Becoming a surrogate takes more than just a loving heart and desire to help. We’ll outline exactly what becoming a top surrogate entails.
Choosing to become a surrogate can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You can help couples from all over the world reach their dreams of finally being able to have a family of their own. Most likely, you’re already a mother yourself, and you know better than anyone that there is no feeling quite like that of being a parent.
If you are seriously considering becoming a surrogate, there are many things you’ll need to be aware of. Not all countries have the same laws and not all agencies have the same requirements.
Become a Surrogate: What to Expect
As you well know, pregnancy can sometimes be difficult. Your body goes through a number of changes and gestating a child is no quick feat. Make sure that you are up to the task in both your mind and your body.
If you’ve never carried a child for another family before, consider the emotions that will inevitably be involved. Be honest with yourself and whatever agency you choose to go through. This will not only help you stay focused and happy, but it will also help your agency match you with the best family based on your personality and habits.
Consider the different types of surrogacy (read more about Surrogate vs Gestational Carrier: Making Sense of Your Surrogacy). While traditional surrogacy (one in which you provide the egg) is rarely used any more, gestational surrogacy requires additional medical procedures but is considered the best practice.
Altruistic and commercial surrogacy agreements may both be available to you. Or you may only have one or the other as an option, depending on the laws that govern your area. Altruistic surrogacy agreements are ones in which the surrogate mother is not compensated for her time and efforts, but certain expenses- like medical bills or some living expenses, may be subject to reimbursement.
The Surrogate Professional
It’s almost always suggested that any surrogate choose to work closely with a surrogacy professional, whether it be a renown surrogacy agency, or at minimum, a seasoned surrogacy lawyer. Make sure that you read up on the laws and practices in your area and choose the best professional to suit your needs. Almost every surrogacy professional will have some sort of screening requirements that you will need to complete before continuing with the process.
The Surrogacy Plan
Make sure that you work closely with both the intended parents and the surrogacy professional. Be clear when outlining your goals and desires for the process, and understand the goals and desires of the intended parents. The surrogacy professional will help both parties come to a legally binding agreement in the best interests of everyone. These plans are often eye-opening for surrogates and intended parents alike. Certain considerations like multiple pregnancies and elective termination will be discussed and agreed upon during this process.
Become a Surrogate: Screening Considerations
Not just anyone can become a surrogate mother. This is a fantastic way to ensure that any candidate surrogate is up to the task of carrying a child. While laws regarding requirements vary greatly, many countries have minimum requirements that surrogate mothers must reach to be able to apply for a surrogate position.
Some of the most common requirements for surrogates are:
- Age Requirements
Most surrogate mothers must be between the ages of 21 and 35 years of age. This ensures that the surrogate mother is in the best reproductive health possible. Sometimes these age requirements are younger, or older, but 21-35 is a widely accepted general range.
- Must be in good physical health
This means that surrogate mothers must have a BMI of 30 or less. They must not be suffering from any ongoing medical issues, have no drug, alcohol, or cigarette habits, free of STD/STI’s for at least 12 months, no history of postpartum depression or previous pregnancy complication, and have at least 12 months free from medications for things like depression or anxiety.
- Must have a stable lifestyle
Surrogate mothers must show that they have been pregnant before. They also must be raising their own children in their own stable home. Specifically, in the US, surrogate mothers can not be dependent on government assistance and have their own stable support system. They also must be free from any felony convictions and have at least one years time between their last tattoo or piercing.
While some of these requirements may seem a bit extreme at first glance, these types of expectations help to cut down on the possibility of exploitation of desperate women and ensure that the unborn child will have a stable and healthy surrogate environment.
Become a Surrogate: The First Steps
Once you have successfully passed all of the initial screenings and met each requirement your surrogacy professional has, the process will continue. There is usually some sort of initial application, in which the surrogacy professional will ask questions about you and why you are interested in becoming a surrogate. Getting to know you better is how they match you with your intended parents.
The agency will likely collect more detailed social and medical history. You will often be asked to submit detailed information about yourself, your medical history, and even your family’s medical history. It’s normal for professionals to ask you to submit personality tests or answer questions that are designed to let them get to know your personality.
Following the initial applications and questionnaires, you will likely undergo a physical examination and in-home assessment. These are performed by a physician and social worker respectively. This gives the surrogacy professional an even better idea of what your life is like on a day to day basis.
After these examinations, you will almost certainly be asked to submit a background check and a mental health evaluation. While this can all sound very intimidating, just remember what you would want to know if someone were carrying your child for you! It’s important that every aspect of your life and living situation be corroborated by professionals. This can help you later should anything go wrong.
Just remember, you’re not the only one that goes under the microscope, as intended parents are subject to the same types of screening. Ensuring that both you, the intended parents, and the child have the best experience possible.
If you have any more interest in reading about becoming a surrogate, feel free to check out our article The Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate.