For hopeful parents, the surrogacy process is an exciting step on the path to parenthood. But it can also be overwhelming, and many intended parents have questions like, “How does surrogacy work?” and “What is the process of surrogacy?”
As a full-service surrogacy program, Southern Surrogacy is here to walk you through the entire surrogacy process, step by step. Below, learn more about each step of the Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina surrogacy process with Southern Surrogacy.
1. Get to Know Southern Surrogacy
The surrogacy process is a personal one, and it is important to choose a surrogacy program that you can trust to meet your needs. The first step for all prospective intended parents is to learn more about how surrogacy works with our program. We would be happy to meet with you to tell you about how our program works:
- Complimentary Initial Consult: Please complete the brief Meeting Request Form. We will schedule a time to talk and discuss your family-building needs, as well as how Southern Surrogacy will meet those needs. This first 30-minute phone meeting is complimentary and does not obligate you to proceed with our surrogacy program.
- In-Office Meeting: When you are ready to move forward with your surrogacy plans, we will schedule an in-office meeting with one of our Directors. The meeting usually lasts 1-2 hours and will cover all aspects of the surrogacy process in Georgia, North Carolina, and the other states we serve. These meetings can be scheduled at one of our three convenient office locations: Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; or Charlotte, North Carolina. There is a $500 charge for this meeting; however, if you sign on to work with Southern Surrogacy within 90 days of the in-office meeting, this fee will be considered a deposit on your program fee.
These consultation meetings not only give you an opportunity to learn more about the gestational surrogacy process with Southern Surrogacy — they also give us an opportunity to learn more about you. Prior to your in-office meeting, we will ask you to complete a detailed questionnaire so that the meeting can be customized to your specific needs.
2. Match with a Gestational Carrier
Once you officially join Southern Surrogacy’s program, we will be introducing you to the special surrogate who will carry your baby!
- Create a Profile: We will work with you to prepare a short profile letter that we can use to introduce you to prospective surrogates. We will guide you through this process and provide additional information about what to include.
- Review Surrogate Profiles: Our prospective surrogates also work with us to create a profile for you to review. When presenting a prospective surrogate to you, we will forward you her profile, which includes pictures of her and her family. At the time we present a surrogate to you, she has already completed our extensive screening process. If after reviewing the prospective surrogate’s profile you are interested in working with her, we will then provide her with your profile letter. We do not share prospective surrogates’ or intended parents’ profiles online. We prefer to make our matches more personal and customized to the parties involved.
- Meet the Surrogate: If all parties wish to move forward after reviewing each other’s profiles, then we will schedule a time for everyone to meet. You may choose to text, call or Skype before meeting the gestational carrier in person. Some surrogates and intended parents are comfortable meeting each other on their own, while others prefer to include a Southern Surrogacy staff member in their initial meeting. We will work with you to ensure everyone feels comfortable and has the support they need throughout the matching process.
- Meet with a Mental Health Professional: If you decide to move forward with the match, Southern Surrogacy will arrange for the surrogate to complete a mental health evaluation with a licensed psychologist approved by your doctor. Upon reviewing the results of the evaluation, your mental health professional will schedule individual and group meetings with you, the surrogate, and her significant other, if applicable. During this group meeting, you will discuss each party’s expectations of each other and the process of surrogacy.
- Medical Screening By Your Doctor: If everyone is still comfortable and confident in the match, Southern Surrogacy will forward the surrogate’s medical records to your reproductive endocrinologist. She will complete a medical screening with your physician to receive final approval before proceeding with the surrogacy.
3. Sign the Surrogacy Contract
Upon receiving confirmation from your physician that the surrogate has completed all necessary testing and is medically approved to proceed with the surrogacy arrangement, the attorneys affiliated with Southern Surrogacy will draft the legal contract on your behalf. The cost of the contract is already included in your program fee.
The attorney will solely represent you in the contract negotiation process, and the surrogate will be referred to separate legal counsel. Once the contract has been signed by all parties, you are ready to begin your journey!
At this point in the gestational surrogacy process, you will also need to fund the trust account in an amount sufficient to cover your surrogate’s anticipated fees and expense reimbursements. This amount will be determined by Southern Surrogacy based on the financial terms in your contract.
4. Begin the Medical Process
Once contracts have been signed, you are ready to begin the medical surrogacy procedures, which will be handled by your reproductive endocrinologist. The surrogate will begin fertility treatments to help prepare her body for the embryo transfer and pregnancy.
Following the embryo transfer, you may return with the surrogate to the fertility clinic to confirm the pregnancy. If a pregnancy is achieved, you will attend an ultrasound about six weeks later. If a heartbeat is heard on the ultrasound, the surrogate will return to her obstetrician for regular prenatal care.
5. Establish Parentage with a Pre-Birth Order
In every surrogacy arrangement, legal action is required to ensure you are recognized as your child’s legal parents. In most states, you are able to obtain a pre-birth parentage order declaring you to be the parents of the child(ren) the surrogate is gestating. Upon completing the first trimester, Southern Surrogacy will arrange for your legal counsel to begin this process.
The timing and process of establishing parentage can vary from state to state, and even from county to county. The attorneys at Southern Surrogacy have been practicing family-building law for more than 30 years and are very familiar with the legal surrogacy process in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and other southern states. Your attorney will be able to advise you about the specific process that will be used in your individual case.
Your legal fees for the uncontested parentage action are covered by your program fee (with possible exceptions based on unique legal situations, as outlined in the service agreement).
With a pre-birth order in place, you will be ready to welcome your baby and take custody of him or her at the hospital following birth. By this point, you and your surrogate will surely have developed a special relationship, and most intended parents try to attend as many of the obstetrician appointments as possible. Throughout the rest of the surrogacy process, the staff at Southern Surrogacy will be in constant contact with you and your surrogate to provide support and prepare for this exciting addition to your family.
To learn more about Southern Surrogacy’s program and the services we offer throughout the Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia surrogacy process, please complete the following form to request your complimentary surrogacy information.