Are you curious about surrogacy? Have you considered getting involved with the process, either as an intended parent or as a surrogate? If so, it’s perfectly natural to have some questions! This is still a relatively new process, so not everyone is familiar with the ins and outs of surrogacy.
One of the most common questions is: What does a surrogate mother do? The short answer is: She does a lot! She’s a crucial part of the process, so in this post, we’ll answer that question in detail. We’ll also discuss what a surrogate is, what she’s expected to do, and the requirements for becoming a surrogate.
What Is A Surrogate Mother?
Let’s start with a simple definition: a surrogate mother is a woman who agrees to get pregnant with a child and carry it to birth for an intended parent or intended parents.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational surrogacy. Let’s take a look at the types of surrogates in each:
- Traditional surrogate. The surrogate uses her own egg in the pregnancy, meaning that she is the biological mother to the child.
- Gestational surrogate. The surrogate does not use her own egg, meaning that she is only the gestational carrier for the child.
With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is genetically related to the child, which could cause certain legal and emotional complications. As a result, gestational surrogacy has become the dominant form and most surrogacy agencies won’t even do traditional surrogacy anymore.
As you might imagine, it takes a very special kind of woman to do this job – it’s an incredibly selfless and giving act. Once it’s complete, she’s helped a hopeful person or couple create a beautiful family. In most cases, this is the primary method of family-building if the intended parents are unable to conceive a child naturally.
What Does The Surrogate Mother Have To Do?
Now that we understand what a surrogate mother is, let’s actually discuss what she will be required to do.
Before we do that, make sure you check out our blog post How Does The Surrogacy Process Work? This will give you all the information you need to know about the surrogacy process and all the necessary steps for both surrogates and intended parents.
Before the actual surrogacy
At the beginning of the process, the surrogate mother will have to:
- Make sure she can commit. The surrogacy process can be awfully demanding, so the surrogate must be certain that she can take it on.
- Research and find the right surrogacy agency. It’s always a good idea to find an agency that matches your values and offers competitive surrogate compensation.
- Go through the screening process. The agency will administer medical and psychological screening to match the surrogate with the right intended parents.
- Get matched with intended parents. Once the agency matches the surrogate with potential intended parents, she can decide if she wants to move forward.
After you get matched
After matching with the intended parents, the surrogate will have to:
- Sign the surrogacy contract. The agency will provide her with legal representation that’s separate from the intended parents. Both sets of lawyers will draw up a surrogacy contract that will cover all necessary information.
- Comply with everything in the contract. As a legally binding agreement, you’ll have to comply with everything in the contract.
- Take hormone treatments. While a viable embryo is prepared via in vitro fertilization (IVF), the surrogate will have to take hormones to prepare her womb for embryo transfer.
- Go through with embryo transfer. The viable embryo will be transferred into the surrogate’s uterus via a painless and easy procedure known as embryo transfer.
- Confirm the pregnancy. The surrogate will have to confirm that the embryo transfer is successful.
The pregnancy process
This is when we get to the most important – and demanding – part of the whole process: the actual pregnancy. We’re in the home stretch now, but the surrogate will still have to:
- Attend every medical appointment. During the pregnancy, she’ll have regular OB-GYN appointments. She can also decide to work with a midwife or doula.
- Always communicate. There has to be open communication between the surrogate and the intended parents – this can be handled by the surrogacy agency.
- Stay healthy. The surrogate needs to take care of herself, stay in a safe environment, and refrain from drugs, alcohol, and/or smoking.
- Sign the pre-birth order. States like California, Oregon, Texas, and Florida allow the intended parents to establish legal parenthood before the baby is born, usually in the second trimester.
- Keep your receipts. The surrogate will receive compensation and be reimbursed for various expenses. The details will always be specified in the surrogacy contract.
- Give birth! That’s it – we’ve reached the finish line! Hopefully, the birth goes off without a hitch, and the intended parents take home a healthy baby. It’s important to remember that, legally, the surrogate cannot keep the baby.
What Are The Requirements To Become A Surrogate Mother?
There are certain requirements that each surrogate mother must meet. While each surrogacy agency may have its own set of requirements, they more or less follow the basic guidelines set down by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Let’s take a look at some of these basic surrogate requirements:
- Age of between 21 and 40 years old.
- At least one prior successful pregnancy with minimal complications.
- No more than three (3) previous C-sections.
- Healthy heart and kidneys.
- A body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 33.
- Healthy blood pressure.
- No history of drug or alcohol addiction/abuse.
- No STIs or bloodborne diseases.
- Good emotional and psychological health.
- No antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications for at least one (1) year before the pregnancy.
- US citizenship or legal permanent residency.
These are just the basic requirements – there’s plenty more. If you want a comprehensive list, make sure you check out our blog post What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Surrogate? We list all the surrogate requirements in detail as well as go over the requirements that are specific to an agency like Surrogacy By Faith.
Make The Surrogacy Process Easier With The Right Agency
Choosing the right surrogacy agency can make all the difference in your surrogacy journey. They take on the lion’s share of the work, letting you focus on staying healthy and self-care so that the pregnancy and birth go as well as possible. They’re a crucial part of the process, so it’s important to pick the best one for you.
Surrogacy By Faith is a respected and reputable surrogacy agency that’s based in Irvine, California, although we work with surrogates and intended parents from all over the country.
We work extra hard to match each surrogate with the right intended parents, ensuring that it’s a match made in heaven. We also offer a highly competitive compensation package for our surrogates to ensure that each baby is born healthy and strong.