Frequently Asked

questions

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about being a Gestational Carrier

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I AM AN

Intended Parent

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Each surrogacy arrangement is unique. The answers below are meant to be guidelines only. We strongly encourage you to contact Pearl Surrogacy directly to discuss your personal circumstances, and your expectations for the surrogacy relationship.

While we have included some commonly asked questions here, Pearl Surrogacy does not employ medical or mental health professionals and does not provide medical or mental health treatment or advice. Surrogacy relationships are memorialized in a contract. Pearl Surrogacy strongly encourages all surrogates to address any and all legal questions with their lawyer during the process of negotiating their surrogacy contract.

Gestational Carrier FAQs

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What is the difference between a gestational surrogate, a gestational carrier, and a traditional surrogate?

Neither a gestational surrogate nor a gestational carrier has a genetic relationship to the baby. In other words, it’s not her egg. A traditional surrogate is typically inseminated and is a genetic parent to the baby.

Which surrogacy relationships does Pearl Surrogacy facilitate?

The first two. Our surrogates only carry pregnancies to which they have no genetic relationship. We don’t work with traditional surrogates.

Do I need to be local to Pearl Surrogacy?

No. We work with surrogates from all over the country. We are happy to help you find a local fertility clinic for monitoring during your embryo transfer cycle and early pregnancy.

How long will it take to match with intended parents?

Each case is different, but on average, matching takes a month after eligibility review is complete.

Once we match, how long before an embryo transfer cycle?

After matching, it will take, on average, an additional 2-3 months to complete final medical and psychological screenings, complete legal contracts and make final preparations for embryo transfer.

How involved is Pearl Surrogacy once the mutual match is completed and the cycle starts?

Pearl Surrogacy will be your resource and advocate from start to finish. We are happy to facilitate conversations, find and set up monitoring site visits, coordinate travel and accommodations for your transfer, or anything else that will help the process run more smoothly. We never want you to feel overwhelmed or confused about what’s next.

What kind of relationship can I expect to have with the intended parents during and after the pregnancy?

It is our top priority that you and your intended parents have a great relationship. That being said, every relationship is unique. One of the main goals of our questionnaire is to match you with intended parents who are on the same page regarding visits and contact frequency, pre-birth and post-birth. Additionally, Pearl Surrogacy is here throughout the process to help facilitate discussions with the intended parents and to help resolve any concerns.

Will the intended parents be present during the birth?

Typically, yes. But again, it all depends on you and your intended parents’ plans and expectations for the birth. If you have a preference either way, please let us know.

What kind of support does Pearl Surrogacy offer to their surrogates?

Peal Surrogacy is here to support you in every way, from the first contact through delivery and completion of the surrogacy relationship. Pearl Surrogacy respects the incredible commitment you make to help build families. Our goal is to make the surrogacy process seamless, enjoyable and gratifying for you.

Does Pearl Surrogacy issue 1099s to their surrogates?

Pearl Surrogacy does not issue 1099s to their surrogates. We strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a tax professional with regard to tax treatment of payments and reimbursements received under the surrogacy contract.

How do I apply to be a surrogate with Pearl Surrogacy?

The first step is to provide us with some basic information to get started. We will contact you within 24 hours regarding the next steps.

Can I be a surrogate if I am single?

Absolutely. Pearl Surrogacy does not consider your relationship status in determining whether you can be a surrogate.

Can I travel while I am pregnant as a surrogate?

It depends. That is one of the things you and your intended parents will need to discuss and include in your contract. Travel is likely to be limited towards the end of your pregnancy, or in the event your obstetrician recommends that you not travel.

Would the surrogate pregnancy be covered under my insurance?

Possibly. Some insurances will cover a surrogate pregnancy. In that case, the intended parents will reimburse all out-of-pocket expenses you incur during the pregnancy and delivery. If your insurance does not cover a surrogate pregnancy, the intended parents will purchase insurance for the pregnancy. We will review your insurance policy to determine whether your policy can be used or a separate policy would need to be purchased.

Will the baby be covered under my insurance?

No. The intended parents will either place the baby on their insurance or purchase coverage for the baby.

Does my partner need to undergo medical and psychological screenings?

Yes. If you have a partner, they will also need to undergo infectious disease, criminal background and psychological screenings. Your partner’s health, support, and understanding of your commitment is very important for a successful surrogacy experience.

Why should I work with an agency rather than try to match with intended parents independently?

Surrogacy arrangements are complex. Pearl Surrogacy will provide guidance and support throughout the screening and matching process, as well as during the embryo transfer cycle, pregnancy, and postpartum period. We are here to help you with any questions or issues that may arise at any point in the process. We will also work with an escrow agent to manage payments and reimbursements to you from the intended parents.

Can I work with Pearl Surrogacy if I have already found intended parents?

Yes. We are happy to coordinate and facilitate the surrogacy process between you and your intended parents.

Are there age restrictions for being a surrogate?

Although we make exceptions in certain circumstances, Pearl Surrogacy surrogates generally need to be between 21 and 42 years old.

Does a surrogate need to have a prior full-term delivery?

Yes. Pearl Surrogacy surrogates need to have had at least one prior full-term pregnancy and delivery.  We consider a “full-term” pregnancy to be delivery at 37+ weeks. This requirement allows us to evaluate whether you have been able to carry a pregnancy to full term without any complications for yourself or the baby. If you have had a prior multiple pregnancy, please contact us to talk about what is considered “full term.”

Is there a BMI or weight requirement for a surrogate?

Yes. Pearl Surrogacy surrogates must have a BMI between 18 and 33. Being at a healthy weight for your height is important for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. You can check your BMI by using this calculator.

What is a “high-risk” pregnancy or delivery that would prevent me from being a surrogate?

This depends on the complications you and/or the baby experienced. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances in more detail. Having your medical records available may be helpful.

Can I be a surrogate if I used to be a smoker?

Maybe. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances in more detail.

Can I be a surrogate if I have a child with a genetic condition?

Probably. Pearl Surrogacy surrogates have no genetic relationship to the baby they carry and, therefore, do not contribute any genes to the baby. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances in more detail.

Can I be a surrogate if I have had tubal ligation?

Maybe. We will need to review your medical records to determine what type of tubal ligation procedure you had done. Please contact us to review your exact circumstances. If you do not know what type of procedure you had done, the first step would be to request your records from the doctor that performed the procedure.

Can I be a surrogate if I am still breastfeeding?

No, but you are welcome to start the process of reviewing your eligibility.

How does Pearl Surrogacy’s mutual matching process work?

Pearl Surrogacy’s mutual matching process gathers information from the questionnaires submitted by you and the intended parents, as well as our experience talking to you throughout the process. All of that information is then used to propose a mutual match. Our goal is to find a great fit, where you and the intended parents have similar goals and expectations for your surrogacy experience.

Does the surrogate get to pick the intended parents?

With our mutual matching process, we like to think of the surrogate and the intended parents as picking each other. All surrogates and intended parents working with Pearl Surrogacy have profiles. We review those profiles in detail and suggest matches based on our experience talking to you and the intended parents. Our goal is to collaborate with you and the intended parents in finding a great match. Intended parents only review one surrogate profile at a time, just as surrogates only review one intended parents’ profile at a time. If both parties like the profiles and want to proceed to the next step, Pearl Surrogacy will coordinate and facilitate a phone call for everyone to “meet.” Some surrogates and intended parents elect to meet in person before deciding whether to proceed, and others are ready to make a decision after the call. No surrogate would ever be expected to proceed with intended parents unless she was completely comfortable with them.

Who will prepare the surrogacy contract?

The intended parents will select a lawyer to prepare the first draft of the contract.

Will I have my own lawyer?

Yes. The intended parents will pay for your lawyer to review and negotiate the surrogacy contract on your behalf. Pearl Surrogacy will help you find a lawyer in the state where you live to review and negotiate the contract for you.

How much are surrogates paid?

In general, surrogates are paid between $22,000 and $30,000. The exact amount is influenced by various factors, including whether the pregnancy is a singleton or multiples, and whether you have been a surrogate before. Your surrogacy contract will detail your payment amount and schedule.

When does a surrogate get paid?

Your payment schedule will be detailed in your surrogacy contract. In general, there are fixed payments associated with the prep cycle and the embryo transfer cycle. Payments for the pregnancy usually begin with confirmation of pregnancy and then occur monthly, ending at delivery. However, this is just a generalization and you should discuss the payment schedule with your attorney while you are negotiating your surrogacy contract.

What is the difference between payments and reimbursements?

Payments are contracted amounts paid on a specific schedule to compensate you for carrying a surrogate pregnancy. Reimbursements repay your expenses incurred as a result of carrying a surrogate pregnancy, such as doctor co-pays. The guidelines for how and when to submit your reimbursements will be outlined in your surrogacy contract.

Why use an escrow account?

After you are matched, Pearl Surrogacy will contract with an escrow agent to disburse your compensation and reimbursements according to the terms of the surrogacy contract. The escrow agent will also make sure the escrow account remains properly funded by the intended parents. An escrow account is the best way to ensure that everyone’s interests are protected and that a third party oversees disbursements in accordance with the contract.

How long does the escrow account stay open?

The escrow account will be held open for a period of approximately six months after the birth of the baby. This allows time for submission of all bills associated with the baby’s birth and any post-partum compensation provided for in the surrogacy contract, i.e. time off from work for recovery. The escrow account may be held open for a longer or shorter time depending on your individual circumstances and the terms of your contract.

Will I undergo an IVF cycle?

You will only undergo the part of the cycle where your uterus is prepared for embryo transfer. You will not undergo stimulation of your ovaries or egg retrieval.

What medications will I have to take?

Your particular medications will be determined by the doctor. You will likely take medications to control the timing of your menstrual cycle and to help your uterine lining thicken and prepare for the implantation of an embryo. Following embryo transfer, you will probably take progesterone to help support the pregnancy. Your medication protocol will be fully explained to you before you begin any medications.

How will I get my medications?

If possible, some of your medications may be called into a local pharmacy. Specialty medications will be ordered from a specialty pharmacy and delivered to you.

Will I have to give myself shots?

Probably. Some medications need to be administered via injection. You can administer medications yourself, or have a partner or friend help you with injections.

What if I have questions about my monitoring or medications?

Once you start your embryo transfer cycle, a nurse from the clinic will call with instructions. That nurse will tell you which medications to take, when to go into your local monitoring facility and when you can anticipate needing to travel for embryo transfer.

Will I have to travel for treatment?

Maybe. After you are matched with intended parents, you will go to their clinic to meet with the doctor.  You may also complete the final medical and psychological screenings at this time. The intended parents will pay for your travel expenses. Once you start your actual cycle, you will need to go to a local clinic every couple of days for blood work and ultrasound tests. Pearl Surrogacy will help you locate a clinic near you for these visits. You will travel to the intended parents’ clinic for embryo transfer but can then return to your clinic for post-transfer and early pregnancy monitoring until you are released to your obstetrician.

Do I have to monitor at the same clinic where I am doing the embryo transfer?

No. Pearl Surrogacy will help you find a local clinic that can provide monitoring before and after transfer.

Can I pick my obstetrician or midwife for delivery?

During the process of negotiating your surrogacy contract with the intended parents, you will discuss who will provide your obstetrical care and where you will deliver.

Intended Parent FAQs

Will Pearl Surrogacy work with us if we are not married?

Yes. This is not an issue for proceeding with a surrogate, but an important consideration in thinking about what state your surrogate should deliver in. It is also a consideration for your lawyer in planning for parentage determinations. Please contact Pearl Surrogacy to discuss your circumstances and to make a plan that works for you.

Will Pearl Surrogacy work with same-sex couples?

Absolutely. Please contact Pearl Surrogacy to discuss the significance of what state your surrogate should deliver in and how to plan for parentage determinations.

Will Pearl Surrogacy work with a single intended parent?

Yes.

Will the surrogate’s health insurance cover the pregnancy?

Maybe. Some health insurance policies will cover a surrogate pregnancy, some exclude it, and some do not address the question. Pearl Surrogacy conducts a review of our surrogate’s health insurance policy as part of the screening process and can advise you on how we expect her current insurance will treat a surrogate pregnancy before offering a potential match. If you proceed with a surrogate whose health insurance will not cover the pregnancy, we will help you obtain the additional coverage she needs.

Will Pearl Surrogacy work with international intended parent(s)?

Yes. Each country has a different policy regarding children born of surrogate pregnancies in the United States. Please contact Pearl Surrogacy to discuss the special circumstances associated with your home country. We can also assist in locating a local attorney to assist with the immigration and parentage issues when you return home with your baby.

What kind of support does Pearl Surrogacy offer to their intended parents?

Pearl Surrogacy understands that embarking on a surrogacy journey is emotional and complex. We are fully available to you throughout the process of building your family—from the search for a surrogate to the mutual matching process to the embryo transfer cycle and the delivery. Our priority is making your path to parenthood as easy and comfortable as we possibly can.

What kind of support does Pearl Surrogacy offer to their surrogates?

At Pearl Surrogacy, we make ourselves completely available to our surrogates from the first contact through delivery and completion of the surrogacy relationship. Pearl Surrogacy knows that surrogates make an incredible commitment to help build families, and our goal is to make the surrogacy process as seamless, enjoyable and gratifying as possible.

Does Pearl Surrogacy issue 1099s to their surrogates?

No, Pearl Surrogacy does not issue 1099s to their surrogates. We strongly recommend that our surrogates seek the advice of a tax professional concerning tax treatment of payments and reimbursements received under the surrogacy contract.

What is included in Pearl Surrogacy’s agency fee?

Pearl Surrogacy’s agency fee includes recruitment and the initial eligibility review of your surrogate, escrow management during the pregnancy and ongoing support, advocacy, and assistance to you and your surrogate throughout the surrogacy experience.

What is the difference between a gestational surrogate, gestational carrier, and traditional surrogate?

Neither a gestational surrogate nor a gestational carrier has a genetic relationship to the baby. In other words, it’s not her egg. A traditional surrogate is typically inseminated and is a genetic parent to the baby. Pearl Surrogacy does not facilitate traditional surrogacy relationships.

Do intended parents need to be local to Pearl Surrogacy?

No. We are happy to meet with you via phone or video chat if you are not local.

Can I work with Pearl Surrogacy if I have found my own surrogate?

Sure. We are happy to coordinate and facilitate the surrogacy process for you and your surrogate. Pearl Surrogacy will charge a reduced fee if you have already found your surrogate.

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How long will it take to find a surrogate?

On average, it will take 6-9 months to find a match. Pearl Surrogacy prioritizes a mutual match so that everyone involved has the best possible experience.

Once we match, how long before an embryo transfer cycle?

After matching, it will take, on average, an additional 2-3 months to complete final medical  and psychological screenings, complete legal contracts and make final preparations for embryo transfer.

What kind of relationship can I expect to have with the surrogate during and after the pregnancy?

It is our top priority that you and your surrogate have a great relationship. That being said, every relationship is unique. One of the main goals of our questionnaire is to match you with a surrogate who is on the same page regarding visits and contact frequency, pre-birth and post-birth. Additionally, Pearl Surrogacy is here throughout the process to help facilitate discussions with the surrogate and to help resolve any concerns.

Will we be present during the birth?

This is up to you and your surrogate. Most intended parents are present in the delivery room for the birth of their baby.

How involved is Pearl Surrogacy once the match is completed and the embryo transfer cycle starts?

Pearl Surrogacy will be your resource and advocate from start to finish. We are happy to facilitate conversations, find and set up monitoring site visits for your surrogate, coordinate travel and accommodations for your surrogate’s transfer, or anything else that will help the process run more smoothly. We never want you to feel overwhelmed or confused about what’s next.

Do surrogates need to be local to Pearl Surrogacy?

No. We work with surrogates from all over the country.

What is the process of reviewing surrogate profiles?

Pearl Surrogacy uses a mutual matching process with an emphasis on the fit between the surrogate and the intended parents. Once you decide to proceed with Pearl Surrogacy, we review our pre-screened surrogate profiles in search of a good match based on your responses to our intended parent questionnaire.  Finding a good fit and ensuring that you and your surrogate have similar goals and expectations for the surrogacy experience is of the utmost importance. Once we have identified a surrogate that we think might be a good match, we will provide you with her profile for review. If you want to proceed, we will provide your profile to the potential surrogate for review and hopefully the match will move forward. If you do not want to proceed, we will continue our search until we find your match.

What kind of screenings does Pearl Surrogacy complete on surrogates before offering their profile as a potential match?

First, we review a lengthy questionnaire. Then, we request the potential surrogate’s relevant medical records for review. So long as the potential surrogate appears to be a good candidate, we then conduct infectious disease screening and criminal background checks on both the surrogate and her partner (if she has one). Only then is a Pearl Surrogacy surrogate considered ready for mutual matching with intended parents. Final medical and psychological screenings are conducted after all parties have decided to move forward with the mutual match.

How does Pearl Surrogacy do mutual matching?

Pearl Surrogacy emphasizes the fit between you and your surrogate. We propose mutual matches based on our review of the questionnaires submitted by you and the surrogate, in addition to our experience talking to all of you throughout the screening and review process. Our goal is to find a great fit—where you and the surrogate share the same goals and expectations for the surrogacy experience.

If we are not married, is there a different process to make us the legal parents of our baby?

Maybe. Each state has its own policy regarding surrogacy arrangements. Please contact Pearl Surrogacy to discuss your circumstances and to formulate a plan for searching for your surrogate.

How does the process of getting a pre-birth order work?

The exact process depends on the state, and not all states permit pre-birth orders. Your lawyer will manage the process, but here is a general overview: First, your lawyer will obtain the necessary documentation from your clinic indicating the pregnancy is a surrogate pregnancy and you are the intended parent(s). Then, your lawyer will file the necessary paperwork with the court to obtain a pre-birth order. Once the pre-birth order is granted, the lawyer will notify the hospital where your surrogate plans to deliver so they are prepared as well. Pearl Surrogacy will assist as needed in obtaining the necessary documents from your clinic or providing necessary documents to the hospital.

Are there circumstances where it is not possible to get a pre-birth order?

Yes. There are some states that do not permit pre-birth orders. There are also some states that may not allow both intended parents to be on the baby’s birth certificate. We are happy to discuss your individual circumstances and find a surrogate in a state where you are comfortable with the anticipated legal process.

How will the hospital know that we are the intended parents?

We will let them know. This will ensure that you are issued hospital bands at the time of your baby’s birth and that you have full access to your baby after he or she is born.

Can the intended parents’ names be on the baby’s initial birth certificate?

It depends. Different states have different policies regarding the baby’s birth certificate. Please give us a call to talk about your circumstances and goals. We will use this information to plan our search for your surrogate.

How long do intended parents need to stay where the surrogate delivers?

It depends on the legal provisions in the state where the baby is born, and whether you plan to drive or fly home with the baby when he or she is medically cleared for travel. If you are international, you will need to stay until the baby receives his or her U.S. passport. We are happy to discuss your circumstances and concerns, and look for a surrogate in a state where you are comfortable with the plan for bringing your baby home.

Do we still need a contract if our surrogate is uncompensated?

Pearl Surrogacy strongly recommends that all surrogate arrangements be memorialized in a contract, even if compensation is not involved. The process of preparing the contract encourages all parties to discuss their feelings about various circumstances that you might not initially consider, and allows for planning for unanticipated situations.

Why do we need to set up an escrow account?

Your surrogate’s compensation and reimbursements are paid as accrued according to your surrogacy contract over an extended period of time. An escrow account is the best way to ensure that everyone’s interests are protected, and that a third party oversees disbursements in accordance with the contract.

How long does the escrow account stay open?

Your escrow account will be held open for a period of approximately six months after the birth of the baby. This will allow time for submission of all bills associated with the baby’s birth. Your escrow account may be held open for a longer or shorter time depending on your individual circumstances and the terms of your contract.

What happens to the surrogate’s payments in escrow if the she delivers early?

It depends. First, we will look to your surrogacy contract to see if there is a provision that covers your individual situation. If there is not, we can discuss options as to how to proceed.

How often do we get escrow account statements?

Generally, on a monthly basis. If you prefer something different, we can facilitate a conversation with the escrow agent about your needs.

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