Surrogacy is quite challenging, a realization that first emerges when trying to find a suitable surrogate. Intended parents go through profiles of potential surrogates, and work with them to attempt to build a sustainable relationship.
This can be a tedious process, as explored in this article.
Difficulties finding the right match
Many intended parents are often ill-informed on how to find a surrogate mother on their own, and they often turn to the internet and surrogacy agencies to solve this problem. The challenge emerges when attempting to pick out a suitable surrogate from a pool of candidates.
When working with a surrogacy agency, parents are presented with loads of profiles to browse through and find their ideal choice. This can prove troublesome because intended parents may not find multiple desirable qualities in a single individual, making their consideration process longer.
Also, when intended parents make their eventual choice, the surrogates themselves have to agree to the match. They get a chance to browse the profile of intended parents and choose whether to proceed with them or not.
Intended parents may choose a surrogate who does not share their opinions about attributes such as race, culture, and other factors. This increases the chances of intended parents having to consider several surrogacy candidates so that they end up with a match with whom they are on the same page about many things.
Some of these factors include:
- The level of communication desired during and after the surrogacy journey,
- Physical location and willingness to commute,
- The number of embryos meant to be transferred
- Views on termination and selective reduction.
These are serious issues that mostly relate to personal preferences, culture, and individual beliefs.
At its core, surrogacy is a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, and getting the right match should feel like a good fit. Intended parents and potential surrogates alike are drawn to people with whom they feel a relatively easy connection.
If the involved parties are not on the same page, it cannot be viewed as a good match since the incompatibility is likely to affect the support and understanding that defines a surrogacy journey.
Disqualification during screening
Many intended parents often turn to their personal networks to identify someone who can serve as a surrogate. This is a good alternative to working with surrogacy agencies in terms of saving some costs associated with using professional services.
However, many of the individuals identified may be unable to meet some requirements for surrogacy. Potential surrogates are expected to be within a certain age, to have at least one child of their own, to meet psychological and physiological health screening, and to be free of drug use.
Potential surrogates are also tested to ensure immunity from some illnesses such as measles and chicken pox. Some medical professionals advise additional medical procedures to ensuire suitability. One such example is an examination that allows the uterus to be visually mapped for the potential to carry a healthy pregnancy.
Many family members may not meet these requirements, thus making them improper matches for intended parents, making the search more nuanced and complex.
Even when working with an agency, many of the women who apply to be a surrogate fail to pass all screening processes. They may have some challenges in their medical evaluations, background checks, and home visits, resulting from a change in circumstances from the time they initially applied.
Finding a Surrogate Mom: Expenses and effort spent
Finding a surrogate becomes significantly more difficult after any failed attempts at matching. Intended parents may spend a lot of time and effort to identify an individual who later turns out to be an unsuitable match.
This may render intended parents incapable of starting the process over again, considering that a compensation package for surrogates is still expected of them.
This challenge became more pronounced after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It caused the compensation package for surrogates to become bigger. The compensation package for surrogate mothers before the pandemic was around $35,000, and wait times for intended parents to find a match ranged between 3 to 6 months.
Currently, many intended parents offer nearly $50,000 in addition to medical fees, transportation costs, and maternity clothing among other compensation.
Wait times are also significantly longer since there are health and safety protocols in place limiting long-distance travel and in-person meetings.
Another complication brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic is the phenomenon of vaccination. Intended parents and potential surrogates who have opposing views on vaccination may fail to agree, despite being on the same page about nearly everything else surrounding the surrogacy journey.
Many intended parents want their surrogates vaccinated. On the other hand, many potential surrogates are against vaccination because they view that the vaccine may negatively affect their fertility and future pregnancy.
Furthermore, potential surrogates have been struggling with the pandemic like everyone else. Therefore, potential surrogates may be reluctant to make any long-term commitments during this time, choosing instead to attend to other aspects of their lives that would not allow them to meet the threshold for surrogacy.
Surrogacy contracts dictate a commitment of 9 months or more, depending on how the conception and embryo transfer are managed. This time commitment limits travel, disposable income and creates logistical challenges at a time when people are doing a lot more than usual to bring in regular income and take care of their families.
Much like everything else in life, surrogacy has its ups and downs. Finding a suitable surrogate is a challenge that many intended parents undergo. However, it is a worthwhile experience since the result will be a valuable addition to the lives of parents and their families. To learn from the experiences of others, reach out to members of our surrogacy community.