Steps to Parenthood

From Our Introduction to the Birth Certificate

The Journey to Parenthood with ISC

Embarking on the extraordinary journey to parenthood through surrogacy is a testament to the boundless love and unwavering hope that defines your path. It’s a story of dreams taking flight, woven with threads of courage, trust, and the remarkable strength of the human spirit. From the moment you set your sights on this remarkable path, you become pioneers of a unique narrative, one that champions the beauty of collaboration and the incredible selflessness of your chosen surrogate.

After researching various agencies, you chose to work with International Surrogacy Center (ISC), filled out the form and recently learned that ISC has chosen to work with you as well. Now what? This page details what happens after you’ve been accepted into our incredible surrogacy program.

1. Presentation of the Agency

After receiving a welcome email from ISC with some informative documents attached, your first step is a consultation with one of our agency staff. During our presentation, we discuss the steps for surrogacy, our services, recommendations for attorneys or clinics if needed, and our fees, before answering any questions you may have. Based on the circumstances, this presentation takes place either in person, through Skype or over the phone — but always at your convenience.

2. Matching with your Surrogate

After deciding that you are ready to proceed, the second step is to select the surrogate with whom you feel most comfortable. We send you information about a few choices that we feel most closely match your preferences. If you do not find one you like, we will either send additional profiles or wait until we have a surrogate that best matches your desires.

If you like a surrogate’s profile, please let us know within 24 hours. Once we send a profile to you, we “reserve” that surrogate for you for 24 hours. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you are not interested, and she will be made available to other intended parents. If you are interested in a surrogate’s profile, we contact the surrogate and share your profile with her. If she is interested in your profile, we set up a Skype or in-person meeting so you all get to know one another.

3. Meeting the Surrogate

The third step is to meet the surrogate, either in person or through Skype. Both parties ask questions to get an idea of how each person feels about the process and to get to know one another better. Once you have met and decided that you want to work with the surrogate, you send us an email confirming that you want to match with her, and we will ask her to do the same. If both parties agree, we consider you matched.

4. Establish Client or Escrow Account to Hold Your Funds

After you are matched with a surrogate, you must establish a client account through your attorney or an escrow account in the United States. We will suggest an escrow company that we work with frequently or you can speak with your attorney regarding the holding of your funds. This escrow account/client account covers the International Surrogacy Center fee, surrogacy compensations and any other expenses.

Establishing an escrow/client account in the U.S. is more convenient and less costly than paying expenses by transferring and converting currency each time. A priority of the International Surrogacy Center is to simplify the process for both parties and make the experience as pleasant as possible.

5. The Role of International Surrogacy Center

ISC notifies all the professional parties involved that your journey is ready to begin. We send a referral to the criminal background agency to do a background check on your surrogate and her spouse/partner (if applicable). We send a referral to our psychologist who will screen your surrogate and her spouse/partner (if applicable). We notify the attorney you have chosen to represent you, and we notify the matching surrogate’s attorney.

We also contact the IVF clinic with which you will be working to notify it of your match and provide it with all necessary information. Our priority is to guide you and your surrogate through the process as smoothly and delicately as possible. Since many of our intended parents live outside the U.S., we strive to make them feel supported and properly guided from afar.

6. Criminal Background and Psychological Examination of the Surrogate

We submit the information provided by the surrogate for a criminal background of her and her spouse/partner (if applicable) to ensure that she does not have a criminal record. Following that, the surrogate undergoes a mental health screening to confirm that she is mentally stable to become a surrogate.

The intended parents are required to undergo a criminal background and mental health consultation as well. This step must be completed prior to your surrogate’s medical clearance, and the results submitted to us via email.

7. Medical Examination of the Surrogate

We submit your surrogate’s mental health screening result to the in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic as soon as we receive it so her medical screening appointment can be scheduled. The IVF clinic contacts your surrogate and schedules her medical screening appointment based on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

The surrogate’s medical examination consists of collecting urine and blood samples to check for drug use, diseases and overall health. Surrogates who are married or are in a relationship are required to have their spouse/boyfriend/partner undergo blood tests for communicable diseases as well. The surrogate also undergoes an ultrasound of her uterus to check the health of her uterine lining.

The blood test results take 7 – 15 days to come in. Once the results are back and the clinic notifies us that your surrogate is medically cleared to proceed, we notify you.

8. Purchasing Health Insurance for Your Baby/Babies

Your surrogate’s health insurance covers her health care only throughout the surrogacy. It does not cover the baby (or babies) after birth. You have two options: (1) you can pay the hospital directly for the baby’s medical costs, or (2) you can purchase a separate health insurance policy for the baby/babies.

Since insurance is not our area of expertise, we highly suggest that you contact our insurance specialist for more information. Your attorney will also give you information regarding insurance for your baby/babies and can help you negotiate prices with the hospital.

9. Signing of the Contract by Surrogate and Intended Parent(s)

After your surrogate is medically cleared by your IVF doctor, we notify your attorney that you are ready to review the legal contract that he/she has prepared for you and your surrogate. Both parties and their respective lawyers review the contract before signing it. Once the contract is agreed upon by both parties, you must have the final contract notarized.

10. Deposit to the Trust Account

Within 7 days after signing the surrogacy contract, you are required to deposit $65,000 USD (for a first time surrogate) into your trust/escrow account to cover your surrogate’s compensation. Please note that the exact initial deposit amount may vary based upon the surrogate’s location and surrogacy experience. You may deposit an extra amount of money to cover the cost of the egg donor cycle (if applicable), IVF doctor specializing in infertility and/or any other expenses.

11. First Payment Due to Your Surrogate

After the legal contract is signed, the first compensation is paid to your surrogate. The following is included: her monthly allowance, the monthly health insurance premium (if it is covered by the intended parent or parents), compensation for attending the monthly support group meeting, payment each time she attends the fertility clinic (if she works), expenses involved in going to the fertility clinic (including mileage, parking and food) and travel expenses if the surrogate must travel a long distance.

12. Fertility Treatments for the Surrogate

This treatment takes between 4 and 6 weeks as prescribed by the IVF doctor. The pharmacy responsible for providing the medications to the surrogate and/or egg donor requests that you provide payment information to it directly to cover the medication costs.

Your payment information will not be shared with any other party. The intent is to ensure payment for any medication that is needed by the surrogate and/or egg donor during fertility treatment. If the information is not provided in a timely manner, the pharmacy will not distribute the medication to the surrogate, and such non-compliance can result in the delay of fertility treatment or cancellation of a treatment cycle.

When your surrogate has started medication and her uterine lining looks favorable for accepting an embryo, the fertility specialist determines that she is ready to undergo the embryo transplant.

13. Testing the Surrogate for Pregnancy

Once the embryo transfer is completed, the fertility clinic schedules a pregnancy blood test within the following 2 weeks. If the blood test result is positive, the surrogate undergoes another blood test about a week later to confirm that the HCG (pregnancy hormone) level is rising appropriately.

Assuming the levels are rising correctly, about 2 weeks after the last blood test, your surrogate has an ultrasound to confirm the baby’s heartbeat and determine how many embryos were successfully implanted. After heartbeat is detected, the surrogate receives the first payment of her base fee on the first day of the following month, after which she can apply for a life insurance policy.

14. Releasing the Surrogate to Her Personal OB/GYN

Eight to 12 weeks after IVF treatment, the IVF doctor releases the surrogate to her personal OB/GYN for prenatal care throughout the remainder of the pregnancy and delivery. The surrogate is responsible for providing ISC with the OB/GYN’s information and the date and time of her first appointment.

International Surrogacy Center offers the surrogate and the intended parent(s) the opportunity to have a member of our team join the surrogate at her first OB/GYN appointment to ensure a smooth transition from the IVF clinic. We will also attend any other appointments that the surrogate or you wish.

From this moment on, the surrogate will be communicating all relevant information from the OB doctor to the intended parent(s). We require that the surrogate update us throughout the pregnancy with appointment dates, information after appointments and any other relevant information.

15. 4D Ultrasound

You may request that the surrogate undergo a 4D ultrasound between 26 and 34 weeks’ gestation. This is a fun and special ultrasound that shows your precious baby or babies sleeping or playing in 4D! The cost ranges from $80 to $200, depending on whether there is one baby or multiple babies, and the cost is covered by you. International Surrogacy Center supplies you and your surrogate with a list of locations near the surrogate that specialize in this ultrasound.

16. Parental Establishment Judgment

Around the 24th week of pregnancy, International Surrogacy Center informs the law firm that the surrogate is still pregnant; therefore, the judgment for the parental rights of the intended parent(s) for the child(ren) can be established. The Parental Establishment Judgment allows the intended parent(s) to be named as the parent(s) on the baby’s birth certificate. This means that all decisions regarding the child(ren) after they are born will be made by the intended parent(s) and ensures that the child(ren) is legally released to the intended parent(s).

17. Final Funds Estimate

At 25 weeks’ gestation, International Surrogacy Center determines the final payment estimation for the intended parent(s). This final estimation explains in detail your escrow/funds account balance and lets you know if additional money must be deposited or if sufficient funds are currently available.

18. Arrival Time for the Birth

ISC encourages international intended parents to travel to the U.S. by 36 — 37 weeks of pregnancy if your surrogate is carrying one baby. If your surrogate is carrying twins, we highly suggest you arrive within 33 – 34 weeks to ensure you are here for the birth. Some women deliver a couple of weeks prior to their due date; therefore, we encourage you to arrive at least a few weeks beforehand.

19. Presence of Intended Parents During Childbirth

Expectant parent(s) may be present at the hospital during the delivery if your surrogate agrees. If she requires a Cesarean section, the doctor usually allows only one person in the room during the surgery. The surrogate informs us who she wants to be in the room with her if a C-section is required. Normally, having an intended parent in the room is not a problem, but the surrogate may want her own spouse or support person in the room with her for support in case of complications.

20. Birth Certificate and Passport

ISC provides information on how to apply for your baby’s birth certificate, passport and Social Security card and will guide you through the process if needed.
Expert Surrogacy Passport Services

A Few Last Words

International Surrogacy Center would like to thank you in advance for allowing us to accompany you on this wonderful experience of turning your dream of parenthood into a reality!