Do you long to give a childless couple the gift of parenthood? Your selflessness is admirable and, without a doubt, the hopeful mother and father will be forever grateful. But before putting your hand up to become a surrogate mother, there are a few important things to consider.
Growing a baby–especially someone else’s–is not a commitment to be entered into lightly.
There is no such thing as a completely risk-free pregnancy, so it is important to keep in mind that carrying this baby for nine months will take a toll on your body. You will also have to undergo rigorous testing before being deemed an “acceptable” candidate for surrogate motherhood.
In most instances, you will have to undergo a vaginal ultrasound, a pap test, a hysteroscopy, screening for a number of diseases and conditions, a psychiatric evaluation, and a physical. You should be at a healthy body weight and be a non-smoker. A history of drug or alcohol abuse or a criminal record will likely rule you out as a candidate. You must also have experienced a previous delivery free of problems.
While most surrogate mothers are required to be between the ages of 20 and 40, How Old is Too Old for Surrogate Motherhood can help the more mature woman determine if she, too, could become a surrogate.
This is no time to be brave and “go it alone.” Before committing to surrogate motherhood, ensure that you will have the support of your loved ones–especially your spouse. It would be beneficial to also see a counselor who specializes in surrogacy issues or join a support group made up of other surrogate mothers.
Your significant other will likely be required to submit to blood and urine testing and, if you are married, they will also be required to sign the legal contract. If they are not completely onboard, chances are you will be ruled out as a candidate.
If you have children of your own, you will need to consider how your decision will impact them emotionally. Remember, you will be required to juggle your current commitments and a pregnancy without the benefit of bringing home a new baby at the end of it all.
It is also important to think about how becoming a surrogate mother may impact the rest of your life. It is possible that you may experience complications during the pregnancy that could prevent you from having your own children down the road. These same complications could necessitate a period of extended bed rest, which could seriously impact your career as well. Before committing to surrogate motherhood, you need to prepare yourself for as many eventualities as possible.
It is important to make yourself aware of the approximate timeline of the surrogacy process in order to come to terms with the time commitment you will be making.
Research, research, research. Before signing any dotted lines, make sure that you are well-versed regarding your legal responsibilities and your rights as the surrogate mother. Most agencies have their own legal professionals who will draw up a standard contract, but you may wish to have your own lawyer–preferably one who is knowledgeable when it comes to your state’s surrogacy laws–examine it before signing. It is particularly important to iron out a miscarriage clause.
For a comprehensive list of questions to ask yourself before embarking on this decision, check out Exploring Surrogacy: What You Should Think About Before You Proceed in Your Journey.
If you are still interested in surrogate motherhood, you will need to examine your options pertaining to both the type of pregnancy and the method of finding a suitable couple.
There are two types of pregnancies that a surrogate mother provides, the traditional surrogacy or the gestation surrogacy (also known as in vitro fertilization). The traditional form involves inseminating the surrogate mother’s egg with the hopeful father’s sperm. In this case, the surrogate mother will actually be the child’s biological mother. In gestational surrogacy, the hopeful mother’s eggs will be fertilized by the father’s and placed in the surrogate mother’s womb. The surrogate will have no biological connection to the child.
Surrogates can either seek an independent surrogacy or go through an agency. Keep in mind that if you go the independent route, you will need to hammer out all of the details, learn all of the laws, and find a suitable couple on your own.
Giving the gift of parenthood involves a huge sacrifice–but it can be hugely rewarding.
Providing a loving husband and wife with a baby of their very own is an act of unimaginable generosity–but it is not a decision to be entered into lightly. Take time to think it through. Weigh the pros and cons. And follow your heart and your mind.
Have you been a surrogate mom? What unexpected hiccups did you experience? What advice can you offer someone considering becoming a surrogate mother?
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
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