GRACE, LLC. Enlightening the path to parenthood… making surrogacy possible ™
What you need to know about your journey as a future parent during the surrogacy process
Before contacting our agency, you must have gone through your own path and determined surrogacy is the way for you to achieve parenthood.
During your journey with our agency, we will minimize the stress that can accompany your surrogacy process by:
- Managing different components such as; financial, medical and legal schedules with the different parties that are involved.
- Guiding you on what to expect and experience during your process.
After the process, you will start another important chapter of your life, parenting, and we will be there to support you, post birth.
- Fertility Clinic
- Monitoring and Medication
- Delivering Hospital / Medical Insurance
- Post-Birth Documentation
3. Time Frame; different factors affect the time frame of the process. However, from start to finish you should plan for a minimum of 14 months until your child is born.
4. Psychological evaluation and Background check: As of 2017, GRACE LLC requires all intended parents to go through a psychological evaluation. This evaluation can be scheduled with a professional during your first visit in the United States. We would be happy to help you with the scheduling. GRACE LLC also requires a background check for all intended parents.
1st Contact the Agency: once you contact our agency (email or telephone) we will set up a one on one Skype conference call, which is free of cost. It is important for us to have a video conference call, if we are unable to meet in person. Once we establish a video/in person contact, we will continue to communicate via email. Before the videoconference you will need to provide some form of photo identification (passport or driver license) and answer the following questions:
- Why did you choose surrogacy?
- Where do you reside?
- How many children would you like to have through surrogacy?
- Do you have a medical condition that is terminal?
2nd Budgeting your process: after our initial contact, you will have enough information to finalize your budget. We will make sure you understand all the financial implications that your surrogacy process may involve. We will customize your goals.
3rd Choosing an In Vitro Fertility Clinic (IVF) in the States: if you are not already working with one, we do referrals. Our referral is based on pregnancy success rating, efficiency and customer service.
4th Choosing your Surrogate Mother: you will have the opportunity to see the candidates through video presentation before you meet them via telephone and/or in person. The matching process between surrogate mothers and future parents is determined by the answers you provide during our meetings, as well as other factors our agency believe to be the best indicators to achieve a successful match. We make sure to balance personalities and identify common objectives with the future parents even before presenting their video profile to you. All candidates will have been screened and certified by a gynecologist in order for them to qualify for our gestational carrier program. All the medical information about your candidate will be sent to the IVF clinic you are working with for their screening.
5th Choosing your Egg Donor: if you need an egg donor, you have two choices; you can work with a pool of donors manage by the IVF clinic or through an egg donation agency. The fastest and more effective will be to go through the clinic.
6th IVF Payment Schedule: once you have your candidate(s) you will be setting up payment with the IVF clinic directly, this payment could be for the entire IVF process or just for the screening process. If for some reason you cannot pay directly to the clinic and would like for us to pay in your behalf, there will be not problem, we are more than happy to help you.
7th Candidate(s) Screening: After the IVF clinic has received payment they will schedule a date and time to screen the candidate(s) you have selected. Depending on the IVF clinic you are working with, it will take a minimum of 2 weeks after their screening to get your candidate(s) medically approved.
8th Legal Contract: after your candidate(s) has/have been medically approved by the IVF clinic, you can initiate a legal contract process. It takes about 2 weeks to a month for the contract(s) to be fully executed. Please note there are no exceptions, all California surrogacy agreements must be notarized by United States notary.
9th Your screening at the IVF Clinic: if you are going to be a donor for the creation of the embryo and if you reside outside the States, you must travel to the IVF clinic in the United States in order to have your medical screening. IVF clinics must comply with the department of Food, Drug and Administration (FDA) regulations regarding eligibility determination for donors of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products (HCT/Ps).
If time and schedule line up, we will help you to maximize your trip; you will be able to have your screening at the IVF clinic, meet in person your gestational carrier and execute surrogacy agreement.
Exceptions to the screening:
- If you are not a HCT donor of the embryo.
- If you already have embryos created and stored outside the United States, only if those embryos are created with HCT of both future parents (ovum and sperm).
10th Start Medication and Embryo Transfer: after IVF clinic has received Attorney’s legal clearance that surrogacy agreement has been executed the clinic will start working on the calendar for your process, meaning the clinic will give the start medication date for your candidate(s) and embryo(s) transfer tentative date. Once gestational carrier is ready for the embryo(s) transfer, she will be in bed rest for 3 days.
Once the embryo(s) has/have been transferred, it takes about 4 weeks to get the heart beat confirmation. Gestational carrier will be monitor by the IVF clinic for the next 12 weeks. From the 13th week, she will be monitor by her obstetrician for the rest of the pregnancy.
Here are the more common questions that future parents have before start the process:
Q: What is the time frame for a surrogacy process from beginning to the end?
A: Depending on the circumstances but the minimum time frame will be 14 months from the moment you decide to start your surrogacy process until your gestational carrier delivers your baby.
Q: Who are the surrogate mother candidates?
A: US citizens/residents women, who live in California. They are married/single/ divorce reliable women between the ages of 20-42 years old, with a good physical and mental health, who have proven live birth capability, who have the motivation and desire to help future parents that seeks surrogacy as the only way to achieve parenthood.
Q: Could my surrogate mother be my egg donor as well?
A: Our agency doesn’t work traditional surrogacy, which will be the case when a women donate her eggs and carries the child. The reason we choose not to work with traditional surrogacy is because of the legal complications this may carry. The eggs would have to come from the future mother or an anonymous/known egg donor.
Q: Would I be able to meet my egg donor if I want to?
A: Yes, you may. However, you must communicate this desire to your egg donor case coordinator before start the search.
Q: Would I be able to meet my surrogate mother before the birth of my baby?
A: Yes, you can meet your surrogate mother at anytime after you have decided to work with her.
Q: How do I know the surrogate mother is not going to change her mind and keep my baby?
A: Surrogate Mothers must pass an intensive psychological test, which determines if they are mentally capable to go through the process or not. Also, they are bind by an agreement, which they don’t want to breach or at least they don’t enter into a surrogacy process thinking in breaching the contract.
Q: What questions should I ask the IVF clinic that I will be working with?
A: There will be a medical part that you will be talking with the Doctor. Make sure the Doctor answer all your medical questions, including the maximum number of embryos the clinic will transfer on each process. After you have finish talking to the Doctor, he/she will refer you to the financial department, which they will send you a quote, any financial questions you must address them to the person who send you the quote and not to the doctor. Please look up for things like, if they are offering unlimited transfer vs. paying for each transfer if the first one is not successful, if the breakdown of cost is clear to understand, please do not assume. GRACE will help you to review the cost document from the clinic and give you our opinion if needed.
Q: How many embryos should my surrogate mother will get transfer?
A: That decision will be between you, the gestational carrier and the IVF clinic. There are clinics with more conservative approach that transfer up to 2 embryos each time. Others clinics transfer 3 or 4 embryos each time. Our recommendation base on our experience is to transfer 1 or 2 embryos maximum each time. Please note: when there is a transfer of 3 or 4 embryos there is a possibility that at least from 4 embryos transferred 3 embryos takes, when that happens automatically is consider high risk pregnancy and your surrogate will bed rest for most of the pregnancy or fetal reduction may be need it, if agreed from the start. Twins, Triplets or Quadruplets are highly cost surrogacy process.
Q: What happens if the fetus is growing with medical problems?
A: It depends on the medical problem(s) but could end up in abortion. That decision will be between you and the surrogate mother, decision must be agreed from the start.
Q: What type of communication do I need to have with my surrogate mother during the process?
A: In the beginning is hard to tell how far your relationship with your surrogate mother is going to grow. Therefore, we advice you to keep it professional from the beginning, remember we are here to help you.
Q: What type of communication do I need to have with the surrogate mother after the process?
A: This will be totally up to you and her. All depends on what type of relationship you build during the pregnancy. Sometimes communication is very fluent (once a month), other times parents want to move on with their lives and there is not communication at all.
Q: How many trips to the States are necessary?
A: There will be a minimum of two trips; first for your medical screening (if you are donating your genetics) and second to pick up your child. If you are working with egg donor and sperm donor, only one trip is necessary, which is to pick up your child
Q: Could the agency help me with my travel itinerary?
A: Yes, will do, per your request.
Q: Do I need to find my own Attorney to draft contract and parentage order?
A: Our agency works with Attorneys that are specialized on the subject of reproduction-assisted law that is part of the coordination of your process. One Attorney will be drafting, representing you in the contract as well as the parentage order. A different Attorney will be representing the surrogate mother. However, if you have one in particular you would like to work with, please let us know. It is very important that the Attorney is specialized on this area of the law and not other.
Q: What is the timeline to schedule the funds transfer?
1) Travel: depending on logistics between your gestational carrier and IVF clinic we will determine if travel is necessary. Funds must be needed at this point. Time period to choose a candidate anywhere from 1 week to 3 months.
2) IVF clinic: once you know which candidate you going to work with, payment with the IVF clinic must be arranged for her screening. The time period for the clinic to arrange candidate screening will be anywhere from 1 week to a month as it is based on her menstrual process.
3) Agency and Legal: once your candidate has been approved by the IVF clinic you are ready to move to legal contract stage. Also, our agency fees are due at this point. Time period for the contract to be drafted 2 weeks and to be executed anywhere from 3 weeks to a month.
4) Monitoring clinic: once IVF clinic has received legal clearance from your Attorney, the clinic will start working on calendar schedule for start medication and embryo transfer. Once calendar schedule is released there will be a series of monitoring tests that must be done between the start of the medication until the embryo transfer. After the embryo(s) has being transferred the series of monitoring test will continue from that date to the 12th week of pregnancy. Those tests consist on blood (estradiol, progesterone, hCG, LH, FSH, CBC) and ultrasounds consisting of evaluation of endometrial lining (thickness & pattern), also, ovarian activity (R/O cysts, follicle number and follicle size). Payments are set up through card (debit or credit) method.
5) Escrow Account: once the gestational agreement has being executed, we will require for you to deposit the total amount for your surrogate’s escrow account.
Q: What are the payment methods?
A: Bank wire transfer, credit/debit card, Western Union, MoneyGram. Please note that United States customs allows you to enter to the United States up to 9,999.00 USD without paying any fees each time you travel. You must declare the amount you enter in cash or travel checks but if it is less than 10,000.00 USD you do not have to pay any fees. Also, we recommend opening a bank account in the States under your name, that way you can transfer all the funds at once from your account overseas to your account in the States. The only information you need to open a bank account is your passport.
Q: Would the agency be there with me when my child is born?
A: Yes, your case coordinator or agency representative will be there. Please note that your case coordinator will be taking care of your case 24/7. Because we are working with human bodies with tentative schedules, we work day and night to make the transition of your process smooth and possible.
Q: Would the agency be helping me with my child’s post-birth documentation?
A: Yes, we will. We make sure you have everything you need to get back home with all required documents in a timely manner.
Q: How long do I need to be in the States once my child has been born?
A: If your child is born healthy, you must stay a minimum of 2 weeks.
Feel free to contact us via email or via Skype at grace.llc to schedule a free consultation. Before the consultation, you will need to provide some form of photo identification (passport or driver license).