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Surrogacy FAQs

We’re here to help answer all your questions about surrogacy.

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3200 East Guasti Road, Suite 100, Ontario, CA 91761

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General Surrogacy FAQs

How do surrogates become pregnant?

Surrogates become pregnant through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the genetic material chosen by the intended parents. The embryos are then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus through a simple medical procedure.

If the implantation is successful, the surrogate will become pregnant and carry the intended parents’ child through gestation until birth. At no point does the surrogate donate any of her own eggs.

Our medical team is highly experienced in managing every step of the IVF process for optimal success.

What is a surrogate?

A surrogate is someone who carries and gives birth to a baby for another person. There are two main kinds of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. A traditional surrogate is biologically related to the child(ren) she carries, whereas a gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child. At Joy of Life, we exclusively work with gestational surrogates.

Gestational surrogacy involves in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos from the egg and sperm chosen by the intended parent(s). Many intended parents choose to use their own genetic material, meaning their child will be biologically related to them, while others may choose to use a donor egg or sperm.

These embryos are then transferred into the surrogate’s womb, where she nurtures the pregnancy until birth.

Why would you want to be a surrogate mother?

Being a surrogate mother gives you the rewarding opportunity to assist the intended parent(s) in bringing a child into their lives. Any reliable surrogacy agency will ensure compensation for and health monitoring of the surrogate mother, giving a much-needed sense of relief to each surrogate.

Are the baby and the surrogate related?

At Joy of Life, we only work with gestational surrogacies, where the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she carries. Gestational surrogacy involves implanting an embryo created from the genetic material chosen by the intended parents via IVF into the surrogate’s uterus.

This means the surrogate provides the womb environment to nurture the pregnancy, but she does not contribute any genetic material.

What are the requirements for becoming a surrogate?

Ideal candidates for surrogacy with Joy of Life are women who:

  • Have a heart for helping others build their families
  • Are a U.S citizen or a U.S. permanent resident
  • Are between 21 – 38 years old
  • Have a good pregnancy history
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 30
  • Lead a healthy and stable lifestyle
  • Are a non-smoker and non drug-user
  • Have good physical and mental health
  • Have no more than two c-sections or 5 deliveries
  • Agree to psychological, drug and criminal screening
  • Live in the Surrogacy permitted states or proceed with caution states that we’ve listed here.

Learn more about requirements to become a surrogate.

At Joy of Life, we care deeply about helping families grow and thrive. Our goal is for every surrogate to have a healthy, safe pregnancy and delivery.

If you are interested in potentially becoming a surrogate, we welcome you to start today by filling out our online application.

Is surrogacy legal in every state?

Surrogacy laws can vary widely depending on the state you live in. While many states fully allow surrogacy contracts and procedures, some states only permit surrogacy under certain restrictions or ban it entirely.

Our legal team stays up-to-date on all state legislation so we can guide intended parents and surrogates through the process seamlessly. We require surrogates to live in one of the “surrogacy permitted” or “proceed with caution” states.


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Am I mentally and emotionally prepared?

The surrogacy journey comes with a rollercoaster of emotions. It requires commitment and responsibility and many surrogate mothers voice their concerns about whether they will, understandably, become attached to the baby. Having an awareness of what surrogacy can emotionally entail is essential.

Am I healthy enough?

While the emotional side of surrogacy is important, so is your physical wellbeing. To become a surrogate mother, you must be in a good health and have delivered healthy pregnancies with at least one child.

Consider how healthy your lifestyle is. Do you smoke, regularly drink alcohol or take drugs? A surrogate mother must be as healthy as possible to ensure the best chance of a safe pregnancy and delivery.

Am I okay with going through extensive background checks?

Extensive background checks and psychological screenings need to be done before surrogacy. You need to be honest when you apply and make sure you are comfortable with people learning about your past.

FAQs for Surrogate Applicants

Becoming a Surrogate

How do I apply to become a surrogate?

If you feel called to become a surrogate, we’re excited to guide you through the application process!

First, review the requirements for surrogates on our website to confirm your eligibility. When you’re ready, complete our online application.

After submitting your application, one of our team members will reach out to go over next steps regarding background checks, medical records and an interview.

Once approved, we’ll begin the matching process to help you choose your ideal match. We’re committed to making the application process smooth and supportive from start to finish.

How long does it take to become a surrogate?

The timeline to become a surrogate varies, but typically the embryo transfer will most likely happen about three months after you meet your intended parents.

  • It takes about two weeks to get your medical and psychological screening results back.
  • It will take another two to three weeks to go through legal processes.
  • Once you are cleared to begin your IVF Transfer Cycle, it will take another three to four weeks to build your uterus lining.

During this waiting period, we will help you build a strong bond and get ready to start this wonderful journey!

Do potential surrogates have to disclose medical records?

Yes, potential surrogates are required to disclose their medical records. This is an essential step in the surrogacy process as it ensures the health and safety of both the surrogate and the baby. It allows both the agency and potential intended parents to have a clear understanding of the surrogate’s medical history, including previous pregnancies and any potential health risks. This transparency is crucial to establish trust and ensure a successful surrogacy journey.

If I have difficulty becoming pregnant, can I still become a surrogate?

It depends. While fertility challenges can be a complex issue, they don’t automatically rule out the possibility of becoming a surrogate. If your difficulties are due to factors unrelated to your overall health or the wellbeing of your uterus, you might still be an excellent candidate for surrogacy. However, if the challenges stem from recurrent pregnancy losses or serious pregnancy complications, we need to consider your safety and the baby’s.

At Joy of Life, we prioritize everyone’s health and well-being. We’ll guide you through a comprehensive medical evaluation to ensure that your surrogacy journey can be both successful and safe.

If I've had a miscarriage previously, can I still become a surrogate?

Experiencing a miscarriage doesn’t automatically prevent you from becoming a surrogate. Miscarriages can occur due to a variety of reasons, many of which may not impact future pregnancies. As long as the miscarriage wasn’t a result of an ongoing health condition or an issue with the uterine environment, and you’ve had successful, full-term pregnancies, you could still be a potential candidate for surrogacy. Each situation is unique and will be thoroughly reviewed by our medical team at Joy of Life to ensure the safety and health of everyone involved in the surrogacy journey.

If I’ve had a high-risk pregnancy, can I still become a surrogate?

Having had a high-risk pregnancy doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from becoming a surrogate, but it does raise some considerations. Certain high-risk conditions from prior pregnancies, like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, might affect your eligibility.

At Joy of Life, our medical partners strive to ensure the safest possible journey for both our surrogate mothers and intended parents. We evaluate each potential surrogate’s medical history individually to minimize risks and foster a healthy, successful pregnancy.

If I’ve previously given birth via C-section, can I still become a surrogate?

Having a history of C-section deliveries does not automatically exclude you from becoming a surrogate mother. In fact, many surrogates have successfully given birth via C-section. However, to ensure the health and safety of both you and the intended baby, most physicians prefer that potential surrogates have had no more than two C-sections. At Joy of Life, your well-being is our priority, and all medical considerations will be thoroughly assessed during your screening process.

Can I become a surrogate if my tubes have been tied?

Absolutely! The fact that your tubes are tied won’t affect your ability to become a surrogate. This is because surrogacy involves in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a process where an embryo is created in a lab and then directly transferred to your uterus. So, a previous tubal ligation—having your tubes tied—won’t interfere with your journey as a surrogate.

Can I become a surrogate if I’ve previously had an abortion?

Having had a previous abortion doesn’t necessarily preclude you from becoming a surrogate. The key factor we consider is the long-term health of your uterus. As long as your past abortion hasn’t had any lasting impact on your uterine lining, you could still be eligible to become a surrogate.

As part of the surrogacy process at Joy of Life, a thorough medical screening is carried out to check the health of your uterus, including any possible issues with your uterine lining. We always prioritize the health and safety of our surrogate mothers and the future babies they carry.

Can I become a surrogate mother if I’m receiving public aid, such as food stamps?

While we truly value and appreciate the willingness to help others on their journey to parenthood, it’s important to note that Joy of Life cannot accept surrogate applicants who are currently receiving public assistance, such as food stamps. We want to ensure that our surrogates are financially stable prior to the surrogacy process, as it’s vital to the overall health and well-being of the surrogate. We believe that surrogacy compensation should be viewed as a way to enhance one’s life rather than being a necessity for daily living expenses.

Can I be a surrogate if I’m married/in a relationship/single?

Whether you’re married, in a relationship or single, we welcome you with open arms! However, we do ask that you share your current marital status with your Joy of Life team, as it may have an impact on certain contracts during the legal processes associated with surrogacy. Transparency is key, and we’re committed to guiding you every step of the way while prioritizing your best interests.

What’s the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy?

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are fertilized by the intended father or donor’s sperm, making the surrogate genetically related to the baby. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a medical procedure that transfers the sperm of the intended father directly into the uterus of the surrogate mother.

In gestational surrogacy, an egg donor’s eggs will be used to create the embryo. In this situation, the surrogate doesn’t have any genetic relationship with the baby and is just considered the “birth mother.” The fertilized embryo is implanted through in-vitro fertilization.

I'm considering becoming a surrogate. What surrogacy programs near me can help?

Our experienced team offers thorough support, from answering your initial questions to providing personalized care throughout your surrogacy journey. We believe in fostering a vibrant surrogate community by organizing events to encourage strong bonds among our surrogates and families. Learn more about becoming a surrogate with Joy of Life®.

The Surrogacy Process

What is the process of surrogacy?

The surrogacy journey at Joy of Life involves three phases:

Phase One: Preparation

  1. Complete an online application
  2. Interview with Joy of Life
  3. Review intended parents’ profiles
  4. Meet with intended parents
  5. Complete a Medical Screening
  6. Complete a Psychological Evaluation
  7. Contract review with your attorney
  8. Contract signing/notarizing

Phase Two: Transfer Cycle with IVF Clinic

  1. Start building the uterus lining
  2. Embryo transfer
  3. HCG test
  4. Heartbeat ultrasound

Phase Three: Waiting for The Baby to Arrive

  1. Transfer to a regular OB doctor (approximately nine to ten weeks after embryo transfer)
  2. Regular OB appointment
  3. Due date!

Learn more about the Joy of Life surrogacy process.

What kind of injections do I need to take during the IVF process?

The specific injection protocol will depend on what your doctor recommends is ideal for your body and the pregnancy. Some protocols involve frequent injections, while others may not require any.

If injections are needed, our qualified nursing staff will provide detailed training on how to properly administer them yourself. We will ensure you feel completely confident and comfortable with the process.

How long do I need to wait to be matched?

We strive to match surrogates with intended parents as quickly as possible. Once you pass the interview process and receive confirmation from our team, the matching process typically takes around one month.

What are my responsibilities as a surrogate?

During your journey with us, we ask that you refrain from smoking, alcohol, caffeine and any drug use. This helps ensure the safety of you and the child(ren).

We partner with nutritionists who will work closely with each surrogate to offer customized advice, providing organic foods and supplements. We want to nourish you with the best care possible.

Your surrogacy coordinator will outline and explain specific expectations like doctor’s appointments, etc. Reach out to them for more information about what you need to do.

We appreciate our surrogates’ commitment to a healthy pregnancy and provide ongoing support to help you fulfill this important responsibility.

Are there any mental health services provided post-partum?

Absolutely! At Joy of Life, we understand that the post-partum period can be a profound time of transition. We believe in nurturing the emotional well-being of our surrogates throughout their entire journey, including after delivery.

Should you need it, we’ll gladly connect you with compassionate therapists and counselors who specialize in postpartum support to ensure you feel heard, understood and cared for.

How many times can I be a surrogate?

Many women choose to take part in multiple surrogacy journeys if cleared by their doctor. Return surrogates earn more than first-time surrogates, and many return families will request to work with the same surrogate when they’re ready to welcome an additional child into their families.


Per American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines, it’s recommended surrogates have no more than five total pregnancies and no more than three c-sections, including pregnancies/c-sections unrelated to surrogacy.

Is housing provided for surrogates during the duration of their pregnancy?

No. In the United States, it’s not common practice for surrogacy agencies to offer housing for surrogates throughout their pregnancy. At Joy of Life, our philosophy is rooted in fostering an environment where our surrogates can continue to thrive in their own homes, maintain their routines and enjoy their everyday life. Our surrogates are not just participants in a program — they are individuals with their own vibrant lives, and we respect and uphold that at all times.

Do you understand what’s involved in the process?

How much do you know about surrogacy? There are a lot of stages involved in the surrogacy process, from the intense screening and matching with intended parents to fertility treatment and the physical pregnancy and delivery itself. Make sure you understand the entire process before embarking on your surrogacy journey.

Surrogate Mother Compensation & Finances

How much does a surrogate make?

Surrogates mothers with Joy of Life are supported financially throughout their journey with us. Compensation ranges from $55,000 to $85,000 or more. Factors that may affect a surrogate’s total compensation include:

  • Number of babies carried
  • The number of prior surrogacy experiences
  • If the surrogate has a c-section
  • Where the surrogate lives

We know this is a big decision with a significant commitment. Our surrogate coordinator will happily provide a free quote and explain any potential compensation.

Is my compensation guaranteed?

Yes. Your compensation will be clearly outlined in your surrogacy benefit packet so you know exactly what to expect. We want to ensure complete transparency and avoid any surprises. We will also provide monthly tracking so you can see payments coming in on schedule.

Do I need to pay for anything?

No. We want to ensure finances never stand in the way of your incredible gift of surrogacy. You will not need to pay for anything out-of-pocket without reimbursement.

All expenses pertaining to and accrued prior to signing contracts are reimbursable. Once contracts have been signed, your intended parents cover any remaining costs with the compensation outlined in your surrogacy contract.

On top of base compensation, we provide generous bonuses and reimbursements to support you fully:

  • Travel reimbursements (mileage, meals, hotels, flights)
  • Coverage for unexpected expenses (wage loss, childcare)
  • Compensation if unable to complete the journey due to circumstances beyond your control
  • And more!

We also host retreats and gatherings to show our deep appreciation. We are your support group and will stand by your side, ensuring you feel secure and valued.

Learn more about compensation.

How are my medical bills paid?

At Joy of Life, your financial wellbeing is as important to us as your physical and emotional health. You can submit your medical bills directly to us for payment or, if you prefer, you can pay out of pocket first and then receive a prompt reimbursement from your dedicated escrow account. Rest assured, our mission is to make sure you never have to worry about managing or carrying the burden of unpaid bills.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account is a third-party account used in transactions to secure and manage funds until specific conditions are met. In the context of surrogacy, it’s used to hold the funds that are intended for the surrogate mother.

At the start of the surrogacy agreement, the intended parents deposit the agreed-upon funds into the escrow account. This money will cover the surrogate’s compensation and other agreed-upon expenses related to the surrogacy journey.

The use of an escrow account provides protection and peace of mind for all parties involved. For the surrogate, it ensures that the funds for her compensation are secured before the process begins. For the intended parents, it guarantees that the money will only be released when specific conditions, as stated in the contract, are met.

Do I need to have health insurance? / What happens if I lose my health insurance during the surrogate pregnancy?

Health insurance is a critical component of the surrogacy journey. If a surrogate has an existing health insurance policy that adequately covers surrogacy-related medical expenses, and she is comfortable with the intended parents utilizing it, such a policy can be utilized.

It’s important to note that the intended parents are fully aware of and prepared to shoulder the responsibility of securing additional coverage or specific surrogacy insurance policies, if necessary. In the event that a surrogate loses her health insurance during the surrogate pregnancy, she should contact her support team at Joy of Life.

FAQs for Intended Parents

How much does surrogacy cost for the intended parent(s)?

We recommend intended parents budget between $130,000 to $140,000 total for their surrogacy journey. This includes attorney fees, insurance, agency fees, surrogate compensation and other related expenses.

The total cost varies based on your unique circumstances. Factors like having twins, working with an experienced surrogate, using an egg donor and extra medical care can increase the overall price.

Will I meet our surrogate?

Whether or not you will meet your surrogate depends on the preferences of all parties involved. Some surrogates and intended parents value meeting in person early on to establish a connection. Others feel more comfortable limiting in-person interactions.

We encourage an open dialogue to determine what feels right for you and the surrogate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The most important thing is that everyone is on the same page and comfortable with the agreed upon level of contact.

We aim to make this journey rewarding for surrogates and intended parents alike. Your comfort and happiness is our top priority.

How often should I be in touch with the surrogate?

The frequency of contact can be customized based on what makes all parties feel comfortable. Some surrogates and intended parents communicate regularly throughout the journey. Others prefer less frequent contact mediated through our agency. There is no right or wrong – it all depends on your unique preferences and relationship.

With decades of experience, our team excels at facilitating a positive relationship between surrogates and intended parents.

What will happen after the surrogate gives birth to the child(ren)?

After the birth, the intended parents will take their baby home and begin their life together as a family. Some surrogates choose to pump and provide breast milk for the baby. Depending on your mutual agreement, we can facilitate photo exchanges, video chat or even reunions parties down the road if desired.

Our goal is to create the most meaningful, supportive post-birth experience for both intended parents and surrogates. We want everyone to feel a lasting connection and take pride in the incredible journey.

Can same-sex parents use surrogacy services in California?

Yes! Under California law, the process of using a surrogacy service for same-sex couples is very similar to the process for heteronormative couples. Learn more about surrogacy services for same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Can single parents use surrogacy services in California?

Yes, single individuals, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation, can pursue parenthood through surrogacy in California. Our team is happy to answer any additional questions you may have about using surrogacy as a single parent.

Learn About Joy of Life

Why choose Joy of Life Surrogacy?

At Joy of Life, we prioritize your happiness and well-being every step of the way. We offer competitive and transparent compensation, ensuring your dedication is recognized and rewarded fairly. Our professional coordinators are always accessible and ready to provide unwavering support throughout your journey. With easy and organized schedules, you can confidently navigate the surrogacy process.

Our high satisfaction rate reflects our commitment to excellence. Our relationship with you doesn’t end after the journey concludes; we are always here to listen and ready to help. We cherish the connections we make and hope to maintain a lifelong friendship with you.

What support does Joy of Life provide to surrogate mothers?

We are fully committed to supporting our surrogate mothers every step of the journey with comprehensive emotional, financial and medical assistance.

From matching through post-delivery, our team provides 24/7 guidance and assistance to ensure you feel completely cared for. We host retreats and events to build community and show our gratitude.

Financially, all expenses are covered so you have no out-of-pocket costs. We provide generous compensation, bonuses and reimbursements for travel, childcare and other needs.

Medically, we have an experienced staff to monitor your health and answer any questions. You will have access to the highest quality doctors, nutritionists, psychologists and other specialists.

We also offer life insurance, ongoing counseling and post-birth support based on your preferences. Our goal is for you to feel cherished for your profound gift.

Learn more about surrogate mother benefits.

Does Joy of Life offer its services to families outside of California?

Yes, Joy of Life assists families both nationally and internationally. We are dedicated to helping families achieve their dreams of parenthood, regardless of their location, as long as surrogacy is not prohibited in your state. We have a strong presence in California, Oregon and Nevada but work with surrogates and families from all across the nation.