What is Surrogacy? There are many misconceptions around the role of a surrogate, and some may not know what to say or ask. However, if we overcome this hesitation, it can be an opportunity to learn more about this incredible family building option! While many know the word “surrogacy,” few truly understand the process.
The Angels of Surrogacy
“I know it’s my calling to become a surrogate. I want the world to feel the
joy that I feel when I embrace my children, and to be able to give the gift
of life is a dream come true.”
– Tae, Gestational Surrogate from Maryland
What is Surrogacy?
When I tell people that I work at a surrogacy agency, I am often met with puzzled yet interested looks.
So, what is surrogacy? Simply put, surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for anybody trying to create a family but cannot on their own. She is commonly known as a gestational carrier or surrogate. Surrogacy is an incredible and selfless gift to many people who feel like their road to parenthood has hit a dead end.
Who needs a surrogate?
The future parents are commonly referred to as intended parents. They can be couples with infertility issues or medical circumstances that prevent them from carrying a pregnancy, or they can be same-sex couples who can’t conceive on their own.
Surrogacy is getting increasingly common. In 2011, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) tracked 1,593 babies born in the United States to gestational surrogates. This was up from 1,353 in 2009 and just 738 in 2004. Today, we continue to make significant advances that change how we think about conception and family building, and surrogacy is an important part of this discussion.
What motivates someone to be a surrogate?
Many people assume it’s for financial compensation. While true for many gestational surrogates, this is usually a small part of their equation. These amazing women are moms themselves. They deeply understand what a gift parenthood is and want to help others have that experience. Surrogates are committed and go through detailed screening processes to ensure they are healthy both in body and mind to take on this life-giving journey. Surrogacy requirements.
Are you considering the gift of surrogacy?
Becoming a gestational surrogate is an admirable and generous way to help a family that may not be able to have children on their own. Even considering surrogacy means that you have a deep understanding of how the gift of family can be life changing. There are likely a lot of questions and concerns you may have regarding the whole surrogacy process. While it can be a little (or a lot) intimidating for some, we’ve put together a few things to consider when determining if you want to
apply to become a surrogate.
Am I ready to become a surrogate?
As in, really ready? Surrogacy is a big commitment, and we applaud you (standing ovation style) for taking the beginning steps in preparing for it. The first thing you need to consider when becoming a surrogate is determining whether or not you are ready, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to do it.
It starts with the mind. Being a surrogate requires a lot of personal preparation. Because you will be using the embryo, donor eggs, or the eggs or sperm of the intended parent, you will need to undergo IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) including a portion of the medication protocol. You can expect your body’s hormones to change in many ways, so you should ask yourself:
- Am I mentally prepared to experience all of these changes to my body as a surrogate?
- Do I have the ability to take care of myself throughout the surrogacy process?
- Will I be able to handle the responsibility of someone else relying on me to carry their child for them?
- Can I juggle work, my family, and my other responsibilities as a surrogate without it impacting my work-life balance?
The relationship between a surrogate and the intended parents requires an immense amount of trust. Choosing a surrogacy agency that requires all of their potential surrogates to undergo a pre-screening process, which includes a psychological assessment is important. This will help us make sure that anyone who chooses to become a gestational surrogate is mentally ready to handle the responsibility and powerful journey ahead of them.
Ready to become a surrogate?
Intended parents will want to make sure that the woman they partner with as their surrogate is healthy and well. Being healthy ensures that you are more likely to have a safe pregnancy and delivery. You must be physically capable of managing an IVF procedure, resulting pregnancy, and delivery, so be sure that you meet the following requirements:
• Are you between the ages of 21 and 42 years old?
• Do you have a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 30?
• Have you had at least one, full-term, uncomplicated pregnancy and birth?
• Have you had 5 or fewer previous deliveries, and 2 or fewer c-sections?
• Legal resident of the United States?
If you answered yes to the questions above, congratulations, you meet the basic requirements to help grow a family as a gestational surrogate!
What is Next in Becoming a Surrogate?
Connect with Fairfax Surrogacy to start the pre-screening process. A reputable agency should always have a pre-screening process in place which involves a medical record review. We will look at your past medical records to determine if you are healthy enough to become a surrogate and that you have a low risk for any complications due to pregnancy. We will also educate you and inform you on all aspects involved in a surrogacy journey.
Emotional Prep time! Becoming a surrogate can stir up a lot of emotions, and that’s not just because of the hormones! Being a surrogate is a big responsibility, and it can sometimes feel overwhelming to think about how you are responsible for another person’s child.
It is important that you have a strong support system in place so that you do not get overwhelmed. Talk to your friends and family. Tell them how you would like to become a surrogate and inform them of what the process is like so they can be there for you and support you through the journey.
One of the biggest worries on many potential surrogates’ minds is, “After I deliver, what if I develop an attachment with the baby?” Luckily, however, you will hear most surrogates say that this will not happen. The reason is that, throughout their journey, these surrogates receive support from their agency and understand the process. Gestational surrogacy is different than getting pregnant on your own; you are carrying a baby that belongs to someone else. You are not “giving up” the baby after you deliver; you are giving it back to its parents, who will be extraordinarily thankful for you and all that you have done for them. You are an extreme babysitter, extraordinaire!
Who else is behind the process?
You would be amazed at how many people it takes to create a family through third-party reproduction. In addition to the intended parents and their surrogates, there are also medical professionals, fertility clinics, surrogacy agencies, attorneys, insurance agents, mental health professionals, and in some cases, egg or sperm donation banks or agencies needed to make this process possible. It really takes a village!
Even though a surrogacy journey involves many people, the surrogate is the heart of this process. None of the other professionals involved could help create a family without the sacrifices of the surrogates. They are the angels who make so many families possible.
If you believe you are ready to become a gestational surrogate, we encourage you to explore more of the surrogacy process and consider applying to complete the pre-screening process.
Be part of something amazing!
Visit FairfaxSurrogacy.com to learn more.
You may also call us at (301) 202-1357 or Apply today!
By Perla Piekutowski
Perla Piekutowski is the Director of Growth and Engagement at Fairfax Surrogacy. She has over 12 years of experience in the field of third-party reproduction.