FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) For Those Using a Gestational Carrier (GC) or Surrogate

If your family planning goals involve using a gestational carrier (GC) or Surrogate, there are a few more steps to becoming parents. Listed below is a discussion about the extra steps followed by a few Frequently Asked Questions.

What additional regulations are there for surrogacy?

When a GC/surrogate is used in a fertility procedure, the sperm sample is considered “donated tissue” by the FDA. This means that the male going through our program is regarded as a “tissue donor” as if he were donating a kidney and is subject to additional FDA regulations.

What exactly does it mean to be a “tissue donor”?

The FDA requires that all tissue samples (sperm samples) be collected within seven days of a very specific bloodwork panel. This leaves a window of two weeks, seven days before and after the bloodwork, in which all samples must be collected to be considered useable in a fertility procedure. Additional planning is required to make sure that you can be available to collect three samples coordinated with the bloodwork.

Where can I get the specialized FDA bloodwork testing done?

Our lab will draw and process this bloodwork at our facility in Boston, sending it to a specific laboratory approved by the FDA for this panel. Because we have to ship the bloodwork, collections can only be done Monday-Thursday. This means that men planning to use a GC/Surrogate must come to Boston for a consultation and stay a few extra days to complete semen collections and bloodwork.

Can I get the bloodwork done elsewhere?

If you have an alternative, requests may be made to Dr. Kiessling about the bloodwork during your initial consultation.

Do I have to collect three semen samples?

This is ultimately up to you. We recommend collecting three samples because if one tests positive, you will have two matched to the bloodwork. Suppose you only collect two and one tests positive. In that case, you will have to repeat the bloodwork and sample collection since we require a minimum of two “undetectable” samples to move forward with a fertility procedure.

What are the chances of one sample testing positive?

Bedford Research has found that an average of 15% of semen samples from men with an undetectable amount of virus in their blood test positive for HIV. Please see the “HIV in Blood and Semen” page for more information.

Do I have to come to Boston for my consultation?

Yes, all intended parents planning on using a GC/Surrogate and their partners must meet with Dr. Kiessling in person, regardless if their sperm will be used for the procedure.

I am not from the United States. Do these regulations still apply to me?

The FDA regulations apply to everyone using a GC/Surrogate regardless of their citizenship or nationality. For international clients, scheduling a week to be in Boston with the SPAR coordinator has often worked best. During this week, you can have the consultation and collect three semen samples matched to the bloodwork.

I am traveling from another country. Does my partner have to come with me?

We must meet with both intended parents even if one partner is not going to be donating his sperm. This may be done at the same consultation appointment, or you may book separate consultations. Separate consultations will incur an additional consultation fee. Because of the personal nature of the consultation and the problems with internet connectivity and communication, Dr. Kiessling does not hold consultations over the phone or via Skype.

Do I need to have a surrogate, surrogacy agency, or fertility clinic before my consultation?

It is not a requirement to have any of these before your appointment.

Does my surrogate need a consultation?

Yes, your surrogate will require a phone consultation with Dr. Kiessling before any fertility procedures. This consultation is included in your SPAR program fees.

To request an information pack, begin to schedule a consultation, please Request a SPAR Consultation. If you have any additional questions, please email the SPAR coordinator at spar@bedfordresearch.org or call 617-623-7447.