Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat would be good reasons to become a surrogate? Women who enjoyed being pregnant and think children are a great gift. Help a couple or individual have the family they have longed for. Earn an income while being at home with your family. Am I ready to be a surrogate? Many women who consider being a surrogate have already completed their own family or are young mothers who want to wait a few years between children. If you are a woman who enjoys being pregnant and you live in a stable environment you may be ready to go forward with being a surrogate and helping a family. Is this the right timing? The right time for being a surrogate is different for every woman. Some women get the urge to be pregnant and that makes it the right time for them, other women want to be able to help a couple or family and that makes it the right time. While others may have been through a rough time in their life which has since resolved itself and now they want to be able to give back. There is no one thing or time which makes a woman know that the time is right for her to be a surrogate. For many surrogates it is something they have considered or thought of for a long time and then it just feels like the right time to go forward. If the time is right, you will be excited about each step and you will take the responsibility willingly, giving it your full attention. How do I get my spouse to support me? Most spouses have concerns for the emotional well-being of their partner/wife. They are not sure how she will do with having the baby, but not bringing home a baby. We provide emotional and psychological support throughout the process so that the Surrogate has a full understanding that the child is never their child. Therefore they are not giving away a baby, they are giving the baby to its own parents/family. Surrogates usually are excited about the delivery and being able to sleep through the night since they will not need to care for the newborn. How am I going to explain this to my own children? Explaining surrogacy to your children will vary based on the age of the children. There are many books available on this or our own experience can lend a hand in how to explain it. Most women simply let their children know that they will be helping another “Mommy” to carry a baby. The baby is not a brother or sister because the baby does not belong to our family. The other Mommy’s tummy doesn’t work for carrying babies so we are going to help her. What requirements should a surrogate meet and why? It is very important that a Surrogate live a healthy lifestyle (smoke free environment, no drinking alcohol or caffeine, and no drugs). Eating healthy, well balanced meals and a wide variety of food is essential to having a healthy pregnancy. Being in an emotionally well balanced life is needed as well. It is necessary for a Surrogate to be happy with her own life and willing to give. You must have had a healthy full term pregnancy/pregnancies yourself. A surrogate must be willing to take the responsibility of caring for the unborn child for the Intended Parents, this includes attending medical appointments and being reliable with communication. What kind of family support will you need to go through the process? Having family and/or social support about you is key to being a good surrogate. If you are able to discuss your surrogacy openly and have people in your life who support your decision, you will be emotionally stable throughout the process. It is also important to be able to have people around you who can provide you with physical support should you need additional rest or have complications throughout your surrogacy. Will it hurt physically or emotionally? Being a surrogate is a rewarding experience. Since each woman’s pain tolerance is different, the level of discomfort can vary. Some IVF Centers require injectable medications while others do not. As you can suspect, the delivery of the baby is the pain and discomfort that you will experience. Every pregnancy is different so it may be that your surrogacy experience is different than what your own was (some for the better and some not). You may experience emotional ups and downs throughout the surrogacy such as a negative pregnancy result after an embryo transfer or the possibility of a miscarriage. It is for this reason that having family and friends support as well as the emotional support we provide is so important throughout your surrogacy. How will you face the fact of carrying a baby without keeping it? As a gestational surrogate the embryo is created using eggs from the Intended Mother or a Donor and the sperm is from the Intended Father or a donor. For this reason there is no biological connection between the Surrogate and the unborn baby. This makes it easier for the surrogate to understand it is not her baby. When carrying the baby you do care for the well-being of the baby as if it is your own child, but psychologically you know you are caring for the Intended Parent’s baby. As you approach the end of the pregnancy you are anxious to have the delivery and have your own body back. For most Surrogates they look forward to being able to sleep through the night and get back to their life as it used to be before the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, the feelings the Surrogate goes through are overjoy for the Parents, relief that the delivery is done, and the love/care for the baby is much like what you would have for a niece or nephew. You care about the baby, but you don’t need to be involved every moment. How does it work with Intended Parents to be; contact or no contact? Most all surrogates have some kind of contact with the Intended Parents throughout the pregnancy. The level of communication and involvement on the Intended Parent’s part is dependent on their location. For an International Parent involvement is much more difficult than for a local couple. Email is an effective way for communication between Intended Parents and Surrogate. This allows open communication at a time that is convenient for each party. Often times video conferencing (Skype) is also used to keep the lines of communication open. If the Intended Parents are local or are able to travel to the Surrogate, they may be involved in the prenatal appointments as well. For some surrogates they prefer to have an anonymous surrogacy. For these Surrogates, they prefer to take care of their responsibility without feeling like they need to be highly involved with the Intended Parents. These women prefer to do what they need to do to have a healthy pregnancy without developing the relationship, thus making the separation from the baby easier for them. Being pregnant for people you already know might not be such a good idea! Some Surrogates decide to go forward as a surrogate because they personally know somebody who had infertility issues or has struggled with pregnancy. While most women think it would be a wonderful gesture to be a surrogate for this person, it usually turns out that they do not go forward with this. While being a Surrogate for a family member or a friend can be a rewarding experience it may also be more difficult than being a surrogate for somebody you don’t know. This is in part because carrying a baby for family or friends they feel they are closer to you and more open to tell you what to do or not to do. They are more directly involved in your life, therefore may micro-manage everything about the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, you may find some regret as each person parents differently. Should your style of parenting be different from that of the family or friend who you were a Surrogate for (you may be more hands on or less strict as a parent) this can create feelings of disappointment for you. Whether you are a Surrogate for somebody you just met or for a family member or friend, surrogacy can be a positive experience. It is important to always remember that you are providing a unique gift that is selfless and unlike anything else. What will friends think about you when you are a surrogate, does it matter or doesn't it? Surrogates typically receive positive praise from their friends when they decide to become a Surrogate. While not all your friends will understand why you want to be a Surrogate or how you could make this decision, they support you regardless. Then once the Surrogate is pregnant and is able to communicate about her Intended Parents and decisions they have made (baby names, etc.) about their upcoming delivery, the friends usually get more involved and excited for you and the Intended Parents. It is possible that while being a Surrogate you receive negative interactions, the effect of this can vary based on who the person is how involved the person is in your day to day life. Perhaps there is a co-worker who doesn’t understand Surrogacy or for religious reasons feels surrogacy is negative. In this case, it may be relatively easy to avoid interactions with this particular person or you may choose to not discuss the surrogacy during interactions with this person. Any negative interactions you receive are usually from individuals who don’t know you personally. Support around you while you are a Surrogate is needed and helpful. This will make the entire experience much more rewarding for everyone. How will this experience impact my life; during and after my way of wearing my angel wings? There is no other experience in your life that will feel as rewarding or fulfilling as surrogacy. When you are able to be a Surrogate, achieve the pregnancy and hand the Intended Parent’s their newborn child you are filled with an overwhelming feeling of joy. It is true that once you have been a Surrogate you have changed the world forever. How quickly can I be matched? The matching process can vary based on your specific preferences. If you are open to carrying twins, having amniocentesis and terminating if there is a medical problem with the baby, then the typically matching time is two (2) – three (3) weeks. Sometimes it can take less time and other times it takes a bit longer. The more open you are about the Intended Parents you work with, the quicker the matching process becomes. How surrogacy different from my own pregnancies? There are many differences when you are Surrogate, then what you may remember while having your own children. As a Surrogate the IVF Physician will manipulate your natural fertility cycle to trick your body into the pregnancy. This is done with the use of hormones so that your body will accept an embryo even though it was not created by your body. Once you are pregnant, the pregnancy is monitored by the IVF Physician throughout the first trimester. The IVF Physician will monitor your hormone levels to make certain your body has enough to maintain the pregnancy as well as making sure that the embryo is growing at a normal level. Once you reach 10 – 12 weeks gestation you will be released to your own OB/GYN. It is at this point in the pregnancy that the pregnancy is considered to be “normal”. You will no longer be taking hormones to maintain the pregnancy, your body will be producing the hormones on its own. Most Surrogates enjoy the second trimester of the pregnancy the most. You may still continue to have regular ultrasounds with your Physician and you are feeling good. It is also at this point that your Intended Parents begin to relax and understand that the pregnancy is doing well. Once the delivery occurs, this is where the biggest difference is for most Surrogates. So many Surrogates say it is like having a light switch turned off. When you have your own child you experience the excitement of your family and friends for the birth of the new baby. As a Surrogate you have had the attention of the Intended Parents for nearly a year. Once the baby is born, the Intended Parent’s focus changes and is now on their baby. When you deliver your own baby, family and friends gather to see the baby and congratulate you, as a Surrogate they are still there, but they are more ready for life to get back to what it used to be. You may feel overwhelmed with feeling like you need to get back to being the “soccer mom”. In addition, when you have your own baby, you begin to have pediatrician appointments and everywhere you go people comment on “what a beautiful baby”. As a Surrogate, all the doctor’s appointments are gone (your OB will see you in 6-8 weeks), when you go out your clothes don’t quite fit like they used to, people don’t know that you just had a baby (since there is no baby) and you still have the overflow of hormones working their way out. It is important to recognize that you could feel overwhelmed and need to take time for you. You did just deliver a baby and sometimes you need to remind family and friends of this. We prepare our Surrogates for this so they know what to expect as they reach the end of their surrogacy. What does the screening process involve? It is very important that a surrogate live a healthy lifestyle (smoke free environment, no drinking alcohol or caffeine and no drugs). Eating healthy, having well balanced meals and a wide variety of food is essential to having a healthy pregnancy. Being in an emotionally well balanced life is needed as well. It is necessary for a surrogate to be happy with her own life and willing to give. You must have had a past healthy full term pregnancy/pregnancies yourself. A surrogate must be willing to take the responsibility of caring for the unborn child for the Intended Parents, this includes attending medical appointments and being reliable with communication. We start by asking some basic questions to determine your qualifications. These include information about past pregnancies and your motivation to be a surrogate. We ask you to complete a questionnaire. Later, we will conduct a criminal background check, a medical exam, and a psychological exam. Can I select the type of IPs to be matched with? A: Yes you can. The process is a match, and each of the parties has a choice in selection of the other. In our screening questionnaire, you can state what type of IPs you want to work with. What kind of involvement will IPs have with me? A: Almost all IPs what to have interaction with the surrogate throughout the entire process. We have seen couples from other countries move to the area to be closer to the surrogate. We have seen IPs make recordings of their voice for the surrogate to play for the baby while she is pregnant. In the end, it is up to you to decide how much you want to interact with them. We often see the IPs and the surrogate become extended family of sorts. How many embryos are normally transferred? A: The national average in surrogacy is 1.2. The vast majority of the time only one is transferred because pregnancy success rates have climbed dramatically over the past few years. Most IPs only want a single birth. If they want more children, we see IPs ask for two surrogates. How much will I be paid? A: The surrogacy compensation package is broken out into a fee structure which is based on the industry standard. You will receive a base compensation which is paid the first of each month in ten (10) equal payments throughout your pregnancy with the balance being paid within two (2) weeks of delivery. The base compensation is the majority of the funds you will receive. In addition to the base compensation you will receive a monthly non-accountable expense allowance, start of medications fee, embryo transfer fee. The total compensation package amount is $55,000. It is paid starting when you start hormonal preparation for the embryo transfer and is completed at the birth of the baby. Who manages the process? A: Omega Family Global will be with you through the entire process. We have liaisons that will coordinate all of your visits with the IPs and the medical appointments. We work to attend the medical appointments with you. We also keep in contact with you and the IPs throughout the entire process. Both OFG and the IPs like to be active in communication and be present when the baby is born.