FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No one understands what I am experiencing. I feel lonely and isolated, what can I do?
You can seek support groups where you share your experience with others in similar situations. It can give you a great sense of camaraderie, and be very informative as well. If you need further support, you can always seek counseling.
What guarantees do I have of conceiving and becoming pregnant through assisted reproduction techniques?
No fertility specialist will give you absolute guarantees of achieving a pregnancy. Success rates will depend on many different factors and your physician should educate you according to your age and specific situation. Check out the success rates and statistics of the fertility center prior to the beginning of any treatment.
What is PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis)?
PGD is a procedure done on the embryo prior to implantation to help identify genetic defects within embryos created through in vitro fertilization. This procedure is performed in order to prevent certain diseases or disorders from being inherited by the child.
Why do you provide information about the Surrogacy Process in United States only?
The United States is the country that offers the highest security in all the fundamental aspects of this process: legal, medical and ethical. The United States has a large scope of options. Surrogacy Agencies in the USA have effective programs that were developed over the past 20 years and Fertility Clinics that are internationally recognized by their medical staff. The success rates of full-term pregnancies increase year after year. Surrogacy Agencies and Fertility Centers in the USA usually have special programs for international couples/individuals.
In what cases is Surrogacy considered?
In general, this option is recommended when the woman can produce eggs that can be fertilized and become healthy embryos but she is NOT able to carry a pregnancy to term.
Some of the reasons may be:
1. A prior hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus).
2. Congenital absence of the uterus.
3. Congenital malformations of the uterus (e.g. MRKH syndrome).
4. Uterine pathologies.
5. Being a carrier of a disease that makes the pregnancy an extreme risk.
6. Multiple IVF cycles with negative results but with good quality embryos.
In what cases is Egg Donation considered?
1. Premature ovarian failure.
2. Premature menopause.
3. Low response to ovarian stimulation in IVF cycles.
4. Low egg quality.
Patients who suffer from genetic diseases or chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. cystic fibrosis, Huntington disease, etc.) might be able to use their own eggs with the help of PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis).
Can I choose the Egg Donor?
In some countries you can have access to the complete information of the donor. Finding the right donor can be difficult. In general, intended parents focus on physical characteristics, IQ, age, medical history, general information, and if the donor has cycled before for another couple/individual or if this would be her first donation.
In which countries can one choose and get to know the Egg Donor?
In the United States, unlike many countries, not only you can choose the Egg Donor but you can also deal directly with her (in most countries this is not allowed).
Why should I work with a Surrogacy Agency?
Working with a Surrogacy Agency is optional but you must take under consideration that working with a good and reputable agency can be extremely beneficial. Surrogacy agencies screen and evaluate the surrogates and in many cases organize home visits and offer psychological support to the surrogates thought out the process. Surrogacy agencies should also educate and guide the intended parents during the entire process. In many cases the agencies serve as liaison between the intended parents, the surrogate, the fertility center and the attorneys.
What are the different types of Surrogacy Agencies?
Some Surrogacy Agencies are only a “matching service” that recruit surrogates and organize the introduction between surrogates and intended parents. Other agencies may offer additional services: organize home visits, offer psychological support to the surrogates thought out the process, educate and guide the intended parents, and serve as liaison between the intended parents, the surrogate, the fertility center and the attorneys.
The decision to opt for one or the other is extremely important, especially for international intended parents.
What are the steps to follow after hiring a Surrogacy Agency?
Surrogacy Agencies have different protocols of next steps after the contract with the agency has been signed. Some agencies are in constant contact with the intended parents until there is an adequate profile of a surrogate and some agencies have a “quiet- wait time” until this happens. Intended Parents should ask not only about costs and wait time for a surrogate, but also about agency protocol for every step of the process before committing to working with an agency.
What information is provided in a Surrogate’s profile?
The profile should include, among other things: general information about the Surrogate and her family; how many times the surrogate has been pregnant; if she has been previously surrogate for other Intended Parents; her profession; photos and all aspects that are relevant for Intended Parents to make a decision. The Surrogate will also receive a profile of the Intended Parents. It is important that both parties feel comfortable so only profiles of Surrogates and Intended parents that seem to be compatible will be shared with each other. Once both parties have assessed the respective profiles and agree to meet each other the agency arranges an in-person meeting when possible or videoconference.
What kinds of evaluations are performed on Surrogates and Intended Parents?
Both the Surrogate and the Intended Parents will have medical and psychological evaluations. In the United States there are psychologists specialized in Surrogacy. The psychological evaluation is key point to facilitating a good relationship between Intended Parents and the Surrogate, because not all candidates are psychologically prepared for a process as complex as Surrogacy.
Are there common characteristics among Surrogates?
Yes. Generally speaking all Surrogates have the following in common,
▪ Love their children very much and wish to help those who cannot conceive, as they could not imagine themselves without their children.
▪ Enjoy being pregnant very much.
▪ Many want to help others because they know someone who had fertility problems and suffered.
▪ They love helping others.
What requirements must Surrogates meet in order to be accepted into a Surrogacy program in the USA?
▪ Surrogates must be between 21 and 41 years of age.
▪ Surrogates must have given birth to at least one child.
▪ Surrogates must be non-smokers and not have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
▪ Surrogates must agree to travel for medical procedures to the fertility center of Intended Parents choice (always in the USA)
▪ Surrogates must have a history of easy pregnancies without complications.
▪ Surrogates must not have any kind of criminal records.
In which points should Intended Parents and Surrogates agree before deciding to work together?
There are some topics on which parties should agree and feel comfortable in order to start the process together. Intended Parents and Surrogates should agree, for example on: the number of embryos to transfer; if invasive testing will be requested; and what to do in case either the fetus’ or the Surrogate’s health is at risk. There is a long list of topics to be discussed and both agencies and attorneys should advice all parties of such topics.
Is the donor medically evaluated?
Once the donor has been chosen, a medical evaluation is performed to rule out infectious diseases and drug use. An exhaustive report of the genetic/family medical history of the donor is reviewed in order to rule out anything that may be genetically transmissible.
What kind of legal agreement must be in place in order to start a Surrogacy process?
Prior to starting with the respective medical procedures the Intended Parents and the Surrogate must work with their attorneys on a legal agreement. Intended Parents and Surrogates work with different attorneys in order to “Make clear” all parties rights and responsibilities and acceptable behavior. The legal agreements are very detailed and they address the financial, medical and technical aspects of the process.
Does the legal agreement with a Surrogate need to be signed in person?
It is not necessary for the parties to be physically present when signing the contract.
How long should I stay in United States after the birth the baby via Surrogacy?
2 to 4 weeks, depending on the State where the baby is born.
Are fertility treatments expensive?
It depends on the treatment and the country.