For families looking for a surrogate mother, choosing which one to use is the most vital decision of your whole pregnancy journey. Here’s what you need to know about how to find a surrogate.
This person will join you for almost a year, carrying your baby as you’re readying for the little one. There are a lot of factors that go into how to find a surrogate — and it’s hard to know where to start looking.
How can you look for and choose a surrogate mother? Whether this will be your first child or planning for the next, here are some things you should know when bringing a surrogate into your family.
Ways to find a surrogate
There are a few different ways to find a surrogate. You could find your surrogate through family and friends or online matching websites. There are also more detailed methods, such as going through an attorney, agency, or clinic.
Finding a surrogate on your own
While searching for yourself does have a cost-benefit, you should be cautious. Each state has its own surrogacy laws indicating compensation, protection, and even who can donate.
If you’re going through the process independently, make sure you know of any possible legal hiccups. Families independently looking for a surrogate mother will have to ensure they can do all the screening and matching on their own.
Using an agency or something similar
When going through a group or legal entity, they’ll address all of these needs for you. To operate, these agencies have to follow laws and regulations strictly, and there’s much less of a risk they’ll accidentally do something illegal.
They also pre-screen their surrogates to ensure they’re ready and able to provide their services. However, these services do often come at a high cost.
Talk with your doctor and other surrogate families about possible options when deciding which way you’ll find a candidate.
People becoming surrogates need to follow a few guidelines before carrying your child. The basics from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are that a surrogate is:
- Ages 21 to 45
- Has a supportive environment
- Has had one to five successful term pregnancies with less than two C-section deliveries
- Gets a physical and medical history examination
- Receives testing for STDs
Along with these points, you should consider a surrogate’s dental health. While researchers still don’t fully understand the link, gum disease is the cause of almost 20% of premature or low-weight births.
Additionally, poor oral upkeep can raise their chances of developing preeclampsia. Good dental hygiene is crucial throughout the entire pregnancy. On top of the recommended exams, ensure your surrogate takes care of their teeth.
How to decide on a surrogate
Once you’ve decided how to find a surrogate, you’ll need to know how to pick one. There will be many to choose from, so here are some ways you can help make the decision.
1. Identify and address concerns
Once you’re viewing a candidate, they’ll often have a profile with a bit of their history. It should include their photo, body measurements, and answers to many pregnancy-related questions. The profile should also include a bit of their medical history.
Make sure you’re going over their documentation thoroughly. Perhaps you want to work with someone who’s never had alcohol, or maybe you don’t know if you’ll mesh well with their personality type. Some might even be interested in a bit of contact with the child postpartum. Most things you’ll need to know will be in that documentation.
While it’s likely only those going through a clinic will have access to this profile, you could try to do something similar if you search on your own. Seek advice from a medical professional about what types of questions you can ask or records you can request.
2. Talk with them
Once you or your agency have found a good match, you should make time to sit down with your potential surrogate. You’ll be having a close relationship with this person for a long time, so you should all should somewhat get along. It’s also an opportunity to understand why they decided to be a surrogate and if their values align with yours. You could also ask about anything that stuck out to you on their profile.
There are a few things to watch out for in conversation. If they don’t want to tell their friends or family about surrogacy or don’t seem to have support, they might not be the match for you.
Some might seem uninterested in getting to know you, focusing only on money as the reason they became a surrogate. Others could pressure you about not needing a contract. Once a candidate shows any of these signs, you may want to look elsewhere.
The conversation doesn’t have to be entirely about pregnancy, though. You can find ways to improve your friendship, so the entire process is as smooth as possible. Once you’ve decided you can form a good bond with this person, you might be ready to finalize your choice.
3. Sign a surrogacy contract
Before pregnancy, you should ensure your surrogate is okay with signing a contract. If they’re hesitant, ask them to explain why this step feels uncomfortable.
This document will protect both of you, so making it official is essential. You may want to strongly consider choosing another person if your current selection doesn’t want to sign.
If you’re searching alone, you’ll want to get a legal professional involved in this step. They can discuss every need and requirement with you and your candidate to clarify everything. The contract can include what to do in specific situations, finances, and potential risks.
The contract could also outline how much you’ll hear from the surrogate. It should be in writing if you plan to attend doctor’s appointments, if you want to be there during birth and if you’d like them to give breast milk (if possible).
Within the contract, the attorney will also lay out the amount of contact the surrogate will have. Creating and signing this document is a necessary final step for families looking for a surrogate mother.
Helpful books on choosing surrogacy
Final thoughts on finding a surrogate
While many choices go into how to find a surrogate, the process is worth it. You’re doing this work to find the perfect person to join you in your family’s growth. For the health and development of your baby, finding a suitable surrogate is the first step.
Good luck on your surrogacy journey!