What Is Nodal? Everything We Know About the New Surrogacy Platform

surrogacy
Hugo Abad | Getty
Hugo Abad | Getty

While surrogacy has become increasingly accepted over the past several years, with it being portrayed in movies like "Baby Mama" with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and openly discussed by celebrities who've used the arrangement such as Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, it's still often seen as a relatively inaccessible option for people hoping to be parents. The method, which involves one person carrying and delivering a child on behalf of another couple or person, is costly, for one. And it can be hard to how know someone would even go about finding a surrogate. But now there's a platform that's working toward closing this gap.

Nodal is a website that connects potential surrogates with intended parents. Similar to the dating app Bumble, it lets surrogates make the first move when matching with hopeful parents. It also provides access to educational resources and tools for support throughout the process.

Surrogacy is legal in all states except for Nebraska, Louisiana, and Michigan, but many other states have various legal hurdles people interested in surrogacy will need to contend with. It's also often stigmatized. Chopra, for instance, was accused of "outsourcing" her pregnancy.

But Nodal is working to change that stigma. Here's everything we know about this unique platform.

What Is Nodal?

Nodal is an online platform that works alongside surrogacy agencies and assisted reproductive attorneys to connect prescreened surrogates with intended parents. It is strictly a matching program and doesn't handle case management. But the company's website claims that Nodal can match surrogates and intended parents within weeks of joining the app.

Nodal only works with gestational surrogacy, which is when one person carries a pregnancy for the intended parents but doesn't provide the egg themselves. Instead, the intended parent provides the embryos, which are then transferred to the surrogate via in vitro fertilization.

How Does Nodal Work?

For Intended Parents

To become a member as a prospective parent, you'd apply and then interview with a Nodal staff member. Once you've passed the identity and background check, you set up a profile that's not dissimilar to a dating app's. This profile is what surrogates will review to begin the matching process.

If a surrogate "swipes right" on you and you accept their invitation, the two parties meet, usually for a call. If it's a match and both sides agree to move forward, Nodal helps you to the next step in your journey by providing legal resources, educational tools, and nurse practitioner support.

The app recommends joining only after you're already working with a fertility clinic or you're on the path to creating embryos.

For Surrogates

The journey for surrogates also starts with an application to review your background, health, and motivations that is then screened by an expert. In addition to an identity and background check, the app asks you to release your medical records to review any pertinent health information. Once that goes through, you'll have a chance to create a profile detailing your preferences when working with intended parents. From there, you review intended parents' profiles and have a chance to swipe right first. If intended parents you indicate you like accept your invitation to match, you can connect directly.

That said, Nodal does list requirements for its surrogates. You can only sign up if:

  • You're 21 to 43 years old
  • You've experienced at least one successful pregnancy, with no complications
  • You're currently parenting at least one of those children
  • You have a BMI of less than 32
  • You do not smoke or use drugs
  • You do not financially rely on government assistance in any form
  • You live in a surrogacy-friendly state
  • You have a reliable personal support system
  • You can travel to appointments independently

Worth noting: most agencies that work to connect intended parents with surrogates have very similar health, financial, and lifestyle requirements. The health and lifestyle requirements are largely intended to ensure the surrogate is able to get pregnant and carry a healthy pregnancy to term. The financial requirements are in place because compensation received from surrogacy could disqualify the surrogate from receiving further government assistance, according to Family Source Consultants.

How Much Does Nodal Cost?

For Intended Parents

There is no application fee, and intended parents won't be charged until they've passed the screening process. After that, Nodal operates on a subscription model. The fee is $500 a month for a 12-month membership, and your fee payments ultimately go toward your overall match fee. If you match, you'll be charged $7,500 (minus the monthly payments you've made so far), and you'll no longer be charged the monthly subscription fee.

So for example, if you were on the app for three months before finding the perfect surrogate, your match fee would be $6,000 — $7,500 minus the $1,500 you already paid in monthly fees. You can cancel at any time, and if you reach 12 months with no match, you'll just be charged the subscription fee (unless you opt out).

For Surrogates

Joining Nodal as a surrogate is free.