Surrogacy is a wonderful way for those who cannot have a child on their own, do so with the help of a gestational surrogate. Every day, hundreds and hundreds of women apply to become surrogate mothers with surrogacy agencies around the country. You may be interested in becoming a surrogate and have questions about the process.
What should you know before filling out a surrogate application? If you’re wondering if you’d make a good surrogate, you should start by considering whether or not you’re ready mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Am I mentally ready to be a surrogate?
Women who become surrogates are strong – mentally, that is. They understand that becoming a surrogate is a big commitment, that will last well over a year. Being a surrogate is like having a very important job; someone is relying on you to attend appointments, take care of yourself, and do your very best.
Since the surrogates that agencies accept into their programs have all previously given birth, these women know exactly what it’s like to be pregnant. However, the way they get pregnant is very different. For surrogacy, a surrogate will be required to take IVF medications to prepare her body for a pregnancy. She’ll have to attend local monitoring appointments to see how her body is reacting to the hormones. These are extra steps that she must plan for in her regular, everyday life.
Becoming a surrogate also requires the mental preparation for carrying someone else’s baby. All surrogates applicants will participate in a psychological screening. Surrogacy requires women to enter into legal contracts with intended parents – who are usually strangers until they get to know each other. Being a surrogate requires a tremendous amount of trust, both with your surrogacy agency and with your intended parents.
Can I physically be a surrogate?
Researching what it takes to be a surrogate will no doubt bring you to a list of surrogate requirements on almost any agency website. The list may look long and intimidating, but all of those qualifications are in place for a reason. We want to be sure women who become surrogates can physically handle an IVF pregnancy and delivery.
Physically, a surrogate mother application should meet the following requirements:
- Has given birth before (with no medical complications, and no more than 3 c-sections)
- Does not smoke
- Is between the ages of 21-44 years old (exceptions may be made for experienced surrogates)
- Has a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 18-35
- Be comfortable giving herself injections
Surrogates will obtain their medical and pregnancy and delivery records for the agency. They will also undergo a medical screening to determine overall health. All of this is done to ensure surrogate mothers are in the best physical health to help give intended parents the most successful chance at parenthood.
How can I emotionally prepare to be a surrogate?
Becoming a surrogate is a very big emotional investment. You are responsible for helping intended parents have the baby of their dreams – that’s a big responsibility! You have a surrogacy agency, medical doctors and intended parents depending on you – not to mention your family and friends who you’ve always taken care of. It can be a lot to juggle.
Before applying, a woman interested in becoming a surrogate should talk to her families and inner circle of friends. She should share her desire to be a surrogate, answer any questions, and provide links to articles or websites to help explain the surrogacy process.
Women should also think about the journey as a whole; once you’re matched with intended parents and pregnant, you’ll want to think about your relationship and how to involve the parents in the pregnancy and journey.
A question potential surrogates may ask is, “Won’t I get attached to the baby?” and surrogates will answer: “Not at all!” This is because surrogates receive support from their agencies, and a full understanding of the process and what to expect. One surrogate said it best, “I’m not giving up the baby, I’m giving the baby back to its parents.”