Hatch Fertility Blog

How International Surrogacy Works: A Step by Step Guide

Hatch Fertility
Written by Hatch Fertility

Whether navigating embryo creation, parental establishment, or local laws and regulations, there are several steps along an international surrogacy journey that need to be addressed. With a list full of to-do’s, many intended parents can easily become overwhelmed, though we are here to assure intended parents that growing a family of their own is possible (even internationally). We are equipped with one of the most experienced teams to help. With our own in-house IVF clinic, Pacific Fertility Center LA (PFCLA), we are innovators and front-runners in egg donation and surrogacy for international IPs.

In this article, we cover how international surrogacy works from initial consultation to returning back to your home country. Continue reading to discover what to expect throughout the following steps:

  • Initial consultation
  • Consulting with an IVF physician
  • Donor matching and/or embryo creation
  • Surrogate matching
  • Legal agreements
  • Embryo transfer
  • Pregnancy
  • Travel for delivery
  • Establishing parentage
  • Traveling home

International Egg Donation & Surrogacy: The Process From Consultation to Returning Home

At Hatch, we believe intended parents should feel confident in their chosen agency. We are the longest established agency of its kind (est.1991), responsible for over 3,300 happy healthy births, across 52+ countries. Our processes have been refined over 30 years to best inclusively make families possible, for people of all walks of life.

Initial Consultation

First things first, we invite intended parents to book an initial consultation, which is cost-free and facilitated online. Upon initial consultation, our specialists (all experienced intended parents via egg donation and/or surrogacy) will work with the IPs to uncover their needs – and explain how the family building journey can be facilitated from their location, as well as if there are any particular considerations for the IPs based on their location (logistical, legal etc). After determining the family-building needs, the specialist will explain the options available based on the IPs situation.

Consulting an IVF Physician

IPs will be guided to consult an IVF Physician of their choice, before moving forward with a treatment plan. Learning more about the physicians’ background is a good way to make a decision of who you want to partner with moving forward. 

Donor Match and/or Embryo Creation

If the IPs are using their own eggs, the intended mother will need to visit the U.S. for an egg retrieval procedure. If using donor eggs, IPs will need to match with the desired egg donor. The donor selection as well as matching procedure can be done remotely, by reviewing and choosing a donor listed in a donor database.

Hatch is proud to facilitate access to the largest fresh egg donor database in the nation and the top 5% of egg donors. Hatch also medically tests the fertility of most of their egg donors before they are added to the database, giving intended parents peace of mind. IPs in need of an egg donor will be assigned an egg donor coordinator as part of their care team, ensuring that they have the support they need for a smooth process.

Whether the sperm is of a donor or intended parent, in most cases, sperm can be shipped internationally.

Once the required specimens are collected, embryos can be created. The embryo creation process contains more or fewer steps depending on the IPs desires. Our team can help facilitate guidance as these elements develop.

Matching With a Gestational Carrier

If seeking a surrogate, IPs will work closely with their care team to match with the best surrogate based on their preferences. We value our rigorous surrogate screening process for the safety and well-being of all parties involved.

Our matching process is based on the following criteria:

  • Social fit 
  • Medical fit
  • Legal fit 
  • Financial fit

On average, our intended parents wait 10 months to be matched vs. 13-18 months with other comparable agencies. Get started with an application to find a surrogate.

Legal Agreements

For intended parents, it is crucial to ensure that the process of drafting agreements and establishing parental rights is handled correctly and efficiently. After matching with a surrogate, and when the surrogate is medically cleared, the intended parents will receive legal counsel to draft necessary agreements. At Hatch, we work with the best reproductive and family law attorneys to ensure that each journey runs smoothly. 

Embryo Transfer

Now is the time for embryo transfer! Although international IPs are not expected to be present during the embryo transfer, those who are willing can! It is a great opportunity to meet your surrogate in person. Participating via an online call is a great alternative method of being present and involved.

Confirmation of Pregnancy

After the embryo transfer, pregnancy is confirmed via a blood test at a recommended time advised by the intended parent’s reproductive endocrinologist. The pregnancy test is not conducted immediately after transfer to give the intended mother or gestational carrier ample time to produce detectable pregnancy hormones in the body. Congratulations to having made this milestone on your journey!

Travel for Delivery

At this stage, intended parents are preparing for the final and most exciting phase of their third-party reproductive journey: delivering a happy, healthy baby. IPs are expected to be in the surrogate’s state 2-4 weeks before the birth of their child.

Establishing Parental Rights

While nearing the end of the journey, the IPs lawyer and supporting agency must establish legal parental rights. After the birth, IPs will work with legal representation to establish parentage in the county where the child was born (surrogates typically give birth near where they live). After this has been established, parents can apply for a U.S. birth certificate for the child, as well as a U.S. passport if they wish. Hatch will ensure that international IPs that need a U.S. passport to travel home receive the support and guidance they need.

Every child born in the United States becomes a U.S. citizen by birth. An IPs child might or might not become a citizen of their home country through parentage; it varies from country to country. Citizenship should be discussed further with legal counsel. Hatch can refer highly experienced legal professionals to international IPs.

Traveling Home

Finally, the time has come to bask in the joys of having a newborn and travel home. Some IPs choose to apply for a U.S. passport and return via this method (Hatch will guide and support international IPs through this process with an experienced agent). In contrast, others apply for a visa/temporary travel document at their home country's local consulate/embassy.

Meet Edvin, International Manager & Father Through Surrogacy

Edvin, International Manager & Father Through SurrogacyIf you are looking to pursue international family-building, we invite international IPs to book an initial consultation with Edvin. Edvin is the International Manager at Hatch Egg Donation & Surrogacy and the in-house IVF clinic at Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles. He is also a father through surrogacy and egg donation and is passionate about sharing his experiences with others pursuing the same path to parenthood. Having personal experience utilizing Hatch and PFCLA to build his dream family, Edvin joined the team in 2021 and now shares his knowledge and international perspective with other international IPs.

“As my 3-year-old daughter and newborn son was born through surrogacy and IVF in the US while I was residing abroad in Europe and China, I experienced all aspects of being an international intended parent—both positive and challenging. I’ve been in your shoes and understand how daunting—but also rewarding—it can be to initiate a surrogacy journey in the United States when living outside the country. That’s why I’m available to share my insights and experiences. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about being an international intended parent or book a consultation to learn how Hatch and PFCLA can provide the expertise you need to build your family. I can’t wait to hear from you.”

Book a Consultation With Edvin