Becoming a gestational surrogate is an admirable and generous way to help a family that may not be able to have children on their own. Even just considering surrogacy means that you have a deep understanding of how the gift of family can be life changing. There are likely a lot of questions and concerns you may have regarding the whole surrogacy process. While it can definitely be a little (or a lot) intimidating for some, we’ve put together a few things to consider when determining if you want to apply to become a surrogate.
Am I ready? As in, really ready?
Surrogacy is a big commitment, and we applaud you (standing ovation style) for taking the beginning steps in preparing for it. The first thing you need to consider when becoming a surrogate is determining whether or not you are ready, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to do it.
It starts with the mind.
Being a surrogate requires a lot of personal preparation. Because you will be using the embryo, donor eggs, or the eggs or sperm of the intended parent, you will need to undergo IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) including a portion of the medication protocol. You can expect your body’s hormones to change in many ways, so you should ask yourself:
- Am I mentally prepared to experience all of these changes to my body as a surrogate?
- Do I have the ability to take care of myself throughout the surrogacy process?
- Will I be able to handle the responsibility of someone else relying on me to carry their child for them?
- Can I juggle work, my family, and my other responsibilities as a surrogate without it impacting your work-life balance?
The relationship between a surrogate and the intended parents requires an immense amount of trust. Choosing a surrogacy agency that requires all of their potential surrogates to undergo a pre-screening process, which includes a psychological assessment is important. This will help us make sure that anyone who chooses to become a gestational surrogate is mentally ready to handle the responsibility and powerful journey ahead of them.
Ready to get physical?
Intended parents will want to make sure that the woman they partner with as their surrogate is healthy and well. Being healthy ensures that you are more likely to have a safe pregnancy and delivery. You must be physically capable of managing an IVF procedure, resulting pregnancy, and delivery, so be sure that you meet the following requirements:
- Are between 21 and 42 years of age
- Have a body mass index (BMI) that is less than or equal to 30
- Have given birth at least once:
- Must have been full-term, uncomplicated pregnancy, and birth
- Five or fewer deliveries
- Two or fewer C-sections
- Are able to perform self-injections (IVF medications)
A reputable agency should always have a pre-screening process in place which involves a medical record review. They will look at your past medical records to determine if you are healthy enough to become a surrogate and that you have a low risk for any complications due to pregnancy.
Emotional Prep time!
Becoming a surrogate can stir up a lot of emotions, and that’s not just because of the hormones! Being a surrogate is a big responsibility, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming to think about how you are responsible for another person’s child.
It’s important that you have a strong support system in place so that you do not get overwhelmed. Talk to your friends and family. Tell them how you would like to become a surrogate and inform them of what the process is like so they can be there for you and support you through the journey.
One of the biggest worries on many potential surrogates’ minds is, “After I deliver, what if I develop an attachment with the baby?” Luckily, however, you will hear most surrogates say that this will not happen. The reason is that, throughout their journey, these surrogates receive support from their agency and understand the process. Gestational surrogacy is different than getting pregnant on your own; you are carrying a baby that belongs to someone else. You are not “giving up” the baby after you deliver; you are giving it back to its parents, who will be extraordinarily thankful for you and all that you have done for them.
You are an extreme babysitter, extraordinaire!
If you believe you are ready to become a gestational surrogate, we encourage you to explore more of the surrogacy process and consider applying to complete our pre-screening process.
Be part of something amazing!