Demystifying the surrogacy journey

In our 40 years of creating families, we've seen everything. Surrogacy can appear to be a complicated process, but we've worked hard to simplify the experience as much as possible. We're pleased to share our frequently asked questions here, but if you prefer to speak in person, we'd love for you to contact us here.
  • Answers for Surrogates

    Do surrogates get paid?

    Yes! While most women choose to become surrogates because they want to help others, surrogates do receive compensation, as well as reimbursement for travel, medical and certain other expenses.

    Where can you be a surrogate?

    Some states have more surrogacy-friendly laws than others. Because we are a top surrogacy agency in the US, we work in many states and serve intended parents all over the country and the world.

    How does a surrogate get pregnant?

    In a surrogate pregnancy, the intended parents use IVF to create embryos, and the highest-quality one is chosen and transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.

    Is the baby biologically related to the surrogate?

    No. Typically, embryos are created with one or both parents’ genetic material. Sometimes, donor sperm and/or eggs are needed. In such cases, the surrogate will never be the egg donor.

    What criteria have to be met to be a surrogate?

    To apply, you must first meet CSP’s basic surrogacy requirements. Once your application is received, you will be interviewed by our team and complete a medical and psychological screening process to ensure that surrogacy is safe and appropriate for you.

    What if a surrogate changes her mind?

    We work closely with surrogates to ensure that they are mentally and physically ready to commit to an intended parent. In our 40+ years, no CSP surrogate has ever backed out of a surrogacy agreement.

    How long does it take to get matched?

    As the top surrogacy agency in America, CSP generally has more waiting parents than surrogates, so we can often match surrogates with parents faster than a smaller agency. You can review parent profiles early in the process, and as soon as the medical and screening process is complete, you’ll be ready to get matched.

    How many births has CSP helped facilitate?

    As of January 2021, our national surrogacy program has celebrated more than 2,700 births. If you want to be a surrogate, we are delighted to assist you through the process of choosing a surrogacy agency.

    Is there any wait to be matched with intended parents?

    Surrogates are usually matched within one or two weeks of completing their screening. Because we have intended parents waiting, if you choose to be a surrogate, we will partner with you in any way we can to complete the screening process efficiently.

    Why should I work with CSP, instead of working alone with parents I meet on the internet?

    The short answer: our surrogacy agency acts as a very real shield for you and your family, putting your medical, financial and legal interests first. The long answer can be read on our "The Surrogate Journey" webpage. There are lots of reasons to have our support during this amazing journey.

    How do I choose the right surrogacy agency?

    Do you want an agency that fully supports you throughout your surrogacy, offers frequent communication, wants you to choose the intended parents that you will help, and has surrogate support groups and resources in place? CSP has all of this and more.

    Why should I choose CSP over other agencies?

    The short answer is experience. The long answer, is also experience. CSP is the oldest and most experienced surrogacy agency in the world. We've seen it all, and have perfected our processes so that surrogates receive all the support and resources they could possibly need or want.

    Are the parents psychologically screened?

    Yes. Medical and psychological screening is important for everyone involved.

    Does CSP help help gay or same-sex intended parents?

    Yes, we help any intended parent who is unable to conceive themselves, including members of the queer community. CSP is open to people from all walks of life and from all over the world, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or nationality. In fact, we were the very first surrogacy agency in the world to help a same-sex couple have a baby, way back in 1989.

    How will I be matched?

    Surrogates choose first. This approach means you will be presented with the profiles of a few hopeful parents. Those you choose to work with then have the option to choose you back.

    How are financial issues handled?

    The CSP team will take as much time as you need to go over all your questions about compensation before you begin. After you are matched, your trust account is established. Prior to you taking medications for the embryo transfer, the parents will fully fund your trust account based on your specific cost sheet. The trust coordinator assigned to your case will stay in close communication with you and make payments promptly.

    Why do I need to be psychologically screened, when I know I want to be a surrogate?

    It's important for our surrogacy team to understand what you are expecting from this journey. Screening will help us get to know you, so we can help you find the perfect match and realize your dream of helping your intended parents embrace parenting. This is a highly emotional and very costly undertaking for the parents. They are expecting us to protect them in the same manner we are protecting you.

    Can I visit your offices?

    We'd be thrilled to have you visit us. When choosing a surrogacy agency, you should feel comfortable that the organization is a professional team with the experience to help you through every step of the process. Our doors are always open, and we truly enjoy every opportunity to meet with our surrogates.

    How can I be sure my intended parents can afford the costs involved?

    Parents pay upfront, and CSP holds full trust funds sufficient to cover your fees and expenses throughout the pregnancy, so you will never have to worry about when you will receive compensation or reimbursement for expenses.

    What are the chances of my intended parents achieving a pregnancy with my help?

    97% of our intended parents celebrate a pregnancy after one or two embryo transfer attempts. Almost 95% of our intended parents ultimately go home with a baby, thanks to the help of surrogates like you.

    What support do you offer surrogates?

    We advocate for you at each stage. You will have a dedicated CSP surrogate case manager to help get you started and to answer ongoing questions. You will also have access to a dedicated counselor/psychologist for the entire process. This is a key part of our program and differentiates us from others. Your counselor will work with you from the matching process, through pregnancy and birth, and beyond. When you want to be a surrogate, we are here to support you.

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  • Answers for Intended Parents

    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.

    Do we need to come in for a full consultation?

    While there are benefits in meeting face-to-face, we routinely conduct consultations via video conference and are happy to provide that option. 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. 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.

    What questions should we consider prior to 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?

    Do we get more "personal" service with a "small" program than with CSP?

    No. CSP is the longest-operating surrogacy agency in the world and we have put emphasis on maintaining a close relationship with our parents and surrogates.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 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.

    Is CSP more expensive than other programs?

    Not at all. Cost is a big factor for people considering surrogacy and this is among our most common question from parents. We believe in full-pricing transparency. You will always receive complete, accurate estimates of actual expenses, so you will know exactly what to plan for. There are no hidden fees or surprise costs.

    Why do we need a psychological counselor to assist us?

    In our 40 years of helping creative families, we've seen what best works for parents and surrogates (and baby). 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.

    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. The amount of communication and type of relationship you choose to build is up to you.

    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. 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.

    What happens if a 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.

    Do we have to be married to participate in surrogacy?

    We do not require intended parents to be legally married, and this also applies whether you choose gestation surrogacy through IVF or with an egg donor (IVF/ED). 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.

    Do you work with LGBTQ 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.

    Do surrogates do this for the money?

    Yes and no. Typically that is not the motivating factor in becoming a surrogate. 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.

    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 for 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. Parents often report that all parties have grown and changed, having learned a great deal from each other.

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