What Is a Surrogate Mother?

All About Surrogacy 

In a perfect world, any woman who wants to have a baby by natural means would be able to have a baby by natural means. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world as evidenced by the fact that 12% to 15% of all reproductive-age women are facing some form of fertility issues.

Fortunately, we live among an extraordinarily small group of women who have empathy for the women who can’t have children by natural means. These empathetic women are the ones who have shown the willingness to step up and be part of the gestational surrogacy process. They are ready and willing to serve by carrying a surrogate baby to term on the behalf of intended parents who are deserving of the opportunity to be parents.

Birth Rate for All Surrogate Mother
Birth Rate of Reproductive Age Women

The Surrogate Definition

Before setting sail to discuss the surrogate process in depth, it seems prudent to offer a surrogate definition. Per The Free Dictionary by Farlex, the surrogacy meaning is as follows: “An agreement by a woman to undergo pregnancy so as to produce a child which will be surrendered to others. Fertilization may be by seminal fluid provided by the future adoptive father, or an ovum fertilized IN VITRO may be implanted in the surrogate mother.”

This surrogacy meaning further raises the question, “What is a surrogate mother?” By definition, this would be the woman who agrees to go through the surrogate process. In most cases, they do so for a fee, which should not be a reason to diminish the importance of the gift they are willing to give to an intended parent or parents.

Types of Surrogacy

The question of what is a surrogate mother is a general question that warrants a little further explanation. The term surrogate actually covers several types of surrogates. The two main types are traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogate.

Traditional Surrogacy: The surrogate provide the egg cell and carries the child to term. The sperm can come from the intended father or a donor. The intended mother will not have a genetic connection to the surrogate baby.

Traditional Surrogacy: Surrogate Mother
Gestational Surrogacy: Surrogate Mother

Gestational Surrogacy: The surrogate only provides the womb for the creation of the baby to term. The egg and sperm cells can come from either the intended parents or donors. If the egg comes from the intended mother, she will then have a genetic connection to the surrogate baby.

How Does Surrogacy Work in Philadelphia?

You should now have a good idea of exactly what is a surrogate mother. If you are interested in serving as a surrogate in Philadelphia, you would certainly want to know exactly how does surrogacy work in Philadelphia.

First, both gestational and traditional surrogacy is legal in Pennsylvania. It’s also legal for surrogates to receive certain forms of compensation.

The process starts with an intended parent or parents contracting with a surrogate agency in Philadelphia like Philadelphia Surrogates. Through an advocate or administrative agent, the intended parent or parents are vetted and hopefully accepted as clients. That’s when the search for a surrogate starts.

On the surrogate end, a prospective surrogate, perhaps you, would file out an application. Based on the information provided in the application, the administrative agent would start vetting the surrogate.

For the safety and protection of everyone involved in the process, the qualifications for surrogacy are quite strict. The primary qualifications for our surrogate agency in Philadelphia include:

  • Must be between the ages of 21 and 40
  • Must be in good physical and mental health (examinations may be required)
  • Must have successfully delivered at least one healthy child no sooner than 6 months prior to the application
  • Must be void of any history with illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, and criminal activity
  • Having a small child at home is highly preferred
  • Must have a body mass index between 20-32
  • Must live in a stable home environment
  • Must be willing to abide by all the terms and conditions put forth by doctors and the surrogate contract

Note: Some of these qualifications may vary slightly from one agency to the next.

After all the vetting has been completed, surrogates and intended parents come together the complete a surrogate contract. Yes, each party does get a say in the partnering process. However, fertility clinic administrative agents do a good job of selecting surrogates for intended parents.

Once the contract has been signed by all parties and initial fees have been paid, the in vitro process can begin in earnest. The surrogate is given the appropriate medication to prepare her for ovulation. Once the stars align, the fertility specialist will initiate the egg transfer/implantation process for the fertilized egg cell.

Over the next couple of weeks, the surrogate will undergo a monitoring process until there is sufficient evidence that the pregnancy has been consumated. Subsequent implantation processes will be initiated if necessary.

Once the pregnancy has gone to term, the child is delivered and handed over to excited and wanting intended parents. Throughout the entire process, the health and welfare of the surrogate is everyone’s top concern.

The Cost of Surrogacy

The Cost of Surrogacy

The ultimate cost of surrogacy for the intended parents include’s the clinic’s fee and the fee and reimbursables for the surrogate. While the following amounts could be subject to negotiation or minor changes, here is a list of the approximate compensation you would usually get through our agency. At our surrogate agency in Philadelphia, the agency fee is set at $21,000, which can be paid in three installments. The rest of the surrogate cost is given to the surrogate.

If you were to agree to be a surrogate, the surrogate cost amount that would be allocated to you would include a surrogacy fee, plus addition compensation and reimbursables.

  • Base fee of $35,000 for first surrogacy, up to $40,000 for a second surrogacy
  • Maternity clothing allowance of up to $500
  • Miscellaneous monthly allowance of $200 for incidentals
  • Full health and life insurance coverage during the pregnancy
  • Reimbursement for travels costs related to appointments
  • Additional $500 for each and every invasive procedure that is required by the fertility specialist
  • Additional $5,000 for carrying of surrogate twins
  • Embryo transfer fee of $1,000
  • Reimbursement for wagers lost in order to attend appointments
  • Compensation to hire household help if best rest is prescribed
  • Additional $3,000 fee if baby is delivered by C-Section
  • $150 per week to pump supply of breast milk for intended parents

In total, your compensation could reach as high as $65,000. For the intended parents, the total bill would fall between $80k and $90K.

As you contemplate going through this process and a surrogate or intended parents, you should always be mindful about how emotionally demanding this process will be on everyone. Not to worry. The administrative agent will always be available to help all parties through the process.

Of all the gifts people can share, the gift of a baby to intended parents who might otherwise be childless might well be the greatest gift of all.