1) What type of surrogacy?
Straight or Host surrogacy?
There are two important factors to consider before deciding on traditional/straight surrogacy (TS) or gestational/host surrogacy (GS) here;
1) Cost - can you afford clinic fees? A GS journey is markedly more expesnive due to IVF costs
2) Do you want a known egg donor? A TS would be a known egg donor. With GS you can have a known donor or an ‘anonymous’ donor - although at 18 your child will have identifiable info on the egg donor. If needing an anonymous donor is a non negotiable then go GS. If affordability is an issue and known donor is not then consider TS. If affordability is not an issue and neither is the status of the donor (known vers anonymous) then start creating embryos but consider a TS journey if one comes your way.
2) Tests and investigations
You will at some point need to meet with your GP
No matter which route you take in surrogacy you will need to initially obtain at least some of the most basic investigations into your health. These include STD checks and a semen analysis. Try getting these at your local GP or GUM sexual clinic (although the semen analysis will need a referral from your GP). Be aware that many GPs do not like to fund tests for private treatment. In additional GUM clinics and GPs may charge administration charges to print out a letter or report. If you are going with a surrogacy organisation you may have to ask your GP for a letter stating your medical history with reference to mental health, current medications and any history of drug/alcohol abuse. You will also need to apply for a Disclosure and Baring Service certificate (police check).
3) Interact, connect and raise your profile
Raise your profile
One often asked questions in this field "How can I find a surrogate?" is difficult to answer. Unless you know someone in your life who is offering this amazing gift, it can feel daunting to know how to even meet, let alone team up with a surrogate. Whilst there is no one set rule for meeting and forming a relationship with a surrogate, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of finding that special woman to help your Dad Dream.
It is generally frowned upon to ask a surrogate if they will help you in many surrogacy groups and organisations. It is imperative that you wait to be approached, But a surrogate cannot ask to help you if they don't know you exist. When you join a surrogacy organisation, use the tools available to raise your profile within that organisation. That may be at socials, on members discussion boards or on social media groups. Comment and connect with people within surrogacy communities, but be careful as some organisations have very strict guidelines about who you may contact and how. Contacting a surrogate for help can lead you to getting banned from some organisations. Always make sure you read community guidelines before joining a group. No time spent connecting with people you don't know even on social media is wasted. You can be raising your profile in the surrogacy world whilst you are also applying for membership to an organisation, getting tests results done or contacting clinics to make embryos.
4) If you are opting for a GS journey, contact clinics
Book clinic open evenings
At the same time as steps 2, 3 and 4 you can be connecting with IVF clinics and decideing which one you would like to work with to create embryos.
Factors affecting your choice of clinic include:
3) Friendliness and openness
4) Experience with surrogacy / dedicated surrogacy programs.
5) Success rates (live birth rates with surrogates)