Helping someone in need is perhaps the most gratifying thing we can do, but what does being a surrogate really look like?
Ask anyone about the joys of bringing life into the world and they’ll happily describe the wonder and elation of being a parent. While it’s crushing to know that some people may not be able to experience these amazing phenomena, it can be equally incredible to find out that you can help.
Becoming a surrogate is a beautiful experience. Helping those in need find the love of a child can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Helping to create close relationships that can last a lifetime. But, as with almost any altruistic task, it can also be incredibly demanding, and sometimes even legitimately dangerous.
If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, we think that you should take a close look at the pros and the cons of becoming a big part of something so huge.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate: Know What You’re In For
Becoming a surrogate can seem like an easy choice for some. Keep in mind, however, that most surrogacy programs (if you plan on uniting with an agency) require that you have at least one child of your own and that pregnancy was free from complications.
What does this mean if you’re not going with an agency? It means that you should probably follow the same rule. The reason that most agencies require their surrogates to have given birth at least once before is that it gives everyone much more confidence that you’re aware of the choice you’re making.
Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. It comes with strong emotions, bodily changes, and sometimes downright frustrating realities. Having been pregnant before, you’re primed and ready for the task at hand. You’re familiar with how all the changes will affect you, and you’ll know that you can handle it.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate: Understand Boundaries
If you found yourselves slightly aggravated by everyone coming up and touching your belly, giving you the third degree about your pregnancy, prepare yourself for the next level of invasion if you become a surrogate.
Being a surrogate means that you will eventually have to face “The Conversation”. Where inevitably, you’ll have to find the patience and kindness to deal with harsh words of criticism from people who don’t understand. All while contending with the tribulations of pregnancy.
Take a minute to consider how you feel about it all, what you plan on saying. Never be afraid to say nothing at all. Not everyone deserves an explanation, and it’s up to you to decide who merits your time.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate: Finding Your Community
For couples that struggle with infertility, there are many, tight-knit and wonderful online communities that can help offer support and guidance in the toughest of times. Luckily, these types of communities also exist for surrogates!
If you’re seriously considering becoming a surrogate, hop on to any one of the surro-communities and talk to someone who has dealt with the experience before. Get an honest perspective of what’s to be expected.
Once you become a surrogate, make sure to interact with similar communities, sharing your experience, and using it to guide others. If you’ve chosen to become a surrogate, you obviously love helping others and this is just another way to help spread the love and joy of the job!
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate: Know Your Rights
Make sure that before you get involved in any surrogacy arrangement, even if it’s for friends and family, that you protect yourself. This means both legally, mentally, and physically.
Make sure that you’ve undergone all advised necessary medical testing before taking on the task. This can help give everyone involved peace of mind, and create a record of precedence should something go wrong, showing that you made this choice in sound mind and good health.
Legal surrogacy agreements are a must. Make sure that the contract is drawn up by professionals and clearly outlines all of the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved. Also, make sure that you agree wholeheartedly with these roles as described. It’s just as important for a surrogate to protect their own interests as it is for intended parents.
Be aware of what the laws in your area say about surrogacy. Make sure that you’re not unwittingly involving yourself in unlawful activity.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate: Understand Physical Limitations
While it can be really tempting to dive in headfirst to help, be aware of what this means to you and your health. Make sure that you’re up to the task of multiple doctors appointments, procedures, and check-ups. Being a surrogate can sometimes feel really overwhelming, and that’s okay.
If the intended parents are requesting multiple births, make sure you do your research on what that means. Multiple births can sometimes cause unexpected complications. In fact, even singular pregnancies can come with their own set of surprises.
Ensure there’s a plan in place if you should have to be on bed rest or are unable to work for months at a time. Consider what diet you’ll be expected to have and how realistic it is for you to stick to any previously agreed-upon plans. Discuss expectations should pregnancy not work out, or should the growing child be diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Make sure that you’re mentally and physically prepared to handle any curveballs that life could throw at you.
Chances are, you’ve given some pretty deep though to most, if not all of these considerations. Perhaps the most important thing of all for any surrogate to remember is to enjoy the process. You are bringing a gift to someone that they would otherwise never be able to have. Your contribution is quite literally making dreams come true. Enjoy being a part of the process, and never forget why it means so much to you to help.