How do you know if you’re ready to become a surrogate?
Pursuing a surrogacy journey is as emotionally involved as it is physically involved for the gestational surrogate. Many surrogates may pass the physical requirements for surrogacy but emotionally may not be quite ready for the surrogacy process.
Consider your mental health
Gestational surrogates must consider their own mental health and emotional stability before pursuing surrogacy. Past mental health history must be taken into account as well as the surrogate’s current life and family situation. Has the surrogate received past psychiatric treatment for diagnoses like depression or anxiety? Did she ever take medications or seek therapy for these mental health issues? Has a history of abuse impacted her emotions, coping skills, or ability to deal with stressful situations? Does the surrogate have local friend and family support to help her through the surrogacy journey or provide childcare when she needs to travel for appointments or be on bed rest for the pregnancy? These are important questions that need to be addressed before starting the process.
Understand the entire process
Surrogates need to be prepared and committed to the surrogacy process. It is involved and can require the surrogate and her family to put life on hold for 12-24 months. This means restricted travel, limiting job changes and relocations, as well as following strict surrogacy guidelines. Spouses/partners are also required to be involved in the background checks, legal contracts, psychiatric evaluation, medical screening, home visit and parentage orders of the surrogacy journey. It is imperative that the spouse or partner be in agreement with the surrogacy journey in order for the surrogate to proceed with a pregnancy.
Think about your support system
Surrogates need to have a loving and supportive network in place before starting the surrogacy journey. They need to think about how their spouse or partner will be involved and supportive through the process and pregnancy. They need to consider how their children will adjust to this new endeavor their parents have taken on. How will a small child understand what is happening to mommy? Will the surrogate be able to continue to provide the necessary support her own children and family require whilst in the midst of surrogacy appointments and pregnancy challenges?
Be prepared for the unexpected
The gestational surrogate must also contemplate how she will cope and handle the pregnancy if something unexpected happens. Surrogacy pregnancies are high-risk and failed embryo transfers, multiples, fetal birth defects, health complications to the surrogate, loss of fertility or reproductive organ damage, required medical termination can all cause stress and uncertainty. It is extremely important for the surrogate to weigh the pros and cons of surrogacy and feel confident in her choice to proceed.