Frequently Asked Questions
*How much will I be paid as a surrogate?
The total PMI surrogate compensation package offers up to $64,200 which include the base fee, $45,000 with additional benefits for the first-time surrogate. If you’re an experienced surrogate, the base fee shall be up to $60,000.
*How long does the surrogacy process take from start to finish?
We will try to move things along as quickly and safely as possible. Most Surrogates finish their surrogacy in 18 months (from initial application to delivery), but we encourage you to prepare yourself for up to two years.
*Will I use my eggs as a surrogate?
No. PMI only works with gestational surrogates—this means the embryo will be created with a donor’s egg or the intended mother’s egg.
*Can I be a surrogate after I’ve had a tubal ligation?
Yes. You will be a gestational carrier. This means that a fertilized embryo is implanted into the uterus, and there is no need to use your own eggs.
*Do I have to stop breastfeeding before starting the surrogacy process?
You can apply to our program and begin your paperwork before you are done weaning, however we will not be able to schedule your medical screening until you have finished breastfeeding.
*Do I need my own health insurance to go through surrogacy?
No, if you do not have an insurance plan, one can be purchased for you.
*When should I tell people in my life about my plans to become a surrogate?
It is important to have this conversation with your immediate family and friends once you decide to proceed with surrogacy. It is especially important to discuss it with those you hope to have as your support system during your journey.
*Why would someone choose to have a surrogate?
Intended parents choose surrogacy for various reasons. But they all have one thing in common: a strong desire to have or expand their family. During your matching process, you’ll learn more about the family we think will be a great match for you and what led them to surrogacy.
*After I apply to become a surrogate, what happens next?
Once we receive your application to become a surrogate mother, you will be invited to schedule a consult with one of our team, who will go over the entire process with you and answer all your surrogacy questions.
*Will I have to travel?
Yes, most likely. We do require that all surrogates complete medical screening at the IVF clinic their intended parents have chosen. All costs associated with the trip are covered by intended parents and paid from the escrow company. In addition to your surrogacy screening, you will likely need to travel for each embryo transfer.
*How do the payments work?
During the admissions process, you will receive a personalized surrogate benefit package the payments and benefits you can expect to receive during your journey. Payments are typically made at milestones during the process, such as completing the screening process, the legal clearance or beginning medications for the first time. Other payments are received on a regular monthly schedule during surrogacy pregnancy. The payment will provide you from the escrow account which we will be holding for the intended parents. These payments will be in the form of direct deposit or checks mailed to you.
*Can I choose my OBGYN?
Yes. Most intended parents rely on their surrogates to choose the in-network OB-GYN she is most comfortable with. However, intended parents have the right to seek a second opinion. If intended parents have a specific OB-GYN in mind, we’ll discuss that with you.
*Where will I give birth?
Mostly, surrogates will give birth at a hospital local to them.
*Do I have to claim my compensation on my taxes?
Neither PMI nor the intended parents will issue a W-2 or 1099. Surrogates are not considered to be employees or independent contractors. We recommend that you have your surrogacy contract reviewed by a local tax specialist.
*Will I get to meet the IPs?
Yes. We arrange a meeting via video conference. The intended parents can be virtually present throughout the process if they are not able to be in person.
*How do you choose an IP for me?
We take your thoughts and expectations for your surrogacy journey and try to find intended parents that we feel are a good fit.
*What factors are important when considering a surrogacy match?
We match our surrogates and intended parents based the expectations they each have. We have open discussions and ask many questions of surrogates and intended parents to understand what’s most important to both you and suggest matches accordingly.
*What is the embryo transfer process like?
Women entering surrogacy are typically placed on a regimen of hormone therapies to aid in preparing the uterus for the embryo transfer and aid in maintaining the pregnancy.
Once your body and the embryos are ready, it is time for your embryo transfer. It is similar to a pap smear, but a catheter is inserted vaginally through the cervix and into the uterus where the embryos are to be placed. Most surrogates will take a period of bed rest lasting between 24 and 72 hours. You’ll stay at a hotel for the night, then can return to your normal life. In about two weeks, if everything goes well, you’ll have a positive pregnancy test. During the course of the next 10 to 12 weeks, you will be weaned from the hormones, and at the end of the first trimester, you will be released back to your own obstetrician for normal treatment.
*If I do not get pregnant after my first embryo transfer what are the next steps?
In most cases, there is nothing that the surrogate did, didn’t do. Sometimes things just don’t work. In most cases, the exact cause for a failed transfer will remain unclear. The doctor will work with you and your intended parents to make the changes that are most likely to result in a positive pregnancy on your next cycle.
*Will my intended parents be with me at the embryo transfer?
Depending on where they are located, some intended parents will try to be there for the transfer, but the international intended parents may be difficult to attend, however we are here for you. We always connect with you and the intended parents.
*Can I still go to the gym? Run, Excise?
Surrogates are encouraged to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle during the surrogacy pregnancy. Excess exercise and heavy lifting is advised against. Restrictions on physical activity will vary depending on your doctor’s advice, the requests of the intended parents you are matched with, and the stage of the pregnancy you are in. Please be prepared to modify workouts to accommodate the pregnancy and follow any instructions set forth by the clinic.
*Am I required to have a C-section?
No. Whether a surrogate will have a C-section is typically based on two factors: whether they have had a C-section in a previous delivery and whether there is a medical need or preference for a C-section as determined by their doctor. Surrogates who have had a C-section in the past should prepare for the surrogate pregnancy to deliver via C-section as well. We can consider VBAC deliveries on a case-by-case basis, but there is no guarantee that a VBAC will take place
*Who will be in the delivery room?
This is something we encourage surrogates and their intended parents to discuss during the matching process. For most intended parents, being in the delivery room for the arrival of their baby is a moment they truly don’t want to miss. We also want to make sure our surrogates are comfortable and have the support they need during the delivery. For a typical vaginal birth, it is common to have both the surrogate’s partner or support person and the intended parents in the room. However, if a C-section is required, most hospitals will only allow one person in the room during delivery.
*How is the delivery handled?
We will discuss and create the birth plan with the intended parents and you about a couple of months prior to the due date and make sure the hospital staff knows there is an upcoming surrogate birth.
*Will I have to pump/breastfeed?
No. During the matching process, we will ask whether you are interested in pumping. Not all intended parents want or need their surrogate to pump.
*Will PMI still be there to support me during pregnancy and after the delivery?
Yes. We always will support you and answer any questions you have.
*Will I have contact with my intended parents after the baby goes home?
This will depend on what you and the intended parents agreed on at your match meeting and in the contract.
FAQs for Egg Donors
*Why would I want to become an egg donor?
There are plenty of reasons to donate eggs. Maybe the most obvious is money. We compensate our egg donors well, and the prospective parents reimburse all your costs, including travel, medical expenses, and any legal fees. The psychological benefits of becoming an egg donor are even more profound than the financial ones. Especially if you can’t raise children, egg donation allows you the knowledge and peace of mind that you’ve brought a part of yourself into the world. Egg donation also makes a difference in the life of a loving family, who might otherwise never have children.
*What happens after I submit my application to be an egg donor?
A member of our team will review your information upon submitting your egg donor application and let you know if you are able to proceed. If you can move forward, we will schedule a consultation via video meeting. During the consultation, we’ll discuss how the egg donation process works and answer any questions you may have.
Once your egg donation consult is complete, we will send you some documents. You will read over and electronically sign them. We will ask that you provide photos, GPA and test score verification, and photo ID verification. After we’ve received all of the requested items, we’ll be able to make your egg donor profile available for intended parents to view.
*What happens once I’m matched as an egg donor with intended parents?
Once you’re matched with intended parents, our case management team will be taking care of you. First, we will set you up with instructions to complete fertility testing that will measure hormone levels to ensure your body will produce an ideal number of good quality eggs. There will be no cost to you, and this test is an excellent way to assure prospective intended parents looking for an egg donor that they are selecting the best egg donor for their family. It’s also a great way to learn about your own fertility. Second, you’ll be asked to complete your psychological interview.
Once this screening is complete, you’ll be instructed to make your medical screening appointment with the IVF doctor you’ll be working with. Your case specialist will give you explicit instructions on how to schedule your medical screening appointment. At this time, you will also be referred to your attorney to complete your contract with the intended parents. You will not be able to begin injectable medications for your egg retrieval cycle until after we receive legal clearance. We should receive your medical clearance two weeks after your screening appointment. After your medical and legal clearances have been issued, the actual egg donation cycle can begin. For many potential donors, understanding the medical process and risks is one of the most important factors in choosing to become an egg donor.
*How many times can I donate with Pacific Miracles?
Most of our clinics will only allow an egg donor to participate in an egg donation five to six times. However, we can only rematch you if the previous donation resulted in a pregnancy or a successful retrieval.
*What can I expect emotionally from doing egg donation?
Emotional experiences can vary throughout the process and person to person. The kind-hearted decision to donate should be well thought out before you proceed with screening and matching, that time is the initial opportunity to ask questions, gather information, and be sure you and your loved ones feel comfortable with the process. You are welcome to talk with the social workers who conduct your screening, talk with experienced egg donors, or even IVF doctors about any specific concerns or questions you might have. During the donation, you may experience moodiness from the IVF medications; however, after the donation, most of our egg donors enjoy the extreme pride and joy of having given such an incredible gift.
*How many and what kind of pictures do you want me to submit?
We require a minimum of five, but you can send as many pictures as you want. We do require that one needs to be a recent close-up of your face and one needs to be a recent photo of your full body. If you choose, childhood photos or photos of your children or family are also welcomed. Keep in mind that these photos are the first impression intended parents will have of you when they are selecting a donor. They are looking for the best representation of physical attributes to help them find an egg donor who is right for them. While selfies are easy to take, they don't always accurately capture you (especially when taken in a car). If possible, please have a friend or family member take your photos so you get the best quality and reflection of who you are.
*I am on birth control, can I still be an Egg Donor?
Yes, but it depends on the form of birth control you are using. Acceptable forms of birth control include birth control pills, the nuva ring, the patch, any IUD, non-copper or copper. Hormonal (non-copper) IUDs will have to be removed if matched before cycling.
If you are currently using Implanon or Depo-Provera for birth control you will need to switch to one of the acceptable forms listed above and have at least three menstrual cycles before applying to become a donor. Always remember to consult your OB/GYN before making any decisions about changing your contraceptive.
*Can you briefly tell me what the process is like?
Medications are given to suppress the menstrual cycle and ovarian stimulating medications are given to stimulate the production of eggs. Most of these medications are injections and are self-administered for 2-4 weeks (this can vary) until retrieval. The retrieval is done vaginally with a catheter under a mild intravenous (IV) sedation. The retrieval takes about 20 minutes with about an hour in the recovery room. Afterwards you may experience some mild cramping, bleeding, or bloating.
*What kinds of medications are used?
Medications are used to coordinate cycles, suppress ovulation, stimulate follicles, and to trigger release of eggs. Examples of these include birth control pills, Lupron, Ganirelix, Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur and HCG. These may be used in different combinations depending on the clinic and physician and some of the medications can be known by various names.
*Are there any complications of which I should be aware?
Most women experience little to no complications. You can experience minor discomfort after the procedure, or symptoms associated with your natural cycles, such as headaches, moodiness, or cramping. There have been a very small number of extreme cases of hyper stimulation.
*Will donating affect my own fertility?
Relationship between egg donation and future fertility has been clearly established, although research is continuing. Egg donation does not deplete your ovarian reserve. Each month you release a number of eggs, but only one comes to maturity, generally. The hormones administered in the donation process stimulate more than one to reach maturity. Women in their 20s have hundreds of thousands of viable eggs. Most donors go back to their everyday lives the next day.
*There are many agencies to choose from, why should I work with PMI?
Our egg donation program built on safety. We are also compassionate. We’re going to be with you throughout, anticipating program. We offer great compensation package as well.
*I’m working with another egg donation agency, is that OK?
It is okay, though we prefer our egg donors work exclusively with PMI. If you are chosen to be an egg donor with another agency, please let us know right away. We need to make sure your profile reflects your availability, so we don’t disappoint intended parents who are interested in working with you.
*What information do parents get about me on my egg donor profile?
Your profile will include some of the answers and information including your family health history, photo gallery, a handful of essay questions Before your egg donor profile is made available to intended parents, you’ll be able to review it.
*If I do travel as an egg donor, how much travel is involved? How is travel booked?
If you need to travel for your donation, plan to take two trips. The first is a one-day trip (you may spend one night at a hotel). This initial trip will be for your medical screening. You will get to choose the date of this appointment, so you can work it into your schedule. The appointment will need to occur Monday-Friday. The second trip will be for your egg retrieval. Any appointments between your first and second trip will be at a local monitoring facility that your primary IVF doctor will send you to. Your egg retrieval trip can be anywhere between 5-7 days. (This is approximate schedule and may vary.) You will need a companion with you on the day of your egg retrieval, so be sure you have a support person who can travel with you. Your companion only needs to be present on the day of your procedure. Both travel arrangements for you and your companion will be covered. We work with a travel agent who will be in direct communication with you regarding travel itineraries or we arrange your travel need directly.
For the resident in Japan, we will send you Japanese IVF doctor for the screening process. Also, you will visit Japanese IVF doctor during IVF cycle. You will travel to US (Mostly, Los Angeles California) 2-3 days before egg retrieval. US IVF doctor will perform your egg retrieval. We work with a travel agent who will be in direct communication with you regarding travel itineraries or we arrange your travel need directly. Please ask the detail when we have video meeting for the consultation.
*How long does the egg donation process take once I’m selected?
Once you are selected by intended parents, your egg retrieval will likely occur within two to five months. If we expect it to be longer than this, we will let you know
*How long do I have to wait in between egg donations?
If you decide you’d like to donate your eggs more than one time, you will need to have two regular periods between cycles.
*How do you handle the financial aspect of egg donation?
From reimbursements to your final compensation, we will make sure you receive any payments or reimbursements in a timely manner. We require intended parents to deposit all your expenses and fees into an escrow account before you’re allowed to begin any medications.
*I am adopted. Can I still be a donor?
Yes, if you know your biological families health history. Unfortunately, if your adoption was closed you may not be able to provide us with all of the necessary medical information.
*How do you match egg donors with intended parents? How long will my egg donation process take?
Match times vary greatly. The best advice we can give you is to set yourself apart through your profile. Put your best foot forward by giving complete, thoughtful answers and providing clear, great quality photos. Once we have an intended parent who would like to choose you, we’ll be in contact to confirm your availability for a match and an egg retrieval cycle.
*Do egg donors meet the parents? The offspring?
No, you do not. We do have intended parents who would like the option of meeting their egg donor or would like their egg donor to be open to meeting potential offspring once they reach the age of 18. We will ask you your preference on this, and if it’s not something you are comfortable with, we will let the intended parents know.
*Do egg donors administer injectable medications to themselves, or can a friend do it?
Most egg donors administer their own injectable medication, but you’re welcome to have your friend or partner administer the shots for you.