How can I become a surrogate mother? Learn about the surrogacy process step-by-step and decide if surrogacy is right option for you
Becoming a surrogate mother is a unique rewarding experience. When you choose to become a surrogate, you are helping lucky some intended parents bring their child into the world and make their parenthood dream come true.
If you are considering giving the gift of parenthood as a surrogate, the first two questions that will pop up in your mind are: Why being a surrogate? and, how to become a surrogate mother?
Here you can find answers to those common questions prospective surrogate mothers have about how the surrogacy process works when they begin their research.
Why becoming a surrogate?
Women choose to become a surrogate mother for different motives. Some of them have a personal connection to infertility problems and believe it would be amazing to help people become parents. Others, love being pregnant but they feel their family is complete. Also, there are women who want to give one of the greatest gifts anyone can ever give. And there are those who decide to follow this path because it’s an extraordinary teaching opportunity for their own children… As you can see, there are many reasons to be a surrogate.
Whatever your reason or motivation for being a surrogate mother is, before moving forward, you need to seriously consider if surrogacy is right for you. Being a gestational/traditional surrogate is a life changing decision that won’t only affect you, but your family and the hopeful intended parents; therefore you need to be 100% committed with the process and consider all potential issues prior to making the decision to move forward.
Before starting, educate yourself with as much information as you can, speak with a fertility attorney to learn about surrogacy laws in your state/province and/or get in contact with a reputable surrogacy professional to better understand the surrogacy process. Also, there are a lot of helpful resources online and you also can speak with former surrogate mothers to learn about their life changing experiences.
You can find more info about the surrogacy process and to how to be a surrogate mother in the following video:
Is surrogacy right for you?
At this early stage of the surrogacy process, you need to understand if surrogacy is right for you, because the surrogacy journey can be a very challenging one and you need to be ready.
There are several topics you should carefully and thoughtfully consider before making your decision of being a surrogate mother.
- Why do you want to become a gestational/traditional surrogate? What are your personal motivations?
- Are you ready to fully commit to the surrogacy process?
- Do you meet the surrogate mother requirements? Are you in good physical health? Do you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 19 and 35 (Ideally lower than 33)? You need to know that a BMI lower than 19 or above 35 increases the time to conception and this means energy, time and emotional exhaustion for you and the IPs – Calculate Your Body Mass Index
- Do you have any health problem that might hamper you from carrying a healthy baby to term?
- Did you have any major complications from previous pregnancies and deliveries?
- Is it easy for you to conceive? Have you ever received fertility treatment in an effort to become pregnant?
- Do you smoke? Do you use illegal drugs? Do you drink alcohol?
Your Support network
- Do you have a strong support system (husband, family and friends, other surrogates, etc.)?
- If you are married, does your husband support your wish to become a surrogate mother?
- If you are not married, do you have a person who will support you during the surrogacy journey?
- Do your children, if they are old enough to understand surrogacy, support your idea to be a surrogate?
- How will you feel if your decision to be a surrogate mother is criticized by other people?
- Do you live in a surrogate-friendly country/state/province?
- Are you confident that you are able to give away a child that you will bear for 9 months?
- If you are pursuing traditional surrogacy, you will be genetically linked with the baby. Do you think you would be able to give up the baby?
- Would there be any problems within your marriage or relationship caused by the surrogacy process?
- Would your family and friends agree with your decision to become a surrogate mother?
Your Medical Concerns
- If you were to become a surrogate mother, will you be ready for the medically invasive techniques, injections and repeated blood-work?
- If you were to become a gestational surrogate would you be willing to carry twins? and triplets?
- How would you feel if bed rest is recommended by your doctor?
Your Ethical Concerns
- If it was found out that the baby you carry has a physical defect, how will you feel about terminating the pregnancy? Would you be willing to have an abortion if the intended parents request so?
- If you become pregnant with multiples, how would you feel about selective reduction?
- What if the intended parents get divorced during the process.
Pursuing surrogacy sometimes can be overwhelming, however many women will accept these challenges and believe the pros far outweigh the cons of being a surrogate mother.
How to become a surrogate mother?
If after going through all these points, you are not 100% sure about being a surrogate mother or you need more information before making your decision, get in contact with a surrogacy agency and/or fertility attorney to learn more about the surrogacy process.
Once you decide to commit to surrogacy and being a surrogate mother, it would be important to set your goals and needs for the surrogacy journey and decide if you want to work with any surrogacy specialist / agency.
One of the first decisions to make is the type of surrogacy you are interested in: traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. As you probably already know, gestational surrogate mothers don’t have any genetic connection with the baby they carry. On the contrary, traditional surrogate mothers are both gestational carriers and genetic contributors for the baby they will carry. From a legal point of view, gestational surrogacy is less complex due to the absence of a genetic connection between the baby and the surrogate mother. Therefore, gestational surrogacy is the preferred choice over traditional surrogacy today.
Next step is to decide if you are going to look for prospective parents on your own or you are going to use a surrogacy agency to assist. Perhaps you already decided who your IP’s will be and you want to help a friend or a family member.
If you chose to work with an agency to find your intended parents, all aspects of the surrogacy process (matching, medical and psychological screening, legal paperwork, appointments, travels and reimbursements) normally will be managed by them, and this can be of great support. Also you can find intended parents through surrogate classifieds.
After potentially finding the intended parents to work with (whether you will pursue surrogacy with an agency or independently) you need to interview each other to check if you are a good match for the surrogacy journey. You and your intended parents need to be aligned with the major considerations of surrogacy.
It is suggested (if possible) meeting your intended parents (and their family) in person. If you choose to move forward and be a gestational surrogate for international intended parents try to e-meet them through Skype or other online applications. It’s important for you to arrange a meeting (or e-meeting by Skype, Facebook messenger or Whatsapp) before a making final decision to get to know them and ensure you share the same principles and ideas about surrogacy.
There are some questions you should ask your potential intended parents before moving forward with a match:
- Where are you from?
- Where were you born?
- What is your occupation?
- Where did you meet?
- How long have you been together?
- What is your marital status?
- Do you have any children?
- Do you have any step children?
- What is your educational background?
- Describe your personalities.
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you have a faith or religious affiliation?
- How would you describe your place of residence?
- Are your parents alive? Their age?
- How many siblings do you have? Their age?
- Is your family aware that you want to become a surrogate mother? If not, are you considering to tell them?
- Are you willing to provide a criminal background check if requested?
- Have you ever been under psychological care?
- Why are you looking for a surrogate?
- Have you ever been in a surrogacy process before?
- How long have you been pursuing/ researching surrogacy?
- What characteristics are most important to you in a surrogate?
- What type of relationship would you like with your surrogate?
- How involved do you want to be during the pregnancy process? Do you want to attend doctor’s appointments? Would you only like to attend the ultrasounds?
- Do you hope to be present at the birth of your child?
- Would you like to film/photograph the birth?
- Would you want your surrogate mother to pump breast milk for the baby?
- Contact after the birth: What amount of contact do you wish to have with the surrogate once your child is born?
- How many embryos do you foresee implanting during each transfer?
- What are your feelings on becoming the parents of twins or triplets?
- Under what conditions would you want to terminate a pregnancy?
- In the event the surrogate becomes pregnant with twins, triplets or greater, would you support a selective reduction?
- What are your feelings about abortion if it was found that the baby has congenital defects?
- Would you be willing to have an amniocentesis and/or other invasive diagnostic testing to check for birth defects, if they were recommended by the Obstetrician?
- Do you have a support system in place for surrogacy problems you may be having during this journey?
- If a Cesarean Section was recommended, would you agree with the decision of your surrogate mother to include her husband/spouse/partner in the room instead of you (the intended parents)?
- Do you know about the costs related with surrogacy and surrogate motherhood?
- Are you in a comfortable economical position which allows you to support all those costs?
- As a sibling project, would you be interested in doing a new surrogacy journey in the coming years?
What to expect after the match?
While every surrogacy experience is different, there are some common things you can expect after the match.
Before the pregnancy
After the match and before beginning with the medical and psychological screening, you should get in contact with a lawyer specializing in reproductive law. Normally the legal agreement between you and the intended parents will be signed after your medical screening. In the legal agreement all the financial topics of the surrogacy process should be included.
The medical screening varies depending on the fertility clinic but normally include: Vaginal ultrasound, Physical and pap smear, Hysteroscopy, blood test and medical instruction regarding the IVF procedure, medications and embryo transfer. If you pass your medical screening and psychological assessment the next step will be to start with the IVF cycle and …. The pregnancy!
During the pregnancy
During the pregnancy, you will receive prenatal care as you would receive with any other pregnancy. However, a surrogacy pregnancy can be emotionally more challenging than others for you but also for the intended parents, here are two things you can do to make your pregnancy easier for everyone involved.
Normalize your pregnancy condition. There will probably be some awkward situations when people ask you about your pregnancy or they congratulate you on. Perhaps, you won´t be sure what to say, so it’s important that you prepare in advance to address these comments and feel comfortable talking about why you are being a surrogate mother and how is your surrogacy journey.
Understand that it is normal to have difficult feelings. No matter how comfortable you are with this amazing journey, you may have confusing feelings about your pregnancy at times. This is due to hormones, so it´s not under your control and there is nothing you can do. If you ever have these hard feelings, it is important to share them with your husband, partner or friends, this will help you. You can also reach out to online surrogacy support groups or read surrogate mothers blogs, such as:
These webs are just two suggestions from the hundreds available. Each blog has a different perspective on the surrogacy journey and it’s worth your time to visit some o them to get a better understanding about the surrogacy journey.
After the Pregnancy
Most surrogate mothers are joyful for the intended parents when the baby is born. However, every surrogate is different, and some women may struggle emotionally, in large part due to the hormones. You have prepared for this time of transition and you should be able to readjust quite quickly. But there is no shame in reaching out for help if you think you need it.
In this post we tried to answer the questions about why and how to be a surrogate mother, and review all the points you should consider before moving forward. However, what it is like to be a surrogate will be different for each woman based on their personal experience with pregnancy, their connection with the prospective parents and the preparation they put into their. Remember that being a surrogate mother is a decision that can change your life, but thanks to your generosity and kindness it can also change the life of some lucky intended parents forever.
How to become a surrogate mother? If you meet the requirements to become a surrogate mother and are prepared to commit to the legal and medical procedures, you are ready to join My Surrogate Mom community.