What You Need to Know if You’re Thinking About Surrogacy
There is no greater gift than becoming a parent, but sometimes having children naturally can be a challenge for many families. Thankfully, with modern technology there are fewer barriers to achieving the dream of parenthood. One option involves choosing a surrogate to carry your child during pregnancy.
Being a surrogate is one of the most selfless acts a woman can offer. If you love being pregnant and want to help a family realize their dreams of becoming parents, you might consider surrogacy. The process can feel overwhelming and complicated, but at ISC we’re here to help guide you through the process, every step of the way. Let’s start with clearing the air about some frequently asked questions about surrogacy.
Is the child biologically related to the surrogate?
There are two types of surrogacies. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the biological mother. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not the biological mother. ISC offers only gestational surrogacy, which makes things easier on everyone; this way, not only do the intended parents have the option of a biological child, the surrogate mother is not carrying her own child and being asked to give it up.
Do I need experience being pregnant?
Yes. Many women know before they have their own children they want to help give a family this precious gift. However, our bodies do not always cooperate with our desires. Without knowing that you can get pregnant and be pregnant without complications, this would be an uncertain and painful time for everyone. It’s best to pursue becoming a surrogate after you are done having your own children. Your past pregnancies also have to be free of complications and preterm labor.
Are there risks to being a surrogate?
The risks of a surrogacy are the same as any pregnancy. This is one reason a surrogate needs to have been pregnant. Every woman’s body is different, and every pregnancy is different! If you have a history of an uncomplicated pregnancy, chances are much higher that your following pregnancies will be the same.
Is there an age limit?
There is an age limit to becoming a surrogate. Though a complicated pregnancy can occur at any age, between the ages of 21 and 40 is considered an optimal age range to be pregnant and all of the surrogates at ISC fall within that range.
What is the screening process like?
You can expect a very thorough screening. This will include the history of past pregnancies and your overall health. You need to be in good health. No one would want you to risk your health to become a surrogate. At ISC, we request medical records and references for all of our surrogate candidates as they go through the screening process.
Additionally, we perform criminal background checks and a mental health screening for all surrogate candidates and their partners. And since we want to make sure our surrogates have the best possible experience, we ensure that they have the emotional support and financial stability for a less stressful pregnancy. Life is full of complications and stress is something we all deal with. Being pregnant can magnify stress. Making sure that a surrogate is in a good place in her life, will help make sure she gets the most out of her surrogacy.
What is the time commitment?
Expect the surrogacy process to be over a year. Between screenings, finding a match, IVF treatments and other medical procedures to achieve pregnancy it can be lengthy. Not to mention the nine months of pregnancy and recovery time!
How much does it cost to be a surrogate?
The intended parents cover the costs of the pregnancy, including health insurance premiums, medical treatments, and many services that make your pregnancy easier – like housekeeping in the later months. This is why picking an agency is such a good idea as they will help you understand what is covered and work with you to develop a contract with your intended parents to avoid any misunderstandings.
Do surrogates get paid?
California allows compensation for being a surrogate, but what that compensation is can vary. This means besides the expenses of the pregnancy you will be eligible for a fee. The amount varies on your agreement with the parents. It will spell this out in your agreement before you even become pregnant. ISC helps our surrogates and intended parents reach a compensation agreement that makes sense for both parties. It can typically range from $55,000 to $65,000.
You may have heard surrogates do it for “the money,” however that’s rarely the case since it is such a huge and meaningful commitment. Most women who choose surrogacy do so because they want another family to share in the joy of becoming parents. However, it is better for everyone involved to view this agreement as a business transaction. Many surrogates view this as babysitting. It’s hard enough to someone to babysit on a Friday night, can you imagine finding one for nine months?
Do I get to pick the intended parents?
At ISC our surrogates play a pivotal role in matching with intended parents. We help parents navigate through available surrogate profiles to match them with someone who has similar values and expectations from their relationship with the intended parents. Before any commitments are made, our surrogates are introduced to the prospective intended parents via Skype, with guidance from our caring case worker. You will talk to them many times and meet them in person before you decide if they are the right fit.
Why become a surrogate?
If you become a surrogate, people will ask you this question. Some people cannot understand why a woman would go through a pregnancy for a stranger. Though surrogates get paid, most become a surrogate to help create a family. Surrogates are loving mothers who are raising children and know becoming a parent is one of the most cherished gifts imaginable. Most people want to make a difference in the world. Helping creating a family is one way to make the world a better place.