Thinking about becoming a surrogate? What a wonderful way to share your blessings with another deserving family! When you think about it, to be a surrogate mother is to give the gift of love.
Without selfless women like you, couples struggling with infertility would not be able to experience the joy of having their own biological child. This is a significant, deeply personal, and life-altering decision. And not only for you, but for the family whose life you’ll be changing forever.
If you’re wondering if you’d make a good surrogate, you should start by considering whether you’re ready; mentally, emotionally, and physically. This is a major decision that will impact every aspect of your life. Which is why it’s so important to properly prepare to become a surrogate mother.
How Do I Become A Surrogate Mother?
Surrogacy is a beautiful way to help another couple experience the joy of parenthood. When you become a surrogate, you are offering your most precious resource, yourself, to help make a family’s dreams come true.
Typically in the gestational surrogacy process, the surrogate mother agrees to undergo IVF procedures in order to be implanted with a fertilized egg from another couple. Once the procedure is complete, the surrogate carries the couple’s baby to term and then gives birth.
As soon as the baby is born, he or she becomes the legal child of the couple who hired you. As part of the surrogacy agreement, you will receive compensation for your role as a surrogate, plus coverage of medical expenses and other costs.
But the truth is, most women do not embark on this journey for financial reasons, becoming a surrogate is about more than that. Many women who have done this before say surrogacy feels like a calling. They prayed on it, and felt their hearts open to the thought of being able to give such an amazing gift.
Surrogacy is both an act of grace and an act of service. In fact, many surrogate mothers find it to be one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives.
What Is The Surrogate Process?
Before agreeing to become a surrogate, it’s important to understand what to expect during the surrogacy process. You need to be aware of what you are agreeing to, and how it will influence your life and the lives of those around you.
How to Become A Surrogate: Process Overview
The surrogacy process, while exciting, can also seem a little overwhelming at first. The entire process can last well over a year, which is why we wanted to take a step back and start by giving you a high level overview of the steps involved in becoming a surrogate.
- Choose a surrogacy agency and make sure you meet that agency’s surrogacy requirements.
- Complete initial application/inquiry form.
- Undergo a medical records review and background check.
- Pass a drug test, home visit, and psychological examination.
- Interview and get matched with intended parents.
- Complete a medical screening at the IVF clinic.
- Work with an attorney to complete and sign a surrogacy contract.
- Begin IVF treatments and medications.
- Embryo transfer!
- Ultrasound at 6-7 weeks for confirmation of heartbeat.
- Attend all routine medical appointments up to delivery day.
What To Expect From The Surrogacy Process
First, you can expect to undergo a rigorous screening process designed to make sure you are physically and emotionally prepared for surrogacy. You’ll undergo an extensive physical, as well as be required to complete a detailed medical history.
In addition, you’ll meet with a mental health professional for a psychological exam to ensure you understand surrogacy and are mentally prepared for the process that lies ahead. There is also a background check, drug test, home check, etc.
If you work with a relationship-based agency such as Surrogacy By Faith, your surrogate coordinator will take the time to talk and get to know you. In this way, they’re able to really understand your motivations so they can help match you with the perfect intended parents for your journey.
One great way to learn what to expect is to speak with another surrogate that has gone through the process before. Asking another gestational carrier how to become a surrogate will give your personal insights into the emotional and physical impacts of surrogacy.
This is one reason why the majority of staff members at Surrogacy By Faith have previously been surrogates themselves. So they can be there to hold your hand, share their experience, and walk you through the process.
Understand Surrogate Requirements
As you do research into the surrogacy process, you will no doubt see lists of surrogate requirements on pretty much any agency’s website. These lists might look intimidating, but the qualifications are in place for a reason.
It’s optimal for everyone involved that any woman who wants to become a surrogate can physically and mentally handle an IVF pregnancy and delivery.
This is why every hopeful surrogate must undergo a medical screening to determine their overall health. Agencies want to ensure surrogate mothers are in the best possible position to give intended parents a chance at a successful pregnancy.
The following are the surrogate requirements for Surrogacy By Faith:
- Must be 21-37 years old
- U.S. citizen
- Non-smoker in excellent health
- Within a healthy height and weight ratio, with a BMI of 29 or below
- Have a healthy reproductive history and given birth to at least one child that you are raising
- Had all previous births occurring at 36 weeks gestation or later (unless a multiple pregnancy) without complications
- Not be receiving state or federal financial aid
- Be willing to undergo subcutaneous and intramuscular injections
If you don’t meet the requirements for surrogacy, then there isn’t much reason to go any further. Agency requirements exist to protect both the surrogate mother and the family preparing for a new baby. Know your agency’s criteria ahead of time, and wait to apply until you successfully meet all requirements.
How Does A Surrogate Mother Get Pregnant?
Gestational surrogacy is the most common form of surrogacy. In fact, most surrogacy agencies only offer this particular form of family building.
With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate does not donate her own egg. This means the surrogate will have no genetic link to the child he carries.
Instead, the intended mother’s eggs (donor eggs) will be fertilized via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and then – upon successful fertilization – the embryo will be transferred to the uterus of the surrogate/carrier.
If you’re curious to learn more about the assisted reproduction process, you can read all about how a surrogate gets pregnant here.
Decide If Becoming A Surrogate Is Right For You
Is surrogacy the right choice for me? All first time surrogates have been where you are now and asked themselves that same question. In fact, we’d be worried if you didn’t.
Every woman’s reasons for pursuing surrogacy are personal and unique. And sure, some are initially drawn to surrogacy by the compensation. But this should not be your main driver to become a surrogate. You should also feel a strong desire or calling to help another couple build their own precious family.
It’s also important that you are comfortable with being pregnant. If you didn’t enjoy your own pregnancies, chances are low that you’ll enjoy the surrogacy process.
The best surrogates are the ones motivated by generosity, and a desire to be of service to others. A good candidate for surrogacy enjoys pregnancy, and will be comfortable with the various stages and changes she will experience with her body.
How Can I Prepare Myself To Become A Surrogate?
Surrogacy is a big commitment, and as such it should not be entered into lightly. This is a decision you want to take your time with.
We encourage women who are considering becoming a surrogate to spend time thinking, praying, and talking to friends and loved ones about what the journey entails.
Surrogacy can be an amazing, heart-opening and gratifying experience. You want to be sure you are prepared three (3) ways; mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Prepare Mentally For Surrogacy
Women who become surrogates are mentally strong. They understand that becoming a surrogate is a big commitment, one that will last well over a year.
Think of being a surrogate like having a very important job; in fact it’s like having the MOST important job. A hopeful couple that has struggled in the past is relying on you to attend appointments, take care of yourself, and do your best.
That can feel like a lot of pressure for someone who hasn’t got their head in the game and mentally prepared for this. That’s one reason why all prospective surrogates must participate in a psychological screening as part of their application process.
It’s also why surrogacy coordinators have usually been surrogates themselves. So they can give you tips and advice based on their own experiences to help you mentally prepare.
Being a surrogate requires a great deal of trust, both with your agency and your intended parents. Taking the time to build solid relationships with both will go a long way towards making the journey a more joyful one.
Commit To The Surrogate Process:
It’s essential once you understand what to expect, that you commit to the surrogacy process. This could potentially consume a year or more of your life. You’ve got to be mentally ready for that, and be “all in” so you can maintain the morale and discipline needed to complete the journey.
You’ll be required to shift your schedule around to attend regular doctors’ appointments. You’re also going to be tired, hormonal, and experience the occasional craving.
And if by the Grace of God you end up pregnant with multiples, there’s a chance you could be put on bed rest for a period of time. It’s important to know all this up front, not to scare yourself, but so you can shift your mindset and be okay with the inevitable changes to your routine that will result.
Be Flexible Throughout Your Journey :
You can do all the research and talk to other women who have done it before. But no matter how structured and organized you think you are, becoming a surrogate will challenge that.
“Every pregnancy is different, and just because you were pregnant before, doesn’t mean your surrogacy journey will be the same. So you have to go into it with an open mind, give yourself grace and have the support of your family.”
– Alisha K., 3x Surrogate
There’s no easy way to say this, but things will not always go as planned. You’ll need to shift around your schedule more often than not. Mentally prepare yourself now to be flexible, and you’ll feel less stressed and more at ease throughout your surrogacy.
Prepare Emotionally For Surrogacy
Becoming a surrogate is definitely an emotional investment. You are helping a deserving family have the baby of their dreams… that’s a big responsibility!
Lots of people are depending on you, the surrogacy agency, medical doctors and intended parents – not to mention your own family and friends who you normally take care of. It can be a lot to manage.
As a surrogate mother, you may develop an attachment to the fetus before you give birth. As you’ve already experienced the joy of motherhood yourself, it’s important to emotionally prepare for the transfer process.
Remind yourself that you’re helping another loving couple bring life into this world. One surrogate we spoke to said it best, “I’m not giving up the baby, I’m giving the baby back to its parents.” Keeping this sentiment in mind from the outset will make for a much easier transition.
Assemble Your Surrogate Support Team:
Before beginning the surrogate application process, it’s important to talk to your family and inner circle of friends. Explain your reasons for wanting to become a surrogate and provide links to online resources that can help explain the surrogacy process.
The true sign of a strong woman is her ability to ask for help when she needs it. Trust us, it’s essential you have a loving, supportive network in place throughout your surrogacy journey.
This is the perfect time to explain what’s coming, but also to spend some extra quality time with the people important to you. In the coming weeks, you’ll likely be more tired than usual, or find that your free time is reduced by doctor’s appointments. So use the time you have now to strengthen your close relationships, and reassure family (particularly your own children) of your love for them.
Spousal support is especially critical. Sure, you’ll be the one taking the hormones, undergoing IVF, and carrying the child – but you’re definitely going to need help. It’s important to know your partner is onboard, and can pick up the slack at home when you have doctor’s appointments or are experiencing morning sickness. Your partner will also be an essential part of a healthy postpartum recovery.
If you aren’t married, then it’s important to look at your support network. Do you have family or close friends nearby who can help care for your other children during appointments? Is there someone you can call if, and when, you need help at home? Is someone available to drive you to the hospital when it comes time to deliver?
Assemble your support team now before the surrogacy process even begins! Having a team in place that understands you and your emotional needs will make the pregnancy go a lot smoother.
Embrace The Journey:
Part of being a successful surrogate is putting yourself in the right emotional mindset. While there will certainly be challenging times ahead, each moment can be handled with grace if you keep joy alive.
“The best part of being a surrogate is when the parents meet their child for the first time. Their joy and just knowing that you were able to give them that gift, that’s the best part.” – Alisha K., 3x Surrogate
This means that you should take time to enjoy each new stage of the surrogacy process. Happiness can be found throughout the journey, and certainly beyond.
Tell as many friends and family members as possible about what you are doing. Allow others to share in the joy with you. This is a beautiful gift you are offering, allow yourself to savor the experience.
Prepare Physically For Surrogacy
Once you’ve made the decision to become a surrogate mother, you’ll need to fill out paperwork and start the official screening process. However, if you’re wondering if there’s something you can do now to physically prepare for what comes next… the answer is YES!
Just because you aren’t pregnant yet doesn’t mean you can’t begin preparing your body and your heart for the journey you’re about to take. Let’s look at what you can do to get yourself physically ready for surrogacy.
Eat Healthy And Exercise:
Just as you did when you were trying to get pregnant with your own child, start preparing your body for surrogacy by giving it the nutrients it needs for a healthy pregnancy. Follow a healthy diet, eat lots of fruits and veggies, avoid high-sugar overly processed foods, and cut back or eliminate alcohol.
Besides eating healthy, you can prepare your body for pregnancy by making time to exercise regularly. Take a walk or a run after work. Go to a yoga or spin class with a friend. Hike with your family on the weekend. In other words, get that body moving!
Make A Pregnancy Plan:
And finally, while you’re waiting to be matched and begin the surrogacy process, take some time to work out the logistics.
If you have other children, figure out school schedules, carpools and backup babysitters. Talk with your spouse or others in your support network to develop a plan for meals, housework, and childcare. Sit down with your boss to discuss what’s coming, and talk about any issues that could come up in the workplace.
Surrogacy is a beautiful journey, and will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. You need to be prepared!
Understand what’s coming, be mindful of the process, get your support team together, and prepare your body for what’s to come. Then relax, and lean into the joy of helping another couple welcome a precious child into their family. It’s a feeling like no other.
“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” – Matthew 19:14
Start Your Surrogate Journey Today
Becoming a surrogate mother is an emotional, but extremely meaningful and rewarding process. Intended parents put their faith and trust in you as you help them experience the miracle and joy of parenthood.
At Surrogacy By Faith, we will navigate the journey with you, every step of the way. We know that we are truly doing God’s work, and we understand the intricacy and miracle of bringing a new life into this world.
We want to keep things as simple as possible for you. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a surrogate with Surrogacy By Faith, please complete our initial Inquiry Form.
After our first conversation, you can decide if you are ready to start your surrogacy journey. If yes, a pre-screening questionnaire will be emailed to you.
God bless you as you take your first steps in pursuit of becoming a Surrogate Mother!