HOW TO BECOME A SURROGATE: A Quick Look at the Basics

If you want to find out how to become a gestational surrogate, or are considering the decision to become one, the first step is getting familiar with the process.

The numerous blog posts on the ARTparenting website provide details on many facets of the surrogacy process, from the medical aspects to familiarizing your family with the idea. For a personal account of the surrogacy experience, read the moving blog post, “One Surrogate’s Story.”

In the meantime, here's a quick peek at the basics for how to become a surrogate mother.

1) The requirements

A good candidate for gestational surrogacy is a woman who not only loves being pregnant, but who also genuinely wants to help someone else build their family. Specifically, she should be between 21 and 43 years of age, have given birth to a child of her own. She will be financially stable, have support from her husband/partner and/or others close to her, and must have a history of healthy pregnancies.

She must also be a non-smoker, have no serious medical issues, have a Body-Mass Index (BMI) 32 or less. Use this simple BMI calculator. She must be a resident of a surrogacy-friendly state (inquire). She should have reliable transportation; be willing to travel if necessary for screening, matching with the intended parents, and medical testing; have no criminal history, and be willing to undergo the necessary physical and psychological evaluations. Find out more about the requirements for becoming a surrogate mother.

2) The difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy.

ARTparenting specializes in gestational surrogacy.

A woman who serves as a gestational surrogate carries a child conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), using the egg of the intended mother or of an egg donor, and the sperm of the intended father(s), or of a sperm donor. In other words, the gestational surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child.

In a traditional surrogacy, the woman who serves as the surrogate is usually artificially inseminated using her own egg so that she is the genetic and biological mother of the child she is carrying.

3) How to choose a surrogacy program or agency.

In working with a surrogacy agency or program, you want to know that your comfort and understanding of the entire process is taken seriously, with all the details about how to become a surrogate mother carefully explained, and every step closely coordinated. In short, you should work with an agency or coordinating program that wants your surrogacy experience to be a completely positive one and a smooth journey from the start.

Be sure to consider the depth of the surrogacy agency’s or program's experience in working with gestational surrogates, as well as the care they take in matching surrogates with intended parents. This includes a careful screening process — this will ensure the smoothest process for you possible.

Note their expertise in reproductive law, which involves the complex and ever-changing state regulations surrounding surrogacy. In addition, note that not every surrogacy agency or program handles the legal aspects. Some agencies only do the matching, and some only advise on legal aspects — ARTparenting is a comprehensive program that will assist in all aspects of your surrogacy journey.

Most important, you want to work with an agency or program with the highest reputation for ethics, standards, and integrity. And because the issues that arise around surrogacy and childbirth are obviously personal, choose an agency with which you will feel comfortable discussing every intimate aspect of the process.

4) Making a match

ARTparenting’s gestational surrogates are carefully consulted about whom they would like to help — whether they prefer intended parents who are local or overseas, single or married, same-sex couples, families that already have a child, and other preferences. We accommodate surrogates’ wishes in these and other ways.

Every match is unique and depends largely on the personal preferences and individual considerations of each person involved. The ultimate goal is to find the ideal match for everyone. Finding a perfect partnering may happen very quickly or take some time. ARTparenting has intended parents waiting to work with you. It may mean working with intended parents from another state, or internationally. You will only be paired with someone you want to work with.

5) The first meeting with the intended parents

After the intended parents have had a chance to learn pertinent details about you, your preferences, and your background, ARTparenting arranges for a meeting with you and the intended parents you have selected. This introductory in-person session provides everyone an opportunity to get acquainted, to ask questions of each other, and to learn more about the details of the surrogacy process going forward. And, of course, the meeting is designed to make sure that everyone is comfortable working with one another.

6) The gestational surrogacy contract

Gestational surrogacy requires legal as well as medical arrangements, requiring a written agreement/contract that addresses the commitments, roles, and duties of everyone involved.

You will not be asked to sign anything until you are comfortable with the obligations and expectations outlined in the agreement. You will have every opportunity to review the agreement together with your own attorney representing your interests for the surrogacy process. Any legal costs involved in this are 100% covered by the intended parents. Once the surrogacy agreement is signed by all parties, we can proceed to the medical phase.

Please contact us with any questions about how to become a surrogate mother, and see if we are the right fit for you.

This is a quick review of the basics of how to become a surrogate. While there are lots of things to know about gestational surrogacy, it’s straightforward and not all that complicated once you have found the right agency to help guide you!

For more detailed information about ARTparenting’s complete surrogacy program, or to get your questions answered, please fill out our surrogate’s inquiry form, or phone us at (301) 217-0074.

Ellen EmmerichComment