Pregnancy

Steps to becoming a Surrogate Mother

Surrogacy is emerging as an option for women who are not able to have a family of their own. Surrogacy can be a ray of hope for couples who are unable to conceive on their own  As awareness and understanding of surrogacy has grown, so has its acceptance. Becoming a surrogate for an infertile couple can be an immensely rewarding experience.  If you are considering becoming a surrogate mother, here are some steps you should consider.

Step1: Educate yourself

A surrogate is a woman who becomes pregnant with, carries and births a baby for another couple, called the intended parents. The baby belongs to the intended parents, not to the woman who carried it. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides the egg and the intended father provides the sperm.  The egg is artificially inseminated and the fetus is placed into the surrogate mother. Consider your emotions very carefully when considering traditional surrogacy: it may be very hard for you to let go of an infant that has your genes, making it very difficult for you to remember that the baby is not yours. In gestational surrogacy, the egg and the sperm both come from the intended parents. The mother’s egg is fertilized with the father’s sperm through in vitro fetilization. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the surrogate mother’s womb.

Step2: Evaluate Yourself

Before you agree to surrogacy, ask yourself some tough questions:

  • Why are you opting for surrogacy?
  • Are you prepared to accept that the child you are bearing will never be yours?
  • Are you prepared to hand the baby to the intended parents immediately after birth?
  • Are you ready to face the challenges of pregnancy?
  • Are your family members supportive?

If you’ve considered your answers to these questions carefully, and are still interested in surrogacy, you are ready for Step 3.

Step3: Learn the Requirements

A potential surrogate must meet certain basic requirements. They include:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Health: You need to be physically and mentally healthy and free from sexually transmitted diseases. You will likely be asked to undergo physical and psychological exams before committing to surrogacy.
  • Lifestyle: You must be a non-smoker and must be willing to stay away from drugs and alcohol during the term of pregnancy.

Step4: Learn the Laws

Educate yourself about the laws that pertain to surrogacy, and understand your rights, and those of the intended parents. These laws and rights differ from state to state, so be certain you research the appropriate laws.

Step5: Choose an Agency

You will need to work with a surrogate agency, and finding an agency you trust and that makes you comfortable will help you have a positive experience.

Step6: Apply

Once you select an agency, you will need to apply to become a surrogate. You will need to fill out forms that ask questions about your lifestyle, medical history, family and work. Your application will be evaluated you will be contacted if you meet the specific qualifications.

Step-7: Medical exam

You will need to undergo a physical exam and likely a mental health evaluation.

 Step-8: Meet the intended parents

Once you complete, and pass, your medical and psychological exams, a meeting will be arranged with the intended parents. You have the right to decide if you would like to carry a child for the intended parents, and you may choose not to proceed after meeting the couple.  Likewise, the intended parents can also decide to look for a different surrogate.  Your life will be closely tied to the intended parents over the course of the pregnancy and you have to be able to form a positive relationship with each other.  If you don’t like each other, the experience will be negative rather than positive.

Step9: Sign the legal contract

A legal contract is an agreement, signed by both the surrogate and the intended parents, that spells out the expectations and the rights of both the surrogate and the intended parents.  The contract is there to protect both you, as the surrogate, and the intended parents.  Read this contract carefully before you sign it, and if you do not understand what you are reading, do not sign the contract.  Ask for a lawyer to explain the contract if you have questions.  Be sure that the contract states that the intended parents will pay for your medical expenses.

Step-10: In Vitro fertilization, embryo transfer and pregnancy

Once a fertilized embryo is transferred to your uterus and implanted, you are officially pregnant, and are now a surrogate mother.  Your surrogacy is complete when you deliver the baby and hand him to his new parents.

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