It really depends on the country chosen for your surrogacy process and the surrogacy agency you choose to work with. Here you will find an approximate timeline of the surrogacy process, but remember that no two surrogacy journeys are alike.
Keep in mind that surrogacy is not a fast journey.
Finding a Match
In Canada, some surrogacy agencies are quoting up to eighteen months to match with a surrogate mother. In the United States, this process can be faster but also depends on the agency and the state. When you have no particular requirements, most intended parents in the US match in one to three months. In case you are seeking a surrogate of a selected ethnicity, lifestyle, age or geographic location, it may possibly take a bit longer.
If you decide to use a surrogacy agency, remember to do careful research, finding the best surrogacy agency is not always easy. Ask numerous questions, including how long the surrogacy company has been in operation, what qualifications are required for surrogate mothers, and what requirements and restrictions are in place.
Medical Screening and Psychological Evaluation
Once you have matched with your surrogate mother, you have to arrange the medical screening and psychological evaluation. This phase might take from two weeks to two months, depending on the surrogacy agency and the fertility clinic and if the surrogate is not breastfeeding.
The next phase is to prepare the contracts. It can take one or two months on average.
After the signing of the contract, the surrogate will start with the medication. Usually, the medication starts six weeks before transfer and has to be synchronized with the surrogate’s cycle and with the egg donor’s cycle if you are going to do a fresh embryo transfer. Some clinics start medication without the contract so you save time, but they will not do the transfer without the contract signed.
One option to save time is to find an egg donor first (you can use an egg donor database online to look for a donor), create the embryos and freeze them. By so doing, it would take less time to complete the transfer (about two to three months after matching a surrogate). However, you should consider the pros and cons of doing a transfer with fresh embryos. This decision should occur between the doctor and the intended parents.
Additionally, this process can be faster if you decide to use an experienced surrogate and a proven egg donor. This is because:
- Some of the screenings would be skipped, as the clinic already would have their charts on file, and
- They already know what to expect during the drafting of the surrogacy agreement.
Starting Medications and IVF transfer
After surrogacy agreements have been signed, you will move on to the medical preparation for the embryo transfer.
Each IVF clinic will have its own medication protocol. So, not everyone will follow the same medical procedure and the time they will be on the medications can vary. But in general, surrogate mothers start medication about four weeks before the embryo transfer.
TIP: be patient, you’ll need a lot of that during the surrogacy process.