So, you’ve decided to explore the surrogacy option to help build your family. Finding the right woman to carry your child can be overwhelming. Luckily, doing your research and speaking to individuals who’ve been through surrogacy before will help alleviate your fears. We’ve made this decision process even easier for you. Here’s a simple guide on how to find the right surrogate mother to help you grow your family tree.
How Do I Find A Surrogate Mother?
If you’re seriously considering the surrogacy route, talk to your fertility clinic about all your options. Do you need an egg donor? Do you only need a surrogate? This question lets you decide if you want a traditional surrogate or gestational carrier. You should look into finding a gestational surrogate, if yours or your wife’s eggs are of high quality and you would like to have a genetic connection to your child create. On the other hand, if you do not have eggs or do not have high quality eggs, you should consider using an egg donor or a traditional surrogate.
If you are not comfortable having the surrogate share a biological link with your child, then you may want to consider using an egg donor along with a gestational surrogate.
What Surrogate Mother Requirements Should Be Met When Choosing One?
The other factor you need to consider are the health standards that the clinic uses regarding the surrogate. They will have a list of requirements, and it’s highly recommended to use this list for the best results:
- Age (over 20 and under 37)
- Previous uncomplicated births
- BMI (Body Mass Index) below 32
- Does not smoke
- Healthy living standards
- Less than three C-sections
- No sexually transmitted diseases
- Has a clean mental health report
- Reliable transportation
- Supportive family
Each clinic has its own guidelines, so it’s essential that you know what their expectations are. This way you don’t waste your time, or the time of the potential surrogate.
Do I Need A Surrogacy Agency?
It is important to note that you can hire a surrogacy agency. There are several in each ‘Surrogacy Friendly’ state, consisting of Texas, California, Colorado, Washington, or Nevada for example. The agency would conduct all the interviews and review all medicals records on your behalf before you even see a profile.
If you decide not to use an agency, make sure that you know what you need to make this process successful, including working with a legal professional who focuses on Surrogacy Contracts to provide you with a substantial agreement. A Surrogacy Consultant can be a great option for those who have already found a surrogate to work with or who can’t afford an agency, but still need some assistance.
How to Find A Surrogate
If you are starting your search by asking family or friends, always remember your list of guidelines from the clinic. Even if you trust your relative with carrying your child, but they have had three c-sections, is a smoker, or is overweight, she is not the best person. You should consider the health of your child before anything else.
One issue with trying to find a surrogate from within your circle of family and friends is that everybody will know more about your private life than you would probably like. Some individuals are okay with this and have no problem sharing their surrogacy journey. Making it known to family and friends that you are searching for a surrogate may open the door to personal and sometimes invasive questions. Also, after the baby is born you will continue to interact with your surrogate on a more personal level, than you would’ve with someone you found through an agency. This has potential to create issues.
If you decide to find a surrogate on your own, make a list of your own personal needs. You can develop your own application based on the issues that mean most to you. If you are uncomfortable with a written application, you can also conduct a phone interview. Keep in mind, the potential surrogate is also interviewing you! A good match will “click” right away, but don’t ignore any red flags.
Things to Consider When Choosing A Surrogate
Once you’ve found a potential candidate, then a meeting is a must. If she is married or has a partner, that individual may need to be involved as well. Is she what you expected based on the telephone conversations, e-mails, and photographs? Does she look healthy, act maturely and appear responsible? Do you have a “good feeling” about her and her family?
It may be easier working with friends or family when assessing their attitude regarding surrogacy, judging their dedication to you and the process, and their sense of responsibility. Despite everything, recognize that this person may have volunteered to step-in out of the goodness of their heart. They have felt your pain and understand the joys of parenthood through their own children. Friends and family should know that there is an agreement to abide by. They should also be aware of the clinic’s expectations such as being assessed by a psychologist and attending classes on administering shots and other medication.
Being a surrogate is a big commitment and takes a lot of time and energy to comply your expectations. Your “volunteer” should realize that it’s a big financial commitment on your part. Once you start this journey, it’s important to remain dedicated to the process. There may be disappointments and a different schedule from what was expected. Once the medical and psychological reviews are finished, the contracts are done and signed, and the financial arrangements are in place, then the commitment to move forward is even more important.
Reaching Out for Help with The Surrogacy Process
While the surrogacy selection process can be complicated and overwhelming, it is manageable. It can be overwhelming, even with the help of an agency because of the steps you need to take even before signing the agreement. An agency can relieve some of the stress by reassuring you that their surrogates have completed lengthy applications, background checks, and may have been through the surrogacy process before.
When you meet a surrogate through an agency, typically that person has been through and agrees with your ‘wish’ list. She may be comfortable with selective reduction, traveling for the IVF processes, agrees with a base fee, has health insurance, be a stay-at-home mom, and understands your situation. If you decide to find a surrogate independently, you can expect that you will need to talk to dozens of women until you find the perfect match. This can take a lot of time and emotional energy. You can also hire a consultant to interview your choices.
Choosing Your Surrogate
Most women who want to become surrogates (both Traditional or Gestational, through an agency or independently) have a personal reason for wanting to help the intended parents. Surrogates have huge hearts and love helping others in this unique way. Just remember that the surrogate you choose is also choosing you!