If you're considering a surrogate pregnancy as a gestational carrier to bless a family with the gift of life, you're not alone.
You'll help a couple achieve something they never thought possible: raising a healthy, happy family of their own if infertility strikes.
After all, without your courage and commitment, it would be impossible for intended parents to experience the thrill of bringing home a newborn baby for the very first time.
For some surrogates, that's reason enough to take the journey into surrogacy. Still, we completely understand if you need to learn more before deciding if a surrogate pregnancy is right for you.
With that in mind, here are the essentials of what criteria you need to satisfy to be a surrogate and what to expect when you begin the journey.
Requirements to gift a surrogate pregnancy
The criteria for becoming a surrogate are usually comparable agency-to-agency, yet some may have a more extensive vetting process than others.
At our surrogate agency, we pre-qualify candidates based on:
- Age between 21 years old and 40 years old
- Residency in a state where surrogacy is legal
- Criminal background check
- Healthy reproductive history overall
- Giving birth to at least one healthy baby
- Minimum of six months since the surrogate's last birth
- No record of drug and alcohol abuse
- Not currently receiving government assistance
- Body mass index of 18 to 32
- A non-smoker who resides in a non-smoking household (i.e., second-hand smoke)
If you meet those minimum requirements, you more than likely pre-qualify to become a surrogate once we verify the information on your application.
After that, you'll move on to the selection process with the intended parents.
What is the process like for a surrogate pregnancy?
The main thing to remember is that the pre-qualification process is actually pretty extensive, and that's par for the course.
Our goal is to empower surrogates and intended parents with everything they need to make the best choices.
Hence, here's a short breakdown of what the process will be like before, during, and after a surrogate pregnancy.
Before your surrogate pregnancy
Not only do you have to be physically prepared for a surrogate pregnancy, but you also need to be mentally healthy, so psychological screening is another part of the qualification.
If you meet all of the basic standards, the next step before getting pregnant is for the intended parents to choose you as their surrogate mother. The legal and financial aspects come last before you agree to prepare for insemination, including all necessary fertility treatments.
During your surrogate pregnancy
While pregnant, the process will proceed along not too different from a normal pregnancy. The catch is that you may or may not form a bond with the child you inevitably carry to term.
As a way to cope with either situation, it's a good idea to keep a log of your pregnancy to use at a later time if you need additional counseling after giving birth.
Hence, some of the biggest challenges you can expect during a surrogate pregnancy are emotional in nature.
After your surrogate pregnancy
First-time surrogate mothers may find it surprising that the process doesn't end after giving birth.
Depending on the type of bond you either did or didn't form with the intended parents, you may keep in contact with the new family, but that's a dynamic usually decided before the pregnancy.
There may also be additional medical follow-ups to ensure that you can still have another child if you choose to do so down the line.
How much do surrogates make in wages?
The good news is that you'll always receive compensation for a surrogate pregnancy unless you expressly agree to take on the responsibility without payment – in other words, an altruistic surrogacy.
But most of the time, surrogates receive a base compensation near $30,000 before additional benefits come into the equation, such as reimbursements for travel expenses and taking fertility medications.
Additional benefits can include counseling and therapy after giving birth or compensation for lost wages during the surrogate pregnancy.
Still, there are other factors to consider as well.
Other surrogacy considerations
As you might expect, a surrogate pregnancy can be equally risky as a normal pregnancy, yet surrogacy in the US has a much higher success rate than in other parts of the world. That's because agencies in the US have a more stringent qualification process, and they must also comply with state and federal laws.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you want to take fertility medications during embryo fertilization, but it depends on the medical procedures required for surrogacy.
For instance, you could use your own ovum to conceive the child through artificial insemination with the intended father's genetic material; the other option is to act as a gestational surrogate and receive a fertilized embryo by other procedures.
Either way, there's a strong possibility that you'll need to take medications that affect your ovulation cycle. There's also no guarantee that fertility procedures will work the right time around; sometimes, it takes several tries to get to a viable embryo eventually.
Ultimately, the most vital takeaway is that you can expect a lengthy qualification process and a relatively long pregnancy, considering the added care surrogates usually include.
We're a boutique surrogate agency that excels at quickly matching intended parents worldwide with a fully-vetted, exceptional selection of surrogates.
We help individuals and couples, regardless of race or sexual orientation, start families through the miracle of surrogacy.
All of us at SurrogateFirst are either former intended parents or experienced surrogates. Without a doubt, we understand first-hand what it takes to have an incredible, successful surrogate journey.
Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact us here with any questions.