Embarking on a journey as a surrogate is both commendable and transformative. Surrogacy gives intended parents (IPs) the opportunity to fulfill their dream of having a family. Here is a step-by-step guide to help aspiring surrogates with a better understanding of the surrogacy process.
Steps in the Surrogacy Process
Step 1. Self-Reflection
Before beginning the complex, physically and emotionally demanding role of a surrogate, it’s essential to take time for self-reflection. Take into account your own readiness for this journey and have open discussions about surrogacy with your partner, family members, and friends. Assess your capacity to wholeheartedly commit to the entire process, ensuring you can see it through from beginning to end, fulfilling each required step along the way.
Step 2. Gather Information
Before making a decision as significant as becoming a surrogate, it’s important to educate yourself. Find out as much as you can about the surrogacy process, its legal considerations, and potential risks by reading surrogacy books, articles, and websites. During your research, be sure to check out websites aimed at supporting surrogates, such as the Surrogate Mother Network to discover inspirational stories, including the challenges faced by other surrogates during their journey. We also invite you to contact us at Reproductive Possibilities – we’re happy to provide direct answers to all your questions.
Step 3. Review Eligibility Requirements
Surrogate requirements are instrumental in safeguarding the health and well-being of all parties involved — infants, surrogates, and intended parents. Age, a previous healthy pregnancy, an uneventful medical history, and overall mental and physical health are all common eligibility requirements. Learn more about Reproductive Possibilities’ surrogate requirements here.
Step 4. Complete an Application
To initiate the process, you will need to complete a comprehensive application where you will share your medical and personal history. We will carefully review the provided information, paying particular attention to your pregnancy/delivery history, your understanding of the surrogacy process, and the strength of your support system.
If you meet our surrogate mother requirements, we will reach out to you to proceed with a series of interviews conducted by our experienced team. During these interviews, we will ask additional questions, discuss your medical and criminal background, and provide thorough answers to any inquiries you may have about surrogacy, our support, and the subsequent steps in the process.
Step 5. Medical Assessment and Screening
A thorough physical and mental health evaluation is part of the screening process to determine whether you are physically and psychologically ready for surrogacy. Other screenings and assessments include criminal background checks, an evaluation of past prenatal OB records to ensure past pregnancies were normal, and health screenings (e.g., a BMI check to ensure a surrogate’s body weight is within normal limits).
Step 6. Surrogate & Intended Parent/s (IPs) Match
To get matched with an individual or couple looking for a surrogate, you will fill out a surrogacy profile, including photos and information about you and why you want to be a surrogate. This information helps IPs decide if they want to arrange a match meeting via video chat, to decide if there is a match. During the match meeting, you can discuss compensation, expenses, and other topics with the prospective IPs.
Step 7. Legal Procedures and Contract Signing
This step involves working with legal professionals who are experienced in creating comprehensive surrogacy contracts in line with the laws in your local geographic area. The surrogacy contract will outline the financial compensation, medical expenses, and responsibilities of surrogates and IPs. A surrogacy attorney specializing in reproductive law will explain the details of the agreement to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. When working with an experienced surrogacy agency, you will be provided with attorneys within your state that will help you review/edit your surrogate contract as your representative.
Step 8. Embryo Transfer & Pregnancy
Once the legal contracts are finalized, the fertility treatment process can begin. Initially, you will prepare your body for pregnancy with medical hormone injections. Once the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is complete and the embryo is ready for transfer, you will undergo the embryo transfer procedure performed by a fertility specialist. When the pregnancy is confirmed the next phase involves attending regular OB/GYN appointments and following medical guidelines for a healthy pregnancy.
Step 9. Delivery
During the birth process, it’s essential for surrogates to carry out the birth plan agreed upon with the IPs. After the baby is born, there is a specific period of post-birth support for the IPs to bond with the baby and for surrogates to receive physical care and ongoing emotional support.
Postpartum self-care includes a wide range of therapies such as sitz baths, the use of a “donut pillow” to relieve perineal pain, getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet, and more.
Make an Informed Decision
When considering surrogacy, it is important to keep in mind that surrogacy is a significant responsibility that requires a physical and emotional commitment. Throughout the process, consult with professionals for guidance and gather the information you need to make informed decisions. For questions, or to schedule a consultation, reach out to Reproductive Possibilities today.