Many countries in the world ban surrogacy outright or have laws in place that make it very difficult for couples to seek surrogacy in their own country. As a result, many couples turn to the United States, where most states offer a supportive legal environment for surrogacy, some of the most advanced reproductive technology in the world, high quality healthcare for surrogate mothers, and many surrogacy agencies with excellent reputations (including Circle of Life Surrogacy).
Still, making the decision to move forward with surrogacy in the United States will require a big investment of time, emotions, and financial savings for international parents. You must be prepared for this long process, the inherent challenges and risks involved, and the expected travel.
How often will you be expected to travel to the United States, and how long will you have to stay during each trip? This article will walk you through the major travel guidelines.
The Consultation – Presence Optional (2 – 4 days)
The first major step in the surrogacy process is to schedule a consultation with a surrogacy agency. (Learn more about Using a Surrogacy Agency vs. an Independent Surrogate). This thorough consultation will include:
- Introductions – You want to know about the agency, and the agency will want to know about you; especially your reason for seeking surrogacy
- An in-depth review of the surrogacy process
- A review of the costs related to surrogacy
- An overview of the medical procedures involved in surrogacy, including IVF
- A review of the legal aspects of the surrogacy process, including a discussion of the contract you will need to sign with the agency and the steps you will need to take to legally bring your baby home
- A discussion of your preferences in regards to seeking a surrogate mother. Your agency will want to make the best personality match possible.
- A frank discussion of your views and preferences related to reductions and terminations if a serious complication should arise.
You have the option of attending this meeting in person or attending over a Skype video chat. Many couples do prefer to come to the meeting in person. This allows them to get a better feel for the surrogacy agency and the people they will be working with. They also have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the area. If all goes well with the surrogacy agency, many couples will also visit a fertility clinic (usually recommended by the surrogacy agency) for a consultation. This might also be a great chance for a little vacation before you get started with the surrogacy process.
Meeting the Surrogate/Transfer Day – Presence Optional (3 – 7 days)
Once you have signed on with a surrogacy agency, your new surrogacy coordinator will get to work to match you with the best surrogate possible. When the coordinator makes a match, he/she will send you one or more profiles of surrogate mothers to review. After both you and the surrogate mother meet in person or via Skype and approve of each other, the match will be made!
It is always a good idea for you to meet your surrogate and her husband, if applicable, in person before the IVF. Even if she looks good on paper, you will want to see what your surrogate is really like and make sure you are entirely comfortable with the woman who will be carrying your child. This meeting is a chance for you all to bond before you go on your wonderful and amazing surrogacy journey together.
Many parents choose to combine this meeting with the embryo transfer to save on the time, cost, and hassle of a second trip back to the United States, but you always have the option of turning this into two separate trips.
Pregnancy Checkup and Ultrasound Appointments – Presence Strongly Recommended but Not Required (2 – 4 days)
Even though your surrogate mother is the one who will carry your baby during his/her first days of life, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to experience the joys and wonders of the pregnancy. We strongly encourage our parents to come out and visit their surrogate and her family at least once during her pregnancy. A great time to do this is at six months of pregnancy, when your baby will definitely be showing and moving!
To make this trip even more special, we suggest that you accompany your surrogate to a doctor’s appointment and ultrasound. This will allow you to meet the doctor who will be delivering your baby and – the most exciting part – to see your baby squirming around on the ultrasound. We really can’t explain how magical it is to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time!
The Birth – Presence Required (3 to 4 weeks)
Your baby is almost here, so of course you need to be ready to greet your new bundle of joy. Since babies don’t always follow your schedule, it’s a good idea to arrive in the United States a week before your surrogate’s due date. This is a fun and exciting time, and gives you the opportunity to do some final sightseeing and enjoy private time with your partner before the baby (and sleepless nights) arrive. If you choose to work with Circle of Life Surrogacy, we know that you will find plenty to do in beautiful Oregon. Bend is a great place to hike, raft, and fish, and the bustling city of Portland is nearby, too.
Of course, the real reason you came is for your baby! As soon as the time comes, you can hurry to the hospital, greet your new child, and hold him or her in your arms. We know that you’ll want to spend every waking minute just staring at that tiny, adorable face, but you have work to do. You’ll need to order a birth certificate with your names listed as the parents (which Oregon allows), get a passport, and possibly work with your country to begin seeking citizenship for your child. Your surrogacy agency should help you with all these steps, but the process can be slow, which is why it is a good idea to plan to stay in the U.S. for at least two weeks after the birth of your child.
After all the paperwork is complete, you can take your wonderful little miracle home. Unsurprisingly, many of our parents and their surrogates develop very close bonds, and it isn’t unusual for parents to return to the United States to visit their surrogates in the future!
Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact Circle of Life Surrogacy to schedule your consultation.