Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surrogate
Many people with fertility problems choose surrogacy to help them build their families, with good reason. Surrogacy success rates are high; 90 percent of surrogates achieve pregnancy by the second or third try.
There are two options for surrogacy: gestational and traditional.
With gestational carrier arrangements, the carrier (the surrogate mother) becomes pregnant after in vitro fertilization (IVF). Gestational carriers give birth to infants that are not genetically related to them.
Traditional surrogates, on the other hand, are genetically linked to the child. In these arrangements the surrogate's egg is fertilized with your partner's sperm, or donor sperm, through artificial insemination or IVF. Gestational carriers are more common than traditional surrogates.
Choosing a surrogate
Do you already have a surrogate in mind? Perhaps you have already asked a relative or friend to carry your child. If not, you may want to look online or get help from a surrogacy agency. Whichever route you take, be thorough when choosing a surrogate. You may want to do the following:
- Narrow your list down to those over the age of 21 that have already given birth to a healthy baby.
- Ask potential surrogates for references and run background checks on the final candidates.
- Choose a carrier with similar priorities and values.
The relationship between you and your carrier is an important one and these memories will last a lifetime. If you are interested in surrogacy, contact an agency and get started now. Most likely, it will take between 14 and 18 months from the start of your surrogacy journey until your child is born.
Screening a surrogate
When choosing surrogacy, potential carriers should provide you with the following:
- Thorough medical and obstetric histories
- Honest answers regarding lifestyle habits, drinking, and drug use
- A clear bill of health and certification that she can sustain a healthy pregnancy
- Results from infectious disease screenings and other blood tests
You and your partner will also need to be tested if you are providing eggs or sperm for your intended child. These tests serve to protect the carrier's health and your child's health.
Seek guidance along the way
While many surrogacy arrangements run smoothly, surprises can occur. A therapist, legal expert, or surrogacy agency can help you during the surrogacy process. These individuals can guide you on the following issues:
- Health insurance, costs and payments
- How often you will communicate with and see the carrier, including how often you accompany her to her doctor visits
- Intentions and plans for any baby showers and the child's birth
- How to handle sensitive issues, should they arise
In addition, make sure to budget for this experience. Surrogacy arrangements often run from $50,000 to over $100,000, depending on whether you go it alone or work with an agency.
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