What You Need to Know About Surrogacy

A baby in a blanket

Surrogacy is different for every couple or person that undergoes the journey — whether we’re talking about the surrogates themselves or the parents who are growing their family. Although surrogacy has been around for a while, there are so many new developments and unique situations that can lead you to surrogacy and influence your surrogacy journey. If you’re curious about the basics of surrogacy, here are a few things you need to know.

1. There Are Plenty of Reasons to Choose Surrogacy

Many people have their own ideas about what can lead a couple or parent to choose surrogacy in place of other methods, but there are so many reasons and situations that could lead to choosing surrogacy as an option.

While some surrogate situations come as a result of female infertility or fertility challenges, many LGBTQ couples opt for surrogacy in order to have a child, single parents may choose to look into surrogacy to have children, and some couples trying to conceive naturally may have medical issues that make carrying a pregnancy to term difficult. Whatever your reasoning, there are so many surrogate journeys, and all of them are completely valid.

2. You Can Choose Someone Close but You Don’t Have To

There is a commonly held belief that a surrogate needs to have a biological connection to the mother. While this can be true in many instances, it definitely doesn’t represent all surrogacy situations.

Often, it can be comforting for the parents to choose a close relative of the mother in order to share genetics and to feel closer to the baby during the pregnancy. However, if this option isn’t available or appealing, there are agencies dedicated specifically to surrogacy, where parents can pick a surrogate who matches their ideal of someone they’d want to carry their baby.

3. There Are Two Types of Surrogacy

You may already be aware that there are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. But what exactly is the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a question of who the egg originates from.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are used, whereas gestational surrogacy involves implanting a donor egg — usually from the mother — into the surrogate, so the baby has the mothers’ DNA, not the donor’s.

Deciding which one is right for your family depends entirely on your preferences and your situation. For example, two dads would likely go for traditional surrogacy, whereas a cisgender woman who wants to have a child with her partner but has medical difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term might go for gestational surrogacy.

4. Contracts Are Usually Involved

Although this is a very personal agreement — as having a child is an extremely intimate experience — things should stay above board legally and medically. By introducing contracts into the equation, you can cover all of your bases. From the question of finances, medical care, and level of involvement all the way to covering the parental rights in case anything goes awry, it’s crucial to have a contract in place to make sure everything goes as planned.

Every state has its own protocol for handling the laws around surrogacy, and individual agencies often have resources already available to make sure everything is legal. Just make sure you’re competent and comfortable with all of the steps in your process.

5. Surrogates Must Pass a Health Screening

Whether you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate yourself or you’re in search of one for your family planning journey, you may be wondering what it takes to actually become a surrogate in the first place.

To start, all potential surrogates need to pass a health screening to prove they don’t have any underlying conditions that could impact their ability to carry a child. Additionally, most agencies require surrogates to be over the age of 21 and to have had at least one child before — usually their own child — though this requirement might be waived in the case of a close family member or friend, depending on the situation.

6. It Might Cost You

Of course, different agencies will have different protocols and rates, but surrogacy will usually cost at least something, even if someone you know is volunteering their services for free. Medical care, the procedure itself, and the legal arrangements still cost money, so if you’re going the personal route, make sure you remain mindful of that.

For those going through a surrogacy agency, surrogacy can often run in the neighbourhood of $100,000 or more, depending on where you live, the exact kind of surrogacy you’re doing, and the agency you’re going through. Although it may be steep, ensuring your family planning journey goes exactly how you want it to can make the price worthwhile.

Planning for Surrogacy 

Surrogacy, just like family planning in general, is a unique journey for everybody who does it. Whether you are thinking about growing your own family through surrogacy or becoming a surrogate yourself, the process can be extremely fulfilling for everybody involved.

*This is a collaborative post*

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