Do you long for children but dread the thought of giving birth? Who says you must deliver babies yourself? Nowadays, surrogate mothers go a long way in helping couples achieve their dreams of having biological children without stressing about their carrier.
Is surrogacy as simple and efficient as it sounds? Of course! Suitable surrogate mothers from proper backgrounds will help carry your baby to term. There are several reasons why some people prefer to use the surrogacy process.
Also, surrogacy agencies make this process easier through their various roles. Our article will walk you through the surrogacy process and how you can find a surrogate mother for your children.
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an arrangement between two parties (often backed by legal contracts) where a surrogate agrees to labor and delivers a child/children for another party (usually a couple). Ultimately, the children belong to the couple(intended parents) and not the individual that delivered them. Hence, the surrogate mother loses all rights to the baby upon delivery.
Most intended parents seek surrogate mothers to bear their children when it becomes medically impossible for them to do it themselves. When there are high risks associated with pregnancy and delivery, it is more advisable to have another person (a surrogate mother) carry children for a couple. Also, intended male parents can employ a surrogate mother’s services if they wish to have a child.
A surrogate mother may or may not demand money to carry the baby in her womb. The arrangement depends on whether the parties come from a surrogacy agency. You must be prepared to pay for a surrogate mother if you want to use a surrogacy agency to help you find a surrogate mother.
What Is the Cost Implication for Surrogacy?
Finding the right surrogate mother could be quite challenging. Hence, surrogacy agencies usually help with the process by sieving out and presenting the perfect options for you. The cost for a surrogate mother may vary depending on your jurisdiction. Additionally, it would help if you only considered surrogacy in countries where the process is not banned. Note that surrogacy is only legal when you do not pay for it.
Types of Surrogacy
Before going out to find a surrogate mother, you must understand the types of surrogacy. There are two broad divisions of surrogacy; gestational and traditional surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacy is also called natural, partial or straight surrogacy. Interestingly, traditional surrogacy involves fertilizing a surrogate mother’s egg with the intended donor’s sperm. Also, the donor can either inseminate the surrogate via natural insemination (sex) or artificial insemination.
Some people carry out their insemination without involving a physician or doctor. While traditional surrogacy does not have many processes, you must apply for rights to the child as the intended parents. Since the surrogate mother bore the child, they have all the rights to the baby. You must file for legal parental rights to fully access the child. Many fertility clinics with surrogacy services usually help intended parents through the surrogacy process to gain full legal rights to the baby.
2. Gestational Surrogacy
Unlike traditional surrogacy, this process involves an embryo transfer to a surrogate mother. The embryo comes from in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology. In this process, the embryo is implanted in the gestational carrier, who then carries the child to term and gives birth.
There are many forms of gestational surrogacy. However, one thing you must take from each form is that the resultant baby does not bear any genetic resemblance to the surrogate mother. In the first form, the embryo comes from the intended parent (male) sperm, and egg (female). Alternatively, the embryo may be from the intended father’s sperm and a donor’s egg. You could also get the embryo from the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm. Another form of gestational surrogacy is when a donor embryo gets transferred to a surrogate. In such an instance, the embryo transferred to the surrogate carrier does not come from the couple. Hence, the resultant baby will not have any genetic ties with the intended parents.
Overall, gestational surrogacy is a less complicated process compared to traditional surrogacy. The former is less complex in the United States because the parents maintain genetic ties with the child and can claim ownership of the child. Thus, such parents could argue and win the full rights of their kids. Since gestational surrogacy is more straightforward, you will find that it is more commonly used in the United States than traditional surrogacy. More than 750 babies delivered yearly in the U.S. come from gestational carrier mothers.
Who Can Use Surrogate Mothers?
The surrogacy process has become popular, and most people wonder if everyone can use surrogate mothers.
- People With Health Issues
You can consider surrogacy as an option if you have medically-related uterine problems. Alternatively, you can use the surrogacy process if you had previously removed your uterus via hysterectomy. You can also take on the surrogacy journey if you experience conditions that make it impossible or difficult to conceive or deliver babies. Generally, any situation that puts your life at risk if you conceive gives room for you to consider a gestational surrogate for your needs. For example, if you have severe heart disease, it would be best to consider a surrogate mother to help you carry and deliver your baby.
- Couples With Fertility Issues
What if you’ve tried to conceive without success? That’s also a probable cause for surrogacy. Suppose you’ve tried to conceive without success, even using some high-quality assisted reproduction techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF). In that case, it’s time for you to consider surrogacy candidates who can help you. However, must you have a health issue before considering surrogacy services? Not really. You can use surrogacy services if you want to have children with genetic ties without bearing them. A fertility clinic will help you pick the best surrogate candidate without hassles.
- Gay Couples
Surrogacy makes it possible for gay couples to have children. All that is needed is for the sperm to get delivered via artificial insemination. A gay couple may also decide to choose an egg donor. After picking, they can fertilize the donated egg and implant the fertilized egg (embryo) in a surrogate candidate to carry until birth. Although the process may sound confusing, a surrogacy specialist makes everything easy by providing a detailed guide for the entire surrogacy process. Hence, you will not feel left out from picking surrogate profiles to screening surrogate candidates, down to signing the surrogacy contract. All you have to do is find the right fertility clinic with excellent services, and you will enjoy the remaining process.
How to Find a Surrogate Mother
Finding surrogate mothers with suitable profiles could be challenging. However, there are several ways you could employ to find the best surrogates for your children.
Always remember that surrogacy is a big deal. Hence, you must not take the surrogacy screening lightly. Find a surrogate with which you can develop an easy surrogacy relationship. You can consider these few points to help pick the best surrogate from a list of prospective surrogates.
- Consider a Family Member
The best place to commence your search for prospective surrogates is your family members. Although employing your family member could seem controversial, especially to your belief, it is one of the best ways to conserve cost. Additionally, it is easier to bond with your family as an intended parent since you already have that family connection.
The American Society accepts certain family members for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) for surrogacy. While the body generally discourages surrogacy, it tends to accept these surrogates if they would not produce children born out of incest between closely-related family members.
Along with family members, you could consider a close friend as a prospective surrogate. Many intended parents prefer friends to family since they do not share genetic ties. However, you must be careful when choosing your surrogate to ensure they do not try to keep the child after the surrogacy process.
- Surrogacy Agencies
A surrogacy agency is another unique place where many intended parents can find excellent surrogate profiles for matching. You will typically find about a hundred surrogacy agencies running legally in the United States. These surrogacy agencies act as the middlemen between the intended parents and their prospective surrogates. A surrogacy agency helps you to pick a suitable candidate for surrogacy. Additionally, the agency helps make arrangements and collects fees that would typically pass from the intended parents to the surrogates. In that case, surrogacy remains legal and without blemish since you did not directly give money to the surrogate. Such fees could include paying for the surrogate’s medical bills.
How to Pick a Suitable Candidate for Surrogacy
There are currently no regulations on who can become a surrogate mother. However, picking the best surrogate for your child makes the entire process worthwhile and without stress. If you want to enjoy the surrogacy process, it is best to consider a few criteria before you decide on a particular individual.
As a general rule, hopeful intended parents must choose surrogate mothers 21 years and over. Choosing a surrogate who is less than 21 could have legal consequences. Additionally, you need to ensure the prospective candidate has a successful pregnancy history. Picking an individual who has not successfully taken in could pose issues.
The prospective surrogate’s marital status is also important. Ensure to find surrogate mothers that have not yet married if you want to enjoy a purposeful and stress-free surrogate journey. Additionally, ensure that the prospective surrogate passes their psychological evaluation and can take care of your unborn child without much emotional support. It is good to pick a surrogate that will not have issues giving up the baby after delivery.
Once you have found a compatible surrogate, contact a surrogacy attorney to draft an ironclad contract for your surrogate. Ensure the surrogate goes through your surrogate criteria, understands them, and agrees to commit to them before they sign the contract. The contract ensures that the surrogate will keep to their part of the bargain by going for prenatal care. Additionally, the agreement provides that the surrogate will hand over the baby after delivery without issues.
Things to Consider Before Starting the Surrogacy Process
You need to consider a few things as intended parents before using a surrogate for your child’s delivery. While independent surrogacy does not have many rules or legal maneuvers, it could pose a problem if the surrogate later refuses to give up the baby after childbirth. Since you did not sign any lawful contract, it could get tricky to obtain your baby from the mother. It could be more problematic if the surrogate mother shares genetic ties (if you fertilized their egg) with the baby.
Also, ensure that the surrogate mother undergoes a medical exam before you begin the process. The medical test should check to ensure the prospective candidate can have a full-term and healthy pregnancy. If you find any issues with their health, do not continue with the process. You must check for infections like HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, and cytomegalovirus.
Also, check that your chosen surrogate can withstand rubella, measles, and chickenpox. It would also help to check that the doctor visually maps the uterus for potential issues. Also, your surrogate mother should have her doctor rather than use yours during the pregnancy. Be mindful that you may need to pay for surrogacy. Some surrogate mothers request money before carrying their baby. In such instances, ensure you use an agency that does not pass money directly to a surrogate, as this will render the process illegal.
Which Is Better: Traditional or Gestational Surrogacy?
Although traditional surrogacy does not have a lot of legal requirements, it is best to leverage a gestational surrogate since you can easily control the situation when things go south. Always ensure that prospective surrogates do not have an issue with gestational surrogacy before you proceed.
Is It Safe to Use Surrogacy Agencies?
Intended parents should use surrogacy agencies for the screening process. Surrogacy agencies make the surrogacy experience much more enticing and stress-free. Additionally, you can enjoy surrogacy planning and find surrogate mothers that fit your description. Although you can find surrogate mothers out on the street, you may not have the backing you would enjoy if things went south. If you use a surrogacy agency, you get the assurance of the best surrogate mothers you can find.
Conclusion: How to Find a Surrogate Mother
Finding a surrogate mother entails several things. In our article, we have outlined the best ways you can use to pick out the perfect surrogate mothers you need to enjoy your surrogacy journey.
Using a surrogacy agency when you need a surrogate mother is advisable because these agencies screen and select only credible individuals to serve as surrogates. Additionally, you will find fertility experts in these clinics. Such experts help you all the way to ensure you do not get confused while looking for a child.
Ensure to ask questions before you commit to any process. If you do not like a potential surrogate, ensure to look for another until you get the perfect surrogate carrier for your child. If you do not find the surrogate you need, consult another agency until you get an ideal fit.