To facilitate your understanding of the arrangements that must take place in order to assure a successful egg donor-surrogacy cycle, we’ve divided the process into 4 tier levels. While each level is as important as the next, such a division helps clarify the process and make it easy to understand how we proceed efficiently through the arrangements that will make your dream of parenthood a reality:
Selection of a Fertility Clinic
While various arrangements are made by those seeking egg donors and surrogates at various clinics, at The Fertility Institutes, with nearly three decades of experience with arrangements for same-sex parents, we have found the most efficient and least stress-inducing arrangements are those in which we assist you with ALL of the necessary details in arranging your treatment cycle. While nearly all competing centres only utilize outside egg donor and surrogacy agencies, as well as outside psychologists and attorneys, at The Fertility Institutes, we offer the option of keeping the majority of the process all-inclusive and internal. While we certainly can work with those that have located their egg donor and or surrogate independently or with reputable agencies, we have found that by allowing our physicians to become involved in the screening process of egg donors and surrogates, you are assured a more thorough evaluation and screening than that routinely provided by outside sources. In addition to the rigorous screening of our in-house egg donors and surrogates, we are very selective in our choice of outside agencies, preferring to work with those that allow the screening process details to be ordered and specified by us. We also serve as patient advocates, your advocates, as we are often able to reign in the runaway fees demanded by some agencies and their donors or surrogates.
You will be provided direct guidance and counseling by our Ela specialist about the course of action most suitable to meet your needs and desires. In many instances, matches with a suitable surrogate can occur before your visit and following the completion of your intake evaluations. Because all subsequent treatment arrangements will need to await completion of your intake evaluations, you are encouraged to schedule these physical examinations and blood tests as soon as possible. At the time initial semen specimens are requested for sperm counts and other suitability evaluations, you (the sperm donor(s)) will be asked to undertake infectious disease blood testing that will include HIV (AIDS) testing, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis, and HIV I and II testing. You, in most instances, will also be required to be tested for the cystic fibrosis carrier state, chlamydia, mycoplasma, CMV and perhaps other genetic screening tests depending upon your own personal history(ies). If interested in proceeding as soon as possible, the arrangements to meet and secure a potential surrogate mother can begin at the same time the qualification studies begin. While this is occurring, selection of your egg donor, described below may begin immediately and the treatment of you and your selected egg donor may begin as soon as you have made your choice. It will typically take approximately one week to complete all of the legal arrangements for successful surrogacy. If arrangements are begun immediately, by the time the contracts with your surrogate are signed and finalized, your embryos may have been produced by treatment of you and your chosen donor. As soon as you have chosen a surrogate, your awaiting embryos may be transferred to the surrogate mother. All intake studies are performed to assure the best and safest chances for a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Initial Consultation and Selection of an Egg Donor
At the time of your first visit with us, you will be given an opportunity to review the selection of egg donors available. This is done so that you may get a feel for the high quality of the young women available. At this point, the actual selection of your donor may be carried out. As your intake evaluations and paperwork are completed, the donor will complete her final screening on your behalf and will be medically prepared for the egg donation process. You will be asked to provide sperm to be used for the fertilization process. Once the eggs have been produced by the donor, your screened sperm will be used to create the embryos that will then be stored for transfer to your surrogate as soon as she is chosen, is screened and prepared to receive the embryo(s).
Once we know that a surrogate has been chosen, we can present to you the egg donors that are available for selection. We are able to provide anonymous as well as open donors and cater to all forms of family matching – appearance, ethnic background as well as educational and athletic levels. We maintain an extensive list of donors at all times. Most of our donors are recruited through our own in-house program, allowing us to carry out quite extensive screening processes. We can also facilitate your selection of a donor from an outside agency. We insist that donors from outside agencies also go through our screening protocol for your safety.
Well aware of the fact that many of our patients travel to us from distant locations, we try everything in our power to facilitate productivity in trips made to our office. As sperm testing is conducted, we provide you with a selection of egg donors, as well as organize a meeting with our surrogacy attorney.
Selection of a Surrogate
We will begin the surrogate match process by providing you details of the surrogates that we have available as soon as you formally enroll in the program and request that the surrogate match process begins. All of our surrogate team-members who qualify for our program are comfortable carrying a pregnancy for same-sex parents.
Our surrogate “match” is a no-wait process. As soon as you are happy to proceed, the process begins. Most of our surrogates arrive at us from countries such as the Ukraine, Bulgaria and locally within Cyprus. After extensive screenings, both psychological, physical and gynecological, the best possible candidate is selected for you and prepared for your journey together. The relationship you hope to have with the surrogate helping you is defined by you, and at your pace and comfort level. Your personal coordinator will serve as a mediator initially and then as soon as both parties feel comfortable a more independent relationship then normally builds from there.
Legal Work and the Attorneys
We strongly advise a consultation in person or minimally via video in order to feel comfortable with the program of your choice. Once confident that the chosen program is a fit for you, a legal contract is presented clearly outlining both intended parent and surrogate responsibilities as well as those with the clinic in question. Once all parties are in agreement and the contract is consummated, we can proceed quickly with the arrangements to begin the treatment cycle.
As soon as heartbeat and thus, pregnancy is confirmed, our specialized same-sex / surrogacy legal advisor will begin assisting with the application of a parental order on your behalf. This is not always required and depends on your country of residence. Our fathers all appear on the birth certificate as a biological parent alongside the surrogate. In the case of two same-sex fathers in a couple, there is the option of each father being placed on a birth certificate in the event of twins. The surrogate legally relinquishes her rights before birth in the form of a globally accepted attestation. In the event your country of residence requires a further parental order, your interface with the attorney(s) can be excluded from a distance if need be. Our attorney, in addition to the attorney of your choice from your native country, will serve as your legal consultants and will advise you concerning the wide range of issues that are involved in the drafting of a post-birth document that will protect your interests. This is a straightforward process which is concluded upon birth or shortly thereafter for most nationals.