Many surrogates go through agencies. I considered, for maybe two seconds, going independent. Independent means that the surrogate and intended parents would find each other through ads or message board on a surrogacy. I immediately decided against it. I have a few friends who have been dealing with infertility, but none of them were at the point where a surrogate was required. Anyway, I had no idea how to navigate the legal, medical, and emotional issues that were involved.
I filled out several applications to various agencies a little over two years ago. The standards are quite strict for a surrogate. They require a complete medical/obstetric history. All clinics require that the surrogate have had at least one child of her own. Most, maybe all, require that the surrogate still have custody of their own child.There is also a weight limit, or more accurately, a BMI limit. I am just under that limit, and going lower due to my new regimen of thyroid medication. (small victory: I lost 6 pounds in 3 weeks after I began the thyroid medicine with no changes to my diet.) I only completely submitted applications to two agencies. One turned me down due to a previous medical issue that I had handled. The other had dealt with said medical issue before, and saw absolutely no problem with proceeding. Note: The medical issue happened before I had my last child, and caused absolutely no complications.
This is why I ended up with The Surrogacy Experience.
Tina at TSE has taken great care of me from the beginning. She has been so open about the process and what to expect. The agency in general has helped get all of the testing done, helped me obtain a lawyer to go over the surrogacy contract, and helped me get over my initial fear of shots. In the beginning, Tina had to fly out to meet my family and check out the living situation. She has been out twice since we just moved to a new home over the summer. The second time she came out, which was in August, she mentioned a Chinese couple who lived in Pennsylvania. She told me their story. They are in their early 30s, have one daughter from a previous marriage, and want a large family. She shared our respective profiles and we had a phone meeting. Tina ran the call, asking each couple (Stephen and myself and the intended mother and father) a series of well designed questions to help us get to know each other better. Stephen and I knew right away that this was a couple we would love to help. The next day, Tina let me know that they were also okay with the match.
After that, things moved at what seemed like a snail's pace at the time, but I actually think it must have been pretty quickly. We got a contract drawn up. I am not proud of myself that the only item on the contract I changed was the complete ban on caffeinated drinks. I had it changed to a limit of one half caffeinated coffee per day. I have since broken that habit, and don't even need that much caffeine. It was really more of a protection for those days when the morning is really rough and I need some sort of pick me up to get through the work day.
Stephen and I both went to labcorp and had a bunch of blood drawn to be tested for any infectious diseases, or in my case, anything that might harm the development of the baby. We are both officially FDA approved and good enough to eat, by the way. I also had two different ultrasounds to check for fibroids, cysts, or any other blockages. That is also all clear.
The next step after that is to get a transfer date scheduled and begin the medications. I started those last night, and our tentative transfer date is Dec 13-16th as long as I respond as I should to all the medicines.
Wish me luck.