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Couples who choose to have a baby through surrogacy often wonder how long the process takes. After all, they are longing to hold the newborn in their arms and can’t wait to welcome the child into their home. From application to childbirth, the surrogacy process takes about a year and a half. Here’s an outline of the surrogacy timeline:

Initial steps: 30 – 60 days

The first step in surrogacy is the application and consultation. The intended parents complete an application which is reviewed by the agency and followed up by a consultation to discuss their requirements in depth and answer any questions. The staff of the agency will aim to establish a strong relationship with the intended parents so that they will be able to provide the best service specific to their needs.

Finding the right match: 30 – 120 days

The agency will provide the intended parents with profiles of surrogates to review. After the parents choose a surrogate from a set of profiles, the agency will send the profile of the future parents to the surrogate for review. As soon as there’s a match the agency will facilitate a meeting where the parents and surrogate get to talk and learn more about each other. A team member of the agency mediates the meeting.

The matching process can take a short or long time, depending on a variety of factors. Some parents reach an agreement after the very first meeting. Others need more meetings to find the perfect match. In such cases, it may take longer to move to the next stage of the surrogacy process.

Surrogate screening and legal process: 45 – 60 days

After deciding whom they want to move forward with, the parents give the green light to the agency. Following the surrogate visits a doctor and undergoes tests to establish if she can carry a child. The potential surrogate goes through a physical and psychological screening. This is to make sure that she is fully able to follow through with the surrogacy.

At this point the surrogate reviews the contract with a lawyer. It is important for her to understand her rights as a surrogate mother. At the same time the intended parents will verify and sign their contract.

The IVF procedure: 60 – 90 days

Now, the fertility clinic begins the actual pregnancy process using the In Vitro Fertilization procedure. A cycle of IVF takes a little over a month. To prepare her body for the pregnancy, the surrogate has to take medications. Once a fertility doctor implants the embryos, it takes about 15 days to get the first results. Generally, the IVF treatment succeeds with the first attempt.. If the surrogate doesn’t get pregnant the first time, doctors may suggest to implant an embryo once again.

Pregnancy: 240 – 280 days

If the embryo implantation is successful, the surrogate gets pregnant. Finally, it is time to say congratulations! Healthy babies may be born at any time between seven and eight months after the date of the IVF implant.

Usually around 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy, the intended parents attorney will start the process of the pre-birth order, which establishes legal parentage for their child.

Apart from the steps mentioned here, surrogacy involves some smaller milestones. As every case is unique, it is difficult to predict the exact duration of a full surrogacy journey. But in general, it is safe to say that the surrogacy process takes about 15 to 18 months to complete.