Let’s cut right to the quick- becoming a surrogate is a big deal.
It’s a common phrase among adults, “…but first, do your research.” It’s true for most things in life, and becoming a surrogate is no different. Not only are you signing up for what could potentially be a multi-year process, this is also a choice that comes with a lot of emotional ups and downs, and at least on some level, is quite expensive. In addition to that, while pregnancy is generally a safe thing, things can happen during pregnancy and childbirth that are not pretty. So, before you jump in with both feet and decide to become a surrogate, do your research. Here’s where to start.
1. Do you qualify?
Only about 5% of women who apply to become surrogates will make it through the entire screening process. We don’t say this to discourage you from applying, but rather, to show you just how special it is to be surrogate. Many factors will be considered in your application process. Things like age, health, past pregnancy and birth records, fiscal stability, and mental health will be considered. In general, surrogacy is open to women aged 21-40 years old who are raising at least one of their own children. You need to have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, and no more than two previous C-section deliveries. Additionally, you cannot be on any form of federal aid (food stamps, etc.). You will also be tested for nicotine and illegal drugs in your system.
2. What are you willing to consent to?
Part of your research should include considering what type of experience you’re hoping to have. Gestational surrogacy means that the child that you will carry will have no genetic connection to you or to your husband, so you will not need to worry about being asked to donate your own eggs. However, you will have a say on things like the number of embryos that you’re comfortable having transferred to your uterus, and the number of fetuses you’re willing to carry. You’ll also want to consider if you’d be willing to terminate a pregnancy, and if so, under what conditions.
3. What is a realistic compensation expectation?
A quick search through Craigslist or Google can have you thinking that surrogacy means a six-figure income in under a year flat. We want to be the first ones to tell you that this is a bold-faced lie. The first thing that you need to know is that surrogacy can be a long process. You don’t earn compensation until you’re pregnant with a confirmed heartbeat, which means it could take months before you ever earn any compensation. In addition, many places inflate compensation number to attract applicants. Before jumping at the highest compensation package that you find, consider your motives. If you’re in this simply for the compensation, you’re not likely to have an enjoyable experience at all. Finally, compare compensation packages from many agencies. The ones paying the highest amount of compensation may be lacking in areas of perks and support. You’ll want to be educated on the total picture of compensation before signing with a particular agency.
4. What will be expected of you?
You already know that you’ll be pregnant, but will you also be required to eat only organic whole foods? The answer to this is probably not, but it does highlight the importance of learning what is expected of your behavior during the course of your experience before moving forward. You may be placed on travel restrictions, which could impact family vacations. Additionally, you’ll be expected to make and keep medical appointments as well as communicate about how those visits go.
Once you’ve considered these things you will be in a much better place to decide if you’d like to move forward or not. If you’re still interested and feel as though you’re ready to make this bold choice, we’d love to speak with you.