Becoming a surrogate can be an intense and rewarding process — but how does it actually work?
You are making an incredibly selfless choice by even considering surrogacy. Through this process, you can help a woman or a couple make their dreams of having a family a reality. While there might be a lot to take in as you begin your own research, we’ve created this guide to help you on your journey to becoming a surrogate.
If you’re thinking “I want to be a surrogate, how do I get started?” we’ve broken down how to become a surrogate in six steps. You can also contact a surrogacy specialist today to get the support you need.
How to Become a Surrogate [In 6 Steps]
Step 1. Decide that Becoming a Gestational Surrogate is Right for You
If you want to be a surrogate, this will be a decision that will not only affect you but your family as well. It’s important that you do thorough research before committing. By reading this article, you’re already taking the first steps.
Surrogacy is a commitment that will ask a lot of you physically, mentally and emotionally. But for all that surrogacy asks, it also gives much more. Surrogacy could be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, if it’s right for you.
How can you know whether or not you should pursue becoming a surrogate? Here is just a few of the things you’ll want to be confident about if you want to be a surrogate:
- You have a support system. Being a surrogate comes with a lot of emotions, so it’s important that you have some friends and family in your corner so that you feel supported throughout the process.
- You have the time to dedicate to being a surrogate. Pregnancy, and especially a surrogacy pregnancy, can take time and effort. Are you prepared for the doctor’s appointments, meetings with intended parents, and more?
- You meet the requirements. You’ll want to be sure you’ve thoroughly read through all of the requirements you’ll need to meet to become a surrogate.
- You are healthy enough to be a surrogate. When it comes to carrying a baby for another woman, you want to be sure that you are physically healthy enough to handle all of the side effects and the physical demands of the embryo transfer process, pregnancy and birth. One way you can do this is by working with a good surrogacy agency that will protect your best interests, including your health.
- You know why you want to be a surrogate. Because of how demanding the surrogacy is, many prospective surrogates are motivated by the desire to help give a family the gift of having a child. Do you clearly understand your motivations for becoming a surrogate? If you are mainly interested because of the surrogate compensation, you might want to reconsider and evaluate whether or not you are ready to be a surrogate.
It’s important that you fully understand the process and that you feel confident in your decision to carry a baby for someone else — and we want to help. If you have questions about what being a gestational carrier will entail, or are ready to get started today, you can contact us now to get connected with a surrogacy specialist who will be happy to help you.
Step 2. Find a Surrogacy Agency and Complete the Screening Process
For many surrogacy agencies, it’s important that prospective surrogates are physically and emotionally ready to carry a child for someone else.
So, if you’re asking yourself “How can I become a surrogate?” you’ll need to start by finding the right surrogacy agency for you. Working with an agency that you feel will meet your needs is important to setting the tone for the rest of the surrogacy process. Listed below are a few reputable agencies that can help you get started:
Once you’ve found the right agency for you, you will go through the screening process and meet a certain set of requirements. These health requirements aren’t meant to be exclusive, but to ensure that you have a safe and healthy pregnancy free of complications.
Most screening processes typically consist of:
- Review of medical records
- State and federal background checks
- Records of previous pregnancies
- Questions about your motivation for becoming a surrogate
- What type of intended parents you would like to work with
If you’re new to the surrogacy process, your surrogacy specialist will be there to guide you through the screening process to make sure all your bases are covered. Your agency will also make sure that the intended parents you match with are thoroughly screened as well, so that you can feel confident they are just as invested in surrogacy as you are.
Step 3. Find Intended Parents [The Matching Process]
If you’re asking yourself “How do I become a surrogate?” one of the most important steps is finding the right intended parent(s).
Who are the intended parents? In most cases, they have likely been trying to have a child on their own for quite some time, and surrogacy is their only option. They may also be an LGBTQ couple who has always wanted to start a family. And that’s where you come in.
You’re making an incredibly selfless choice to help these people have the family of their dreams.
Finding the right match with intended parents can be one of the most exciting steps of becoming a surrogate, and the best way to do this is by working with a surrogacy agency.
Agencies already have experience providing matching services and are equipped to help you find the perfect intended parents for you to carry for. Your surrogacy specialist will sit down with you to determine what you’re looking for in intended parents, what kind of relationship you want to have with them and how much compensation you would like to receive.
Once this information has been gathered, your agency can help you create a surrogate mother profile, which will be shown to intended parents who match your preferences.
Just as these intended parents review your profile, you can review these couples until you find the one that’s right for you. Your surrogacy specialist can help arrange a conference call for you to get to know the intended parents and mediate the call to make sure everyone is comfortable. The conference call is a great opportunity to ask any pressuring questions you might have for the intended parents.
Remember, both sides have to agree to the match before the process can move forward.
Step 4. Get Legal Representation
Once your agency has helped you find the perfect intended parents for your situation, you will want to find an attorney who specializes in surrogacy laws. Regardless of how much trust you may have in the intended parents, having legal representation ensures that your rights will be protected throughout the surrogacy process.
Becoming a surrogate is an emotional process, but it is also a legal one. Completing the surrogacy journey without an attorney and a legal contract is impossible.
Once you’ve found an attorney, you can begin drawing up a legal contract that will detail expectations such as compensation you’d like to receive, potential risks and how you plan to address any complications that may arise. Once the contract has been reviewed and finalized, you will be able to move on to the medical stage in the process of becoming a surrogate.
Step 5. Prepare for Embryo Transfer
A lot of the questions we get about how to carry a baby for someone else pertain to the embryo transfer process. The medical process of becoming a surrogate can be difficult to understand, but don’t worry. You’ll be working with experienced medical professionals the whole time.
Once the contract is finalized and everyone is on the same page, you can begin preparing for the embryo transfer. This stage involves the transfer of the previously created embryos for you to carry. You will be working with a fertility clinic to complete this part of the process.
It’s important to note that, in nearly all modern surrogacies, the IVF process will involve the transfer of an entire embryo — not just the use of donor sperm. This is important because, as a gestational surrogate, you will have no biological relationship with the baby. This process — being a surrogate without using your own eggs — is best for everyone involved. Known as “gestational surrogacy,” this is the medical procedure used in the vast majority of surrogacies today.
Before you begin the embryo transfer process you can expect to take an array of fertility drugs to ensure a safe and successful embryo transfer. Once the transfer is complete and enough time has passed, you can take a pregnancy test to determine if the transfer was a success. When your pregnancy has been confirmed, you can begin regular prenatal care at the direction of the fertility clinic and OB/GYN. You will be put on a payment schedule for your base compensation and monthly allowance.
Step 6. Giving the Gift of Parenthood
After the surrogacy medical process, being a surrogate during pregnancy can be similar to other pregnancies. There may be special medications or other doctor visits involved during this time, too.
When your due date arrives, the intended parents will join you at the hospital so that they can be by your side for this beautiful event. What your hospital stay looks like will depend on the arrangements you discussed with the intended parents and your surrogacy specialist beforehand. If there are any concerns you have or changes you would like to make, you can notify your specialist who will help mediate any discussions between you and the intended parents.
Once the baby has been born, you can have the wonderful feeling of knowing that you gave a person or couple the family they have been waiting to have. You can also begin your relationship with the intended parents if you’ve agreed to stay in contact after the birth. No matter what, you will always be connected to them and they will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have a family of their own.
Begin your Journey Today
There’s a lot that goes into becoming a surrogate, but the joy of giving a person, a couple struggling with infertility or an LGBT couple the gift of a child of their own makes it all worthwhile. If you have questions about surrogacy requirements, the process or are ready to begin your journey, contact a professional today.