy Meaning
Surrogacy is a process where a woman (surrogate) carries a baby for someone else (intended parent/s).
There are two types of surrogates: traditional and gestational.
- Traditional surrogacy involves combining the father’s sperm with the surrogate’s egg.
- Gestational surrogacy involves combining the father’s sperm with the mother’s egg to create an embryo. The embryo is then implanted into the surrogate.
At Pinnacle Surrogacy, we exclusively use gestational surrogacy and all of our surrogates are gestational carriers.
Surrogacy makes it possible for single men, women, gay male couples, and heterosexual couples who cannot conceive naturally to start their own families. An important assisted reproduction option, surrogacy is also a way for women to have children without risking pregnancy issues related to age, or for younger mothers whose medical conditions mean they are unable to carry a healthy pregnancy to term. Over 1000 babies are born using surrogates in the United States every year.
What is A surrogate Mother? – Surrogate Meaning
When explaining ‘surrogate meaning’ we need to first point out that there are two types of surrogates: traditional surrogates and gestational carriers.
Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate’s egg, which is artificially inseminated by the intended father’s sperm or sperm from a donor. If you choose traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child. This can result in complicated legal issues. Many US states prohibit traditional surrogacy, and most fertility clinics will not work with traditional surrogates.
Gestational surrogacy occurs when the intended parent's egg or a donor egg is used, which is fertilized by either the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm. The surrogate does not share her DNA with the baby and they have no genetic connection. Pinnacle Surrogacy works exclusively with gestational surrogates who have been carefully screened. Our surrogates are mothers themselves and are dedicated to helping families bring their children into the world.
What do surrogates do?
Surrogates have many responsibilities before and during pregnancy, all of which are intended to increase the chance of a successful live birth. Those obligations include the following:
- Undergoing medical exams to ensure they’re healthy before pregnancy.
- Taking medication to prepare the uterus for embryo transfer.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the pregnancy. This includes eating a healthy diet, safe exercise, and possible travel restrictions.
- Carrying the developing child in a safe and nurturing environment.
- Keeping all medical appointments.Cooperating with all legal processes to establish the legal parentage of the intended parents.
How does the surrogacy work?
Although the process of surrogacy may seem complicated at first, how surrogacy works is actually pretty straightforward. While we explain the surrogacy process for both surrogates and intended parents in detail in our other published articles (Find a surrogate for Intended Parents and Become a Surrogate), here’s a brief overview of how surrogacy works:
- Once intended parent/s decide that surrogacy is the right path to parenthood for them, they will work with their surrogacy coordinator to complete the required documents, including their confidential profile that can be shared with surrogate candidates.
- We then work with both intended parents and potential surrogates to find a match based on both parties' requirements and wishes.
- Once the match is confirmed after a match meeting (in person or over face time/zoom video call), both parties will work with their attorneys to sign a legally binding surrogacy contract.
- After both the surrogate and the intended parent/s sign the surrogacy contract, the surrogate cycle and embryo transfer is planned and executed.
Please keep in mind that the single most important thing in the surrogacy process, whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate to be, is to choose your surrogacy agency partner carefully. With industry-leading outcomes, expertise based on years of experience, and glowing reviews from both our surrogates and intended parents, we are 100% confident that we can support you throughout your surrogacy journey in a way that is hard to match by other surrogacy agencies.
What are the qualifications to be a surrogate?
It takes a special kind of person to be a surrogate. At Pinnacle Surrogacy, we subject all potential surrogates to a rigorous screening process. Doing so ensures each surrogate in our program is mentally and physically prepared for surrogacy journey, and that intended parents can choose a surrogate who meets their personal needs. All surrogates included in the Pinnacle Surrogacy program meet the following requirements:
The basic requirements for becoming a surrogate are:
- Your age is less than 40
- Live in a state where surrogacy is legally recognized and supported.
- Physically healthy with no history of smoking or drug use.
- Mentally healthy and successfully undergo psychological screening.
- Must not have a criminal record or live with someone who has a criminal record.
- Healthy pregnancy history with at least one child that they are raising.
- No history of gestational diabetes, preterm labor, or other serious pregnancy complications.
- BMI under 30 (obesity increases the risk of pregnancy complications).
- US citizen or a permanent resident.
How do intended parents choose a surrogate?
Understandably, intended parents take great care when choosing a surrogate, and have considerations and concerns beyond the minimum qualifications for surrogacy. To help with this important decision, Pinnacle Surrogacy provides complete profiles on all our surrogates, including information on their personalities, lifestyle, religion, values and family life.
Intended parents may have specific requests the surrogate must follow during pregnancy and most surrogates are very accommodating of intended parent requests, but such details should be disclosed to the surrogate before a final match decision is made.
Location is a very important consideration when choosing a surrogate. Intended parents often want a surrogate who lives close to them so they can attend medical appointments or reduce travel, or who lives in a city with a major airport, so they can fly in for the birth of the baby if they come from another state or country. Surrogate location will also dictate which state’s laws apply to the pregnancy. Some states, such as California, have friendlier laws concerning surrogacy than others. To prevent legal complications, Pinnacle Surrogacy only works with surrogates who reside in states where surrogacy is legal.
How do surrogates become pregnant?
IVF is used to create an embryo from either the intended parent’s sperm and egg, a donor egg, donor sperm, or any combination thereof. The eggs are fertilized in a laboratory and the resulting embryo is transferred into the surrogate’s uterus.
Both fresh embryos and frozen embryos can be transferred to a surrogate. If fresh embryos are used, the surrogate must take hormone medication to synchronize her cycle with the intended parent or egg donor. If the embryos were frozen, the surrogate takes hormone medication to prepare her uterine lining for the embryo transfer, and the embryos are thawed just prior to transfer.
The embryo transfer itself is quite straightforward. The doctor inserts a speculum into the surrogate’s vagina, then passes a catheter through the cervix and into the uterus. The embryos travel down the catheter tube and into the womb. If the procedure is successful, the embryo attaches to the uterine lining and the surrogate becomes pregnant.
How much are surrogates paid?
The answer depends on multiple factors, including how many babies the surrogate carries (some embryo transfers can result in multiple births). Surrogates are typically paid monthly from the point when they sign the gestational surrogacy agreement.
In addition to surrogate pay and benefits, intended parents pay for donated eggs or sperm, if they are used, embryo transfer, and travel-related expenses.
Can a surrogate keep the baby?
The short answer is no. Before pregnancy, intended parents and their surrogates sign a surrogacy contract indicating the rights and obligations of both parties. The contract specifies the surrogate gives up all rights and obligations to the child and that the intended parents are the child’s legal parents.
This contract is not just for the protection of the intended parent’s rights. The surrogate enters the agreement with no intention of raising the child she carries, and the contract absolves her of any legal responsibilities for the child.
How many surrogate babies are born each year?
In the US, there are approximately 1000 babies born via a surrogate each year. The fact that surrogacy is proving as a highly effective way to have a baby for women who are not able to carry a pregnancy, and with many celebrities sharing their own journeys to parenthood with the help of a surrogate, surrogacy is becoming more and more popular each year. Since surrogacy is also a great way for single men, as well as male gay couples to have a biological baby, and with laws across the world slowly being changed to accept same-sex marriages, surrogacy is more popular than ever and the demand for surrogacy services has been growing steadily in the last few years.
What makes Pinnacle Surrogacy different from other agencies?
Pinnacle Surrogacy is one of many surrogacy agencies, so why choose us over the others? We are an all-inclusive agency, combining carefully screened surrogates with an in-house donor egg bank and fertility clinics. Our team has years of experience with surrogacy, egg donation and IVF, so we can assist intended parents at all stages of the assisted reproductive fertility process.
Please visit our FAQ page for surrogates or intended parents FAQs, to read answers to most frequently asked questions, or our surrogacy blog to hear our previous surrogates sharing their experience, including what motivated them to become a surrogate, and what they found most challenging and rewarding throughout their journeys. Our dedicated sections will help you learn more about the cost of surrogacy and surrogacy success rates.
Why become a surrogate with Pinnacle Surrogacy?
Pinnacle Surrogacy is an all-inclusive agency serving patients in the Pinnacle Fertility network. Becoming a gestational carrier with Pinnacle Surrogacy means helping a loving individual or couple on their journey to parenthood. Our team has years of experience supporting and navigating surrogacy, egg donation and IVF journeys, so we are well equipped to assist at all stages of the assisted reproductive fertility process. All our coordinators are previous surrogates, are best placed to support you and will be there for you every step of the way!
Check out our surrogacy stories to hear former Pinnacle surrogates sharing their experience, including their motivation to become a gestational carrier, elements of their surrogacy journey they found challenging, and the overall rewarding experience of helping a loving family grow.