Becoming an Independent Surrogate: A 10-Step Guide

Starting a journey as an independent surrogate is a big decision, especially in private surrogacy. This guide helps you navigate the steps and decide if it’s right for you. From early considerations to helping a family achieve their dreams, we’ll explore this unique path together.

1- Choosing Private Surrogacy

This step goes beyond deciding to become an independent surrogate. Research and ensure compassionate surrogacy aligns with your expectations. You can start by:

  1. Online Resources: Explore reputable surrogacy websites, forums, and social media groups. Engage with experienced surrogates and intended parents to gain insights into the journey.
  2. Consulting Experts: Contact surrogacy agencies or legal professionals specializing in surrogacy. They can provide valuable guidance and answer your questions.

Additionally, consider that surrogacy is a significant time commitment, requiring at least nine months to carry the child. It can also be physically and emotionally taxing due to hormonal changes. Ensure you’re prepared for this journey.

becoming a private surrogate

2- Consult Your Physician

Once you have decided that becoming a private surrogate is something that you are interested in doing, you need to make sure that your body can handle the procedure. Here’s what to consider:

Physical Evaluation: Visit your healthcare provider to assess your overall health. They will review your medical history, perform necessary tests, and offer guidance.

Understanding the Process: Recognize that surrogacy involves more than a single embryo implantation. It requires careful management of your reproductive cycle and body.

Moreover, familiarize yourself with surrogacy qualifications to ensure you meet the criteria.

3- Decide What You Will or Will Not Accept

While you will only negotiate contracts or fees once you find the intended parents, you will have to think about points of negotiation and what you can allow. For example, if you have beliefs about termination that you will not compromise, be upfront with your intended parents and let them know. For some carriers, they will terminate a pregnancy for reasons of health only. Other carriers may be willing to do what the intended parents desire.

You also need to consider your base rate, other fees you want to be paid during your journey, and how long you will pump breast milk after the birth. These questions may seem odd questions when you do not even have an intended parent in mind, but it’s better to think about them now than at the last minute.

4- Find Your Intended Parents

While finding intended parents may be easier with the best agency, it is not impossible to do independently. Many websites and social media groups may match intended parents and potential gestational carriers. For example, MySurrogateMom has a classified section for egg donors, potential gestational carriers, and intended parents.

Sometimes, fertility clinics may even refer former surrogates to new parents for another journey if she was a good patient in the past.

5- Create an independent surrogate Contract

When drafting a private surrogacy contract, ensure that your surrogacy attorney and the prospective parents’ attorney are different. No one wants a conflict of interest to skew the agreement one way or the other.

If the intended parents and surrogate cannot agree on the terms of the surrogacy, then it is an excellent time to find out and part ways before the pregnancy. There’s no shame in that.

Gestational carriers and intended parents sometimes spend years looking for the right match. Agencies can make this process simpler for some people because they have experience working with these contracts. That is one of the reasons to use an agency.

In Canada, compassionate surrogates cannot be paid for carrying a baby. Intended parents can only reimburse surrogates for medical expenses and other pregnancy-related expenses and necessities. That means that surrogacy in Canada must be primarily for altruistic reasons.

6- Complete Medical Screenings

Independent surrogates must be in prime physical health. While you will not contribute genetically, you will provide a space for safe growth during the nine-month pregnancy. You should be in good physical condition and meet some surrogate qualifications. You do not need to be in perfect health. Still, you need to be able to safely carry the baby to term and handle the provided treatments and fertility medications.

independent surrogate mother

7- Begin Preparing Medically for the Transfer

You will need to be ready to be pregnant. You will be prescribed various medications to coordinate your cycle with the egg donor’s or intended mother’s cycle. This medication will ensure that your uterus is prepared for embryo transfer when the time comes, maximizing your chances of a successful pregnancy with only one transfer.

8- Complete the Embryo Transfer

This step is where you will get pregnant with someone else’s child. You will have a specified number of embryos transferred at one time. A few weeks later, you will beta test (a series of pregnancy tests from home marked with the days past implantation) to ensure you are still pregnant. This two-week waiting period can be some of the most challenging times of the entire process. You are committed to carrying a baby but do not know if the implantation has worked yet.

9- Experience a Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery

If all goes as planned, you will now be in the midst of a healthy pregnancy and will have a healthy delivery. Chances are that the intended parents will want to be at your medical appointments or want updates after they occur. This journey is theirs, too. You will become familiar with the intended parents on levels you did not imagine.

10- Help a Family Become Whole

Once you have delivered the baby, you will see a family become what they have always desired. This moment can be one of the most rewarding of all of your lives. Cherish this moment!

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Final Thoughts

While this guide lays out a solid foundation for independent surrogacy, remember that your journey is uniquely yours as an independent surrogate. Embrace the freedom to shape it to align with your values and desires, ensuring your private surrogacy experience is as unique as you’ve envisioned. 

Your path, your choices, your surrogacy story.

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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.

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