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Surrogate Parenting Information

Gestational surrogacy involves contracting with a woman to carry a baby to term which is then relinquished as soon as possible after birth to the intended parent(s). Usually 2 or 3 embryos are transferred into the uterus, and a pregnancy will result if the embryo(s) implant. Because the surrogate carrier is not producing any hormones naturally, about 8 weeks of daily intramuscular progesterone injections are administered to support the pregnancy. Embryos are derived from the intended mother's eggs, or ovum donor's eggs, and sperm are provided by the intended father, or a sperm donor.

+ Consultations & Referrals

+ Surrogate Carrier Recruitment and Screening

+ Facilitation & Follow Up

+ Surrogate's FAQ

+ What to Expect as a Surrogate Carrier
+ What to Expect as an Intended Parent

+ Surrogate Application

+ Intended Parent Cost Letter

+ Outline of Surrogate Parenting Process

+ Available Surrogate Carriers

Consultations & Referrals

As surrogacy is a complex fertility option, Ms. Gorton usually works with the intended parent(s) and surrogate carrier for over a one year period of time. Before initiating this fertility choice, Ms. Gorton provides extensive counseling to the intended parent(s) on medical, legal, financial and psychological aspects of surrogacy.

Ms. Gorton drafts a contract that will be executed by both the surrogate and the intended parent(s). All parties are referred to a separate and independent attorney, who will represent them regarding the terms and legal significance of this contract.

Potential surrogate carriers and intended parent(s) are referred to leading fertility clinics and to mental health professionals to assess their emotional and physical suitability. The costs of these assessments are paid from the expense escrow account that the intended parent(s) funded. Her office sends monthly accounting statements to the intended parents which detail date and amount of fees paid and expenses reimbursed. Ms. Gorton recommends that intended parents attend a surrogate parenting group sponsored by Resolve for information and support. Lastly, her office refers the surrogate and intended parent(s) to insurance brokers so that health and life insurance policies may be applied for on behalf of the surrogate.

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Surrogate Mother Recruitment and Screening

Ms. Gorton advertises in numerous parenting and general publications throughout Northern California. Recruitment efforts focus on finding healthy women between the ages of 21 to 39 who have delivered children. We recruit surrogate candidates who state that they have delivered at least one child; they have a support person to give them injections; that they don't smoke cigarettes and are not taking any substances.

Surrogate candidates complete a 26 page evaluation form detailing their complete family, health, employment and educational history. On this form the surrogate mother provides a personal description of her life and reasons for wanting to be a surrogate carrier. Surrogate candidates sign a statement that if they have made any significant misrepresentation or omission such is grounds for  dismissal from the surrogate program and they can be held responsible for any lab, medical or psychological costs involved in furtherance of the proposed surrogacy.

Photographs of surrogate candidates' families along with their health history forms are given to intended parent(s). Once the intended parent(s) finish their review of this information, a meeting is set up with their chosen candidate(s) to discuss whether or not they are compatible to work together.

Candidates are asked to obtain a letter from their physician (preferably an obstetrician) stating that they are cleared to be pregnant as a surrogate carrier. This letter addresses general health issues, however this letter of clearance does not mean the surrogate is qualified to proceed. The surrogate is only allowed to proceed after the fertility physician completes specialized testing and sophisticated ultrasound examinations of the adequacy of her uterine lining.

Once a surrogate and intended parent(s) agree to work together, the surrogate must pass a comprehensive physical exam which includes but is not limited to blood testing for infectious diseases and an assessment of her uterine lining. This exam is done by the intended parents' fertility physician at their fertility clinic because general obstetricians typically do not have access to sophisticated ultrasound equipment or testing that is necessary in evaluating a surrogate carrier's medical suitability. In addition, an independent mental health professional completes a psychological evaluation of the surrogate which includes personality testing. The fertility clinic's physician must approve each potential surrogate carrier after a review of all medical and psychological evaluations before the surrogate can enter into contract with the intended parent(s).

As surrogacy involves a complex and personal relationship between the intended parents and surrogate mother, all parties know each other's names and visit frequently. The intended parent(s) and surrogate carrier maintain open communication and get together as mutually agreed, so that the intended parents can support their surrogate and be involved with the pregnancy.

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Facilitation and Follow Up:

Ms. Gorton works with all clients on a highly individual basis. Ms. Gorton refers the surrogate candidate to the treating physician. She also refers the intended parents to an insurance broker that will procure health and life insurance coverage for the surrogate.

As surrogacy often brings up numerous psychological issues for the intended parent(s) and surrogate, Ms. Gorton's office requires surrogates to have monthly phone contact with experienced fertility therapists. Ms. Gorton also requires the intended parent(s) to complete a psychological evaluation and if an emotionally charged issue cannot be resolved the parties are referred to a therapist.

In addition, Ms. Gorton draws upon her background in psychiatric nursing to help intended parent(s) and surrogates cope with some of the challenges of surrogate parenting.

Follow-up services include maintenance of adequate funding in escrow accounts, bi-monthly mailing of accounting statements, consultations and updates with the surrogate, intended parent(s), therapist and the treating medical staff if necessary.

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