Having a baby is one of the most important decisions you make in your lifetime. Not only do you want to make sure that the time is right for having a baby, but that you are financially stable, and emotionally stable enough to handle a pregnancy and a baby. For many people, these are the only questions they need to ask, but for many others, the questions they ask are very different: Will we be able to get pregnant? How long will it take? Should we try IVF? Who should be the father or mother of our child? These are some of the most difficult questions to ask and to talk about with your significant other. But, thanks to some of the bravest, most generous, and thoughtful women, there’s another option for these parents who struggle to conceive or with the inability to conceive on their own terms. We call these heroic women who help couples realize their dreams surrogates.
There are many potential parents out there who are childless, and surrogacy is one of the ways to help these parents live their dreams of raising a child. But, many women considering surrogacy don’t know where to start, what questions to ask, or even if they qualify for surrogacy. If you are curious about what it takes to be a surrogate for wonderful parents and families who are unable to have children due to various reasons, here are some of the most important things potential surrogates must consider:
To become a surrogate, here are some of the questions you need to ask concerning your health.
What is the current state of my health? What is my BMI? Why is BMI important? Do I use illegal substances, alcohol, or cigarettes? Do I have any health issues that would be problematic for giving birth?
Though this may seem like an investigation, these are necessary things for a surrogacy agency like CSP to know. These are also questions intended parents will ask when seeking a surrogate. Having a child is a natural process, but it can take a toll on your body. A healthy pregnancy requires an extremely healthy mother to nourish and take care of a growing child. Though you may feel like these are unnecessary questions, there are some very valid reasons behind the questions.
Intended Parents who need the help of a surrogate are seeking a woman who is healthy and able to provide a good home for their child for 9 months. If you have a medical history that includes pre-eclampsia, or high blood pressure, it could endanger their child as well as your own health. Requesting your body mass index or BMI may seem invasive, but a healthy BMI is important specifically because it can be helpful in predicting whether you will have health problems while trying to conceive and also while trying to give birth. In order to be a surrogate, you need to have a BMI below 30. If you have a BMI above 30, you are at higher risk for diabetes, and other complications like decreased odds of implantation, and higher doses of fertility drugs. Lastly, one of the biggest things surrogacy agencies check whether a potential surrogate is likely to use illegal drugs, anti-depressants or other drugs that are dangerous to the child, cigarettes or other substances with nicotine, and alcohol during the pregnancy. This is usually determined through a drug test and simple questions.
Financials are another major consideration for potential surrogates. Though surrogates’ medical care is provided during the pregnancy, most often surrogates don’t choose to carry an intended parent’s child for money. It isn’t enough to make a career of. So, CSP typically will ask about a potential surrogate’s financials, and you’ll need to ask yourself if your financials are in order to have a successful turn as a surrogate. Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself before considering participating as a surrogate.
What is your financial situation? Are you participating in certain government aid programs? Are you living in Section 8 housing? Are you receiving any forms of financial aid?
Though these also may seem like prying questions, they are important to all agencies, because receiving funds from your surrogacy may interfere with your ability to qualify for these programs. If these programs are what you use to make ends meet, surrogacy may not be the best option. Income requirements for these programs are generally very strict, and the money you earn as a surrogate may make you ineligible for government aid programs. Though some government programs won’t automatically disqualify you, you may want to do some research before you submit an application to be a surrogate. Also, as a surrogacy agency, we like to make sure that our surrogate mothers are not simply doing this for the money. We want to make sure that our surrogate mothers are prepared for the pregnancy and that the decision to be a surrogate is a wise and thoughtful one.
Will your family be supportive of your decision? Are family members emotionally and mentally ready to let the baby go following the pregnancy? Are you emotionally ready for this decision?
One of the most important sets of questions surrogates need to ask are questions about their families. Though the decision belongs solely to the surrogate mother as it is her body, we require that your family and support system be supportive of your idea. Though you will be carrying the baby, your family will be helping you throughout the pregnancy—you can’t go through a pregnancy alone. The surrogacy process is an arduous one, and the stressful, complicated process begins long before the surrogate gets pregnant. All intended parents want to know that their child is being carried in a stress-free environment, so a surrogate’s support system is an important aspect to consider.
And, of course, the biggest part of the equation is how you feel about the decision. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions before you decide to become a surrogate.
Are you emotionally and physically prepared for the process of becoming a surrogate? Why have you decided to become a surrogate? Are you prepared to give the baby to its parents after birth?
Lastly, one of the most important sets of questions you need to ask is about the agency you are considering working with. Here are some of the questions we recommend.
How long has the agency operated? What does the agency do for the surrogate? Are surrogates pre-screened? Does the agency offer counseling services?
These are all important questions to ask, and most can be answered by your agency’s representative. Though these are pretty standard questions, we consider the answers to any questions a surrogate might have essential. We answer any questions as soon as a potential surrogate asks. Not only do we have 36 years of experience in this field, but our agency has helped bring more than 2,200 babies into the world. Though most surrogacy programs are unregulated, we believe in holding ourselves to a higher standard, making sure that our surrogates are taken care of. Not only do we perform background checks on all of our surrogates, but we assign a counselor to you, provide group support meetings, provide a list of attorney’s for you to choose from, a life insurance policy, and more. Because we also know it is important for you to feel comfortable with the parents you choose, you choose the parents you want to work with, and we present the option to them. We know there is nothing more precious than bringing children to this earth, so we do everything we can to benefit you during your pregnancy.
For our requirements, we simply need the following:
- Permanent resident (i.e. have a green card) and currently live in the U.S.A.
- Be a non-smoker
- Between 21 and 42 years of age (flexible for repeat surrogate mothers)
- Not be on any form of government assistance for yourself
- Have already given birth to a child that you are currently raising
Surrogacy is one of the most special gifts that a woman can offer to parents who are unable to have children. If you choose to be a surrogate, you will always know that you helped create a family for someone who couldn’t otherwise.