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Essential Qualifications To Be a Surrogate
On paper, the word “qualifications” may sound more cut and dry than they are. Yes, there are basic requirements to ensure a physically and psychologically healthy relationship between a surrogate and the intended parent. Still, there is also an overall level of compassion that can’t be measured.
When someone agrees to be a surrogate, they are not only putting their life somewhat on hold, but they are physically offering the use of their body to help an individual or couple realize the dream of parenthood.
Below, we will cover the essentials of what is needed to become a surrogate both logistically and emotionally, and mentally. However, it’s worth noting that communication all around is critical. Everyone must come to the table ready to work together in good faith, trust, open communication, and ideally, a sense of humor!
Building a family can be a vast collaboration and, if done right, will be the most rewarding thing everyone involved will have ever done!
Qualifications and Considerations to be a Surrogate
Surrogacy can be the most rewarding experience of your life. The feeling of helping build a family and handing someone their child that you helped create is so powerful. Still, it can also be a tremendous physical and emotional undertaking. Therefore, much thought and consideration are put in place to ensure the best, healthiest and safest experience for the surrogacy process. Below, we review the basics of a Gestational Carrier and what is needed should you be interested in becoming a surrogate.
- She should have had a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery of a child of her own. Also, some agencies will require that the surrogate has raised or is currently raising a child of her own.
- She should have had a limited number of cesarean deliveries (typically around 2).
- She is between the ages of 21 to 40 years old.
- She is in overall good health and is maintaining an ideal Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Do not smoke or use any drugs.
- She is financially steady and in a stable living situation.
- Is either in a stable relationship or has a reliable support system on board with the surrogacy.
- She is not on any form of government assistance.
- She does not have a criminal history and can pass a background check.
- Does not take anti-depressants and does not have a history of mental illness.
Some other considerations are:
- She is compassionate, honest, dependable, and responsible.
- She enjoys being pregnant and has an optimistic outlook on surrogacy.
- She has a clear understanding of expectations and the ability to communicate her expectations to foster a healthy relationship.
- She feels strongly about her commitment to meet the demands and requirements of ultrasound monitoring, blood testing, and the time sensitivity involved in IVF and, hopefully, the pre-natal appointments that will follow.
- She is fully capable of being responsible for herself and the baby during her pregnancy.
- Have an awareness and sensitivity towards the process of releasing the baby she carried to its biological parents at the end of the pregnancy.
Next Steps To Becoming a Surrogate
If you feel the above describes you, we encourage you to read our services page to support gestational carriers throughout their surrogacy journey. Our goal is to help surrogates in navigating the overwhelming complexities of the family-building process. Throughout the surrogacy process, we guide the medical, legal, and emotional support, home visits, case management services, such as coordinating services of physicians, mental health professionals, fertility clinics, laboratories, and other necessary facilities, legal professionals, insurance professionals, and other persons or organizations involved in the process of surrogacy and human egg donation for intended parents and #surrogates. We also have our online support group for surrogates that meets once a month.
What also makes us unique is we have first-hand experience in surrogacy, having gone through the process ourselves. Please follow us on social media and peruse our site to learn more about how you could help families. You can also fill out our SMC’s online form or contact us to learn more.
We look forward to connecting!
How Much Does Working With a Surrogate Cost?
One of the first and most common questions regarding working with a surrogate is how much the surrogacy process cost. While it may seem like a simple question on the surface, it’s actually one of the most challenging questions to answer!
It can range based on the kind of pregnancy the surrogate has (singleton or multiples), the agency you work with, what state the surrogacy is in, travel costs, medical issues, etc. There are just so many factors to consider and variables though that can arise throughout the entire journey. One example might be that the gestational carrier may need to be on bed rest, which would entail time away from her job. This would entail some additional compensation. However, it is safe to say that overall, it is within the $90,000 and up.
Agency and Surrogate Costs
Agencies like Surrogacy Miracles Consulting can help you throughout the entire surrogacy process. We offer various services that include assisting with a carefully written agreement with a payment program and any specificities the intended parent and surrogate agreed upon ahead of time. Working independently with a surrogate may be less expensive upfront, but if issues arise, it might cost you more in the end, so proceed with caution!
Some other potential costs related to surrogacy are:
- Agency Fees
- Supplemental health insurance, if needed for the surrogate
- Travel costs. This includes hotel fees, rental car, and incidentals for the surrogate if they need to travel regularly as part of the surrogacy
- Lost wages should your gestational carrier have to miss work for appointments or bed rest
- Child care and housekeeping costs if your surrogate needs to be on bed rest
- Negotiable fees. Some examples are confirmation of pregnancy, conformation of heartbeat, any needed surgeries such as a hysterectomy, in addition to the medical fees
- Life Insurance
- A one-year policy, which includes a $250,000 life insurance policy, $100,000 permanent disability, and a maximum benefit for loss of reproductive organs
- Criminal Background Check
- Psychological evaluation
- Legal paperwork
- Gifts or any kind gestures for your surrogate to show appreciation (birthday, holiday, “push present,” etc.)
- Allowance for Maternity Clothing
- Housekeeping Allowance
- Some pay for the surrogates cell phone bill during pregnancy to encourage frequent communication
- Lost Wages – Again, should the surrogate need to be on bed rest and miss work.
- Surrogates occasionally receive an expense reimbursement for approximately fifteen (15) months. It can cover non-prescription vitamins, telephone calls, etc.
- Surrogates may receive an agreed-upon amount per procedure for amniocentesis or other invasive prenatal diagnostic testing
- Miscarriage with a D&C fee
- Some carriers may be paid this fee to compensate her for additional pain, added risks, and recovery time of this medical event.
- A C-Section fee – Since C-Sections entail more time in the hospital and longer time to heal, there may be a need to compensate your surrogate for both the time and discomfort
- A carrier typically receives additional compensation for each additional baby carried
In some states, they require an escrow account for parents paying surrogates throughout the surrogacy. While this isn’t necessary in every state, Intended Parents may want to consider looking into this as an option. Setting up an escrow account or, at the very least, some sort of account ahead of time will ensure that the payments are in place and ready to go, so that’s one less thing to think about!
Do You Want To Help Give the Gift Of Life?
If you’ve found this blog post, you are someone who is either interested in working with a surrogate, is interested in being a gestational carrier, or perhaps someone interested in helping others.
The Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation was created by Surrogacy Miracles & Consulting Surrogacy agency with a vision to help more intended parents. This vision includes creating the Surrogacy Miracles Grant (SMG) to help intended parents cover some of their surrogacy journey costs.
The foundation wants to focus on intended parents that are in financial need of assistance as we assist them with the many expenses necessary. As part of the submission process, we will require certain financial documents to be provided, their story on why surrogacy is needed to expand their families, and any other requirements set by the board. SMG recipients will be picked by the Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation Board members and issued directly to the chosen Intended Parents area of need. Our goal is to build a foundation that can provide grants quarterly and yearly in the different amounts of 5K, 10K, 20K, and up to 30K. These grants will be issued at the scheduled time at the board members’ discretion.
Please help us reach our goal of helping as many families as possible by donating to this 501 (c) (3) Tax deductible organization. Surrogacy is the ultimate gift of life that we want to give!
You can make your tax-deductible donation today by clicking HERE.
In a perfect world, you’d have an endless amount of funds to help cover costs. Since that isn’t the case for most people, there are support groups and charities that can offer tips and advice, and information on potential grants, like the one we offer.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Becoming A Surrogate Mother - What to Consider and How to Start the Process
Whether you want to take on the tremendous responsibility of being a surrogate mother is a big question to ask yourself. While it can be a gratifying experience, it can also be an enormous physical and emotional undertaking. You’re a thoughtful and generous person even to consider it and should be applauded for that. Before taking the first steps, we encourage you to read our services page on how we support gestational carriers and review some basic requirements that need to be met to see if you can take on such a role.
- Are you between the age of 21-40 years old?
- Is your BMI between 18 – 34?
- Do you smoke or live in a non-smoking home?
- Do you have a history of clinical mental illness?
- Not currently on governmental financial support
- Are you financially sound?
- Have you given birth to or are raising at least one child?
- Have you had an uncomplicated pregnancy or delivery?
- Am I currently in good health?
Now come the more emotional aspects to consider:
- Will your partner, husband, children, and friends be comfortable with you taking on this role? You’re going to need support along this journey, and everyone will have to be on board and, at times, even potentially willing to lend a hand.
- Do you truly feel ready, willing, and able to hand the child over to the intended parents at the end of the surrogacy process? Even though the baby is not biologically yours, it can be emotional to carry and care for a pregnancy to hand the child over at the end of a delivery. Can you handle that?
- Will you have transportation and easily travel if necessary for appointments, meetings, doctor appointments, testing, etc., without issue or stress?
- Are you comfortable with sharing your personal history and life story? Of course, there are boundaries, but you are essentially sharing your body; there will be aspects of your medical history and lifestyle that will need to be discussed. Are you ok with that?
Yes, these are many questions to ask yourself and consider but good to do it now before you get the ball rolling when you have time to contemplate things privately. It will give you time to think things through and make sure you’re ready!
If you meet the requirements and feel you are ready for all of the emotional and psychological aspects that lie ahead, you can begin the journey. It’s one that entails many steps, but luckily, if you do your homework, ask for help and ask the right questions, you’ll have as stress-free of an experience as possible.
Different Kinds of Surrogacy
First things first, make sure you know the diverse types of surrogacy. There are two different kinds: traditional, when the carrier’s eggs are used, making the child biologically hers, and gestational, when eggs are used either from the intended mother or an egg donor. It can create many legal complications with traditional surrogacy because the surrogate mother can claim guardianship of the child since she is genetically tied to the child.
With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate undergoes a procedure called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryo created in a lab, using eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors, is transferred into her uterus. The surrogate is not genetically tied to the baby she is carrying.
Now that you know the kinds make sure to know the laws of the state you live in because each state has its regulations. In some areas, it’s illegal to enter into any surrogacy agreement. It’s legal in other states, and you can be compensated without any issues, so it’s essential to know where your state stands before becoming a surrogate.
Then, decide if you’d like to use an agency or not. If you decide you’d like to work with one, they can handle the leg work matching you with an individual or couple who wants a baby. There are also intended parents who place ads on social media looking for gestational carriers should you want to go that route. Of course, you may already have someone in your life you may want to help who needs a surrogate, so you wouldn’t need to use an agency in that case. Whatever route you go, you must trust the intended parents you are working with. You will have frequent contact with the IP’s during the pregnancy, so there must be trust, open communication, and ideally, a strong sense of collaboration as you work together to bring a new life into the world.
Of course, we recommend working with a surrogacy agency like our team, as we can help walk you through the process and avoid any potential pitfalls.
How Being A Surrogate Works
From there, the basics would be:
- Have a preconception checkup. This might entail an overall physical, getting any necessary vaccinations, checking in on any pre-existing conditions, etc.
- Have a psychological screening. Especially if you are working at an agency, it is a requirement. Any which way, it’s a good idea before taking on this process.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins. These vitamins can help provide the body with essential vitamins needed for both you and the baby, so why not start getting the body “pregnancy ready” now?
- See the reproductive endocrinologist (presumably the one your intended parents are working with). After you’ve gone through the necessary screenings and been matched with your intended parent or parents, it will be time to start the IVF process. This would entail working with a fertility doctor. They will go over the treatment protocol, the cycle’s timing, and the entire process and what to expect.
- Hopefully, follow up with an obstetrician. Ideally, the IVF cycle will be successful, and you will have a happy and healthy pregnancy. At this point, a surrogacy contract will have been agreed upon. You and the intended parents have decided upon whether or not they will attend appointments, if you’ll be sending them sonogram pictures, if you’ll be calling them daily, weekly, etc., and any specifics either you or them require.
As you can see, it is a lot, but again, if it’s done right, there are few things more rewarding than being an integral part in someone realize their dream of becoming a parent after so much heartbreak.
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
Some say experiencing a miscarriage is like enduring an invisible loss. You mourn what could have been, and to others, they may not be able to understand or fully empathize with the hopes you had and the loss you feel. Making things more difficult is if you are given the go-ahead to try again, but you’re having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage. Below, we review when you should see a doctor, what conditions may impact your fertility, and, most importantly, options you can explore to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: How Long Have You Been Trying to Conceive?
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage, you may wonder when you seek the help of a fertility specialist. If you are a woman and are under the age of 35, and have been actively trying to conceive for at least one year OR if you’re over the age of 35 and have been actively trying to conceive for at least six months, you should also see a doctor. Lastly, if any of the below describes your situation, you should consider seeing a fertility doctor sooner rather than later:
● Have experienced missed or irregular periods
● Are having difficulty tracking when you ovulate
● Have been diagnosed with or suspect you have endometriosis
● Have been diagnosed with or suspect you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
● Have been diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) pelvic pain
● Have endured two or more miscarriages (known as Recurrent Pregnancy Loss)
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss?
Most miscarriages happen within the first fourteen to twenty weeks of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), 10 to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will result in a miscarriage. Therefore, having a miscarriage is, and even having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage, is more common than most realize. However, it can still feel isolating when it happens to you.
If this was your second or even your third miscarriage, you might want to speak to your doctor about something called ‘Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.’ According to the ASRM, RPL is more than two pregnancy losses. There are several potential causes for RPL. It could be caused by autoimmune issues, endocrine issues, chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo or uterine anomalies. Regardless of how long you’ve been trying to expand your family, if you’ve experienced several pregnancy losses, you should seek medical care.
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: What can help?
While miscarriages can never be entirely prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of future pregnancy losses.
For example, if it’s determined you have uterine anomalies or an autoimmune issue that might prevent your body from carrying a pregnancy, surrogacy is an option.
Another example is chromosomal abnormalities, which is the cause for roughly 70 percent of miscarriages. You can speak to your doctor about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy. PGT-A can screen for abnormalities in embryos before transfer. PGT-A can potentially increase your chances of a pregnancy as it informs your doctor which embryos are considered chromosomally healthy. You may also want to ask about donor eggs and if that’s something they recommend in your case.
Having difficulty conceiving and even having a miscarriage are unfortunately common. However, suppose you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage for a notable amount of time, or you’ve had multiple miscarriages. In that case, we hope you now understand that medical assistance is not only recommended, but it can significantly decrease your chances of any additional heartbreak. Reproductive technology has made incredible advancements, and if your doctor and fertility treatment is what may be the course of action to having a healthy family.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about family building.
Family Building Options for Lesbian Couples
Family Building Options for Lesbian Couples
There are more and more options for expanding your family. At Surrogacy Miracles Consulting, we support y lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people interested in becoming parents, and walking them through all of their options. In this blog, we will review how same-sex female couples, in particular, can have a baby.
IUI versus IVF
Artificial Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) with donor sperm is a form of assisted reproductive technology. Up until the last decade, it’s how the majority of same-sex female couples expanded their family. The sperm is donated either from a sperm bank, friend, or a known donor. The woman who would be the mother goes through taking hormone medications to produce more eggs than she would during a natural cycle. A fertility doctor would then take the sperm and release it through a very thin catheter into the woman’s cervix.
IUI is less invasive and less expensive than other options, which is why some feel it’s the right fit for them.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the process of extracting eggs and manually combining an egg with sperm in a laboratory dish. Any embryos that develop would be transferred to the uterus of either a gestational carrier or the woman intending on carrying the pregnancy.
When it comes to success rates, IUI tends to be lower than IVF. There are also factors to take into consideration when speaking to your doctor. They include your age, your overall health, fertility history, and family-building goals. Your reproductive endocrinologist can help you decide what would work best for you and your particular situation.
Putting all of these aspects together, something to keep in mind is that while IUI is not as pricey, because it’s success rates are typically lower, and it might take several cycles to achieve a pregnancy. Therefore, you may want to move right to IVF to increase the chances of a pregnancy. IVF also allows the option of genetic testing (which is not possible with IUI) should that be a path you’d like to pursue.
Reciprocal (or Partner) In Vitro Fertilization
Now that we’ve walked you through the IVF process, we can explain what Reciprocal IVF is and why same-sex female couples are exploring this as an option more frequently. With Reciprocal IVF, Partner A taking hormone injections to produce eggs. After the eggs have been fertilized, the embryo(s) would be transferred to Partner B to carry the baby. Some lesbian couples like this option as it involves both Partner A and Partner B in the creation of a child. It’s one-way Assisted Reproductive Technology can make it possible for same-sex females to have a shared experience.
There are, of course, other ways to same-sex female couples can have to expand their family. They are:
● Donor Eggs or Donor Embryos. Using eggs that were donated either directly to you, through a frozen egg bank or something that is referred to as a shared donor (who donates to several couples). Similar to donor eggs, some couples have embryos they do not plan on using after they went through IVF, and they donate them for other couples to use.
● Surrogacy. If neither of you are comfortable or able to carry a child, you could work with a gestational carrier. This would entail deciding which partner would use her eggs, or you could use donor eggs or embryos (see above), fertilize them with donor sperm, and the surrogate would carry the child. The surrogate can be someone you know or someone we’d be happy to match you with.
● Adoption: Adoption is another option. There are several avenues you can investigate should you like to adopt a child. Whether it’s through domestic agencies, international, or through the foster care system, we strongly recommended you do research on each one.
If you’d like to discuss any of the above options, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
We look forward to connecting with you!
Contact Surrogacy Miracles & Consulting located in Atlanta, Georgia for complete details of our individualized surrogacy services packages. We are always happy to help!