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The top 10 most frequent questions that intended parents ask

PFCLA
11 Jan 2022

At PFCLA, we’re often asked a lot of questions regarding our services and care, with the most common surrounding those related to being an Intended Parent. This article will help answer some of the more common questions that arise to help those that share the same questions or concerns. 

Before we begin, it’s important to know what it means to be an Intended Parent. An Intended Parent is an individual or couple who cannot conceive on their own – for any reason – and choose surrogacy to build their family. This distinction is important to note because the questions that arise can differ from other parties that may be involved in a journey.

Below are the top 10 questions we typically receive from our Intended Parents. 

1. How do I get started?

The first step is to have a consultation scheduled with our IVF specialists to discuss the IVF treatment plan and process for your individual case. This would be the time when more specific questions about your unique experience would be raised. For example, you might want to ask the physician about what screening tests are needed for you as intended parents.  Do you need an egg donor or sperm donor?  Is there a concern for disease or illness in your family history that is of concern? Any of these types of questions would help determine what is needed for your journey to be as successful as possible.

2. What is the financial cost?

PFCLA provides different types of financial plans for you to choose from depending on your needs. Some of our most common cycles are listed below:

  • Single-cycle - For intended parents using both a surrogate and/or egg donor, seeking one retrieval and one embryo transfer.
  • Single-cycle, unlimited transfers - For intended parents using both a surrogate and egg donor, seeking one IVF cycle with unlimited transfers.
  • Unlimited IVF until live birth - For intended parents using both a surrogate and egg donor, unlimited retrievals, and transfer cycles until live birth.

For current cost estimates, please contact us by clicking here 

For cost information about our in-house egg donor and surrogacy agency Hatch, please click here 

3. How long is the process?


As with many medical journeys, the length of time will vary with each one. Because there are many factors that can affect the course of a journey, there is no set time. Generally, the timeline we most commonly see is below:

  • Embryo Creation: After determining the needs of our Intended Parents, the embryo will need to be created for use with your surrogate. If you are using an egg donor, the egg donor will go through steps such as medical screening and signing a legal agreement. Then, a complete stimulation cycle for the egg retrieval will need to take place, regardless of the egg’s source (Donor or Intended Parent). This process can take an estimated 3 months. Once eggs are retrieved and sperm have been collected, our lab will use these materials to create your embryos. This process and biopsy analysis will take around 7 days.
  • Finding The Right Surrogate: Because finding your surrogate can be a lengthy process, we recommend looking for your Surrogate as soon as possible. On the surrogate’s side, the surrogate will need to perform a number of steps such as medical screening and signing a legal agreement. This part of the journey’s time can vary greatly; this is why we recommend using a Surrogacy Agency to help expedite the process.
  • Embryo Transfer: When it comes to a Surrogate’s Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle, each case can vary due to several factors. In a typical scenario, the embryo transfer procedure usually takes place between days 19 and 21 of the Surrogate’s menstrual cycle. This is followed by a pregnancy blood test approximately 10 days post-implantation. We will continue to follow up with the Surrogate until the 10 weeks OB ultrasound. After 10 week’s OB ultrasound, the Surrogate will be discharged to her OB’s care.

4. Should I go through an agency or independently?

We do recommend finding a surrogacy agency instead of going independently. Discussions over cost, escrow accounts, doctors, lawyers, and scheduling appointments can be overwhelming and stress the relationship between the Intended Parents and the Surrogate. Having an agency to manage the process and to make sure all the details are taken care of for you allows the Intended Parents and the Surrogate to worry less. There’s also a greater financial risk to you if her insurance or legal contracts are done incorrectly. 

5. Which agency should I choose?

It is crucial to find an experienced surrogacy agency that you feel comfortable working with.

Our in-house surrogacy agency Hatch provides compassionate care and committed support through every step of your journey. Over 3,300 intended parents have welcomed a happy, healthy baby into their family through Hatch's third-party reproduction. To learn more about Hatch, please click here  

6. How long does it take to be matched with a surrogate?

The matching process can vary greatly depending on the criteria for both parties, but the matching process typically takes around three to six months. While some matches are almost immediate, others take time to curate and find exactly what everyone is looking for.

7. How does an egg donor/surrogate get screened?

Once you are matched with an egg donor, our clinical coordinator will reach out to the donor and schedule her in-person medical screening appointment with our IVF specialist. 

The donor screening process involves:

  • Review of the donor's profile and medical records, psychological assessment, and genetic risk evaluation
  • A detailed medical history
  • A physical/pelvic examination
  • A specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her ovaries
  • A battery of blood tests including infectious panel and genetic carrier screening 
  • A urine drug screen

It will typically take 14-21 days to get all the results back. If all the results are normal, the donor will be considered a good candidate and ready to start treatment.

The surrogate screening process involves:

  • Review of pregnancy records
  • A detailed medical history
  • A physical/pelvic examination
  • A specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her uterus
  • A battery of blood tests including infectious panel
  • A urine drug screen

It will typically take 10-14 days to get all the results back. If all is normal, we will approve her as a good surrogate candidate and consider her ready to start treatment.

8. How long does it take for the legal agreement to be finalized? 

The finalization of your surrogacy agreement takes approximately 4-6 weeks depending on how quickly you return the necessary information as requested of you. You must account for the time needed for you to review the agreement, as well as the time needed for the surrogate to review the agreement with her attorney. On average, agreements are generally signed within a few weeks of the drafts being reviewed and approved by both parties.

9. How long does it take for the surrogate to get pregnant? 

When it comes to a Surrogate’s frozen embryo transfer cycle, each case can vary due to several factors. In a typical scenario, the embryo transfer procedure usually takes place between days 19 and 21 of the Surrogate’s menstrual cycle. This is followed by a pregnancy blood test approximately 10 days post-implantation. We will continue to follow up with the Surrogate until the 10 weeks OB ultrasound. After 10 week’s OB ultrasound, the Surrogate will be discharged to her OB’s care. This process, from start to finish, could also take a few months, depending on what procedures need to be completed. Some surrogates do not get pregnant on the first cycle, which may mean going through another cycle of IVF.

10. How many times do I need to come to California? 

You are required to come to the clinic for the semen samples deposit and the egg retrieval/fertilization process if you are using your own eggs and/or sperm. If you are using both egg donor and surrogate, then you will only need to come to California for semen deposit and then for the delivery of the baby depending on when and where the baby is born. 

Although these are the most common questions that we receive at PFCLA, there are many more not covered in the article. If you still have unanswered questions, you may speak to someone at our office by contacting us here 

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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