Typical Surrogate Profile
A typical surrogate mother would be described as a caring, giving, kind and healthy woman between the ages of 24-42 years old, who has two children and 13 years of formal education. Seventy-five percent are married and one third have full-time employment. The majority of surrogate mothers are raised in a Christian faith, with twenty-five percent raised Catholic. She can be described as a responsible and empathetic woman who looks forward to the experience of helping an infertile couple have a child of their own. A recurring theme stated by surrogate mothers is that the true genesis of a child is its creation in the minds and hearts of the intended parents. (Based on Surrogate Parenting: Reassessing Human Bonding by Dr. Hilary Hanafin, 1987)
The motivations to become a surrogate mother include:
a) enjoy being pregnant,
b) has a history of easy, uncomplicated pregnancies,
c) an opportunity to feel special,
d) empathy for childless couples,
e) importance of her children in her life,
f) opportunity to make a unique contribution,
g) financial gain for her family,
h) an opportunity to make up for a pregnancy previously terminated,
i) the sheer joy of making a memorable difference in someone else’s life.
Five basic requirements must be met before a candidate can begin the screening phase of our program:
1. Must be between 21 and 42 years of age. (Age limit for repeat surrogate mothers is flexible.)
2. Must have already given birth to a child she is currently raising.
3. Must be financially secure and cannot be receiving government assistance.
4. Must be a US citizen or have permanent residency.
5. Must be a non-smoker
CSP receives approximately 250 applications a month in response to our advertising for surrogate mothers. However, less than 10 -12 women are accepted into our program each month. We are very cautious in screening potential surrogate mothers. We will only present a potential surrogate mother to you for consideration once she has completed her psychological and medical screening. We recognize that a couple has usually endured much heartache throughout their journey of infertility. We do not want to add to that heartache by introducing you to a surrogate mother and allowing you to become connected to her and pay all her screening bills, only to then find out she cannot continue to help you because she cannot pass the screening.
Our screening usually lasts 3-5 months to enable us to be sure that she understands what she is agreeing to, that she has the support of her family, that her children understand that she is not "giving away" a sibling, and most important of all, we want to be careful that she is not hurt because of her generosity in wanting to help a couple realize their dreams. By their very nature, surrogate mothers are very giving women, and it is our responsibility to ensure they are not rushed into making a decision. The screening time also allows us to get to know our surrogate mothers and this is invaluable in the matching process. We learn about their strengths and weaknesses, their soft side and their organizational skills, and sometimes the lack thereof! All this information is then utilized in the matching process. In addition we will share with you, as a couple in our program, your surrogate mother’s strong points and where she is going to need additional guidance or hand-holding. In our opinion, there is absolutely no way that an agency can appropriately match a surrogate mother if they have only recently met her or perhaps never met her in person but only communicated via the Internet. This is a young lady that will help you create your family and to some extent or another be involved in your life. At CSP we strongly recommend that you do not allow yourself to be matched with any surrogate mother until the agency has known them for at least 3-5 months.
"It is important to explore both conscious and unconscious motivations so to assess whether being a surrogate serves as a functional or dysfunctional purpose for the participant and her family." Dr. Hilary Hanafin
A moment of reflection:
At a seminar that CSP was hosting for couples, we invited a surrogate mother to give a speech. She presented her story and then asked for questions. A gentleman stood up and stated how thankful he was to hear her story and appreciative of her time, however, he still could not understand why she wanted to be a surrogate mother. She smiled and stated that she was simply not clever enough to find the cure to cancer. However, she knew that she could carry a pregnancy well and knew that she could make a difference to just one couples life – make a difference that would last forever. This was her way of contributing to the world. When she was old she would look back at the contributions she made during her lifetime, she would be proud of the role she played as wife and mother, and she would remember the family she helped get started through her surrogacy and know that her existence made a difference on this world. That man teared up and simply nodded his head in understanding.