It’s been over a year now since I’ve decided to become a gestational carrier (or GC). And after writing an initial post about this topic, I’ve heard from a lot of women who were inspired or have thought of doing the same.
Becoming a surrogate is an intense process with a lot of moving parts. While I understood the ultimate goal was having a baby, I hadn’t considered just how many steps there would be to get to that point. What’s more, the process is different for each GC and the intended parents (or IPs).
For those thinking of embarking on this beautiful journey, here is a look at the process I went through:
- I applied to become a GC through an agency. That consisted of personal information and GC desires, such as if I’m willing to carry multiples, the type of IPs I’d like to work with, a brief medical history, and a few others along those lines. There was also a questionnaire that posed hypotheticals, such as my feelings on termination, select termination, embryonic testing, etc. Lastly, I wrote a letter for the IPs.
- Next, I did a phone interview with a rep from the agency. At that point, they requested my medical records from my family physician as well as my OB. I also did a “home visit” with the rep via Face Time.
- Here is where the process differed for me compared to a typical GC. I matched with the IPs before getting clearance from my OB. This is because the IVF clinic they were working with needed that clearance, an updated PAP/pelvic, and my medical history before they would consider me for testing. The IPs and I met over Skype initially with a rep from the agency. We were able to converse casually as well as answer questions from the rep to see if we all had a similar idea of how the surrogacy experience should go. We all had to mutually agree to work with one another. I had to approve the IPs and the IPs had to approve me. Spoiler alert–we all chose each other.
So, I visited my OB, updated my PAP/pelvic, and got his letter of clearance. He sent that on to the IVF clinic.
- While the IVF clinic sifted through my medical history, I visited with a psychiatrist who specializes in infertility and gestational concerns for a psych evaluation. We talked for close to three hours and then I took a test called MMPI-2, where I had to answer 600 true/false questions. This evaluation was the last piece of the puzzle for the IVF clinic.
- Once the doctor completed the report of my psych eval and sent it to the IVF clinic, they approved me as a potential candidate for transfer. The reason I say potential is because I looked good on paper. My OB and the psychiatrist both said I was good to go, but more testing was still needed in order to determine if I was 100% approved to be a GC.
- I planned a trip to Chicago. I went to the IVF clinic where they took blood for testing – 9 vials to be exact. They also performed two ultrasounds. The second ultrasound involved using a saline solution to look for polyps or cysts. After those tests, the IPs and I spoke with the doctor who would inevitably do the transfer, who talked us through the next steps in the process.
- Before leaving the clinic, I learned about the necessary med cycle. I would be taking three different forms of hormones in preparation for transfer, including a daily injection.
As it sits today, my blood work has been processed. I passed all the tests and the IVF clinic officially cleared me.
There was a lot of behind-the-scenes things happening as well. I obtained proper medical and life insurance, met with a lawyer to create a surrogacy contract, planned travel and time off work, and more.
Though I’ve been interested in surrogacy for many years, I wasn’t quite prepared for all the work involved. And, the work isn’t over. I hope this paints a better picture for anyone considering surrogacy.
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