Nothing Traditional About Traditional Surrogacy

Do you have a fear about exactly what it takes for a traditional surrogate to become pregnant? Don’t worry, it has absolutely nothing to do with swapping partners.

There might be some confusion amongst people unfamiliar with surrogacy regarding exactly how it works. Some people may assume that the intended father must physically impregnate the surrogate mother. Well, let me tell you – that is not the case. I have been a surrogate mother three times and my husband and I have had to field many questions about it. We have even been asked straight out if my husband had to “share me” with another man.

Although the question strikes me as amusing, I realize that it is probably a common misconception, especially for those who do not follow the current trends in science and medicine. I have, therefore, decided to take some time to disabuse people of some of the rumors that are floating out there about surrogacy.

To begin with, there are two forms of surrogacy – traditional and gestational. I have gone the gestational route for each of mine. Gestational surrogacy is one in which the surrogate has no biological link whatsoever to the child that they are carrying.

Essentially, the surrogate becomes pregnant via an IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment. This is a medical procedure through which eggs are retrieved from the mother’s (or a donor’s) ovaries and fertilized with sperm from the intended father in a petri dish. The embryo is then implanted into the womb of the surrogate. If a pregnancy is achieved, the surrogate carries the child until term and, upon birth, it is give to its intended parents. The surrogate has no legal claims on the child since they share no biological makeup.

On the other hand, with a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is actually the biological mother of the child she is carrying. This may sound as though there must have been something risque going on, but that is not the case.

The intended father goes to a clinic to make a sperm deposit. This is then placed in the surrogate’s uterus or cervix during her ovulation. If pregnancy is achieved, the surrogate would sign over her parental rights to the intended parents. In fact, this process is viewed much like an adoption.

Let me clarify that there is no sexual contact whatsoever between the surrogate and anyone else in the partnership. In fact, the surrogate can be clear across the country from the intended parents.

But I can definitely understand why people would find this confusing. Maybe I should think before I speak the next time I feel the need to inform my friends and family that I am leaving my husband at home with the kids to go get pregnant in Vegas (where my fertility clinic is located).

Does Medicaid Cover Surrogacy?

Wondering if you can use Medicaid or some other form of government assistance to cover the costs of surrogacy? Read on to find out.

Many potential surrogates are excited by the idea of their surrogate pregnancy costs being offset by Medicaid or another form of government assistance. After all, maternity health insurance is not exactly cheap. Having financial assistance can save a lot of money – thousands, even.

So the question is: can a surrogate mother use government assistance to cover the costs of surrogacy. The answer is, incontrovertibly, no.

It is not the government’s responsibility to aid intended parents with the costs associated with surrogacy, including but not limited to IVF treatments. This should not be a burden that other taxpayers should have to bear.

Although the surrogate mother may qualify for government assistance, the child that she is carrying does not. The child belongs to the intended parents and the intended parents are highly unlikely to qualify for this type of assistance.

Let me put it bluntly – it is fraud and is a punishable crime. The punishment could involve heavy fines as well as jail time for both the surrogate and the intended parents.

In fact, many surrogacy clinics will refuse to work with surrogates who receive government assistance as a precautionary measure against this type of fraud (or even accusations of it). They also avoid working with surrogates who receive government assistance because the surrogate may actually need the compensation, but they realize that the possibility exists that compensation may not be received – which would leave her worse off. Add to this the stigma that surrogacy is a way to exploit the poor and most surrogacy agencies just wish to steer clear of the possible controversy.

If a surrogate is in a financial situation that requires government assistance, she should not consider surrogacy as an option at the time. If, during the course of the surrogacy, her situation changes and she cannot afford proper nutrition, the financial responsibility should fall to the intended parents. However, under no circumstances should government assistance be used to help offset the costs of surrogacy. It might help right now, but you are setting yourself up for big trouble in the future.

Pros and Cons to Independent Surrogacy

When making the choice to enter into a surrogacy relationship (either as a surrogate mother or an intended parent), one critical decision you will have to make is whether to conduct your surrogacy matching through an agency or whether to do so through independent matching. Surrogacy matching is a very important step in this process and should not be taken lightly. Read on to learn about some of the pros and cons of independent surrogacy arrangements.

Independent Matching Pro #1: It is free
Unlike the high costs of surrogacy agencies, independent surrogacy arrangements can be made for free. Many intended parents choose this method for that reason alone.

Independent Matching Pro #2: You can find traditional surrogates
A traditional surrogate is one that becomes pregnant via artificial insemination as opposed to IVF treatments. Most agencies will only work with those who do IVF treatments, so if your preference is to work with a traditional surrogate mother, perhaps independent surrogacy arrangements are the best option for you.

Independent Matching Pro #3:  Compensation is negotiable
With many agencies, their compensation rules may be strict. This does not allow for any compromises to be made between the surrogate mother and the intended parents. If the ability to negotiate your contract is important to you, independent matching is probably going to be the better option.

Independent Matching Pro #4: There aren’t any rules set in stone
With surrogacy agencies, they may have other strict rules concerning age, weight, and other characteristics of the surrogate mother. If, however, these things are of little concern to you and want a larger pool of potential surrogate mothers to choose from, the independent route would be best.

Independent Matching Con #1: There would be no escrow agent
In independent surrogacy arrangements, there is not going to be a third party that handles all financial transactions. This can be risky business and open yourself up to possible legal disputes. Without a surrogacy agency, you will have to find a third party do serve in this role.

Independent Matching Con #2: You will have to conduct your own background check
While this is a part of the services provided by surrogacy agencies, if you go the independent route, you will have to procure a background check yourself. Either that or forego one altogether (which is not recommended).

Independent Matching Con #3: You will need to set p all appointments and travel arrangements
Whereas a surrogacy agency would handle all of this (something that is of great benefit to first-timers) if you go the independent route, you will be left to make all of these arrangements on your own, which can be stressful and overwhelming.

No two surrogacy journeys will be the same. Therefore, there is no right or wrong answer as to which option would be best for you. It simply boils down to what is best for you.

Pros and Cons to a Surrogacy Agency

If you have considered pursuing surrogacy as an option for bringing a child into this world –whether you are planning to be the surrogate mother or the intended parents, one of the first decisions you will have to make will be whether you will go through a surrogate agent or whether you will take the independent route. First of all, let me say that there is correct answer to this question. Which option you choose is the one that you feel best meets your unique needs. Read on to learn about some of the pros and cons to working with a surrogacy agency.

Pro #1: Surrogacy agencies will handle the matching for you.
One of the primary tasks of a surrogacy agency is to ensure that they find the best possible match between the surrogates and the intended parents. This process, when navigated independently, can be very arduous and overwhelming. By working with a surrogacy agency, you would not have to dedicate as much time and energy to this task.

Pro #2: Surrogacy agencies are highly experienced
Surrogacy can be a stressful thing to go through, especially for first-timers. By working with an experienced surrogacy agency, you get the opportunity to benefit from their experience – whether you are the surrogate mother or the intended parents.

Pro #3: Surrogacy agencies will handle setting up appointments
The vast amounts of paperwork, testing, and appointments required for a surrogacy can be overwhelming. If you work with a surrogacy agency, they help you with all of that. This is likely to at least reduce your stress levels and give you more confidence that things are being done properly.

Pro #4: The surrogacy agencies will handle all discussions about compensation
Let’s face it, talking about money can be an uncomfortable thing. Especially in a surrogacy situation. By having the surrogacy agency serve as a mediator in these discussions, you are likely to come to a reasonable decision with your surrogate partner and establish a surrogacy contract that everyone can live with.

Pro #5: The surrogacy agencies would take care of escrow
In surrogacy situations, it is often beneficial and wise to have a third party to handle all of the financial transactions. This is where surrogacy agencies come into play. They would be the ones that take care of all payments, as well as any necessary reimbursements.

Con #1: Surrogacy agencies are pricey
If you are going to pursue this option, be prepared to spend thousands of dollars. When added to the cost of the surrogacy itself, this price tag may be more than many people can afford.

Con #2: Surrogacy agencies have strict policies.
Be sure that the policies of the surrogacy agency are ones that you can live with. Do not expect for them to be open for negotiation. If you are against a policy, you should probably consider a different option.

Con #3: Some surrogacy agencies prove to be biased
Whether it is intentional or not, some surrogacy agencies may operate based on a bias. They may side with either the intended parents (who are the ones with the money) or with the surrogate mother (especially if the owner has served as a surrogate mother).

When it comes to surrogacy, every one’s journey is unique. As I said before, there is no right or wrong choice.

Will Herpes disqualify you from becoming a surrogate?

Having been a surrogate mother three times, written extensively about the process, and being a friend to many in the surrogacy community, this question is not new to me. The fact of the matter is that herpes is a common occurrence and having herpes will not mean that you have no chance at pursuing your chance at being a surrogate mother with herpes.


All surrogacy clinics require for gestational surrogacy candidates to undergo both psychological and physical testing before they can be approved for surrogacy. This includes STD testing for both the candidate and her partner (if any).

Although some clinics will disqualify you for a positive STD test, not all will. The issue with Herpes in pregnancy is that it can be transmitted to the baby as it exits the birth canal. However, one easy solution to this problem is to agree to have the child delivered via caesarean section as opposed to having a vaginal birth. Eliminate the vaginal delivery and you eliminate the risk of the child being infected.


The best thing for you to do if you do have Herpes is to be honest and open about it up front. Let the clinic know before they even test you. Also be sure to disclose this information to the intended parent during the matching process. The reason is pretty simple: if you are found to have an STD during the testing process and it is revealed that you knew beforehand, that will give people at the surrogacy agency and other intended parents reason not to trust you. Secondly, if it turns out that your STD status does disqualify you, it is best for that to be discovered sooner rather than later, to prevent time and money from being wasted.  Last, but certainly not least, STDs are not an issue to be skirted over as they can pose a serious health threat to the child. Herpes in pregnancy (if not detected) can result in serious and permanent damage to the child


Herpes is typically the only STD for which exceptions might be made, since Herpes in pregnancy is only a threat to the child during  vaginal births as opposed to other STDs which can be passed on to the baby in vitro. However, do not be surprised or take offense if your Herpes status does disqualify you from the process. Intended parents are typically very cautious when it comes to their journey to parenthood, and so they may be very hesitant about such things as Herpes. However, there are those who understand that the risk to the baby can be eliminated and are willing to proceed by working with a surrogate mother with herpes. Good luck!