If you are a woman considering becoming a surrogate, you likely have many different questions, thoughts, and concerns. One of the most common questions we are asked is what is different about a surrogate pregnancy?
While the main differences lie in the medical procedure to become pregnant and there being no biological relationship to the child, there are many similarities and differences to consider. Throughout this blog, you will find helpful information about the surrogacy process for women who choose to become a surrogate, the differences you will experience during this type of pregnancy, and what to expect along the way.
Anytime you have questions about the surrogacy process, you can always call 1-800-875-BABY or fill out this online form to speak with a surrogacy professional. Surrogacy specialists will be more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have and provide the information and resources you may need to help you make a decision.
In the meantime, continue reading this blog to learn more about pregnancy as a surrogate.
Becoming a Surrogate: The Screening Process
The number one priority for any woman considering becoming a surrogate is the overall safety for her and the potential child. Because of this, there are specific requirements in place to help protect everyone involved. American Surrogacy requirements include:
- Age range 21–38
- BMI of 19–32 (learn your BMI)
- No smoking or illicit drug use
- At least one successful pregnancy, but no more than five vaginal births and no more than four Cesarean births
- Six months need to pass since the last vaginal or cesarean birth
- Currently raising a child
- No major complications from previous pregnancies
- Pap smear completed within one year
- Not receiving state assistance
- Ability to travel as needed for surrogacy appointments
- No felony convictions
- No tattoos or piercings in the last six months
- Cannot be on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months
- No untreated addiction, abuse (child, sexual or physical), depression, eating disorders or traumatic pregnancy, labor and/or delivery
*Some exceptions may be considered; contact us for more information
Once you have been determined to meet these requirements, you will begin the surrogate screening process. The screening process will vary per each surrogacy agency. At American Surrogacy, screening includes a social and medical history, an in-home assessment where you will discuss your motivations to become a surrogate, any fears or concerns you may have about surrogacy, and more. You will undergo background checks, both general and criminal, mental health evaluations, and one of the most essential steps, the medical evaluation.
Keep in mind, the purpose of this screening is not to intrude on your personal life but to ensure your overall health and safety, as well as the baby you may carry. During the medical evaluation, a fertility clinic will confirm you are physically able to have a successful embryo transfer and pregnancy. Essentially, it will be up to a fertility clinic to determine if you meet all of the health requirements to become a surrogate.
Once you have passed all of the screening and medical requirements, you will be ready to find intended parents, complete the legal portion of becoming a surrogate, and prepare for the embryo transfer. This is where the most significant difference between a natural pregnancy and a surrogate pregnancy will occur.
To learn more about the screening process and requirements to become a surrogate, fill out this online form to speak with a surrogacy specialist. They will go more in-depth to make sure you fully understand this process and do not have any questions or concerns. Continue ready to learn more about surrogate pregnancy and what you can expect.
What is Different During a Surrogate Pregnancy?
When you become pregnant through surrogacy, the most considerable difference between natural pregnancy and surrogate pregnancy is the medical procedure to become pregnant and that the baby is not biologically related to you.
The Medical Process
During gestational surrogacy, pregnancy occurs through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
IVF combines the intended mother’s (or donor’s) eggs with the intended father’s (or donor’s) sperm to create an embryo, which will be transferred to you, the surrogate. Many different medications may be used to help ensure the hormonal levels are ideal for gestational surrogacy. To mimic the process of a natural pregnancy, during gestational surrogacy, the embryos are incubated for five days following IVF and transferred to the surrogate’s uterus five days after her mid-cycle. A long, flexible catheter will be inserted through your cervix to place the embryo in your uterus. Depending upon the agreement made with the intended parents, one or two embryos may be transferred with hopes of a successful pregnancy.
The embryo transfer is a fairly non-invasive procedure that does not require the use of anesthesia. To ensure your safety, you will be required to be on bed rest for 48 hours. Rest and no strenuous activity are suggested for a few days after the procedure. Approximately two weeks after the embryo transfer has occurred, you will return to the fertility clinic for a pregnancy test. Through hormone levels, doctors will be able to determine if the transfer was successful.
If your hormone levels are positive, you will begin to schedule additional blood tests, ultrasounds, and regularly scheduled OBGYB visits for prenatal care. In many cases, several embryo transfers may take place before a successful pregnancy, so do not become discouraged if it takes more than one try.
Other than potentially having more frequent doctors visits to ensure the pregnancy remains stable and that you and the baby are healthy, once a healthy pregnancy has been confirmed with your six-week ultrasound, your pregnancy will not be much different than any other pregnancy. Throughout the remainder of your pregnancy, like with any pregnancy, the goal is to remain healthy, eat well, stay active, and enjoy your pregnancy.
Giving Birth to a Baby Not Biologically Related to You
When the time comes to deliver, the process will be the same as any other delivery. The biggest difference is that you are providing the gift of parenthood to intended parents who are unable to carry a baby to term themselves. Understanding that the baby you have carried is not yours can be difficult for some to imagine, but for others, it is the exact reason why they want to pursue surrogacy. This is why it is crucial during the screening process that you fully understand the concept and legal requirements of surrogacy.
While many women considering becoming a surrogate have concerns about becoming emotionally attached, the majority of women’s emotions are consumed by the joy of providing intended parents with a child. Nonetheless, this is something to consider as you weigh your options to become a surrogate.
Contact American Surrogacy
If you are considering becoming a surrogate, we understand there is a lot of information to process. Do not let the medical procedure or the differences in a surrogate pregnancy create unnecessary fear. We are here to help!
Anytime you have questions, concerns, or want to discuss if surrogacy is the right path for you, call 1-800-875-2229 or fill out this online form. Surrogacy professionals will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide the information you need to help you make this life-changing decision.