julian, Author at Reproductive Health Clinic California - Egg Donor & Surrogacy Institute (EDSI)

How to Talk to Your Children About Your Decision to Become a Surrogate Mother

When you decide to become a surrogate, one of the most common questions that you will hear is this one: “How are you going to explain this to your children?” These people don’t mean to be rude; they are merely worried about something that you do need to think about before you enter into this process. It doesn’t have to be a big deal to your children, but it does matter how you approach the subject.

Getting ready to tell your children that you are going to be a surrogate mother for intended parents? Here are some tips:

Model The Behavior You Want to See

Your kids will see how they should react based on how you act. If you do not make a big deal out of it, they won’t either. You do want to tell them that it is a healthy, natural, and positive thing for you to do. While you should be excited and eager to talk about it, you do not want to go overboard.

Talk To Them In Age Appropriate Terms

Depending on the age of your children, there will be very different levels of understanding. Keep the language and terms that you use to explain surrogacy and your role in it simplistic and easy to understand, only using words that you know that your children will understand. Older children might enjoy hearing about the science part of it, but younger children need the basics.

One thing to note is that your children might start asking questions about reproduction. They will want to know where babies come from, how it works, and why you aren’t keeping the baby. There will be a ton of questions coming your way, so be prepared.

Introduce The Intended Parents

This is one of the most important steps you can take. Even if you do not live near the intended parents, you still want your children to know about them. Sometimes, intended parents might not feel comfortable with this type of involvement, so you can use photos or drawings to illustrate who those people are. Skype, FaceTiming, or Zoom meetings can also serve to introduce the different parties.

Make sure to talk to the intended parents about this, as it isn’t quite standard procedure. However, if you plan on still being a part of each other’s lives once you deliver the baby, this could jumpstart a relationship.

Use Multimedia to Explain

If your child is having a hard time understanding after you explain surrogacy, use books or videos to help them understand better what is going on – it is a great way to start a discussion as well. Make sure to watch the videos or read the book before showing your children.

Teach Them How To Discuss Surrogacy

People will talk to your children about surrogacy all the time, so you need to prepare them for those discussions. Friends, strangers, teachers, and family members will all ask about it, so give your children the vocabulary and resources to have an age-appropriate discussion.

Include Them

As a surrogate, you don’t want to ignore what is going on in your life. You need to include your children in the surrogacy as much as possible. Have them write a letter or draw a picture for the baby. Have them help you to put your shoes on or prepare healthy meals for you.

Know That You Will Have Multiple Conversations

Once you explain surrogacy to your children, you will have to answer questions as the pop up, which can be at any time of the day or night. You might need to have other conversations at the same time – talks about medical problems, LGBT relationships, science, reproduction, body changes, and so much more. You might even have to explain something to them multiple times.

It is easy to just act like surrogacy isn’t happening, but eventually, your children will start to ask questions about it. They are perceptive and know that something is happening. You want to talk to them as early as possible so that they don’t get false expectations about what the pregnancy means.

If you have questions, you should be able to go to the surrogacy agency that is working with you to get resources and address any of your concerns. If you are ready to get started with a California surrogacy agency that will make you feel comfortable throughout the entire process, contact EDSI today.

Surrogacy in California: 10 Books To Stock The Nursery With Before Baby Comes Home

Books are an essential part of your child’s development, and if you want to create a lifelong reader, you want to have books around from the time they are young. Not only does it help them to understand the importance of books, but you can also use books to develop a routine that your child will carry with them for the rest of their lives. This is a great way to form a connection and start preparing for baby while you are going through the egg donation or surrogacy process.

However – not all books are created equally. Some books will mean a lot to you, mean a lot to your children, and will teach lifelong lessons. What are some of those books that you want to stock your baby’s nursery with? Here are a few:

10. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli

This is a great book that your child will be able to read for the rest of his or her life – and find inspiration in some of these fantastic women. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls covers 100 women who have made a positive impact on the world, including Serena Williams and Malala Yousafzai. The stories are all inspirational and will teach your children how to persevere, strive for more, and remain grateful for all of the opportunities that you have in your lives.

9. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This is the type of book that means something different to you depending on when you read it. Where The Wild Things Are is a book that we can all connect to – and it inspires everyone to embrace their inner monsters. At the very least, it will teach your children that even when they are at their worst, they will always belong at home.

8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Another book that has stood the test of time, The Giving Tree is especially poignant in today’s world. Perfect for your own children or nieces and nephews, it is a painful reminder of what happens when we give (or take) too much.

7. So Many Stars by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol might seem like a strange choice for a children’s book, but this one is absolutely beautiful and will help to instill a love of art in your children. This modern classic is a fantastic read and an even better sight.

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If there is one book that every nursery should have, it is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This beautiful book, which you can buy in many different formats (though the diehard fans will always favor the original) little kids will enjoy the beautiful illustrations and the pop-up surprise at the end of the text.

As a bonus, you can also use Carle’s book to teach your children how to count and the days of the week.

5. Besos for Baby by Jen Arena and Blanca Gomez

The best time to teach someone a language is when they are younger. Share this with your friends who speak Spanish and those that do not – it is easy to read aloud, and the sweetness shines through.

4. I Wish You More by Amy Krause Rosenthal

Amy Krause Rosenthal has hit a sweet spot for so many people – and I Wish You More is undoubtedly a great thing to read, no matter how old your children are. This is the type of story you will read and tear up as you get through it – but the heartfelt tone is one that all children need to hear.

3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

A classic for almost anyone who has been born since its production, this is the book most given to new parents and children. It has been studied by many children’s authors and remains beloved at all times. Why? There is just something so calming about it – and that is what we all want at bedtime.

2. I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont

An ode to self-esteem and resilience, I Like Myself! is an excellent book for all children who are going to grow up in a world that tells them they are less than or not enough. The rhyming text makes it fly quickly, and it will teach your child to have compassion for others.

1. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

The last book on this list is also the last book published before Dr. Seuss’s death in 1991. To celebrate National Dr. Seuss Day on March 2, read this inspirational tome that will travel with your child from the day he or she is born until graduating college.

If you are ready to have these books gracing your child’s nursery and you want to get started on the surrogacy in California, make sure to reach out to EDSI today – we have a proven history of working with intended parents, egg donors, and surrogates who are eager to change lives. Contact us as soon as possible.

5 Tips On How To Forge A Connection With A Gestational Surrogate

When you are entering into a relationship with a gestational surrogate, it is undeniable that you will face some awkward moments. While this person is going to do something quite intimate and special for you, that relationship isn’t going to forge itself overnight. Instead, you need to treat it with care and cultivate it like you would any other relationship in your life.

You need to take steps towards nurturing what can be a lifelong, lasting relationship. While these 9-months will fly by, there are times when you will need the support of your surrogate – and she will need your support at all times. Here are a few ways we have seen that help you to forge a relationship with your surrogate:

1. Come Prepared To Discussions

If you are waiting in a doctor’s office for a meeting, you might feel the seconds ticking by slowly because you don’t have anything to say to your surrogate. There is a way to decrease this awkwardness by coming prepared with conversation starters. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so ask your surrogate appropriate questions about who she is and what she does apart from being a surrogate. This will help your surrogate to feel like a person and not just a walking womb.

It is helpful to ask about neutral topics such as her hobbies and interests. You want to stay away from anything that is even slightly controversial, such as politics or religion.

2. Talk About Your Existing Family

Talking about your family, whether it is just you with the support of your best friends or a large extended family that is ready to offer you plenty of advice, can help your surrogate to see that she has a support system that she doesn’t even know. Talk about your pets, neighbors, friends, coworkers, or anything else that comes to mind. Paint a picture for your surrogate of the home that your baby will come to; if your surrogate sees that you have support, no matter how you are doing this, she will likely open up a bit more.

3. Consider Keeping a Journal

You are already asking your surrogate to do a lot for you, so you want to be careful about asking her to do anything else. However, one thing you might want to do is ask your surrogate to write just a few lines in a journal every so often. This will allow her to get her feelings out and feel like she is an essential part of the process once she has the baby.

If she doesn’t feel comfortable doing so, don’t push her. However, many women will gladly write a few lines. You can even share a journal if you wish – allowing her to read your thoughts may make her more comfortable.

4. Show Her You Are Thinking About Her

Did your surrogate mention that she loves watermelons? Or maybe that she is an avid reader? If you see something small that you want to pick up to take to an appointment, do so. While you shouldn’t feel the obligation to do anything above and beyond, you may wish just to show her you are thinking about her in some small way.

It can be as small as printing something out that you read on the internet or getting her a gift certificate for a massage at the local spa.

5. Ensure Her You’ll Be a Good Parent

Many surrogates are just as nervous as you are – and one of the worries they have, even if they don’t admit it, is that they are bringing a baby into a world where his or her parents won’t appreciate the relationship. While you may think that going through this process is enough to prove that you will be a good parent, that isn’t always the case.

Show your surrogate that you are doing the work – talk about videos you’ve watched, books you’ve read, or the gear you’ve purchased. While you don’t want to make this every single one of your conversations, you want to prove that you are ready for a baby whenever he or she may come.

Of course, the best way to form a relationship is to work with a surrogate that feels supported, motivated, and taken care of at all times. At EDSI, we ensure that your surrogate is healthy, happy, and capable of carrying your child. Even more importantly, we work to foster relationships that will benefit everyone involved. If you are ready to get started and find your ideal surrogate, or if you are prepared to devote some of your time and abilities to an intended family, contact us today to begin the process.

Surrogacy Process California

Surrogacy Process Checklist: Planning Your 2019 Bundle of Joy

Are you considering starting the surrogacy process in 2019? This is certainly an exciting time with lots of things to do before your little one arrives. Use this page to help you prepare for the road ahead or as a guide to walk you through the process.

Confirm Need

If you’re here, chances are you’ve already explored the options available to you at length and know that surrogacy is the right path for you. However, people decide on surrogacy for many reasons. If a medical condition or infertility is yours, be sure to confirm your diagnosis with more than one fertility specialist before you embark on this path.

Run the Numbers

Many factors will determine your final costs, such as whether you’ll be covering medical insurance for your surrogate, medical fees, travel expenses, legal expenses, and so on. Here in the United States, costs usually cross the six-figure mark and then some. It’s important to have realistic expectations about what the costs will be before beginning, so that you not only have the funds to cover everything, but can afford time off when the baby arrives if it’s your preference to be home for a bit and will be able to continue living comfortably after the baby arrives.

Verify Laws and Regulations

Every country, and every state within America, has different regulations regarding surrogacy. Some do not allow it at all, while others don’t allow commercial surrogacy (an arrangement which includes compensating your surrogate), while still others are incredibly supportive of the surrogacy process. California happens to fit into the latter group and has laws in place that protect parents and surrogates, which is one of the big reasons the state is a surrogacy destination for parents throughout the country and even from other parts of the world.

Confirm Parenting Rights

Like the laws regarding the surrogacy process itself, each region will have different laws regarding how parents go about establishing their rights and becoming known as the legal parent. In most cases, a parent who is biologically related to the child (typically a father) automatically has rights if he is named on the birth certificate, where as the intended mother must adopt the baby, but some regions name the surrogate as the mother and require the intended parents to adopt their baby instead. California is the rare exception to this. Any and all intended parents can become the legal parents of the baby before he or she is born, provided the right paperwork is filed with the courts in advance of the birth.

Research the Surrogacy Process

Many people erroneously believe the gestational surrogate is biologically related to the baby. While that was once the case, modern surrogacy is known as gestational surrogacy, meaning the surrogate is a carrier only and her eggs are not used. The parent or parents are known as “intended parents” and, naturally, this can include single parents, heterosexual couples, and gay couples too. Sometimes an intended mother’s eggs can be used, meaning she shares a biological relationship with the baby. When an intended mother is not part of the equation or her eggs cannot be used, an egg donor can help. From there, much of what occurs is like any other In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process, medically speaking. That said, your surrogacy process will be unique to you, so it’s important to get information specific to your situation.

Establish a Support System

Oftentimes, friends and family rally around the intended parents and support them through the process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and you will want to have someone you can turn to and confide in throughout the journey. Touch base with at least one trusted friend or family member before you begin or look for support groups for those exploring their surrogacy options.

Meet Other Intended Parents

Other intended parents can provide a wealth of information about what going through the surrogacy process is like and be amazing sources of support. Take the time to join at least one group or link up with people on forums who have been down the same path as you.

Choose a Surrogacy Agency

While it’s true that you don’t need a surrogacy agency, working with a reputable one will prove invaluable. After all, they’ll have gone through the experience hundreds of times, while this is likely your first. Your agency will make sure you’re matched with a great surrogate and that all the things on this checklist get taken care of, so you can relax and focus on preparing for the little one’s arrival.

Select a Medical Team

If you’ve been struggling with infertility, your existing medical team will, in all likelihood, be the ones treating your surrogate and doing IVF. However, this isn’t always the case, so make sure you’ve got a doctor on board who has experience with surrogacy and is prepared to help you and yours through the journey. If your present medical team doesn’t work with surrogates or you don’t have a medical team, check with your agency for recommendations.

Find Your Surrogate and Donor(s)

There could well be three separate people involved in creating a healthy pregnancy; a surrogate, an egg donor, and a sperm donor. You and/ or your partner could fill one of these roles too. If you’re trying to go it alone, creating the right team can be a real challenge. However, if you’re working with an agency like EDSI, we’ll screen all candidates for medical and mental health concerns, and then let you know who we think will be a good fit based on your preferences and compatibility. Of course, you get the final say in who you choose to work with; the goal is always to create pairings that make everyone feel comfortable and content.

Establish Legal and Financial Agreements

Getting agreements down on paper is an essential step of the surrogacy process, and you’ll need to have a lawyer cover the bases in order to ensure your agreements are not only legally-binding, but cover common and uncommon circumstances that might arise during the journey. Again, here in California, you’ll also want to file paperwork during the pregnancy that establishes your parenting rights. These steps ensure everything goes smoothly and that each party involved knows what to expect and is in agreement regarding key details.

Begin the Surrogacy Process with EDSI

This probably seems like a lot to take in and, in truth, it is… especially if you haven’t been through the surrogacy process before. At EDSI, we’re here to support you throughout the journey and are glad to answer any questions you have. Feel free to contact us at (213) 423-7997 if you want to learn more or are ready to begin checking off your surrogacy to-do list.

Surrogate in California

How to Share Seasonal Joy When Your Surrogate Doesn’t Celebrate

If you’re working with EDSI, chances are the surrogate you were matched with is very similar to you in terms of personality and values. However, regardless of the circumstances, there’s also some possibility that you don’t share the same religious and/ or cultural beliefs. What then? No doubt, worlds are converging. You’re all excited and filled with gratitude over the arrival or potential arrival of a little one and this also happens to be the time of year where people honor their family traditions, so it’s totally natural that you’d want to share them with your surrogate. Yet, if she doesn’t share the same background, it’s equally important to respect her values and traditions as well. The good news is, you can still share seasonal joy in a meaningful way without stepping on one another’s toes. Here’s how.

1) Focus on Joy and Sharing, Not the Holidays

While the individual holidays may be the reason for your joyous spirit, there’s no reason why they have to be the focal point in your interactions. If you normally spend time with your surrogate outside of baby-related appointments, come up with non-religious activities to participate in. You may both enjoy sipping on cocoa while looking at lights, taking both your families out for a snow day, or sharing a nice meal together.

2) Don’t Sweat Slip-Ups

Did you inadvertently wish her a merry Christmas when she celebrates Hanukkah, Diwali, or Kwanzaa? She knows where your heart is which is why she chose to work with you and understands that your holidays are special to you. Chances are, religion came up during your initial talks; she knows the baby she’s carrying will be brought up with your faith and, not only accepts the differences, but supports you too. Slip-ups aren’t a major cause for concern, so long as you genuinely respect her right to have separate beliefs.

3) Learn About Her Traditions

Do a little legwork to learn what you can about her traditions and why she has them. Bear in mind, this doesn’t have to be religious traditions, but could be things her family does to commemorate the season, like lighting a tree, throwing a Yule log in the fireplace, or sharing a special food. If it feels natural to do so, try participating in a few of her traditions. Learning as much as you can about her background and preferences will also help you respond appropriately as special days and events approach.

4) Include Her in Your Traditions

Do you send out cards every year or throw a big holiday bash? Do you enjoy giving people cocoa or cookie mixes? Don’t hesitate to invite her or include her if it feels natural to do so. She may decline, but will no doubt be touched by the fact you thought of her. If it makes sense to do so, consider hosting a joint celebration that honors both your traditions at the same time.

Find Your Ideal Surrogate Match with EDSI

If you haven’t already found a surrogate, give EDSI a call. We work with parents and surrogates from all types of backgrounds, spend a great deal of time getting to know our clients, and help match them up based on the things that matter most. This not only ensures the pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible, but that it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone which often results in lifelong bonds. We’ll also make sure everything is seen to throughout the process; from legal concerns through medical, so you can focus on preparing for the little one and enjoying time with your loved ones. Call us at (213) 423-7997 to learn more or begin your surrogacy journey today.

Become a Surrogate California

Why You Have to Be a Mother to Become a Surrogate

If you’ve looked through the requirements to become a surrogate, you’ve probably noticed that right near the top of the list is the stipulation that says you must have given birth to a baby already and be raising a child of your own. At a glance, it probably seems like an odd requirement. After all, not having given birth before doesn’t mean you couldn’t be an amazing surrogate, and there’s certainly a great need for women who are generous enough to help families grow in such a selfless way. There’s actually a couple reasons for this, and we’ll explore them below.

Prior Healthy Pregnancies Increases the Chances of Having a Healthy Pregnancy this Time

Medical tests can only reveal so much about a woman’s fertility and overall health, and pregnancy, in general, is a massive industry. There are millions of books, forums, and resources devoted to helping women through pregnancy, and while some of it is run-of-the-mill, each pregnancy is unique.

Take Kate Middleton’s pregnancies, for example. The Duchess of Cambridge suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during each of her three pregnancies, meaning she essentially had severe morning sickness for the full term each time. There was no way to predict that Kate would be so ill prior to her pregnancy. The Duchess was blessed in that she obviously had a whole care team devoted to ensuring she and the babies she carried stayed healthy and that she was made as comfortable as possible. Despite knowing that she might well fall ill during subsequent pregnancies, she opted to have more children. However, other women may not have made the same choice. It’s a very personal decision. Moreover, even something like hyperemesis gravidarum can result in hospitalizations; Kate was hospitalized due to complications from it during her first pregnancy. That can add to the expenses, overall burdens for surrogates, and more.

That being said, hyperemesis gravidarum is only one condition that’s impossible to predict prior to a pregnancy. There are many. Most doctors and intended parents appreciate the security of knowing you already know how your body will respond to a pregnancy prior to becoming a surrogate. A healthy previous pregnancy means you and the little one will likely be healthy for this pregnancy too, which is a win for everyone involved.

Emotions are Hard to Predict When You Don’t Have Firsthand Experience

Carrying a baby is an emotional process and many surrogates can become attached to the little one. That’s natural and to be expected. The attachment and love you feel for the baby also helps ensure that you take good care of yourself throughout, so it is a valuable emotion. Women who have children have experienced the flood of emotions that come with pregnancy and childbirth, so they already have a good idea of how they’ll cope with the baby going home with the intended parents. They go into it being emotionally prepared. They recognize from the onset that the baby isn’t theirs to keep and that they’re providing the parent or parents with an amazing gift. It’s not so easy to predict how a woman will react emotionally if she hasn’t already had a pregnancy.

Moreover, women who know the joy of motherhood and are actively experiencing what it’s like to raise a child of their own tend to be more empathetic to the intended parent(s). They become a surrogate because they know what an amazing experience it is to be a parent and they want others to be able to have the same joy they do. That’s not to say you can’t have compassion for someone experiencing infertility or who cannot have a child of their own for other reasons if you aren’t a mother, but chances are you’ll experience a pivotal emotional shift after the birth of your own child. Your logic behind the decision to become a surrogate will likely be different when you have at least one child of your own.

Become a Surrogate with EDSI

The reality is, it’s not easy to become a surrogate. Few women have the genuine altruistic nature necessary and fit the health requirements. However, because the health of the baby relies upon these foundations, as does the relationship between the surrogate and intended parent(s), and it’s a large investment of time and money, making sure surrogates are fully prepared before beginning the process is essential. If you already have at least one child of your own, had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and fit the general health requirements, and feel like becoming a surrogate is right for you, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our information for surrogates and complete the online application when you’re ready to take the next step.

Be a Surrogate California

Told You Can’t Be a Surrogate? Here’s Your Next Steps…

When you’re told you can’t be a surrogate, the news can be heartbreaking. After all, women who choose this path do so because they’re genuinely some of the kindest, most compassionate, tender-hearted people out there. They want to help a family grow and there’s obviously a great need for surrogates, so getting a denial stings. All is not lost, though. If you still want to be a surrogate, you might actually still be able to qualify. On this page, we’ll go over a few things you can do.

Step 1: Find Out Why You Didn’t Qualify

There are strict requirements in order to be a surrogate, and those are in place in order to ensure the health of the baby and provide a good experience for everyone involved. Most agencies will tell you right away which requirement you didn’t meet, but if you applied to be a surrogate with a company that didn’t give you info, reach out to them and ask for more details.

Step 2: Address the Underlying Issue

Each agency will have its own guidelines for surrogates. You can see EDSI’s surrogate requirements here. Arguably, the biggest reason women are denied is because they’re carrying around a few extra pounds. Body mass index (BMI) is used to calculate a healthy weight. A woman with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered a healthy weight, while landing in the 25-29.9 range is considered overweight, and 30+ is considered obese. Doctors who work with surrogates typically won’t treat women with a BMI of 30 or greater because fertility decreases and complications increase, and so that tends to be the magic number agencies use too, but some doctors and agencies will impose stricter limits. According to the CDC, the average woman in the US has a BMI of 26.5, meaning she’s overweight, but would still qualify to be a surrogate. Millions of women who might otherwise qualify miss the mark a bit, and that’s ok. If your weight is preventing you from signing up, it might be a good idea to check in with your physician to see about weight management options—not just to qualify, but for the sake of your overall health as well.

Other things that commonly impact a woman’s ability to be a surrogate are easily remedied too, such as using substances like tobacco. Reputable agencies also look for signs of responsibility, such as being financially stable and having reliable transportation. Although these things can be harder to address, even the city bus could be considered reliable transportation depending on the agency, and with time and good budgeting, you may be able to correct financial issues too.

Step 3: Reapply

Once you’ve corrected any underlying issues, reapply to be a surrogate or simply reach out to the agency again.

Step 4: Find a Different Agency

Each agency has unique requirements, so while you may find some agencies that won’t accept you if you have a BMI of 25 or above, you will find agencies like EDSI that aim for under 30. Agencies also use different criteria for measuring financial stability. For example, some will want to look over all your finances to ensure you don’t need the compensation from being a surrogate in order to provide for yourself and family. Others, like us, are simply satisfied to know you aren’t receiving any form of government assistance. In other words, striking out with one agency doesn’t mean you will strike out with all of them.

Step 5: Consider Alternatives

If you’ve tried multiple agencies and you can’t correct the reason why you don’t qualify, take stock of your motivations. For example, if you were really excited about helping a family, perhaps becoming a foster parent would be fulfilling. Like surrogacy, fostering is not about keeping a child as part of your family; it’s about giving a child a safe and loving environment until his or her home is safe to return to. The ultimate goal is for the child to be reunited with the parents, meaning many foster parents only care for the children for short periods of time, such as days or weeks.

You obviously have a very giving heart and that means everything, so don’t take your denial or inability to be a surrogate personally. Your willingness to help was not for nothing, and with a little research and time, you may be able to find a way to qualify or find an alternative that helps fulfill your desire to give.

Be a Surrogate with EDSI

We have a whole section of our site just for women who want to be a surrogate! Take time to review the details there and if you think you meet the requirements and want to move forward, we’d love to welcome you aboard. We’ll not only help match you with intended parents who are a great fit, but will make sure your needs are seen to throughout the process and after.

Surrogacy Process California

7 People You Will Meet During the Surrogacy Process

Many of the people involved in your surrogacy process are standard for any pregnancy. However, as you go through the journey, you’ll also meet people who specialize in the area. Here’s a quick look at your future team and the role each person plays.

1) Your Agency Case Manager/ Agency Team

Each surrogacy agency works a little differently, but you’ll either have a team of people available to walk you through the process or will have a dedicated case manager who will be your main point of contact.

2) A Fertility Specialist

Although many OBGYNs can oversee the surrogacy process, it’s typically a specialist who handles all medical concerns. This may be a fertility specialist, as the baby will be conceived via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), or it could be a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.

3) Your Surrogate (Or Intended Parents if You’re a Surrogate)

To clarify the surro-lingo, “intended parents” are the parents who hire the surrogate and bring the baby home. The surrogate is a gestational carrier; she shares no genetic relationship with the child. Here in California, surrogates and intended parents typically meet in person before beginning the surrogacy process. Your agency will help find people who are good matches for you, but the ultimate decision is yours (and theirs) after you’ve had a chance to connect.

4) Donor(s)

If a donor is involved in the surrogacy, chances are, you won’t get to know the egg or sperm donors on a personal basis, not quite in the manner you would connect with a surrogate. However, you will get to “meet” them as you learn about their lifestyle, genetics, and so on.

5) An Attorney

California is a surrogacy-friendly state in many ways. First, it recognizes surrogacy contracts, meaning whatever the intended parents and surrogate agree to can be upheld by the courts. Secondly, the state allows intended parents to establish their rights as parents before the baby arrives. On top of this, California also maintains jurisdiction over virtually any case that has involvement with the state; whether the intended parents live there, the surrogate lives there, or the surrogacy process was started there. However, each of these things relies on having documents drawn up and filed with the courts, so an attorney will be brought on board at some point; typically after you’ve chosen your surro team, but before any procedures are performed.

6) A Mental Health Specialist (If You’re a Surrogate)

Surrogacy is an emotional process, so surrogates meet with a mental health specialist prior to getting started. To be clear, this is a no-pressure meet and greet and is standard for anyone becoming a surrogate.

7) Your Pediatrician (If You’re an Intended Parent)

About mid-way through the pregnancy, you’ll want to start looking for a pediatrician. Your pediatrician will visit your baby in the hospital and most are glad to meet with you in their office before the baby arrives too.

Begin the Surrogacy Process with EDSI

The seven people mentioned above will play key roles in your journey, but there will actually be a whole lot more doing behind-the-scenes work to make sure everything is seamless. Your surrogacy agency not only works as a coordinator, making sure everyone is doing what they need to when they need to do it, but is also by your side throughout, connecting you with resources, bringing team members on board as needed, and making sure you meet all the right people.

If you’d like to become a surrogate and be supported through your journey, review our detailed section for surrogates.

If you’re an intended parent who is ready to grow your family or has questions about the surrogacy process, call us at (213) 423-7997 and we’ll walk you through the details.

California Surrogacy

4 Tips for a Successful Surrogacy in California

If you’re exploring your options for surrogacy in California, the good news is you’ve chosen a great place to begin the journey. The Golden State has some of the most progressive laws on the books regarding surrogacy and establishing rights as a parent, plus has top-notch medical care, which already sets you well on your way to having a wonderful experience. That said, you can use the tips below to enhance your journey even more.

1. Work with an Established Agency

Sometimes people try to go it alone or don’t realize there are big differences between agencies. A great agency will cover all the bases for you and make sure the process goes smoothly. People who have been in the industry for years understand what steps need to be taken, when they need to be done, and can set your mind at ease. EDSI, for example, has helped hundreds of families. That means you’ll be able to draw upon our experience and move forward with confidence that everything will be seen to.

2. Get to Know Your Surrogate Well

Working with a good agency makes it easier to find a surrogate you mesh well with, purely because your agency will handle all the screening and find someone with values and a personality that correspond with yours. That way, your team is a more natural fit and working out the details is easier. However, if you’re going it alone, you’ll want to chat in-depth with her about her values, how she might wish to address specific situations that could arise, and what led her down the surrogacy path.

3. Establish Your Parenting Rights Before the Baby is Born

Surrogacy in California is unique in that you can establish yourself as a parent with the courts before your baby is born. Many states require you to adopt the baby after the birth or go through a special process. If you’re working with an agency, they’ll help make sure this step is seen to by a knowledgeable attorney when the time comes.

4. Make Travel Plans in Advance

If you’re traveling to California from elsewhere in the country or from another part of the world, book your travel plans as far in advance as you can. Because the state is a major tourist destination, especially if you’re in LA County, you’ll find better accommodations at more reasonable rates the earlier you book. You can work out a timeline with your agency, physician, and surrogate in advance if you’d like to be present for specific appointments, such as initial ultrasounds or the 20-week pregnancy check. Depending on your circumstances, purchasing travel insurance may be beneficial too. That way, you can rebook flights with ease if the little one chooses to arrive early or late.

Come to EDSI for Surrogacy in California

If choosing surrogacy in California is right for you, let EDSI guide the way. We’re here to support you through the process, from getting matched with a surrogate and donors through overseeing medical and legal concerns. Get in touch by calling (213) 423-7997; we’ll gladly answer all your questions and help you take the first steps when you’re ready to start.