COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every aspect of modern life. What was once an abstract idea — a respiratory virus in a relatively unknown region of south-central China — has become a fundamental fact of daily life around the world. From work to school to social life and everything in between, we’re always considering how COVID-19 will come into play.
It’s no different, of course, with the surrogacy process. There’s a chance you were considering surrogacy before the pandemic began. Or, you may have started giving surrogacy serious thought more recently. Either way, you’re probably wondering if you should continue to pursue becoming a surrogate during COVID-19.
This is a personal decision, and only you can decide what is right for you. American Surrogacy is active and operating according to the highest standard of safety procedures to keep our staff and clients safe in the face of COVID-19.
We’ve created this guide to help anyone trying to decide whether or not becoming a surrogate during COVID-19 is the right choice. If you’d like to speak with a surrogacy specialist about this decision, you can contact us online today.
COVID-19 and Surrogacy
Surrogates and intended parents have different considerations when it comes to COVID-19 and surrogacy. To give both sides the time and attention they deserve, we’ve split this blog up into two parts. Keep an eye out for Part Two, which is for intended parents considering surrogacy during COVID-19.
For those who might be thinking about becoming a surrogate, the primary risk factors to consider have to do with your health during pregnancy, changes to typical prenatal visits, and how labor and delivery could be different because of COVID-19.
Understanding Pregnancy Risks
The majority of people who become sick with COVID-19 have mild symptoms and recover within several weeks. While anyone can experience a severe presentation of the disease — which can result in hospitalization — certain groups are at a higher risk for severe presentation. Those include people who are:
- Living with pre-existing conditions, like heart failure or type 2 diabetes
So, what about women who are pregnant?
The jury is still out on the risk of severe presentation for women who are pregnant. There have not been enough observable presentations of COVID-19 in pregnant women to clearly determine the increased risk. Still, caution is advised. According to the CDC, “Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 may be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth.”
The way this virus attacks can be random and unique from person to person. There are so many variables involved in a pregnancy that the risk for a severe presentation of COVID-19 that requires hospitalization is unknown. The best course of action is to exercise caution and use all social distancing measures to stay safe.
When considering your level of risk, take into account things like preexisting conditions, history of anxiety or depression and the current level of COVID-19 spread in your area.
If you are considering surrogacy during COVID-19, you will need to decide whether or not stepping into the unknown risk of pregnancy and the coronavirus is something you can handle. If these risks during pregnancy because of COVID-19 will increase your anxiety and stress, then it may not be the best time to become a surrogate.
Considering the Surrogacy Process
Most of the surrogacy process can’t be done virtually. There are some things that can transition to video calls, like conversations with your surrogacy specialist and the intended parents.
However, when you’re a surrogate, there’s plenty that you have to do in person. Depending on the spread of COVID-19 where you live, this experience could be different because of the pandemic.
Your visits to the fertility clinic will likely involve wearing a mask and other safety precautions. You may have to be tested for COVID-19 before the embryo transfer process, depending on the guidelines of your fertility clinic.
Similarly, your OBGYN appointments following a successful embryo transfer process won’t be the same as they would be in a pre-pandemic world. You will most likely have to wear a mask and potentially take other precautions as well.
Finally, labor and delivery may not be what you would have experienced before COVID-19. Depending on the hospital rules, one or both of the intended parents may not be allowed in the room with you. Other social distancing measures may be in place during this time, as well.
It’s difficult to say exactly what your experience would be like if you choose to become a surrogate during the pandemic. So many factors come into play — like the spread of the virus in your area, the specific rules of your medical providers and your own level of risk tolerance.
You should keep in mind that the surrogacy process can take 12-16 months from start to finish. If you are considering becoming a surrogate today, things could be different (as it pertains to COVID-19) by the time you get to appointments at the fertility clinic and other parts of the process.
Making Your Decision
Taking into account the increased risks associated with COVID-19 during pregnancy and the changes to the process, should you pursue surrogacy now? Ultimately, it’s your decision. Your choice will depend on your risk tolerance and your ability to be flexible during uncertain times.
Surrogacy professionals are still providing the necessary services to complete the process. Intended parents are still seeking matches. If you want to become a surrogate, you can. Just keep in mind how things will be different because of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Even if the risks and changes feel like they’ll be too much for you to handle, that’s okay, too. You’re under no obligation to become a surrogate, and there’s no shame in deciding that now is not the right time. Whenever you’re ready, American Surrogacy will be there to help you get started.
Contact a Professional
Finding clarity for a life-changing decision like this won’t be easy. If you’re still feeling confused, it could be helpful to speak with a professional. You can contact us at any time to connect with one of our surrogacy specialists, and you can also call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).
This conversation is always free of charge, and you’ll never be pressured into making a decision. We just want to help you make the right choice for you, whatever it may be.