Becoming a surrogate is incredibly rewarding experience. One of the greatest gifts is helping someone who is struggling with their fertility expand their family. That being said, it is not the right decision for everyone, and any woman who is considering becoming a surrogate should research surrogacy and educate themselves fully about the process and what is required.
Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself before becoming a surrogate.
- Have you had at least one child?
All surrogate candidates must have had a prior healthy pregnancy and delivery and be raising their children in their own home. A surrogate pregnancy is unique and has certain challenges that come with it, and it is difficult to understand unless you’ve been through pregnancy before. This requirement is in place to protect both you, as the surrogate, and the intended parents during the process. ASRM guidelines, which Extraordinary Conceptions follow, also requires that you have at least one child still living at home.
- Do you meet the qualifications?
ASRM has several guidelines that all potential surrogates must meet. Women must be between the ages of 20 and 42, have regular menstrual cycles, have a body mass index (BMI) below 30, and live a healthy lifestyle (no drinking during a pregnancy, or history of smoking or recreational drug use).
- How were your previous pregnancies and births?
In order to be considered for surrogacy, previous complication-free pregnancies and deliveries are necessary. It’s also important to think about the discomforts you had during pregnancy, such as terrible morning sickness or a prolonged labor and delivery. When pregnant with your own child, experiencing a high level of discomfort or pain is tough enough; going through it for another person is another story.
- Do you have a source of income?
Women considering surrogacy should be in a stable living environment with an adequate income source in order to be a surrogate. In most situations, women who receive government financial assistance are not eligible.
- How many c-sections have you had?
Repeated cesarean sections can increase a woman’s risk during her pregnancy and delivery. To minimize this risk, women who have had more than 3 c-sections are not eligible to become a surrogate mother.
- Am I ready for people to look into my background and history?
Make sure that you are okay with people looking into your past. The screening process before becoming a surrogate can be a little intense and often includes background checks and psychological screening tests. It is important to be completely honest on your application and with your intended parents and surrogacy case manager.
- How would you describe your health?
In order to be a surrogate, you must be in good health with a history of healthy pregnancies and deliveries. In addition, it’s important to be a non-smoker, avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, and live a healthy lifestyle. The intended parents are dependent on you to care for their baby during the pregnancy and it is important to be as healthy as possible.
- Do I have a good support system?
While you don’t need the permission of your friends or everyone in your family, it is crucial to have their support. This might be in the form of rides to the doctor or extra help around the house or with your children in case you need to be on bed rest. Sometimes, it’s just a phone call to vent about not feeling well. It’s also reassuring to the Intended Parents to know that their surrogate is surrounded by love and support.
- Am I emotionally ready?
Surrogacy is an incredibly emotional process, and in so many ways that you might not expect. Going through a pregnancy for someone else is a huge responsibility. Many women are concerned about whether they will bond with the baby during the pregnancy and be unable to give the baby back to the Intended Parents. That is a very valid concern and something to which a lot of thought must be given. This is a huge commitment and ensuring that you understand what it entails and how you will feel is vital.
- Why do I want to be a surrogate?
Despite the fact that surrogates mothers receive generous compensation for their time and effort during the process, it’s important to realize that the decision to do this is so much more than just the compensation. A woman must truly want to help another couple build their family and recognize the struggle that their Intended Parents went through in order to become parents. Most experienced surrogates will say that the moment they saw the parents hold their baby for the first time made all of the hard work and sacrifice worth every second of the journey.
It is important to be very honest with yourself while thinking about these questions. Even with the best of intentions, surrogacy is not right for every woman at every point in her life. Honest reflection of some of these points can help you decide whether this might be the right point in your life to consider a surrogate pregnancy.