Surrogacy can be a difficult decision for any hopeful family to make, and it will often require more planning, time and especially investment, on the part of a family that wants to bring a newborn into the world. For some, especially for couples with serious medical hurdles, it may be the only way to safely have a child of their own, if adoption isn’t the alternative that the couple wants to go with.
However, surrogacy is a very serious commitment, and not just for the hopeful family involved. Under normal circumstances, a couple wishing to start a family will conceive a child together, and the mother will carry the baby to term. If medical conditions make that infeasible, then surrogacy is where another woman agrees to allow her uterus to receive a fertilized egg. It is her uterus that acts as the safe, nurturing environment for nine months, and it is the surrogate mother that must carefully rearrange her life and get the medical supervision that is required to ensure the baby’s health, then undertake the significant experience of childbirth, to unite a newborn child with his or her intended parents.
All of this requires an extraordinary amount of time, generosity, commitment, and effort. And that means that not anyone can be a surrogate mother. So how do hopeful couples find the right person to take on this important role?
The Circle Of Acquaintances
If surrogacy is allowed in your country of residence, then one of the most common is known as altruistic or compassionate surrogacy. This means that a surrogate mother essentially volunteers for the responsibility, with no intention of profiting from the experience. It also means that she’s not expected to bear the cost of medical supervision, childbirth, or any of the associated expenses she may need to take care of herself as the pregnancy develops. Some countries are very specific about the list of potential candidates that are allowed to undertake this role and may require that the surrogate mother have some connection to the hopeful family, as either another family member or a friend.
Sometimes a family member is preferred, especially if one or the other of the couple will not be using an egg or sperm for fertilization, as this ensures that the baby will still carry some genetic characteristics of the family member that is not donating. In other cases, implantation may use the egg and sperm of both hopeful family members, so either another family member or a trusted friend may be able to take on the surrogate mother role.
Finding Someone Through An Agency
If a hopeful family can’t find a surrogate mother in their immediate circle of family and friends, the another safe, and highly recommended option is through the use of agency. While it’s certainly possible for a couple to try to find a surrogate mother themselves, using the Internet, this often introduces far more uncertainty into the equation, especially if the couple is concerned with trustworthiness, and an appropriate lifestyle.
Surrogacy agencies have policies and methods in place to ensure that the people they offer meet the desired qualifications that a surrogate mother should have. For example, from both a medical expectation and psychological perspective, it is often desirable for a woman to have had at least one childbirth already before agreeing to become a surrogate mother. This ensures that the woman already knows what childbirth will entail, and it means, medically, that she’s had successful childbirth already, and is likely to have another.
Whether a surrogacy is going to be altruistic or is going to be a gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate mother receives an already fertilized egg from the hopeful parents, it’s important to make sure that a candidate meets all the physical requirements. An agency also gives the couple a chance to properly interview and get to know possible candidates, along with an intensive screening process that takes much of the administrative and search work away from the hopeful family.
Ensuring Good Health
Above all, a surrogate mother, since a choice is possible, must be chosen wisely for her health and medical condition. For example, in a woman that has contracted AIDS runs a very high risk of transmitting that disease to a growing baby, which is sometimes the reason why a mother would not want to carry her baby to term, even if her eggs are viable. In this instance, the hopeful couple would also want to make sure a surrogate mother brought no such health risks to the baby as well.
The best surrogate mothers will also live a healthy lifestyle, with no cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, or drug use that can affect the health of the baby during the pregnancy. This is why it’s important if a hopeful family wants to find the right surrogate mother, to find an agency with a comprehensive candidacy system in place.