The Surrogacy Process
The intake process will differ depending on the agency and clinic that you are working with.
You should expect an application and a medical questionnaire. These documents will help your agency determine if there are any legal or medical concerns they need to address with you or if there are any reasons you might not be eligible for the Ukrainian surrogacy program.
Process Steps And Timing
Most agencies follow these stages. We at Delivering Dreams do it a bit differently, and I will outline how and why.
After your application and medical questionnaire:
Stage 1: Contract with Agency. (Usually, your first payment will be at this stage)
Stage 2: Collecting the necessary documents from you. Some agencies will have you do this stage without assistance.
Stage 3: Official approval into a Ukrainian surrogacy program. This should take days.
Stage 4: Choosing a surrogate. Most often surrogates are tested and screened after you have chosen. (Usually, your second payment is due after choosing a surrogate or signing the contract with the surrogate.)
Stage 5: Preparing the surrogacy contract.
Stage 6: Signing the surrogacy contract in person or by power of attorney through your agency. (Some agencies and clinics require your physical presence.) If you travel in person, only a two to three-day stay is necessary. You will meet your surrogate, tour medical facilities and provide sperm.
If you are contributing eggs, they would be retrieved. For this, the timing will be critical and planned in advance. At least one parent must be genetically linked to the child. (Another payment may be due after signing.)
Stage 7: IVF with ICSI. At this point, the egg is fertilized on the same day the biological material is provided.
Stage 8: Five days later: If you wish PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) for genetic diseases, it will be done at this stage. After completion, the best embryos will be chosen and implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. You have the option of one or two embryos. The pros and cons of each option are discussed in chapter 5.
If you wish to freeze the remaining healthy embryos for further implantations, if the first is not successful, or you may want more children in the future, that will be done at this stage.
Stage 9: In 10-14 days, blood pregnancy test (beta hCG) will be taken. (Often this triggers another payment)
Stage 10: About 10 days after the positive pregnancy test, an ultrasound diagnosis is done to confirm pregnancy.
If there is a negative result in either stage 9 or 10, the process of implantation may be repeated. Each surrogate is legally permitted only 3 implantation attempts.
Stage 11: The first and second trimester: Your surrogate attends frequent doctor’s appointments and should be under constant supervision by your agency. An agency representative should accompany your surrogate to all doctor’s appointments and tests. You should receive frequent updates. This differs from agency to agency. At a minimum, provide weekly updates and all test results.
Stage 12: Best practices are considered moving the surrogate near the maternity hospital approximately at the seventh month of the pregnancy. Exact timing depends on the recommendation of the surrogate’s doctors. It has been found that a surrogate that spends the majority of her pregnancy in a comfortable, known environment with friends and family close is less stressful for her and hence your child.
Stage 13: Delivery! By monitoring your surrogate carefully, we always try to make sure that you will be by her side during the birth of your child. Ask your agency:
- Are you allowed in the delivery room? Some charge more or don’t allow it at all.
- Generally, surrogates will stay in the maternity hospital for 1-3 days after birth. Be sure to find out how much time you will be allowed to spend with your child.
Stage 14: Post-birth: it is the event you have been waiting for and you should relish every moment. Since it’s likely a new experience for both parties, an agency can help you through this process as your surrogacy journey comes to a happy end.
Stage 15: You will receive the child’s birth certificate with the name you have chosen for your child and your names as parents with no reference to a surrogate or donor.
Stage 16: The documents are filed for your child’s US passport. This can take 4-6 weeks, depending on the agency and the time of year. They don’t work on both Ukrainian and American holidays. The process, documentation, and timing differ for other countries.
Be sure to know if your agency handles Stage 16. Often, they are charged as additional work, and in some cases, they do not provide this service, and you will have to find a lawyer or other professional to assist.
The timing of all payments can differ based on the agency. Make sure they are on quantifiable, not subjective steps and the contract instructions are clear so there are no misunderstandings.