Surrogacy is an arrangement where a viable and healthy woman uses her womb to conceive and carry a baby to term on behalf of another person. In this situation, intended parents are the people that use surrogate mothers to add to their families.
Surrogacy can occur either traditionally where the surrogate mother’s eggs are inseminated with an intended father’s sperm, or it can occur in the form of gestational surrogacy.
In the latter, eggs from a mother are fertilized with sperm from the father through in vitro fertilization where the embryo is placed into the uterus of a gestational surrogate.
The intended parents could include be:
- Heterosexual couples that have fertility issues
- Parents who have genetic conditions that they do not want to pass on to their newborn children.
- Same-sex couples that want to have genetic links to their child.
- Single men and women who want to have a child off his or her own
What intended parents need to know
Surrogacy is a lengthy process that initially may seem lighter and less involving than it typically is. Therefore, intended parents need to prepare themselves appropriately to see the process through.
Intended parents are also required to meet some requirements observed by surrogacy agencies and communities to ensure that they can be good caregivers to a newborn child. While these requirements differ from one region and agency to another, they share a fundamental basis.
Intended parents ought to be willing to complete a psychological evaluation, physical health assessment, and background check. They are expected to be in a stable living arrangement accompanied by financial security.
Medical Consultation and Screening
Typically, the first step for intended parents is to have a scheduled consultation with an IVF specialist to discuss the health-related details of the upcoming surrogacy.
During this stage, intended parents get specific questions answered, such as what screening tests are needed. This is important for setting foundations such as determining the possible need for an egg or sperm donor.
This screening also identifies and highlights any genetic diseases and illnesses from the intended parents’ family history that directly concerns the surrogacy process and the ability to raise a healthy child. Answering these questions determines what is needed during the journey, and increases the chances of a successful surrogacy.
The cost of surrogacy journeys varies from one experience to another. The general cost depends on factors such as;
- IVF cycle expenses
- Donor fees
- Doctor and reproductive health fees
These costs generally differ as a result of multiple IVF cycles compared to a single cycle, and the fluctuations in the prices of acquiring donor samples.
Other costs arise through;
- Legal fees
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Health Insurance fees
- Monthly allowances
- Bonus payments for twins and triplets
- Compensation for surrogate’s lost wages
Don’t let these costs make you dismiss the idea of using surrogacy to grow your family. There are several financing options available to intended parents that make the journey more affordable.
Many lenders and agencies provide loans, grants, and fundraising opportunities for intended parents to obtain the funds they require sustainably and responsibly.
Intended parents need to set aside some significant time to
- Consult with doctors being matched with suitable surrogates,
- Attending prenatal healthcare visits.
- Prepare themselves for the impending arrival of the newborn baby.
The involved preparation is not only physical and financial, but it is also psychological and emotional. This is because intended parents will need to be suitably poised to cater to the needs of a baby round the clock, thus being a significant change from their previous way of life.
This is compounded by the time needed to identify the right surrogate since the matching process varies wildly depending on the criteria for involved parties. Some matches are almost immediate, while others can take some time to curate and find what they are looking for.
The time commitment also includes the time taken for an embryo to be created, and the subsequent transfer cycle can vary because of a few factors. After the transfer is done between 19 and 21 days of the surrogate mother’s menstrual cycle, a pregnancy blood test is done approximately 10 days after implementation.
Based on the nature of surrogacy and complications that often arise just before and after birth, intended parents are urged to have legally binding agreements that outline the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of all involved parties.
Engaging with members of the community
There are loads of support resources for intended parents, the bulk of which are met through other members of the surrogacy community. During the surrogacy journey, intended parents are likely to encounter other parents and surrogate mothers with some experience. Their input gives new parents valuable insight into what to expect.
Many members of the surrogacy community are open to discussing their experiences and perspectives, so remember to use their advice for your consideration.
Relationship with Surrogate Mother
A big part of surrogacy is the cordial relationship between intended parents and surrogate mothers. Therefore, intended parents face the need to be open and honest in the process of identifying a surrogate. This relationship is expected to extend after the child is transferred to the intended parents and usually results in long-term bonds.
Generally, intended parents are couples and individuals who find it difficult to conceive on their own for many reasons, and instead choose surrogacy to start and build their families as they see fit. There is much for intended parents to do before realizing their pursuit of conception, and they benefit from the guidance of members of the surrogacy community.