Agreeing to become a surrogate is a huge, life-changing decision. Not only are you helping a family who cannot conceive a child naturally, but there are also benefits to your own life. Surrogacy is a precious gift, but it requires strength, commitment and resilience. The process can be long and sometimes challenging. However, at Western Fertility Institute, we make sure our surrogate mothers are looked after and protected every step of the way.
If you’re interested in the surrogacy process but aren’t sure how to begin, read on to learn the steps involved.
Requirements and Criteria for a Surrogate
Becoming a surrogate mother involves a strict set of criteria established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The surrogacy process should only be attempted by those who are physically and psychologically ready — these requirements are intended to protect you.
Although criteria vary slightly depending on which agency you choose, at Western Fertility Institute, we ask that our surrogates meet the following general qualifications:
- Between the ages of 21 and 44 years of age
- Overall healthy lifestyle and a body mass index (BMI) below 33
- At least one prior successful pregnancy and delivery
- No major complications from previous pregnancies
- No smoking or illicit drug use
- Stable living arrangement and support network surrounding you
- Financially stable
- US Citizen
If you meet these criteria, we invite you to apply to join our surrogacy program. A member of our team will contact you to ask you some general questions, such as your reasons for pursuing surrogacy as well as detailed information about your medical and living situation. If we see you as a potential surrogate, you’ll be asked to proceed to our screening process.
The Surrogacy Screening Process
The screening process to become a surrogate involves a variety of different facets. While it may seem invasive and laborious, that’s not our intent. We want to determine if you are physically, emotionally and logistically ready for the ups and downs that come with surrogacy. Our screening involves the following:
- Social and medical background information: You’ll receive a series of questionnaires that can help us determine if your social and medical background qualify you to become a surrogate.
- Physical examination: You’ll be asked to meet with one of our fertility specialists, who will conduct a physical exam and other tests to verify that your health meets our surrogacy standards.
- In-home assessment: A member of our team may come to your home to determine your motivations for pursuing surrogacy, which will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the process.
- Background checks: We’ll conduct standard background and criminal record checks for both you and your spouse.
- Psychological evaluation: Surrogacy can have a huge emotional impact. This evaluation helps us determine whether you’re psychologically ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
As a potential surrogate, you’re not the only one screened to ensure your readiness. We also question intended parents before proceeding.
What’s Involved in Surrogate Motherhood?
The surrogacy process is more than the nine-month gestational period. From beginning to end, women should expect to spend about 13 to 14 months from the initial application to the delivery of the baby.
The first two months are dedicated to the screening process, especially medical and laboratory testing. We will ensure that you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases and other viruses or infections that could affect your fertility. We’ll also determine the health of your uterus using ultrasound evaluations.
Once we match you with your intended parents, the next month or two will involve fertility treatments that prepare your body for the embryo transfer. This step will include multiple injections, ultrasounds, prescribed medications and other hormones to prepare you for in-vitro fertilization. During that time, we’ll also help you work out the legal aspects of the surrogacy arrangement, including a legal contract that will outline:
- Your compensation
- Potential risks
- Your responsibilities as the surrogate
- Relinquishment of the baby
- And more
The actual transfer of the fertilized embryo into your uterus will be a relatively quick and painless procedure, usually requiring no medication or anesthesia. You may need to rest for a few days after the transfer.
Prenatal care involves routine visits to your OBGYN as well as our fertility clinic for regular blood tests and ultrasounds. Frequent checkups will be needed to ensure the health of the baby. You may also be asked to maintain regular communication with the intended parents. In addition, they may want to be present at your doctor’s appointments and delivery so that they can share in the excitement of the pregnancy.
We also offer a surrogate support group. Meeting with other surrogates and learning about their experiences in a safe environment helps to build a loving, supportive community for all our surrogates.
Contact Western Fertility Clinic to Learn More About the Surrogacy Process
If you’re ready to become a surrogate or want to learn more about what the surrogacy process entails, we invite you to contact us today. At Western Fertility Clinic, not only do we ensure our surrogate’s health and well-being are well taken care of, but we also provide generous compensation to qualified surrogate mothers.
Thank you for your interest in pursuing surrogacy. We hope to walk you through this process if you wish to move forward.