Phase 1: Initial Screening: Medical & Psychological Evaluation/Background Check
If you meet the basic requirements, we will verify further whether Surrogacy will be safe for you and the child you will carry. We will request your medical records and have the doctor look at your medical profile to assess any red flags that may affect your fertility and the health of the unborn child. Simultaneously, you will complete a Psychological Evaluation and in-depth interview to determine if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for the surrogacy journey. We will complete a background check on you and your partner, as well as a home visit to ensure that the environment where you live is conducive for a healthy pregnancy.
Phase 2: Contract Phase: Intended Parents, the Surrogate, EDSI, Doctors, and Lawyers
An Official Match
If all your evaluations give the indication that you are a suitable Surrogate Candidate, we will match your profile with Intended Parents (IPs) we believe will have a strong connection with you. We will review IP profiles with you in depth and vice-versa. You will spend time building a relationship and working as a team with them during the surrogacy journey, so it is important that you and the Intended Parents are comfortable with each other and have complementary preferences. Once you and your IP agree to help one another, we have an “official match”.
Medical Clearance: Final Medical Screening for IPs and Surrogate
At this time, you and your partner as well as the IPs will have to submit to medical lab tests to detect communicable diseases that may be passed on to you and/or the baby. A urine drug screen is also performed. In our program, everyone must be tested. Our priority is to minimize any risk to our Surrogate Mothers and second to the unborn child. Please note that testing positive does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a Surrogate. If all results from both parties are good, the Fertility Specialist will issue a medical clearance.
Legal Clearance: Surrogacy Contract Signing
When the medical clearance is issued, the Intended Parents’ Attorney will forward the Surrogacy Contract to your Surrogate Attorney (which we will provide you), who will then explain everything in detail, advise you on your rights, and make sure your interests are addressed and protected. When an agreement is reached, all parties sign and notarize the contract and only then, can medical procedures to achieve a pregnancy begin.
Phase 3: Starting Your Cycle: Getting Pregnant
Medical Procedure: What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
IVF is the process of getting pregnant whereby an egg and sperm are manually combined in a laboratory dish and then the resulting embryo is implanted in your uterus. This procedure is called the “Transfer”. In this whole process, coordination and scheduling with the Fertility Clinic and everyone involved are very important. We will be involved throughout the process, and hold your hand through the surrogacy journey.
What happens during IVF?
You will start taking hormones to artificially prepare your body for pregnancy. The hormones will thicken your uterine lining to prepare for implantation. Your Fertility Specialist will closely monitor you and use medications, blood tests, and ultrasounds to determine the appropriate time for the Embryo Transfer.
In the Transfer, a slim flexible catheter containing embryos will be inserted through your cervix into your uterus. This takes about five minutes. After this, you will be required to go on bed rest for 48 hours to help implantation. After 10-12 days, you will take an HCG pregnancy test and see if the procedure was a success. If not, another Transfer or round of IVF will be scheduled.
Holding Your Hand to Becoming a Successful Surrogate
As a Gestational Surrogate, it will be your responsibility to show-up at the appointments and take the necessary medications. To make it easier and ensure your success as a Surrogate, we, at EDSI provide extra support by holding your hand through the process and making sure you are informed and reminded of the tasks. We will coordinate with the clinics and help you arrange logistics. Our Surrogate Coordinator will accompany you to your appointments (if needed) and provide you all the support and guidance you need. Ultimately, our goal is to help you have a pleasant and stress-free experience.
Phase 4: The Pregnancy and Birth
For the next 10 weeks after IVF, you will continue with hormone injections while the fertility doctor monitors your hormone levels to make sure that your body has the right amount to nurture the baby.
At this time, you will be released to your OB-GYN or an OB-GYN in your area. It is mandatory that your OB-GYN be affiliated with a hospital that has a good maternity department and a neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU). If not, we will find an OB-GYN and the right hospital close to you for your routine check-ups and the birth of the baby. Intended Parents may speak with you regarding special classes you can take together so they can feel connected to their little one.
At this time, the Finalization Process is started. The IPs’ attorney will petition the courts for an order to place the IPs’ names on the birth certificate. You will receive an information packet containing consent documents for your signature. Please note that this is a time sensitive process, and it is important that you make the best efforts to sign all the requested documents as quickly as possible.
There are many things to remember, but you can rest assured that the dedicated staff at EDSI will be at your service every step of the way. At the birth, we, along with the Intended Parents will be there with you to welcome the new baby. We will make sure all the paperwork is handled correctly by the hospital. You can expect that you will be discharged from the hospital without any financial obligations.