What to Expect from Surrogacy
Author: Heather Montgomery
If you are unable to become pregnant on your own, unable to carry a pregnancy to term, or are in a same-sex relationship, you may be considering surrogacy as a way to grow your family.
Surrogacy involves both the parents of the potential child and a woman who agrees to carry your child to term. There are two different types of surrogacy: traditional, which involves the surrogate using her own eggs which are implanted via artificial insemination with the sperm of a donor or one of the parents; and gestational surrogacy, in which the sperm and egg come from a donor or potential parent. Traditional surrogacy is the less expensive option because gestational surrogacy uses IVF. According to the Human Rights Campaign, surrogacy can cost $50,000 to $140,000. Here are some things you can expect during the journey to surrogacy.
Finding a Surrogate You can find a surrogate through an agency, or use a friend or family member who is willing to be a carrier for you. If you go through an agency, be sure to do thorough research to avoid being taken advantage of. One of the most important things to have when using a surrogate is an iron-clad contract that lays out individual responsibilities during the pregnancy. Your responsibilities will typically include the cost of all medical procedures and possibly a stipend for the surrogate.
Testing After you have found a surrogate, you, your partner, and the surrogate will likely need to go through a battery of tests. These tests include fertility monitoring, physiological examinations, and general physicals. It is important that everyone be in the right frame of mind and healthy enough to care for the baby once it arrives.
Building a Relationship Because your surrogate will be the primary caregiver and means of nourishment for your child for nine months, it is important to build a meaningful relationship with her. When you choose your surrogate, make sure that her ideals are on the same page as you, including how involved you will be during the pregnancy. If you want to be there for all of the appointments, and especially for the birth, make sure that all of this information is agreed on and in writing in your contract.
The Downside It is important to understand that there are downsides to using a surrogate. If your surrogacy is traditional, in some courts of law your surrogate has a “right” to the child she is carrying, as she is biologically related to that child. As much as you may want to, you are also not able to dictate every activity or food your surrogate partakes in while pregnant with your child. This is why a physiological evaluation is important for everyone involved in the surrogacy. The experience can be mentally draining for the intended parents and the surrogate.
If you do choose surrogacy, you will be blessed with one of life’s miracles: a baby. In order to have the best experience with surrogacy as possible, be informed, be diligent, and be thankful.