If you are considering surrogacy, you have probably done plenty of research about the surrogacy process. But it can still be difficult to imagine what life will really be like as a surrogate mother. You may be wondering, “What do surrogate mothers go through?”
The surrogacy process can be long and demanding at times, but it can also be an immensely rewarding experience. Here, learn more about what it’s like to be a surrogate with American Surrogacy.
What Does Being a Surrogate Entail?
Being a surrogate is about more than becoming pregnant and delivering a child for intended parents — so what does a surrogate mother do? Surrogacy is a complex medical, legal and social process, and surrogates have many important responsibilities through each step of the way.
For gestational carriers, surrogacy involves:
Assessing your readiness. Before beginning legal and medical procedures, every potential surrogate needs to complete a thorough screening process, which includes self-disclosed social and medical history information, a review of medical and birth records, an in-home assessment, a psychosocial evaluation, background checks, and more. After you are approved for surrogacy and matched with intended parents, you will also complete additional medical screening, including a physical exam, lab tests and an ultrasound, to ensure you have final approval to move forward with the surrogacy. These screens are designed to ensure you are physically and emotionally ready for surrogacy. It is also important to do some self-reflection and ensure that you are truly committed to becoming a surrogate.
Making important decisions. A big part of being a surrogate is establishing your personal goals and plans for your surrogacy experience. You will have the opportunity to make many of the decisions throughout the surrogacy process, including the types of intended parents you want to work with, the type of relationship you want to have with them, the amount of compensation you are seeking, and your feelings about sensitive issues like termination and selective reduction. Your surrogacy specialist will use this information to help you find the perfect intended parents, and the process will only move forward when you’re certain they’re the right fit for you.
Building relationships. Healthy, open relationships with your surrogacy specialist and your intended parents are essential to a successful surrogacy experience. Your surrogacy specialist will help facilitate your relationship with prospective intended parents through mediated contact, counseling and support services. Throughout the surrogacy process and your pregnancy, you will be asked to provide updates to the intended parents and to communicate regularly with your surrogacy specialist.
Navigating legal contracts. A legal contract must be in place before you and the intended parents can move forward with medical procedures. American Surrogacy will provide you with your own assisted reproduction attorney, who will help you understand the legal surrogacy process and your rights. Together, you will review and negotiate the contract drafted by the intended parents’ attorney so you can make sure you are happy with all the terms included and that you feel protected in the contract.
Taking fertility medications. When it is time to begin medical procedures, your doctor will explain the medical surrogacy process and your responsibilities as the surrogate mother. To ensure a successful pregnancy, you will need to carefully follow these instructions and commit to taking a number of supplemental hormones and other fertility medications — some in the form of oral tablets, and others in the form of injections. These medications will help coordinate and control your cycle and prepare your body for the embryo transfer. They are usually taken for up to 12 weeks before the transfer and after to ensure implantation.
Attending important appointments. In addition to the many medications you will take before and after the embryo transfer, you will need to attend a number of important meetings and appointments with your doctor throughout the process. During these appointments, your doctor may perform different tests to evaluate your hormone levels, prepare your body for the embryo transfer, and evaluate the progress of your pregnancy. There are many appointments in the weeks leading up to the transfer and after, including lab work and ultrasounds.
Staying organized. Clearly, the surrogacy process involves a number of important medications, appointments and meetings with a number of important people — the intended parents, your surrogacy specialist, the fertility clinic and your attorney. The surrogacy process can be complicated, and precise timing is required — so attention to detail and organization are key characteristics of a successful surrogate.
Experiencing pregnancy and delivery. Of course, every surrogacy journey involves all of the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. Once a healthy pregnancy is confirmed and the fertility specialist feels comfortable, you will be released to your own OBGYN for prenatal care. From there, your experience should not be much different from a traditional pregnancy, though you will likely share frequent updates about your pregnancy with the intended parents.
Support through each step of the process. These responsibilities may seem overwhelming, but you will never be alone in the process. With American Surrogacy, you will always have access to your surrogacy specialist, who will coordinate the process and provide the guidance you need through each step of the way.
How Does it Feel to Be a Surrogate Mother?
Most women who pursue surrogacy enjoy being pregnant — they love the glow of pregnancy, all of the baby’s kicks and flutters, and the anticipation of the journey. Surrogacy gives these women the opportunity to relive these unique experiences again, even if their own families are complete.
In many ways, your surrogate pregnancy will likely feel like any of your previous pregnancies, complete with many of the same ups and downs. But of course there is one big difference — the child you are carrying is not your own.
Some prospective surrogates are concerned about potentially bonding with the baby they carry, but most surrogate mothers report that they do not experience the same feelings of attachment as they did with their own children. In fact, many surrogates say they feel more connected with the intended parents than they do with the baby, and they cannot wait to watch the intended parents meet their child for the first time.
Of course, every surrogate’s feelings are different, and your surrogacy specialist will be available to help you understand and process your feelings throughout your pregnancy and following delivery.
How Surrogate Mothers are Affected by Their Experience
Surrogacy is a life-changing experience. As a surrogate, you will receive base compensation that may allow you to pursue your goals, like paying for college or purchasing a new home. You will have the opportunity to create meaningful, lifelong relationships with the families you help to create. And, most importantly, you can be proud of the amazing and selfless gift you are giving to another family — it is incredible to know that the only way a family could be created was because you carried their child.
To learn more about how surrogate mothers are affected, you may be able to attend local surrogate group meetings in your area, or read about other women’s experiences through online blogs and surrogate support groups.
If you would like to receive free surrogacy information, or if you think you may be ready to begin your surrogacy journey, contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-BABY.