Intended Parent FAQ

What are the costs of gestational surrogacy?
Because many factors determine the cost of surrogacy, it is difficult to provide an estimate that applies to all intended parents (IPs). The average cost of a surrogacy journey that is successful on the first embryo transfer and has no medical complications is about $100,000 (that includes medical costs, surrogate compensation, agency and lawyer fees). Your surrogacy arrangement may cost more or less, however, depending on your personal circumstances. For example, some intended parents may already have frozen embryos, while others will incur additional costs during the fertility treatment to create embryos. Some IPs need an egg or sperm donor, which is an additional expense.

At Heartland Surrogacy, our surrogates choose their compensation amount. We recommend a minimum base of $25,000, with additional compensation for surrogates who carry multiples or have served as a surrogate before. With the exception of our agency fees, the costs outlined in our fee schedule are estimates and can change based on the industry standards and the circumstances of your journey.

Heartland Surrogacy offers two options for family building and provides different payment plans to meet the varying needs of our clients. Our full surrogacy services include matching you with a surrogate who shares your goals and coordinating the details of your journey from beginning to end. We also offer case management services for private (friend, family, or independent) matches that want the peace of mind that comes from working with an agency.

Why should I choose working with an agency versus going independent?
In three words, you should work with an agency for the protection, experience, and support. The most important benefit of using an agency is the decreased risk for all parties. Agencies pre-screen surrogates to make sure they are suitable for a journey, and they are responsible for supporting and guiding the surrogate every step of the way.

Few matches are equipped to navigate all of the details of a surrogacy journey, from complications with insurance, communications with multiple medical providers, and lawyers, escrow, and court decisions. By working with an agency, you will have a team with the experience to deal with any complications that may arise.

Working with an agency will also give you the benefit of someone else managing the details of your arrangement and helping you through any decisions you need to make along the way. In short, an agency will provide you with peace of mind in what can be a lengthy and complex process. 

Why should I choose Heartland Surrogacy?  
As a small, dedicated team, we limit our client network to provide individualized services. Our goal is to get to you know and your surrogate well and be accessible to you anytime you need us. Founded by a three-time gestational surrogate in Iowa, we are based on the Midwestern values of family, health, and service. Our tailored approach to managing your journey means you will always have the care and support you need.

At Heartland Surrogacy, we are dedicated to matching you with a gestational surrogate that shares your dreams and goals. Our surrogates are healthy women who have passed interviews, medical record reviews, home studies, and criminal background checks (this includes the surrogate’s partner, if applicable) to join our program. Further, we only accept applicants that demonstrate the organizational skills and personal devotion necessary to become a successful surrogate.

If I have a question or problem, is someone available to me at all times?
We know surrogacy is not on a 9-5 schedule for our clients, and neither is it for us. Through evening and weekend availability, we make ourselves accessible when you need us. We want to provide you with the support and help you need throughout this process. With a limited client network, we can be accessible to you any time you need us.

How big is your staff and whom will I be dealing with most of the time?
Our dedicated team is comprised of two founders, a program coordinator, a program assistant, and an advisory board. As agency president and co-founder, Brie leads the screening process for our surrogates. Monica is the vice president and co-founder and will be your main point of contact throughout your journey. Kimberly, our Program Coordinator, and Blakely, our Program Assistant, may also assist with various components of your journey.

How do your fees compare to those of other agencies?
Our agency fees are comparable to those of other small agencies, but our fee schedule is broken into installments that lower the upfront investment for intended parents. We also provide multiple options for the management of your journey, which are outlined in our Fee Schedule.

Are your screening fees refundable?
Because of our unique position as Iowa’s first surrogacy agency, we are fortunate to have a steady influx of surrogates into our program. This allows intended parents to retain our services for a small fraction of the agency fee and pay most screening costs directly to third-party providers. While we cannot refund the cost of services rendered by those providers, in the event that a screened surrogate candidate fails a psychological review, we will pay for the review of another candidate.

What services will I need to obtain separately?
In addition to working with Heartland Surrogacy, you will need to obtain services from other providers. We can help you find experienced providers either in our network of preferred providers or within a particular area. We are also happy to work with any of your choosing so that you can stay within your budget and work with the providers of your choice.

You will need legal representation in the state where your surrogate resides. She will need a separate attorney. You will also need escrow services for fund management, although many attorneys can perform this work for an additional fee. Depending on your surrogate, you may need an insurance broker for health, life, death, and/or short-term disability insurance.

Do you receive any payments or bonuses for referring me to other programs, providers, services or clinics?
No. While we have an extensive network of preferred providers, we do not receive any financial incentives for referring you to them. If there is collaboration with another provider that will affect the price of your journey (fee sharing or shared discount), we will inform you of the details.

Who will provide medical services for my surrogate?
Heartland Surrogacy is happy to work with the clinic of your choosing. For example, if you already have embryos frozen at a fertility clinic, your surrogate can travel there for screening and embryo transfer. If you do not have embryos available yet, we can work with any clinic you select, as long as they do not have an exclusive relationship with a different surrogacy agency. All costs associated with IVF, including screening, medical testing, medications, laboratory services, ultrasounds, and office visits, are in addition to the agency charges from Heartland Surrogacy. After pregnancy is confirmed, your surrogate will follow up with her regular providers for obstetric care.

Can I be an intended parent with Heartland Surrogacy if I’m single? Gay? Older?
Absolutely! We celebrate diversity in parenthood and welcome all IPs, regardless of marital status, age, or sexual orientation.

What kind of screening will I need to undergo?  
Heartland Surrogacy requires that all intended parents undergo a psychological evaluation to determine readiness for a surrogacy journey. This requirement is typical for any means of third party reproduction and will often be completed by your fertility clinic. If your clinic does not require an evaluation, we will help you locate a provider in your area. Intended parents also undergo criminal background checks.

Why do women choose to be surrogate mothers? 
There are a variety of factors that motivate women to pursue surrogacy, but consistent with all is the desire to share the joy of parenthood with another individual or couple. Some surrogates may simply see the happiness that her own family has brought her and want to help provide the same for someone else. Perhaps a friend or family member needed assisted reproduction, and although the woman couldn’t help them specifically, their story moved her to help someone else build a family. Many surrogates enjoy pregnancy, but feel their own family is complete. Some women pursue surrogacy because it is a meaningful way to help their own family financially without returning to the workforce. Regardless of the specific reasons, surrogacy requires much work, sacrifice, and devotion. We are proud to have a surrogate network built of women who are ready for this endeavor.

How long will it take to match me/us with a surrogate? 
We often have a surplus of surrogates at different stages of the application process, so there is no waiting list for intended parents. The time it takes to match will vary depending on your personal circumstances and preferences, but we will work to match you as quickly as possible while doing our due diligence to ensure proper screening and preparation of our candidates.

How will I/we select a surrogate?
At Heartland Surrogacy, creating great matches between surrogates and intended parents is one of our top priorities. We will help you find a gestational carrier that is appropriate for you by getting to know you, your goals and preferences, and your views on the various aspects of surrogacy.

Matching through Heartland Surrogacy is a mutual decision made by intended parents and surrogates. First, Heartland Surrogacy will review your profile and identify surrogates who may be a good match, based on shared goals and characteristics. Then, your profile is presented to these selected and approved surrogates for review. You are then given the GC profile to review and get to decide whether or not to speak with or meet the GC. One or more Heartland staff members will mediate the first conversation, and then speak to each side independently to assess their comfort with the match. You are free to turn down the match and review other candidates. 

What kind of screening will my surrogate undergo?
Our surrogates undergo a two-part screening process that involves medical and psychological evaluation. The first portion is completed by our agency and includes a medical records review, phone interviews, criminal background checks (including her partner, if applicable), and a home visit. After matching, a psychological evaluation and thorough medical exam are completed according to the requirements of your fertility clinic. All of these measures combined allow us to assess your surrogate’s medical and emotional readiness to undergo a surrogacy journey. 

What do we do if our surrogate does not have health insurance that covers surrogacy?
It is essential for surrogates to have a health insurance policy that will cover the surrogate pregnancy. If her current policy will not cover the expenses, we require that the intended parents provide a new policy for her. We will help you identify and secure a plan that will cover her surrogacy pregnancy and delivery. All costs associated with the new policy (premiums, deductible, coinsurance and copays) are in addition to the estimates in our fee schedule. 

What happens if pregnancy is not achieved or there is a miscarriage?
You and your surrogate will decide on the number of embryo transfers you will attempt, and this will be recorded in your contract. If a pregnancy does not occur or continue, you will have the opportunity to decide if you would like to attempt another embryo transfer, in accordance with your contract.

While a large percentage of your surrogacy budget needs to be available in escrow at the beginning of your journey, compensation to your surrogate is made in installments (based on time or steps in the journey). Provider expenses are paid as they are incurred, and our agency fees are paid at specific milestones in the journey. If pregnancy is not achieved or continued, you will not incur expenses pertaining to the rest of the journey. 

Can we get re-matched without any additional costs?
Full service clients: If your chosen surrogate fails her psychological evaluation, Heartland Surrogacy will pay for the evaluation of a new surrogate. You will not incur any additional costs for re-matching.

Independent matches: You have the option of finding a new surrogate or upgrading to our Full Surrogacy Services so that we may take over the prescreening and matching process.

How does your program handle expenses and/or compensation for the surrogate?
All funds for your journey are held in escrow, a closed account, by an independent third party such as an escrow company or attorney. The specific details of payments and expenses will depend on your contract, but generally our agency handles the surrogate’s expense reports and passes them on to the escrow manager. We will work with them to ensure that the surrogate is reimbursed and compensated on time. We can recommend attorneys and escrow management companies in our network, but intended parents may choose another escrow provider if they prefer.

To what extent is contact between the surrogate and the intended parent(s) encouraged?
We specialize in open matches with strong communication and solid relationships. Our staff will mediate the first meeting (be it in person or over phone/Skype) and once a match is established, the parties are highly encouraged to maintain open communication. We would like contact to be as frequent as is comfortable for all parties.

What is the relationship like between surrogate and intended parents? 
Communication during and after the journey will vary, but our hope is for intended parents and surrogates to build a strong bond based on open communication and mutual respect. Some families become friends with their surrogate and form an ongoing relationship in which they regularly communicate and even visit each other. Other families exchange calls, letters, pictures, etc. a few times a year or at major milestones.

Can the intended parent(s) be present at the birth?  
Yes, this is possible and often preferred by all parties. You and your surrogate’s preference will be detailed in your legal contract. Most surrogates will allow the IPs to be present for some or all of the birth experience.