Gestational surrogacy can be a wonderful thing — but it’s also a process that can be full of surprises, especially for those who have never taken this journey. Whether you’re a gestational surrogate or intended parent, there’s a lot you need to know before you get started.
Knowing the basics is important before any surrogacy journey, but some nuances don’t always make it into the introductory packets. Every surrogacy is unique, but in our experience, there are a few key things that our clients are surprised to find out as they get started.
Our surrogacy specialists are always available to talk about these when you call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, read more about them below.
1. You’ll Gain Some New Family
Surrogacy involves a partnership between intended parents and gestational carriers. We match up our clients based on mutual preferences and desires for the surrogacy process and, for many of them, this is the basis for a healthy, trusting relationship. For those who embrace it, this partnership becomes a lot more.
More than likely, the surrogate or intended parent you work with will become your genuine friend. Because surrogacy is an intimate journey, you will learn a great deal about each other. You’ll lean on each other in the hard times and celebrate your successes. Even long after your surrogacy is complete, you may stay in regular touch with your partner and see them as a part of your extended family.
Take it from one of our former surrogates, Megan:
“I didn’t just have babies for somebody else; I gained an entire family through the whole process… It was the most rewarding thing in the entire world. I would do it all over again.”
2. You Might Have a Hard Time Bonding
If you’re an intended parent, you’ve been dreaming of the moment you first hold your child for a long time. But, when you have a child via surrogacy, it may not be exactly how you picture it — and your child’s first few months might be an adjustment, too.
Becoming a new parent is hard enough but, when you haven’t carried your own child for the last nine months, you may feel a bit of a disconnect. You may not have felt the overwhelming “true love” emotion after seeing your baby for the first time, and that’s completely normal.
Bonding with your baby may take more time and effort than you originally imagined. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent; it just means you took a unique journey to get where you are, and you need some time to adjust. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to answer your questions after surrogacy, too!
3. Not Everyone “Gets” Surrogacy
Because surrogacy is still a fairly new family-building option, there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about it. You may be surprised to find out that your friends and family don’t completely understand the path you’re taking (and why you’re taking it). Don’t be shocked if you have to educate a few of your loved ones along the way.
Even with education, some people simply don’t “get” surrogacy and don’t support it. This can be hard to hear, but remember why you’re pursuing it and why this choice is important to you. At the end of the day, the only opinions that matter are yours and your surrogacy partner’s.
4. It’s Not Available Everywhere
Surrogacy is regulated by state in the U.S., so every state has different legislation on the process. Some states (like California and New York) are very surrogacy-friendly, with laws protecting all parties. Other states have loosely defined or no surrogacy laws at all, but surrogacy is still possible there.
Before you assume you can begin surrogacy in your state, talk to a professional like American Surrogacy or a local attorney. They can explain why surrogacy will look like where you live and what you can expect moving forward.
5. It’s Not an Easy Choice
Surrogacy isn’t simple. There are many moving parts, and all parties have to meet requirements before they can begin. Just like parents can’t “just adopt,” they can’t “just choose surrogacy.”
Intended parents often have to save for years to afford IVF and surrogacy costs, and they have to grieve their dreams of pregnancy before they can work with a surrogate. A gestational carrier must be medically approved to carry an intended parent’s child, and she must accept all the risks of pregnancy and surrogacy before deciding it’s right for her.
Simply put, there’s a lot involved in the choice to pursue surrogacy.
6. Every Journey is Different
You can read tons of articles about people’s surrogacy journeys, and we encourage you to! But the fact is that your surrogacy journey will be unique — and the only way to know what to expect is by speaking with a professional.
An intended parent’s or gestational carrier’s surrogacy plan is based on their own needs, preferences and goals. It involves the coordination of a reproductive endocrinologist, surrogacy lawyer and case manager. There’s no “one size fits all” in surrogacy. While stories from former intended parents and gestational carriers can be helpful, don’t trust that your journey will look exactly the same.
7. It’s a Lifelong Experience
Surrogacy is more than just the year or so you put into preparation and pregnancy. Surrogacy is a lifelong journey for all involved.
When you have a child via surrogacy, you will need to explain their surrogacy story honestly and proudly to them as they grow up. And, when you become a surrogate, you will likely think about the intended parents and their child for years to come. Many surrogacy partners even maintain lifelong friendships after their journey is complete.
So, before you pursue surrogacy, recognize how it will forever change your life — in a good way! Be prepared for what’s ahead, and you’ll be that much more likely to have a successful journey.
Want to learn more about surrogacy with our agency? Contact us online today.