Every time I reveal to someone that my wife is a surrogate I always get asked the same sort of questions all the time. Your everyday average person doesn’t know that much about surrogacy or the process so most people find it interesting and are very inquisitive. I’d like to touch on the top 6 questions my wife and I are asked on a normal basis.
Number 1 – How much do you get paid to be a surrogate?
This is the number one question asked my wife and I get asked. How much we make is personally nobody’s business but how much you make as a surrogate depends on a couple of things like if you go through an agency or if you are doing it independently.
If you are using an agency they usually have the base compensation listed on their website somewhere. This is usually the minimum amount you will receive and you may get more depending on the circumstances in your legal agreement. For example, your base pay as a surrogate is $20,000 for carrying a single child, but you have it in your contract that if there are twins they will give you another $2,000. There are multiple circumstances that are usually included in your contract including rules about multiples, clothing allowances, miscellaneous expenses and such.
If you are going through a surrogacy independently the price is pretty much up to what the surrogate and the intended parents settle on. All parties have to decide who is responsible for what and how much will be covered by the intended parents.
You will most likely make more money going about being a surrogate this way because there is no middle man but you are responsible for everything from finding intended parents, to choosing an attorney, buying and dealing with health insurance, coordinating with the fertility clinic and much more that agencies usually take care of for you.
There is also the option of being an altruistic surrogate. This means you are willing to accept no compensation above insurance, medical, and pregnancy-related costs. Altruistic surrogacy is common when the surrogate is carrying a child for a family member or close friend. This is the most compassionate, selfless and loving way to be a surrogate and it takes a special person to even consider this because let’s face it, putting your body through hell for someone else with nothing in return takes a genuinely good person with a huge heart. This is usually done Independently but an agency may work with a woman that wants to be an altruistic surrogate.
Using an agency takes a lot of stress of the surrogate. They handle all the coordinating between all parties, the clinic, insurance companies, escrow accounts and a multitude of other things. This allows for an easy breezy ride as far as the back office is concerned and the agencies out there tend to do a great job in matching the right surrogate to the intended parents.
In conclusion both methods have their pros and cons, generally, if you want to just worry about carrying the baby, hands down go with an agency. We recommend Northwest Surrogacy Center if you are here in California, Oregon, or Colorado. NWSC has been great to us and the process has been so smooth. If you want to check them out follow this link to their website nwsurrogacycenter.com
If you want to potentially earn more, or just be in control of every aspect of your surrogacy, going independent might be for you. I’ll have an article comparing the two in the near future so stay tuned! You can follow us by subscribing with email, Pinterest, or WordPress by using the links to the right!
Number 2- What is surrogacy/surrogate?
A surrogate is a woman that is healthy and able to carry children for someone else that is unable to become pregnant themselves. Surrogacy is the process in which the child is carried.
For example, my wife is a gestational surrogate. She is carrying a child for another couple that isn’t able to have children being that both persons are male. Being a gestational surrogate she is only carrying the baby and is not related in any way to the child.
The way gestational surrogacy works is sperm is collected from one of the parents, and an egg is picked from an egg donor. The fertility clinic fertilizes the egg with the sperm, they then let the embryo develop for five days. They then they freeze the embryo until the surrogate is ready for the transfer. No genetic material is shared between the gestational surrogate and the child.
After the surrogate has completed an IVF cycle, the embryo will be thawed and transferred into her uterus and a normal pregnancy will follow. If you would like to know in more detail on the whole process check out my surrogacy road map!
Number 3 – Is the baby yours? Or are you going to be related to the child?
That depends on what method of surrogacy is being used. There is traditional surrogacy and there is gestational surrogacy.
Number 4 – What is the difference between a traditional surrogate and a gestational surrogate?
A traditional surrogate shares genetic material with the child because her own egg is used to create the embryo. The sperm will most likely come from the male IP.
This results in a child or children that share half of their genetics with the surrogate. Prior to 1978, this was the only way to be a surrogate.
A gestational surrogate shares no genetic material with the child. The egg is usually from a donor, but this depends on who the intended parents are and who can provide a fertile sperm or egg.
A heterosexual couple usually needs an egg donor, but they may only need a sperm donor.
A homosexual couple with two males obviously needs an egg donor, usually, one or both are able to provide sperm, with two females the opposite is true and they would need a sperm donor though being a surrogate for a same-sex female couple would be a rare occurrence because one of them most likely will be able to carry the child. Single intended parents would need whatever they are missing, and again unless a female IP is infertile she most likely will not need a surrogate, just a sperm donor.
Single intended parents would need whatever they are missing, and again unless a female IP is infertile she most likely will not need a surrogate, just a sperm donor.
IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization.
The answer here is pretty short. IVF is the method used to fertilize the egg, and this is done by fertilizing the egg with sperm in a test tube or other device outside of the body.
The surrogate prepares for the embryo transfer with a cycle of IVF medication that will prep her body to be in prime condition to receive the embryo.
The term IFV also includes the embryo transfer method that being a catheter is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The embryo then travels through the catheter and is implanted on the wall of the uterus.
There are other methods of fertilization not discussed here but I’ll sum a few them up for you so there is a little perspective.
1.) Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)- An embryologist takes a healthy looking single sperm cell and injects it into the egg with a microscopic needle, the embryo is left to develop and then is transferred via IVF. This is good for those who suffer from low sperm count.
2.) Artificial Insemination (also known as Intrauterine insemination or IUI)- “Washed” sperm is inserted into the uterus with a catheter and the rest is left up to nature. This is less for surrogates and more for couples struggling to conceive on their own. but I can see traditional surrogates using this method with it being more cost effective than IVF. Doctors usually prescribe fertility medications to help fertilize the egg.
3.) Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)- This one is more complicated and invasive than IVF and is not a method used by surrogates. They collect eggs from the woman, and sperm from the man and mix the two in a petri dish. This mixture is then inserted directly into the fallopian tube where fertilization can happen naturally. This method is commonly used when the man has poor sperm motility.
4.) Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)- This method is just like IVF but the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
If you would like more information on the different methods, look here. Parents.com did a wonderfully in-depth article on the different types of fertility treatments listed here and has some additional information as well.
Number 6 – Are you going to have a hard time just handing over the child?
From what I gather it is handled just like any other business transaction that you have a lot invested in. Yes there is a lot of emotion involved because you have been carrying a child around for 9 months, but it isn’t hard to give that child away because most surrogates are #1 done with growing their family, and #2 they are truly happy and excited for the intended parents that they wouldn’t want to hold that bundle of joy back from them. The majority of surrogates are in it for the joy of helping others complete their family with compensation just being the cherry on top.
I hope you find this list useful and by no means does it touch on all the questions that are asked. Hopefully, there will be a part two and if you have any questions yourself go ahead and leave a comment below or use our Contact Us page. If you liked this content and want more please visit our homepage mywifethestork.com. There you can follow my wife’s surrogacy journey from my perspective and learn a little more about the whole process.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!