Giving or receiving the gift of surrogacy comes with plenty of questions during usual times. But now, in the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, your questions have likely multiplied. At Creative Family Connections, we’re here to help you through surrogacy in these unprecedented times.
Navigating surrogacy during a pandemic may seem overwhelming. You may feel more comfortable beginning the adventure with reassurance from the surrogacy and COVID-19 FAQs below. Whether that journey is helping someone achieve their dreams of parenthood or inviting someone into your life to help you realize your goals, answers can help. Consult the questions that others have had about the coronavirus and surrogacy.
- Is Creative Family Connections Accepting Surrogate Applications During COVID-19?
- Can I Apply to Become a Surrogate During COVID-19?
- Are There Intended Parents Looking for Surrogates During These Times?
- Is It a Good Idea to Start the Surrogacy Process During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
- What Is the Surrogacy Journey Like in the Time of COVID-19?
- Can I Get a Match With the Intended Parents During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak?
- Will There Still Be In-Person Medical Visits During the Pandemic?
- Is It Safe to Travel to a Clinic During These Times?
- Should I Wait Until the Pandemic Is Over Before Starting the Surrogacy Process?
- What Is the Risk of COVID-19 in Pregnancy and for Newborns?
- Can I or My Partner and I Become Intended Parents During This Time?
- Can I or My Partner and I Still Get a Surrogate Match During the Pandemic?
- Should I or My Partner and I Wait Until the Pandemic Is Over Before Starting the Intended Parent Process?
- Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Prevent Intended Parents From Being Present During Delivery?
What about the COVID-19 vaccines?
Creative Family Connections requires all its surrogate candidates to submit a copy of their vaccination card showing proof of vaccination. A surrogate is being entrusted with the care of the Intended Parents’ unborn child, and science shows that the Covid vaccine maximizes both the surrogate’s and the unborn child’s safety. The American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly recommends that all pregnant women have the COVID-19 vaccine – either before becoming pregnant or once they are pregnant. Failure to become vaccinated increases the risk of becoming ill with the Delta variant of Covid, which increases the miscarriage rate by 25% and can result in death of the surrogate. IVF centers are now starting to require that all Gestational Surrogate candidates already be vaccinated. For these reasons, CFC requires all surrogate candidates to have the Covid vaccine.
FAQs About Becoming a Surrogate During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Embarking on the surrogacy journey during a pandemic — it’s uncharted territory for everyone. To help you decide if starting the surrogacy process during the coronavirus outbreak is right for you, we’ve addressed some common questions for prospective surrogates during this time.
1. Is Creative Family Connections Accepting Surrogate Applications During COVID-19?
Yes! We are still accepting applications and helping women become surrogates, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Can I Apply to Become a Surrogate During COVID-19?
Yes! You can complete many steps of the surrogacy application process from the safety and comfort of your home, thanks to video conferencing and digital communication:
- The entire surrogate pre-screening process
- The psychological evaluations for all parties for a surrogacy journey
- The surrogacy contract
3. Are There Intended Parents Looking for Surrogates During These Times?
Yes, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and couples are still looking for surrogates to help make their dreams of parenthood come true. In becoming a surrogate during these times, you can provide some much-needed hope and positivity in others’ lives.
4. Is It a Good Idea to Start the Surrogacy Process During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
The prospect of becoming a surrogate during the COVID-19 pandemic might seem overwhelming, but we are taking steps to create socially distanced meetings and accept application process steps via video chat. But is now a good time to become a surrogate?
Of course, only you can answer that question for yourself. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many potential surrogates had to think about whether it was the right time to become a surrogate. Speak with your support system and any medical professionals you see to help you make the best decision.
Because the surrogacy journey can take between 13 to 18 months, including pregnancy, now may be a good time to start. By the time we receive your application and other documents, process them, and begin identifying a match, anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks may pass during our pre-screening process.
To show our appreciation for beginning the surrogacy journey during these times, we are offering a stay-at-home stipend of $500 for qualified surrogate candidates. You’ll receive the bonus after you complete an at-home interview and pre-screening. You will also receive a $1,000 disbursement from your base compensation after passing psychological and medical screenings, and finalizing contracts.
5. What Is the Surrogacy Journey Like in the Time of COVID-19?
The pandemic has affected time and virtual meetings in the surrogacy journey. Some processes may take a bit longer during these times, such as obtaining medical records, so keep that in mind as you begin. With that in mind, becoming a surrogate during these times will follow these general steps:
- Having an intake call with our surrogate team to start your journey.
- Providing information and permission for background checks.
- Providing full pregnancy and delivery medical records so that we can obtain medical pre-approval from the in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic.
- Providing essential documents and information, like pay stubs, health insurance information, and phone numbers for references.
- Participating in an in-home interview via videoconference.
6. Can I Get a Match With the Intended Parents During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak?
Yes! At Creative Family Connections, we’re connecting intended parents and surrogates even during COVID-19. First, you will receive a letter from your potential intended parents. Then, you will have a videoconference with your Creative Family Connections case manager and your potential intended parents for a safe, socially distanced meeting. That means you can have a virtual meeting with the intended parents and form a relationship with them while remaining in the safety of your home. You can be matched with intended parents who are near or far from your location.
7. Will There Still Be In-Person Medical Visits During the Pandemic?
While many clinics are allowing the psychological screening to be done via telehealth, the medical screening must be done in-person at an IVF clinic. Some clinics are allowing surrogates to complete medical screenings at a local clinic. In that case, you would only need to travel to your IVF clinic for the embryo transfer. This option is available on a case-by-case, clinic-by-clinic basis.
We are working with each surrogate, within their state and clinic guidelines on travel quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. We ask that surrogates adhere to all safety precautions during this time. Follow the health and safety advice of the IVF clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local governments. In the case of a conflict among these sources, we recommend adherence to the strictest requirements. Your safety matters to us! Both the surrogate and the intended parents need to be comfortable with the idea of your flying to the IVF clinic before that travel occurs.
8. Is It Safe to Travel to a Clinic During These Times?
If a surrogate, the intended parents, and IVF clinic are all willing, able, and comfortable, we recently have had surrogates travel to IVF clinic medical screenings and embryo transfers by plane flight or vehicle. Surrogates only pursue this option when both they and the intended parents feel comfortable.
Some IVF clinics have begun opening the option for air travel. Whether it’s allowed or safe to travel depends on the clinic’s restrictions, but it also depends on a surrogate’s and intended parents’ comfort. We request our surrogates follow the IVF clinic’s, CDC’s, and local jurisdiction’s recommendations. Some require a rapid COVID test first.
Many clinics also have restrictions with respect to the surrogate’s support person. Some have restricted the presence of any guests, including the intended parents and the surrogate’s spouse or partner, so keep that in mind as we help plan your clinic screening visit. Want to hear directly from a surrogacy reproductive endocrinologist? Watch our “Surrogacy in the Time of Covid” Webinar to hear from an IVF clinic reproductive endocrinologist, an intended father who had their baby during COVID-19, a CFC surrogate who delivered shortly after this webinar was recorded, and a few members of our CFC team!
9. Should I Wait Until the Pandemic Is Over Before Starting the Surrogacy Process?
The surrogacy process takes time, even before pregnancy, with applications and a matching process to find the right intended parents for each surrogate. That’s not to say the process will outlast the current pandemic, but it is a factor to consider. Because of some uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and new variants, no one can say for sure how long it will be until medical researchers find a way to end the outbreak. It is up to you to decide whether you should wait or begin the process now. Again, we recommend listening to our latest webinar with IVF reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Said Daneshmand from San Diego Fertility Center to learn more about some of the current studies and recommended precautions surrounding COVID-19.
In March 2020, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) published clinical recommendations for the pandemic. They suggested, at that time, that clinics suspend the initiation of new treatment cycles, including IVF. The ASRM has also revisited those recommendations and aim to resume patient care as usual. The ASRM has changed their suggestions and IVF and surrogacy cycles have resumed starting in May 2020. Parents are not putting their dreams of building a family on hold until the pandemic is over. If you feel comfortable helping parents to fulfill their dream, then you can start the process now to help these prospective parents who want nothing more than to start their family.
10. What Is the Risk of COVID-19 in Pregnancy and for Newborns?
In terms of surrogacy risks during COVID-19, the CDC has not found direct issues with pregnancy and infection. Hear more about this in our “Surrogacy in the Time of COVID-19” webinar, co-hosted with an IVF clinic. Given current information for COVID-19, the CDC believes pregnant individuals have the same risk of respiratory infection as adults who are not pregnant. Still, because much remains unknown about the virus, the CDC recommends taking precautions, such as:
- Only leaving home for necessities.
- Maintaining a social distance of six feet or more when in public.
- Wearing cloth face coverings or masks when you leave home.
- Washing your hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces.
- Laundering items with the warmest appropriate setting.
You should also check for new updates from the CDC often. If you are already pregnant or are planning to begin that part of your surrogacy journey, you’ll undoubtedly want to know if there is a risk for the baby. The CDC has reported these findings:
- Transmission from the pregnant individual to the baby is unlikely during pregnancy.
- Once the baby is born, close or direct contact with sick people can cause infection.
- While there are published reports of a small number of newborns testing positive for COVID-19, the CDC cannot determine if those babies became infected before, during, or after birth.
The CDC has found that some pregnant individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 late in their pregnancies had a small number of problems, including preterm birth. However, the CDC does not know if those issues have a connection to the virus.
With that information in mind, it’s essential to follow CDC guidelines and those set by your local government. We suggest adhering to these recommendations, whether you’re planning to become a surrogate or an intended parent. Moreover, all surrogates will be under the care and guidance of their doctor.
FAQs for Intended Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As a current or potential intended parent, you’ll undoubtedly have questions about the surrogacy journey in the time of COVID-19. Consult the FAQs below for intended parents and questions they may have during the pandemic.
1. Can I or My Partner and I Become Intended Parents During This Time?
2. Can I or My Partner and I Still Get a Surrogate Match During the Pandemic?
Yes, we are accepting surrogate applications and continuing the surrogacy matching process. Under typical circumstances, we take applications from surrogate candidates and put them through an extensive vetting process. We are continuing to complete our rigorous screening, even during these times. We have been using digital communication and video chatting to accept surrogate applications and meet candidates and her family. From there, we can match a like-minded surrogate to you or you and your partner.
You will be able to meet your surrogate via video conference and build your relationship through virtual means. This allows you to connect with surrogates who aren’t in your area more easily from the safety and comfort of your home.
3. Should I or My Partner and I Wait Until the Pandemic Is Over Before Starting the Intended Parent Process?
That is a decision only you and your partner or other support systems can make. As we have addressed for potential surrogates, the surrogacy process takes time. It takes 18+ months to complete the process, including the pregnancy.
Still, if you are wary of beginning the intended parent process now, we’d be happy to have a conversation to see the best steps to take for you or for you and your partner. Want to hear from a CFC intended father who had his baby during COVID-19? Watch our webinar to hear about his hospital experience!
4. Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Prevent Intended Parents From Being Present During Delivery?
The answer to this question will depend on the restrictions of the hospital and local requirements. Many hospitals have put limits on how many people, if any, can be in the room during delivery.
We work with the hospital to advocate for the needs of both the surrogate and the intended parents to ensure everyone’s happiness and comfort. We advocate for your surrogate to have a support person present during delivery. We also push for intended parents to be part of the delivery and hospital stay, as support for the baby. While we have yet to have a surrogate unable to have her support person in the room, there have been restrictions for the intended parents. We also have seen success in getting both parents into the hospital for the post-delivery stay with the baby.
Along with those potential limitations, travel quarantines may be necessary. If you plan to travel for the delivery, be aware that you may need to arrive early and follow quarantine guidelines after travel.
Contact Creative Family Connections with Other Questions About the COVID-19 Pandemic and Surrogacy
At Creative Family Connections, our priority is to make every surrogacy journey as happy and as stress-free as possible, even during these times. We believe everyone can build a family. We want to guide everyone through the surrogacy process so they can achieve their dreams or make someone’s wishes come true and provide some hope during these times.
Contact us today with any questions about the surrogacy process. Whether you’re considering becoming a surrogate or an intended parent during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’d be happy to help.