Great Beginnings Surrogacy Services (Great Beginnings or GBSS) wants to know what you’re looking for in a surrogate. We will bring you profiles of surrogates who share your values and priorities to make this journey as wonderful as possible for everyone! Depending on your wishes, Great Beginnings can arrange telephone or in-person interviews with surrogate candidates to assist in making this very important choice. We’ll ask you to sign our Confidentiality Agreement, sign a Great Beginnings Agency Agreement and provide our nominal initial Agency Fee before officially getting underway. Your pre-screened surrogate profiles include availability, state of residence, all pre-screening results, pictures of the surrogate and her family, her background and medical history, her desires regarding a relationship with you, her positions on key issues, such as selective reduction, etc. Pre-screening includes psychological pre-screening, medical pre-screening, and a background check. A licensed therapist specializing in third-party reproduction completes a psychological pre-screening to insure she meets the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) standards for a psychologically healthy surrogate. Great Beginnings surrogates are then medically pre-screened by a fertility specialist/obstetrician, including a physical exam, an STD panel, drug and nicotine screening, and possibly a hysteroscopy or sonohysterogram, which are ways of examining the surrogate’s uterus to assess its ability to carry a healthy pregnancy.
When your match is made, the second installment of our Agency Fee is due. Great Beginnings will update and provide you a Surrogate Benefit Package with everything individualized to your surrogate. Both parties will then sign this document as part of the initial agreement process between you. We will also complete the Anticipated Surrogacy Fees schedule customized to your actual circumstances. Once all three are finalized and received, Great Beginnings will issue a process letter to all parties outlining next steps plus the names of the professionals you can expect to assist with your surrogacy arrangement from now on. Though medically pre-screened, your fertility specialist will review the surrogate’s history and medical exam to determine if additional testing is required. Experienced surrogates may not need to repeat the psychological evaluation and/or certain medical tests. Great Beginnings will ask you to contact your fertility specialist to make payment arrangements for your surrogate’s final screening. Experienced third-party reproduction attorney information will be presented for your review to assist in the selection of attorneys for all parties.
A trust account will be established with your attorney to provide the funds to issue checks for surrogate compensation, our agency fees, and associated costs for the professionals providing direct services to your surrogate. These costs and typically occur in relation to medical treatment and the legal process. For example, you may choose to have funds sent to your fertility specialist from this account. Or you may decide to pay all medical expenses directly to your fertility specialist instead. Attorney fees typically come from this source as well. Great Beginnings assists with this financial commitment by asking for funding in several stages. Initial funding occurs upon a match while full funding is required prior to the beginning of your surrogate’s cycle. A third funding point occurs at the 20th week of pregnancy to insure timely delivery of all needed surrogate services and treatment.
The Surrogacy Contract is drafted and entered into with attorneys you select for yourself and your surrogate. Interpreter availability information is included on the list of possible attorneys Great Beginnings will give you. The surrogacy contract is a binding contract between yourselves and your surrogate, outlining in detail every aspect of the agreement ranging from compensation to the details of your baby’s delivery itself. Concurrently, effective January 2015, State of California law requires every surrogate receive a medical insurance review from a competent professional in preparation for both medical insurance and life insurance policy acquisition to cover your surrogate during pregnancy and delivery. Great Beginnings will assist your surrogate with this process.
Full Funding of Trust Account
Once the Surrogacy Contract has been signed by all parties, the final installment of our Agency Fee is due. Once both attorneys provide a legal clearance declaration to Great Beginnings and insurance coverage is confirmed, your trust account is then fully funded. The specific amount will vary depending on each individual surrogate’s benefit package.
Pharmacy Arrangements – Cycle Begins
Pharmacy arrangements will need to be made to insure your surrogate can easily and reliably access the medications/supplements she needs for treatment. Depending on pharmacy policy and procedures, you may need to either provide your credit card information or call in your credit card authorization at specified intervals. Once full funding is confirmed, all insurance has been activated and pharmacy arrangements are in place, clearance to begin treatment will be officially communicated directly to your fertility specialist by Great Beginnings. The clinic will set your surrogate’s cycle calendar and treatment will begin!
Pregnancy Confirmation and Monitoring
Following the embryo transfer (ET), your surrogate will require mandatory bed rest (ranging from 1-3 days). A blood test, known as a beta hCG, will be performed approximately 10-14 days following the date of the ET to determine pregnancy. If the first beta is positive, a second beta is generally performed two days later to confirm the number is increasing appropriately. Upon confirmation of pregnancy by both blood tests, approximately four weeks following the date of the embryo transfer, your surrogate will have an ultrasound conducted during which the fetal heartbeat can be visualized. Although not mandatory, many intended parents, especially those in the local area, choose to go to this first ultrasound. Your surrogate will continue on supplemental hormone therapy until approximately 9-12 weeks of pregnancy, when she will be weaned off and “graduate” from care by the fertility specialist to an obstetrician.
Parental Rights Establishment
Great Beginnings will send a request to your attorney to begin the Parental Rights Establishment process at the 16th week of gestation. Parental Rights Establishment in the form of a “Pre-Birth Order (PBO)” does three things: gives you the legal right to make all medical decisions for your baby, legally records your names as parents on the birth certificate, and provides the necessary documentation for the hospital to release your baby to you upon delivery. This process generally takes two to three months. At the 20th week of gestation, final funding of your trust account will be due to provide for the additional court and attorney costs and fees associated with this process.
Delivery of your baby! Be sure to bring all your Parental Rights Establishment documents to the hospital. We’ll be right there with you; we wouldn’t miss this for the world! Both before and after delivery, Great Beginnings will assist your surrogate with any pertinent details should your contract include Breast Milk Service following the birth.
International Intended Parents may wish to have health insurance in place for your baby to begin immediately. You will need to stay on for a few weeks following the birth, awaiting official issuance of your birth certificate by the State of California in order to complete the passport process to finally take your baby home!