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Building a family through assisted reproductive technology (ART) with methods such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and gestational surrogacy comes with its own unique set of protocols - especially for international intended parents.
Whether navigating embryo creation, parental establishment, or local laws and regulations, there are several steps along this 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.
In this article, we cover third-party fertility services that stretch far beyond the borders of the United States - what to expect and how at Hatch, we safely guide international intended parents through the journey to parenthood.
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.
First things first, we invite intended parents to book an initial consultation. Upon initial consultation, our specialists work with intended parents to uncover their needs. After determining the family-building needs, we explain the options available based on the intended parent's situation.
Once the initial consultation is complete, intended parents are assigned a care team. This team is responsible for following the entire journey while providing guidance and support every step of the way. Intended parents meet their care team via a virtual meeting.
Whether the sperm is of a donor or intended parent, in most cases, sperm can be shipped internationally. If using intended parent eggs, the intended mother will need to visit the United States for an egg retrieval procedure. If using donor eggs, intended parents will need to match with the desired egg donor. Hatch is proud to facilitate access to the largest fresh egg donor database in the nation and check with 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.
Once the required specimens are collected, embryos can be created. The embryo creation process contains more or fewer steps depending on the intended parent’s desires. Our team can help facilitate guidance as these elements develop.
Eggs and embryos created internationally to use a surrogate in the United States can not enter the United States without the proper medical testing and screening at an FDA-certified clinic abroad. There are very few such clinics. Intended parents in this situation are advised to travel to the United States for the medical treatment to retrieve such eggs and create embryos. If there was no such intention at the stage of creation, it is possible to work with a clinic to ship such specimens.
If seeking a surrogate, intended parents 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:
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 here.
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.
Now is the time for embryo transfer! Although not all international intended parents will need to visit for this procedure, those carrying the pregnancy will. Embryo transfers are the final stage of an IVF cycle. The transfer is simply the process of transferring an embryo created into the uterus of the intended mother or gestational carrier.
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.
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.
While nearing the end of the journey, the intended parent’s lawyer and supporting agency must establish legal parental rights. After the birth, intended parents 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.
Every child born in the United States becomes a U.S. citizen by birth. An intended parent’s 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.
Finally, the time has come to bask in the joys of having a newborn and travel home. Some intended parents choose to apply for a U.S. passport with a U.S. birth certificate and return via this method. In contrast, others apply for a visa at their home country's local consulate/embassy.
If you are looking to pursue international family-building, we invite intended parents 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, egg donation, and IVF and is passionate about sharing his experiences with others pursuing the same path to parenthood. Having personal experience utilizing the in-house clinics' excellent services, Edvin joined the team in 2021 and now shares his knowledge and European perspective with other international intended parents.
“As my 1.5-year-old daughter was born through surrogacy and IVF in the US while I was a Swedish citizen living in Europe, 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 can provide the expertise you need to build your family. I can’t wait to hear from you.”
For over 30 years, the intended parents have been coming to Hatch. We are the most established egg donor and surrogacy agency in the country, and the families we work with receive complete guidance through their journeys. Most of our team members are former surrogates, egg donors, or intended parents, so they understand this journey better than most. Our unique Peace of Mind Program covers everything intended parents need, with no surprises, for medical and non-medical expenses.
We believe having a family is a human right and will serve people regardless of their walk of life. Our egg donation and surrogacy services are available to people of every orientation—heterosexual couples, gay partners, single men and women, married or not. We’ve helped make dreams come true for intended parents from every continent (except Antarctica).
Our goal is to make families possible inclusively. Here are some of our highlights:
If you’d like to get to know us more, we offer in-person and virtual events throughout the year to provide resources and education about third-party reproduction. Get a chance to ask questions and learn from experienced parents, egg donors, and surrogates.