Adding a new baby to your family is one of the most life-altering events you will experience. If you’ve decided to connect with a surrogate mom to have a child, now is the time to prepare yourself and your partner for all the questions, choices, and joys ahead. Here are some key considerations to think about as you begin to learn about potential surrogates for your child.
Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Partner
- Will you work through a surrogate agency or choose a surrogate mom independently?
There are medical and legal implications to consider in the process you are about to undertake. Given the deep emotional impact of it all, having the assistance of an independent third party like a qualified agency takes away some of the burdens and provides your family with expert resources at every stage, including screening potential surrogacy candidates.
- Are we ready for parenthood and sharing this intimate process with an outside person? The more you know about what to expect and your choices, the better prepared you will feel for every step in this exciting process. Learn as much as possible about your options, the pros and cons associated with surrogacy, and how to select a surrogate mother.
- Do we effectively communicate with one another about surrogacy and parenting?
Now is the time to ensure both partners are on the same page and move forward with similar values, goals, and a shared vision of your ideal surrogate mom.
Qualities to Consider When Choosing a Surrogate
Start by listing qualities you both hope to find in your surrogate. It helps to break them into ideal and must-have categories. Whether you choose traditional surrogacy involving a close friend or relative or select a candidate screened by a surrogacy agency, you will need to decide on your criteria guiding how to select a surrogate and how involved you plan to become with your surrogate before, during, and after pregnancy. Of course, your relationship with your surrogate will evolve just as any other would, and you may be surprised at the close bond that develops following your child’s birth. At the very least, you will remain in frequent contact during the pregnancy, sharing the experience with her and ensuring a consistently loving, healthy, supportive environment for your baby.
Here are some essential qualities to look for as you narrow down your choices for how to select your baby’s surrogate mother.
She should be:
- Entirely trustworthy, responsible, and committed to completing the pregnancy.
- Aware of the potential risks in any pregnancy and the particular risks of surrogacy.
- A resident in a state that allows surrogate procedures. If she lives in a state with laws banning surrogacy, she would be performing an illegal act, even if your state favors the procedure.
- She is in excellent health and has given birth to a healthy child previously, so she knows what to expect all the way through. She should be a non-smoker who has never used drugs and should agree to remain smoke-free and alcohol-free throughout, including during a pre-implantation period.
- Someone who has a healthy home environment with a network of family and friends to rely on for support as she goes through the experience of being a surrogate mom.
- Financially stable and motivated by a desire to help fulfill personal and family goals than by financial gain.
- A woman between the ages of 21 to 42 years—the best range to deal with the emotional and physical challenges that lie ahead.
- Mentally and emotionally healthy, as indicated by a psychological screening and thorough interview. She should not have any history of mental illness or post-partum depression. A positive person with an upbeat, forward-looking view of life is most likely to weather pregnancy’s emotional and physical ups and downs with a healthy, balanced attitude.
Questions to Review with Surrogacy Candidates
Once you have determined how to select the right surrogate for your family, a have found the perfect match; it’s time to draw up a contract with the surrogate mom. This stage is mandatory as contracts exist to set out the expectations of all parties in any relationship, business or personal. Surrogate in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a relatively new process in legal terms, and, as a result, the laws are vague or non-existent and vary from state to state. Here are just a few of the overlapping legal, ethical, and medical questions that may arise during the pre-pregnancy and pregnancy period:
- Will you have amniocentesis performed when your surrogate becomes pregnant? How will you be prepared to respond to the outcomes?
- If multiple pregnancies—specifically, triplets or more—result, will you choose to selectively reduce, and will she be willing to undergo this procedure?
- If there is a diagnosis of Down syndrome or another more severe condition, will you terminate the pregnancy or proceed, and will your surrogate agree?
Understanding how to select the best surrogate involves discussing these medical and legal questions and reaching a mutually acceptable consensus. Once this stage has been reached, ensure your contract includes all stipulations for handling each situation.
What kind of relationship will you maintain with your baby’s surrogate mom after birth? This is an important question to answer as you explore how to choose. You may feel comfortable finding a place for her as part of your child’s extended family. Giving the surrogate a chance to say goodbye to the baby and welcome it into your loving home is ethical and kind. Often, surrogates maintain a distant relationship during the first year and then gradually become more detached over time. In many cases, though, intended parents and surrogates form a close bond that becomes a lifelong friendship.
If you have experienced difficulty conceiving and bearing a child and have been exploring how to select a loving surrogate mom, you now have a better idea of the many complex choices you will face. Working through an experienced, caring surrogate agency will provide the professional guidance and security you and your baby need to ensure a healthy start in life and a promising future. It is important to choose an agency with an established record of success and a coordinated, professional program of services, like Family Creations.
Be sure to choose an agency that offers these important services:
- Screening of candidates for the surrogate role includes a thorough review of medical and psychological history, social background, character, and lifestyle.
- In-depth interviews and background checks of candidate and spouse or partner, if any.
- Ability to choose from candidates most closely matching your values, concerns, and comfort level regarding family involvement.
- Home visit and inspection of the candidate’s living situation.
- Screening of candidate’s current health insurance.
- Educational overview and guidance for the surrogate and her family to ensure they are fully prepared for the process.
- Willingness to show the agency’s record of successful births.
- Exceptional client-relation skills to assist intended parents with learning how to select a surrogate mother that is right for their family’s needs.
Once you have found a match and chosen the surrogate you will work with, the agency should manage the process, and humanely and carefully guide the surrogate through each step, including handling:
- The scheduling of all medical appointments with approved professionals.
- Assistance with legal aspects of the agreement.
- Psychological counseling and support sessions.
- Issuing and tracking payments according to an agreed schedule.
You should have the assistance of a personal case manager who oversees and coordinates all the many services required to ensure the best possible experience for both the intended parents and the surrogate mother and during the follow-up stages following childbirth, as both families adjust to the existence of the precious, new life they have created together.
Your Trusted Partner for Gestational Surrogacy: Family Creations
Family Creations has over 15 years of experience helping couples and individuals worldwide create the family of their dreams. With offices throughout the United States, our family planning specialists can meet with you to discuss our services. For more information, please contact us today.