Illinois Surrogacy Process
Everything You Need to Know
Your guide to understanding the Illinois surrogacy process, whether you want to become a parent via surrogacy, or you want to become a surrogate in IL.
The surrogacy process in Illinois can seem complex, but the following guide can help intended parents and surrogates understand more about how to achieve their IL surrogacy goals legally, ethically and with as little stress as possible.
Surrogacy is an amazing way for people to come together and grow families. This guide can help you start your own Illinois surrogacy journey:
The Illinois Surrogacy Process
Illinois is regarded as one of the most surrogacy-friendly states in the U.S. But even with a relatively simple surrogacy process in Illinois, you should always approach your surrogacy decision carefully and with great thought. Here are the six standards steps of surrogacy in IL:
Step 1: Commit to Surrogacy
Spend some time reflecting on the legal, emotional and physical processes of surrogacy in Illinois and how these processes may affect you and your family — whether you’re an intended parent or potential surrogate.
Illinois surrogacy requires you to commit to about a year-long process, and of course it’s a major decision for both parties.
Surrogates will want to consider the ways in which committing to the process will affect your time, emotions, body, career and family. Intended parents will want to compare the different family-building options to the Illinois surrogacy process and consider how surrogacy will affect them mentally, emotionally and financially.
Both surrogates and intended parents should always be clear and honest about their motivations for pursuing surrogacy in Illinois.
Step 2: Decide Your Type of Surrogacy and Your Surrogacy Professional
Once you’ve decided that surrogacy is right for you, you’ll want to learn more about the two types of surrogacy:
- Traditional surrogacy: Not a very common method, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the child she carries. She uses her own egg and sperm from either a donor or an intended father, which is fertilized through intrauterine insemination. This type of surrogacy is not specifically covered under the Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act, and carries additional legal and emotional risks.
- Gestational surrogacy: The most preferred method. A gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child she gives birth to, as she carries a transferred embryo created through in vitro fertilization using egg and sperm from donors or intended parents. This type of surrogacy is legal and protected under the Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act.
It’s always recommended that surrogates and intended parents work with an Illinois surrogacy professional, so you may want to choose a surrogacy professional to complete your IL surrogacy process next. There are two types you can choose from:
- A surrogacy agency: Provides screening, matching, counseling and case management services, in addition to connecting clients to fertility clinics and legal representation. A kind of “one-stop shop” for the Illinois surrogacy process.
- A surrogacy attorney: Completes the legal steps of surrogacy in IL. Does not usually match surrogates and intended parents. Can sometimes connect clients to other services that they’re unable to provide.
Step 3: Match With Your Surrogacy Partner
You’re not restricted to matching with intended parents or surrogates in Illinois. Many matches occur across state lines, and the intended parent/surrogate relationship is just as successful.
A surrogacy agency can help you find a match for your surrogacy journey if you aren’t already matched. Agencies screen potential matches for you and pair you with potential matches who share similar surrogacy goals as your own.
Searching for a match on your own without the protection of a professional, whether that’s online or through personal connections, should always be approached with caution, as you’ll be responsible for vetting matches yourself. Pursuing surrogacy independently puts you at risk for fraud, so exercise your best judgment.
Not sure what you’re looking for in a potential match? Consulting an IL surrogacy professional can help you to learn more about what to look for and how to find the right match for you.
Step 4: The Legal Process for Surrogacy in Illinois
The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act carefully regulates gestational surrogacy within the state, so the process is relatively straightforward for both surrogates and intended parents. For example, no court action is needed for the intended parents to be listed on the birth certificate of the child as long as all the necessary certifications are completed prior to the child’s birth.
However, both parties will still need to be individually represented by surrogacy attorneys for the legal steps of the Illinois surrogacy process. This ensures that everyone’s interests are fairly represented during the drafting of the legal surrogacy contracts, which cover everything from compensation to communication between the surrogate and intended parents. Surrogacy attorneys will make sure that everything is completed in accordance with the Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act and that everyone’s legal rights are protected.
Creating your surrogacy contracts will occur after you’ve found a match and before you begin the medical process.
Step 5: The Medical Process of Surrogacy in IL
A prospective surrogate must meet a number of health requirements and screening processes in order to become a surrogate, although the specifics of the requirements vary slightly depending on the professional you work with. Gestational surrogates in Illinois will receive fertility medications and hormones leading up to embryo transfer, which typically occurs at the intended parent’s preferred fertility clinic.
Embryos are then transferred to the gestational surrogate’s uterus after being created in a lab through in vitro fertilization using eggs and sperm from donors or intended parents. Multiple cycles of transfers may be needed until a healthy pregnancy is confirmed by a doctor, at which point surrogates can begin receiving base compensation and a monthly allowance, which is legal in Illinois.
Then, the surrogate can see her own OB for regular prenatal checkups as the pregnancy progresses. During the next few months, surrogates and intended parents often communicate to whatever extent both parties feel comfortable with about the baby’s growth and about their own emotions throughout the Illinois surrogacy process, so that they can share in the experience together and support one another.
Step 6: Welcome the Baby Together
Many intended parents and surrogates don’t live within the same city or even the same state, so intended parents will travel to be with their surrogate once she goes into labor. The birth of a baby through Illinois surrogacy is a unique experience, and it’s one that intended parents and surrogates can support each other throughout!
Often times, surrogates and intended parents will keep in touch even after their surrogacy journey has come to an end. Surrogacy in IL creates a special bond, and some families like to stay connected. You can always ask your surrogacy professional to help facilitate your post-surrogacy relationship or for any additional support that you might need.
Whether you want to become a surrogate in Illinois and help people to become parents, or you want to grow your own family through surrogacy in Illinois, the process of surrogacy in IL is an amazing one. Contact an Illinois surrogacy professional now to learn more.