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Surrogacy FAQs for Parents

1. How do we begin our journey to parenthood?
Welcome! This is one of our most common surrogacy parenting FAQs. The first step is to complete our short parent application. A case manager will contact you to schedule a free consultation, where a CSP case manager will review the services CSP provides, explain the surrogacy process, and answer all of your questions. The consultation can be done via video conference or in person.
2. Do we need to come in for a full consultation?
No, we can conduct your consultation via video conference. We want you to be fully informed about surrogacy and our program before choosing to work with us.

The consultation affords you the opportunity to get to know us and ask questions, and it helps us learn what you are looking for in a surrogacy relationship, so that everyone involved feels comfortable working together. It also provides you with a comprehensive view of all aspects of surrogacy, from psychological to legal, administrative and procedural components.

After the consultation, it’s common for intended parents to tell us that they understand how important it was for them to meet with us. Creating a child together is an unforgettable experience, and choosing to work together is the key to the success of our relationship.

3. What questions should we think about before the consultation?

We encourage you to come to your consultation armed with questions, and our team will have questions for you, too. Some of the most common surrogacy FAQs for parents are:

  • How can we help make this a good experience for you?
  • What do you expect from your surrogacy agency?
  • Why have you chosen to pursue surrogate parenting?
  • What qualities do you want your surrogate to have? What type of contact do you want to have with your surrogate during the pregnancy and after birth?
  • Will you request your surrogate undergoes an amniocentesis, and if so, what will you do with the results?
  • Will you elect to terminate a pregnancy if there is a diagnosis for Down syndrome, or only for something more severe?
  • Will you choose selective reduction in the case of a triplet pregnancy?
  • What changes will occur in your life after you have a child?
  • What do you plan to tell your child about his/her unique origins?
  • How would you describe yourselves to a potential surrogate mother?
  • Have you told anyone of your plans to work with a surrogate, and if so, what were their reactions? Do you need help explaining surrogacy to a family member or friend?
4. Do we get more “personal” service with a “small” program than with CSP?
No. CSP is the longest-operating surrogacy agency in the world, yet we operate with a small team of deeply experienced team members. We pride ourselves on the one-on-one relationship we build with each of our intended parents. We have earned our longstanding reputation for excellent service through attention to detail, extensive support, and a caring team that is dedicated to your success.

Some may assume that small “mom and pop” agencies may can offer more personal service, but CSP believes in providing more support to parents by providing more experience, more personal attention, and more experts to serve you. In addition to your dedicated case manager and financial coordinator, we have a medical team, surrogate support team, partner mental health professionals and attorneys available to assist each unique case. Because we have multiple case managers on staff, there is always someone ready to help you when you need it.

With CSP, you have an extraordinary team working on your behalf. CSP staff members meet face-to-face weekly with members of the psychological team and attorneys to discuss each couple and surrogate. All of these professionals are closely monitoring your case, at all times, solving any issues or concerns that may arise. The collective experience of this supportive team is something you won’t find at a small agency.

We are proud to be able to say many of our new clients were referred to us by our past clients, who were delighted with their experience with CSP. Our longevity in this competitive field is tangible evidence that we are thorough, attentive to details, professional and caring. We encourage you to read our reviews from past clients.

5. Is CSP more expensive than other programs?

Not at all. Cost is a big factor for people considering surrogacy, so this is one of our most common surrogacy parenting FAQs.

CSP believes in full pricing transparency. You will always receive complete, accurate estimates of actual expenses, so you will know exactly what to expect. There are no hidden fees, and no “surprise” costs.

We have a page devoted to helping intended parents compare agencies. Here are some surrogacy FAQs for parents that you should ask agencies you are considering, to evaluate their experience and ability to assist you:

  • How many surrogate profiles do you have at any one time?
  • What is your typical wait time, and what can I do to decrease that time?
  • What is left “to be determined” on your estimated cost sheets?
  • Once we are matched, how does the agency assist me further?
  • If the surrogate mother you present us with does not pass her medical and/or psychological testing, who pays these costs? How long will it take before you present us with another surrogate?
  • Do you provide a medical concierge to assist with my surrogate medical needs and IVF treatment?
  • If my surrogate cannot find transportation to the embryo transfer appointment, who will help you get her to the transfer?
  • Does the agency ensure the financials are well-managed? How do you ensure I don’t overpay, and that what I am supposed to pay for is paid on time?
  • What expertise does your agency have with surrogate medical insurance, reimbursements, liens and additional policy evaluations?
  • If your surrogate’s insurance changes mid-pregnancy to another insurance carrier, and that carrier excludes surrogate parenting pregnancies, do they know how to help you get insurance coverage for the pregnancy?
  • If complications develop during the pregnancy, and my surrogate’s own doctor wants to observe her for a while before referring her to a perinatologist, can your agency help?

We partner with outstanding psychological and legal professionals who can support you in all aspects of the surrogacy process. We are associated with a psychological team of experienced counselors, led by Dr. Hilary Hanafin. We also work closely with multiple law firms that help our clients draft and finalize contracts, verify insurance coverage, finalize parental rights, and obtain birth certificates and passports, if necessary.

6. Why do we need a psychological counselor to assist us?
As the longest-operating surrogacy agency, CSP has been assisting couples for more than four decades. Based on our experience – as well as guidance from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and other experts – surrogacy requires a psychological care component to ensure proper care.

At CSP, we provide these services through our partner mental health professionals from day one. You will have help answering some important personal questions that are common to all who seek gestational surrogacy. In addition, the counseling team helps determine which match is best for you, provides guidance on other considerations surrounding a potential match, and mediates the difficult decisions that may arise during pregnancy.

The counselors play a major role in the matching process, although the intended parents have the final say in choosing a surrogate. The counselors conduct group support meetings for surrogates. Support provided by these mental health professionals is paramount to a successful experience for all involved.

7. What contact should occur after birth?
After delivery, you will be legally recognized as the baby’s parents. The most important moment for your surrogate is when she gets to see you become parents. She wants to see your joy when you first see your baby, and she wants to see you hold your baby and witness the beginning of the bonding process.

Your surrogate may like a little time alone with your baby, to say “goodbye” after she has carried and nurtured your child for nine months. The birth is not only about the baby being born; it is about you becoming parents and about your surrogate completing her commitment to you. Intended parents visit frequently during the hospital stay, which typically lasts about 48 hours.

If you must fly home with your baby, please note that most airlines will not allow babies to travel if they are younger than 10 days old. Once home, we encourage you to let your surrogate know you arrived safely, and to maintain some connection with her post-delivery. During the first month after birth, it’s natural for a surrogate to have feelings of loneliness or emptiness. Your reassurance and continued friendship are very important to her.

Over time, all parties will return to their own lives, and it’s normal for communication to slow down. Typically, intended parents and surrogates keep in contact for the first year, and thereafter send holiday pictures once a year to each other.

8. What happens if the parties do not get along during the pregnancy?

Pregnancy can evoke many emotions. It is important to stay calm and immediately contact your counselor to discuss any conflicts or concerns that may arise.

Some parents find themselves growing protective of their child, and want the surrogate to provide lots of details about her feelings and daily habits. While such feelings are natural for any new parent, your counselor can share coping skills with you.

All relationships have ups and downs. Participants in a surrogacy relationship are interested in fulfilling one another’s wishes, so there is already goodwill on both sides. We are always on hand to guide you in creating a successful relationship.

9. What happens if our match doesn’t “work”?
We are very attuned to the “workings” of a match. The counselors are there to counsel and advise. Our goal is to help you find a surrogate you do get along with. If during matching you feel uncomfortable at any point, please tell your counselor and CSP, and ask to be matched with another surrogate. CSP continuously recruits and pre-screens potential surrogates, so most people can elect an appropriate rematch within a one to three month time period.
10. Do we have to be married to participate in surrogacy?
You do not have to be married to participate in our program. Whether you choose gestation surrogacy through IVF or with an egg donor (IVF/ED), you do not have to be married. We do not require any legal documents for same-sex intended parents. We have a separate legal process for finalizing parental rights for same-sex intended parents.
11. Do you work with gay intended parents?
Of course! We helped our first gay parents in 1989. Our policy has always been that intended parents who are ready and willing to take on the responsibility of parenthood deserve that opportunity.
12. Do surrogates do this for the money?
Yes and no. Surrogates often describe their feelings toward the children they carry for others as different from their feelings toward their own children. They feel affectionate toward the child, and protective, but no more than they feel towards a sibling’s child or a friend’s child.

The bonding that usually occurs is with the intended parents. When surrogates think about their experience, they often talk about their intended parents and the parents’ feelings of happiness. This is why we strongly encourage ongoing contact and friendship from the parents after birth, such as cards and occasional photographs. This can help the surrogate through the post-birth transition as she returns her focus to her own family and life.

Many women experience some degree of post-partum depression following a birth, and the same is true for a surrogate. However, with contact from the parents and her counselor, a surrogate can quickly recover and return to her life within weeks of delivery.

13. Do intended parents report a change in their feelings about surrogacy once they become parents?
Yes. “Surprised” is the word most often used by intended parents to describe their feelings about surrogacy once their child is born. They are surprised by their very positive feelings towards their surrogate.

Some parents tell us they feel an intense love and connection with their surrogates. Many say they predicted they would feel indebted toward their surrogates, but they were surprised at how much they learned from them and the high regard they felt for them as people.

Many surrogates report that they feel surrogacy was beneficial to their self-esteem and self-confidence. Often, they say that their marriage grew stronger, and that they have a greater appreciation of their families. Parents often report that all parties have grown and changed, having learned a great deal from each other.