Your guide to surrogacy during the COVID-19 era

Family Makers Surrogacy understands that you may have numerous questions or concerns about starting your surrogacy journey during the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. This is an uncertain time in our country’s history and Family Makers is continuing to support surrogates and Intended Parents during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Is a COVID-19 vaccine required to become a surrogate with Family Makers?

All surrogate candidates must get the COVID-19 vaccine, and boosters when eligible. The ACOG (American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) strongly recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine before pregnancy. There is an increased risk of becoming ill, death of the surrogate and experiencing pregnancy complications from the Delta variant of COVID including an increased miscarriage rate of 25%. Family Makers feels strongly that it is important to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to best protect the health of the unborn child, and the surrogate.

All surrogate candidates must get the COVID-19 vaccine, and boosters when eligible. The ACOG (American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) strongly recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine before pregnancy. There is an increased risk of becoming ill, death of the surrogate and experiencing pregnancy complications from the Delta variant of COVID including an increased miscarriage rate of 25%. Family Makers feels strongly that it is important to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to best protect the health of the unborn child, and the surrogate.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination safe if I am pregnant or planning to become a surrogate?

The CDC, ASRM and the American Gynecological and Obstetric Society all recommend women receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they are considering becoming pregnant or are currently pregnant.

It is important to that prospective surrogates listen to reliable COVID-19 vaccine information. There are no clinical data to suggest that pregnant women taking the COVID- 19 vaccine are at greater risk than the general population, including surrogates who might be worried about its safety or side effect.

The COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna do not contain the live virus, thus significantly lowering the risk of complications during pregnancy; COVID-19 vaccines work at the genetic level and do not contain live virus. Vaccines are unquestionably a personal choice, but they’re clearly worth taking for pregnant women who are at a higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Can I still apply to be a surrogate with Family Makers Surrogacy during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Yes! Since the surrogacy process takes time and prospective surrogates can complete their surrogate application whenever they feel ready to move forward, even during the COVID-19 Outbreak. A Case Manager will reach out to you within 24 hours (often much less!) once your application is received to go over the next steps in the surrogacy process.

Can I still be matched with Intended Parents during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Absolutely, you can still begin your surrogate journey and the surrogacy matching process. There are always Intended Parents waiting to be matched and waiting for the dream of becoming parents to come true. The average time you can expect to have a match meeting with Intended Parents about 4-6 weeks after you complete your application.

Has COVID-19 affected the screening process for surrogates with Family Makers?

Family Makers’ surrogacy program has always been done via virtual meetings with each gestational surrogate candidate. You will meet with a Case Manager to review your application by phone within 24 hours, and have a video meeting with our Agency Director as part of your surrogacy journey with Family Makers. All intake paperwork is also reviewed, signed and completed virtually. If there were ever a travel ban in place, it would not affect the screening process with Family Makers directly. There is no need to travel to our offices, or for one of our Case Managers to visit your home in person during the screening process. Potential surrogates may need to travel to the IVF clinic for the clinic screening visit, and then again for the embryo transfer. All current COVID-19 guidelines would be followed during that time, along side clinic guidelines.

Is it safe to travel during COVID-19?

travel during surrogacy covid-19

Family Makers requires all surrogates follow CDC guidelines whenever traveling for clinic screening appointments and IVF transfer including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing. In addition, IVF clinics may have additional guidelines that must be followed. Your Case Manager, along with the IVF Clinic and Intended Parents will go over all guidelines that must be followed for travel during the coronavirus pandemic. Many IVF Clinics have allowed for local monitoring during the pandemic to decrease the number of times a surrogate must travel to the clinic.

We don’t recommend traveling during the surrogacy process because of the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, if you must travel, we suggest limiting your travel to domestic flights. Intended parents and surrogates can schedule regular virtual meetings so they don’t need to meet face-to-face. The relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents is important, and Zoom meetings or FaceTime conversations can help create a strong bond.

What are the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy and for newborns?

The CDC says that women are at an increased risk for severe illness compared to women who are not pregnant.

The CDC recommends pregnant women take precautions to limit their potential COVID-19 exposure to coronavirus including:

Limit interactions with people who may have been exposed to COVID-19

  • Follow social distancing guidelines
  • Wear a mask when in public
  • Practice frequent hand washing
  • Clean surfaces you touch often with soap and water
  • Become vaccinated for COVID-19, including the booster

Much is still unknown regarding coronavirus and newborns however, the CDC does state the following regarding COVID-19 and newborns:

  • COVID-19 is uncommon in newborns born to women who had COVID-19 during pregnancy.
  • Some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. It is unknown if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth.
  • Most newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe COVID-19 illness.

What resources are available for information on COVID-19 updates?

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

COVID-19 and your mental health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

RESOLVE COVID-19 Support and Resource Center

World Health Organization (WHO)

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART)

It is important to speak with your Case Manager, Intended Parents and medical professionals during the surrogacy process to understand all of the information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as it becomes available. Planning for surrogacy can certainly have it’s own challenges and relying on the knowledge of your team will best support you during these uncertain times.

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