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What does becoming a surrogate involve?

November 22, 2023, 11:48 am

Choosing to help other people build their families is an incredibly noble and generous act. Surrogates make it possible for people with their own fertility or reproductive issues to have babies and raise children. Since it’s such a complex process, both medically and psychologically, becoming a surrogate should never be entered into lightly. 

Being pregnant on someone else’s behalf means taking on genuine risks to your health and well-being. It can also cause mental unease since pregnancy can result in feelings of attachment, even when you know the infant belongs to someone else. However, surrogacy can be unbelievably rewarding when undertaken with full knowledge and transparency. If it’s something that you’re curious to learn more about, continue reading.

Types of Surrogacy

Firstly, it’s worth going into more detail about the two primary varieties of surrogacy and how they differ.

  • Traditional Surrogacy: Before the advancements in medical technology led to gestational surrogacy, traditional surrogacy was the main method. This involves the surrogate’s own egg becoming fertilized by the sperm of an intended parent or a sperm donor. For same-sex couples, this can still be a suitable method. 

However, the fact that the surrogate shares DNA with the infant can cause issues once the child is born regarding custody and visitation. Since the infant is genetically related to the surrogate, setting up clear and binding legal agreements beforehand is crucial.

  • Gestational Surrogacy: Nowadays, gestational surrogacy is the preferred method. This is because the surrogate has no genetic link to the infant, making legalities easier to handle should an issue arise once the baby is born. The intended parents provide reproductive cells or find suitable donors before the surrogate is implanted with the embryo. Due to the lack of shared DNA, many surrogate mothers using the gestational method find it easier to manage healthy detachment.

Matching with Parents

Intended parents are matched with suitable surrogates through trusted agencies. For example, a Chicago surrogate will sign up with an agency so they can pair her with a parent or parents in a secure and legal manner. Not every surrogate is suitable for every parent, so finding matches that are compatible is extremely important for the process to continue. 

Both the intended parents and the surrogate must have shared views about how the pregnancy should go and what their responsibilities are. Details such as personal values, lifestyle choices, and medical history are considered at this stage so that all parties feel comfortable going forward.

Medical Requirements

Not everyone who wants to be a surrogate can necessarily fulfil the role appropriately. There are many medical and psychological requirements that must be met before someone can be approved as a suitable surrogate. Surrogates must have previously carried a pregnancy to full term with no complications, meaning that surrogacy can’t be an individual’s first pregnancy. 

You will be medically assessed to find out more about your overall health, your family’s medical history, your personal medical history, and your fertility. You may also be assessed by a psychiatric professional to make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind to become a surrogate, since the emotional burden can be difficult. Of course, specific requirements will vary depending on your location and the agency that you choose to work with.

Psychological Implications

As mentioned briefly above, there are undeniable psychological factors at play when becoming a surrogate. Growing a baby in your body for forty weeks inevitably takes its toll. The nature of this depends on your unique outlook, attitude, and personality. For some, the idea of relinquishing the baby at the end of the pregnancy can seem unfair or unnatural. For others, they understand that they’re giving a gift to people who need help becoming parents. Your psychological state is a significant aspect of deciding whether you’ll be suitable as a surrogate. Having a reliable and compassionate support system during your surrogate pregnancy will help you to manage potentially difficult emotions.

Legal Considerations

Before the process of becoming a surrogate can begin, you and the intended parents must sign an agreement that details the expectations of the costs, medical care, compensation, and parental rights. All parties must be on the same page about how the process should unfold, otherwise there’s a risk of disagreements with finances or custody of the child. Get in touch with a legal professional in this field to gain a deeper insight that will help you and the intended parents to reach an amicable agreement that suits everybody.

Financial Agreements

Surrogates are rarely expected to cover the costs of their medical expenses during pregnancy. They may also be compensated for the additional burden on their lifestyle, mental health, and the effort involved. Going through an agency and making a formal agreement in the early stages avoids any misunderstandings about finances.

Monitoring the Pregnancy

To ensure that the intended parents are involved during the pregnancy, most surrogates either invite them along to various medical checkups or at least give them regular updates about the baby’s progress. Ultrasound scans and other routine tests will allow both the surrogate and the intended parents to feel reassured as the pregnancy develops.

Delivering the Baby

Although the baby belongs to the intended parents, the surrogate will agree with them beforehand about their role during the birth. It’s up to the surrogate whether they can be present since it’s a highly stressful and intimate moment.

Is It Right for You?

Only you can decide whether becoming a surrogate is a good choice for you. If you meet the physical, medical, and psychological criteria, you may be able to offer someone else the gift of parenthood.

There’s so much to learn about the intricacies of surrogacy. Not only is the physical side fascinating for its miraculousness, but the feeling of accomplishment and purpose that comes from performing a selfless act is compelling to so many kindhearted people. 

Before taking this huge step and signing up to become a surrogate yourself, you must first fully grasp the nature of the process and meet all eligibility criteria. Remember that your well-being and the well-being of the infant are paramount. Use this guide as the first step in your exciting surrogacy journey.

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