Becoming a Surrogate: Is it Right for Me?

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BIG QUESTIONS before a big decision.

It’s a life-altering decision to choose to assist another person in becoming a parent by serving as a gestational surrogate. And frankly, it’s not the right decision for every woman who entertains the idea. The responsibilities of surrogacy are serious, and so are the requirements. Even considering the idea of surrogacy indicates that you’re caring and generous enough to want to help another family by giving them the greatest gift imaginable – life itself. But you still want to ensure that you’re a good candidate to become a surrogate mother. By checking the requirements, you may find that, in fact, you are.

We encourage any woman is who is looking into becoming a surrogate to ask herself the following questions:

What is the current state of my health?

Good physical health is perhaps the most important consideration in your decision to investigate how to become a surrogate. Obviously, this implies the absence of any history of long-term or life-threatening illness, and that you be a nonsmoker and don’t use illegal substances. Of special importance is that you not be extremely overweight, because of health risks that would pose for both you and the baby. Those risks include gestational diabetes and high blood pressure — the latter of which can sometimes lead to pre-eclampsia, a condition that can cause seizures during pregnancy. For this reason, we require that a prospective surrogate’s BMI, or Body Mass Index, be 32 or less. If you’re not sure of your Body Mass Index, here is a convenient way to calculate it.

What is my financial situation?

Being stressed-out over money is an undesirable state at any time, but it’s particularly relevant during pregnancy. It’s important that a surrogate not be preoccupied with worry over money, so we ask that candidates for surrogacy be financially stable, and not currently be on government assistance or food stamps. This is just a matter of making sure that your well-being isn’t stretched or compromised during a time when a healthy physical and emotional state is key. And of course, the fee you receive should never be the main or only reason for wanting to become a surrogate.

What kinds of support and help do I have?

By this, we mean both emotional support and practical, day-to-day assistance. The ideal candidate for gestational surrogacy will have family and friends who are enthusiastic and positive about her decision to help another family realize their dreams.

On the practical side, a prospective surrogate must have reliable transportation, and be able and willing to travel as necessary — for screening, meeting and matching with the intended parents, in-vitro fertilization, and routine medical testing.

How comfortable am I with disclosing my personal history?

This includes details of both lifestyle and medical history. While we have no desire to pry, it’s crucial that we are aware of everything from your past use of illegal substances to any criminal history. Our application form touches on things such as your history of pregnancies, abortions, and/or miscarriages; your psychological stability and any periods of depression or mental illness; and your record regarding sexually transmitted disease. Again, this is all in the service of a healthy outcome for the surrogate, the baby, and the intended parent(s).

These are just some of the broad, important issues you’ll need to consider in your decision to investigate becoming a surrogate. Of course, there are other, more specific requirements, such as being between 21 and 44 years of age; having had at least one child of your own; having had no pre-term deliveries before 36 weeks (excluding multiple births); and, of course, being a resident of a surrogacy-friendly state. If you are not sure about whether you live in such a state, just ask us.

The good news: once you’ve decided to proceed, and assuming you’re approved, the process is streamlined and thorough, including: initial phone interviews, in-person meetings, psychological evaluations, meetings with intended parents, review and signing of the gestational carrier contact, scheduling of embryo transfer, and of course the entire pregnancy and delivery. We’ll be with you every step of the way.