Are you hoping to become a surrogate in California? If so, you’ll have access to great fertility clinics, maternity hospitals, and surrogacy agencies—which makes California a fantastic home base for surrogates.
As you begin your journey, we want to make sure you have the information you need to make your experience as safe, smooth, and rewarding as possible. Learn more below!
1. Decide if surrogacy is right for you
While surrogacy can be an incredible, life-changing journey, it’s not a perfect fit for everyone.
Surrogacy requires at least a year-long commitment and will have an impact on your body, emotions, time, family, and career. Before you embark on this journey, it’s important to determine if you’re physically and emotionally prepared, and motivated for the right reasons.
To have a successful surrogacy journey, it’s also essential that you have a surrogate support system. Pregnancy is taxing under any circumstance, but as a surrogate, you’ll also be navigating fertility treatments, additional doctor’s appointments, and a natural range of emotions. Your support system helps to ease that burden and provides the emotional and practical support you’ll need.
Read “Are You Ready to Be a Surrogate Mother? 9 Questions to Ask Yourself”
2. Ensure that you meet the surrogacy agency’s requirements
Surrogacy agencies can vary significantly in their requirements for prospective surrogate mothers. Take care in choosing a reputable surrogacy agency because it will have a major impact on your experience and success as a surrogate mother.
To become a surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS), you must:
- Have had one or more easy pregnancies and deliveries.
- Be between the ages of 21 and 40.
- Have at least one child of your own living with you.
- Be a non-smoker.
- Have reliable transportation.
- Be financially stable.
- Have a desire to help another in a special way.
- …And love being pregnant!
3. Find the best surrogacy agency in California for your needs
Once you’ve decided to move forward, it’s time to choose a reputable surrogacy agency to guide you through your journey.
As you begin conducting your research and interviewing agencies, you have two basic goals: to find the reputable agencies that work in your area, and to identify which surrogacy agency is best suited for your unique needs.
When selecting an agency, consider:
- The agency’s history and/or level of experience: Ask questions like: how long has the company been in business, how many families have they helped to create, and how has their reputation evolved (or remained consistent) over the years.
- Their screening process for both surrogates and intended parents (IPs): Both parties should be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the process and educated on the responsibilities and risks. Learn more about the screening process for both intended parents and surrogates.
- How surrogates and IPs are matched: The best agencies take into account factors such as personality, expectations for the journey, and the level of communication desired.
- Which services they offer: Services vary from agency to agency. Larger, more established agencies will be able to offer more services—everything from matching to case management to legal services.
Read “7 Tips for Choosing the Right Surrogacy Agency”
4. Go through the application and interview process
Each agency has a slightly different process. At SPS, there are several steps involved in the screening process.
First, we do a phone interview to determine if there is anything that would immediately disqualify the surrogate, such as her age, the number of deliveries she’s had, or where she’s located.
If there are no issues, we invite her to complete her profile and sign medical releases, so we can review her pregnancy and delivery records.
Then, there is a video interview, a psychological screening, and finally, the potential surrogate meets with Cristie Montgomery, our founder and president.
5. Match with intended parents
At SPS, we don’t offer an online database of surrogates for IPs to review. We feel the matching process should be much more personal.
Both the surrogates and IPs create a profile early on in the process, and Cristie also meets with both parties. The information gathered from the profiles and the meetings allows Cristie to learn more about what kind of experience they are hoping for, and other values, beliefs, and expectations which may be important in the matching process.
Once the IPs and surrogate have spoken with Cristie, completed the personality profile, and entered the program, Cristie will use the information she has learned about each party to propose a match.
The IPs will get a chance to review the profile of the surrogate that Cristie believes would be a best fit for their journey, and vice versa.
After the IPs and surrogate have reviewed each other’s profile and decided to meet each other, Cristie facilitates a meeting which includes the IPs, the surrogate, her partner (if applicable) and the case manager that will be supporting both parties through their journey.
The meeting provides an opportunity for everyone to learn more about each other, discuss the expectations for the relationship and to review sensitive issues further, such as termination and multiples.
After the meeting, everyone will have a chance to think over the potential match before moving forward. In our experience, everyone almost always agrees to the match!
6. Finalize the surrogacy agreement
Once the surrogate and intended parents have decided to work together and the surrogate has received medical clearance from the doctors, it’s time to draft a legal contract. Each party will have their own attorney to safeguard their legal interests throughout the process.
Your attorney will guide you through the legal aspects of surrogacy, covering everything from compensation to potential risks. They will also review the contract drafted by the IPs’ attorney to ensure it aligns with your preferences.
At SPS, once both parties agree and the contracts are signed and legal clearance is issued, you’ll receive a signing bonus. Then, you’ll begin to receive the monthly uncountable allowance to cover expenses. The base compensation begins after the second heartbeat confirmation.
7. Get pregnant and navigate your pregnancy journey
After the contracts have been signed, you’ll prepare for the embryo transfer!
To increase the likelihood of a successful embryo transfer, you’ll likely be prescribed medications before the procedure. When it is time, the IPs’ embryo will be placed in your uterus for implantation. The procedure doesn’t require anesthesia and is relatively quick and painless.
A few weeks later, you’ll go back to the fertility clinic for a pregnancy test to officially confirm the pregnancy. After pregnancy is confirmed, you’ll visit the fertility clinic for heartbeat ultrasounds then be cleared for regular prenatal care with your board certified OB.
Your pregnancy will largely resemble any typical pregnancy. On the medical side, you may have one to two screenings with a Maternal Fetal Specialist if you have a non-complicated pregnancy. But other than that, the process will be very similar to what you’ve experienced before.
Of course, one huge (and wonderful) difference is that you’ll have the opportunity to share this remarkable journey with the IPs.
And finally, the happiest step of all: the intended parents get to meet the newest member of their family!
We hope this article shed some light on how to become a surrogate in California. If you do decide to pursue surrogacy, have a wonderful journey!
Learn More About Becoming a Surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services
Surrogate Parenting Services is proud to celebrate over 30 years of helping to bring dreams to life! Founded in 1990, Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS) is a full-service surrogacy agency that offers both parties an exceptionally supportive environment throughout the surrogacy relationship. We’re passionate about creating ideal matches between surrogates and intended parents, so the journey is fulfilling for both sides and the future child is brought into this world in the best possible circumstances.
Learn more about our Surrogacy Program online or by calling (949) 363-9525.