When it comes to having children, not everyone can or wants to follow the traditional methods. Surrogacy is a relatively new concept, and there are still a few stigmas surrounding it. More women than ever before are having children through medical intervention, so there is a lot to learn about this non-traditional method of bringing life into the world. If you are considering becoming a surrogate, or you want to know more about how to go about this process, this article will highlight seven vital things to know first.
1. What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a unique way to build a family through an agreement between the intended parents and a woman willing to be their surrogate. A surrogacy agreement involves a willing woman choosing to become pregnant through a transfer of an embryo, and then carrying the baby to term for the intended parents.
Anyone who meets the criteria can be a surrogate – it can be a friend, relative, or even a willing stranger. Check out this recent post about surrogacy requirements for more info.
2. Traditional surrogacy
In traditional surrogacy, a willing woman is artificially inseminated with the sperm, which can either be the father’s or a donor’s sperm. She then carries the baby to term and gives it to the couple. She is technically the biological mother of the child because the egg that gets fertilized is hers.
Traditional surrogacy works for women who want to have children but cannot. Usually, their eggs cannot be used, or they are unable to carry a pregnancy to term for medical reasons.
3. Gestational surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy involves a process known as in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF has some inherent risk factors to consider, but overall, this process can be done safely if it is done correctly by a professional. Don’t be fooled by some of the most common fertility myths surrounding IVF.
Through IVF the intended mother’s eggs are collected and then fertilized by the father’s sperm or a donor’s sperm. The fertilized embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus, and she carries it to term. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not the biological mother of the child because it was not her egg that was used for the child.
This method is often preferred because it gives the intended parents genetic ties to the baby.
4. Medical reasons
With many celebrities opting to use surrogates these days, surrogacy can easily be confused with a process done for vanity or convenience for the mother. Surrogacy is rarely executed for these reasons, and it isn’t intended to spare the mother’s body from pregnancy.
Surrogacy is only ever recommended for medical reasons, such as an inability to carry a child or if the mother has a medical condition that contraindicates pregnancy.
5. Who is surrogacy meant for?
Surrogates typically need to have had a baby before, that way there is a history of previous complications or issues with full-term pregnancies. Surrogacy is meant for someone who cannot conceive a child or has a medical condition that prohibits them from falling pregnant. Surrogacy is also an option for LGBTQ+ couples who want a baby.
The fees involved can vary depending on your requirements and situation, so if you’re thinking to yourself “how much does a surrogate cost?” then you need to know that the answer isn’t going to be cut and dry.
6. The requirements
Women who want to register to become surrogates need to be at least 21 years old, and in good health. Becoming a surrogate is a beautiful journey, but you need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for it.
The ideal surrogate will have:
- a healthy BMI
- have carried at least one pregnancy to term successfully
- be off anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months
Those requirements give the baby the best possible chance without risking the life of your surrogate.
7. The average process
The average surrogacy process involves:
- meeting with your doctor
- finding a sperm donor (if necessary)
- finding a surrogate
- having them undergo the embryo transfer
- completing all the legal paperwork
- welcoming the delivery of the baby
These steps each have their unique challenges and requirements, which means that the entire process takes between 1 to 2 years to complete.
The surrogacy journey is a long one, and you need to have considered every aspect of it along the way. Surrogacy can be a smooth process if all rules and regulations have been strictly adhered to and everyone involved remains transparent and open throughout the journey.
Be honest to yourself and others about your anxieties and concerns. There is a good chance that everyone else is feeling the same way, and you can figure out the best way to support each other together.