"Should I become a surrogate mother?”
In the end, only you can answer this highly personal question.
But there are certain things you can think about as you make your decision.
Just as Intended Parents may work for years to welcome the new member of their families, prospective surrogates will often prepare for months or years before they decide that it is the right time for them. They may work with fertility clinics or directly with Intended Parents to help them grow their family.
Let’s look at some of the biggest considerations that go into the decision:
- Your Age and Health
The average age of a surrogate mother is around 30, but women in their mid-20s can also choose to be surrogates. Intended parents generally choose younger surrogates, but it is not unusual for women aged 40, 41, or 42 to be surrogates. Just be aware that the possibility of complications rises with age.
Overall health is also a concern. The better your health, the smoother a pregnancy typically is. Plus, Intended Parents may be concerned about the possibility of heritable disorders, mental health issues, and more. You may be asked to substitute, reduce, or even discontinue certain medications.
- Your Finances and Life Plans
Like any pregnancy, surrogacy has the potential to be disruptive to your work situation. You might need to take time off from work, starting with prenatal care appointments and ending with a full break from work as your due date approaches. Sometimes, bed rest may be required earlier in pregnancy.
Some surrogate mothers get financial compensation, but this isn’t universal. Compensation may range anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000, plus medical expenses. The Intended Parents agree to pay for all costs related directly to prenatal care.
If you have big goals you’ve been working on for a long time that are already in progress, like finishing a degree, you might wish to finish up before you make the commitment to become a surrogate. A rich history of life experiences can be helpful in connecting with the right family.
- Your Goals and Motivations
Surrogacy brings the joys and uncertainties of other pregnancies. For the surrogate, the experience can be highly emotional and intense. You may develop a bond with the child, but consistent with the surrogacy agreement. Some surrogates will have no contact with a child after birth.
It is a wise idea to spend some time sitting with the big questions about what surrogacy means to you and why you want to pursue it. Come to an understanding with yourself about what your expectations are – for example, if you wish to remain in contact with the Intended Parents after their baby is born.
- The Right Family for You
Surrogacy is far easier and much more satisfying when you connect with the right Intended Parents. As the surrogate, you are making a decision about who you want to carry a child for and what kind of relationship you want with that family. Being a surrogate is an important responsibility to yourself, to the child, and to the child’s parents.
It often takes more than one meeting before you will know for sure if a family is the right one for you and for them to feel the same about you. Both sides take their needs into account and make their choice. As you truly click with a family, it can give you confidence and peace of mind about the relationship and how it will affect the pregnancy.
An ART attorney can advise prospective surrogates about their rights, responsibilities, and things to look out for. Contact Jennifer Fairfax to learn more.