You've been waiting a long time to become a gay dad. You've done your research, and decided that surrogacy is the best fit for you. You're excited to get started, and even more excited at the prospect of the arrival of your little one.
But exactly how long is it going to take from the minute you sign on, until you have your baby in your arms?
On average, a surrogacy journey – from start to finish – can average between 16-21 months.
And while that sounds like a long time, remember that 9 months of that is your surrogate's pregnancy!
To help you better understand how long a surrogacy journey takes to complete, it's helpful to understand the different milestones along the way. Below is a general surrogacy process timeline from Circle Surrogacy. Remember, every surrogacy journey is unique, so the exact timing of your journey may be different than these estimates.
Sign-on and Finding Your Match (1-3 months)
After all of the research, you are ready to begin! During this very first milestone you will:
- Consult with the agency(ies) of choice
- Sign your surrogacy agreement
- Have your Intro Skype Call with your Program Coordination Team
- Create your parent profile
- Confirm your IVF clinic
- Match with an egg donor
- Begin embryo creation
Matching (2-4 months, approximately)
This is an exciting milestone as you will be matched with the woman who will carry your baby(ies)! The amount of time it takes to match with a surrogate can depend on your preferences in a gestational carrier. If you have specific criteria you'd like her to meet (for example, she must be from a specific state), your match times may be longer.
During this milestone you will:
- Complete embryo creation
- Go through the match process & approval
- Have your introductory Skype call with your potential surrogate
- Officially match and start your journey to pregnancy!
Medical & Legal (1-2 months)
This is a very active milestone, as much is happening in a short amount of time. The exciting steps you can expect during this milestone are:
- Your surrogate will have her medical screening at your fertility clinic
- Legal contracts will be written and signed
- Your surrogate will begin her medications and local monitoring
- The embryo transfer!
- Beta tests to see if she is pregnant
Pregnancy (9+ months)
This milestone can be the longest one. Intended parents are anticipating the arrival of their baby(ies) and waiting can be hard! Here's what to expect during this milestone:
- Ultrasound check-ins. Depending on location, some intended parents choose to attend some of the ultrasounds, especially the one at 20-weeks, where the baby's gender can be revealed (if you don't know it ahead of time). Many parents who attend the 20-week ultrasound will also tour the hospital where their baby will be born
- Creating your birth plan. This is something you'll work on with your surrogate. Together, you'll answer questions and make a plan for delivery day, to help avoid any surprises
- Establish your parental rights. Your attorneys will assist you in all matters pertaining to parentage
- Hospital prep and delivery. Not only will you be preparing a nursery at home, you'll be packing for the hospital
- The birth of your baby(ies)!
Parenthood (birth and beyond)
Congratulations! While you bask in the glory of the arrival of your baby, you will also be preparing to travel home. During this time parents will obtain necessary paperwork to travel home, including baby's passport if traveling internationally. Here's what to expect during this milestone:
- Soak up the "new parent" wonderfulness (take a million photos!)
- If needed, obtain baby's passport
- Travel home with your infant
This estimated timeline should help you understand the different milestones in a surrogacy journey, as well as the timelines associated with each. Some steps within milestones may overlap, depending on your journey.
A surrogacy journey takes time to ensure that the proper protocols are in place, as well as the right surrogate match, for the smoothest journey possible.
Parents through surrogacy will all tell you the same thing when they hold their baby in their arms for the first time, 'It's worth the wait!'