Becoming a surrogate is a huge responsibility, whether you’re a traditional or gestational surrogate. It might be easy enough to assume you’re “informed” after researching surrogacy and understanding the basic process.
However, there’s actually an overwhelming amount of things that could potentially be overlooked altogether or disregarded as not important if potential surrogates aren’t looking in the right places. I’ve put together five things potential surrogates should know before committing to a journey.
1. Surrogacy can be a long process.
Sometimes surrogates are surprised at the length of time from finding the perfect intended parents to the birth of a baby. Patience is important and you, honestly, don’t want anything in this process to be rushed.
Every part of the surrogacy process is a process in itself and might take weeks or months or longer. Some surrogates have reported their journey taking 2 years or more from start to finish. Statistically speaking, the first transfer isn’t likely to take. It can, of course, but be prepared that it might take more than one shot to get pregnant. Be ready for the reality that this might not be quick.
2. Surrogacy might have an upfront financial cost.
Surrogacy related expenses should all be reimbursed to you, of course, but the key word here is “reimbursed.” Some expenses cannot or are not paid ahead of time or up front by intended parents or surrogacy agencies. Rental cars, for example, have to be put on your credit card and then reimbursed later.
Sometimes it’s because of policies companies have—such as the case with rental cars—or because costs are often variable and intended parents should only have to reimburse you exactly what you needed. This might not be the case with every journey, but it’s better to be prepared to cover these costs with your own cash or credit and then be reimbursed.
If you’re not in a financial place to do that, then you might not be financially secure enough to be a surrogate, anyway. If you’re hesitant to cover costs up front and be reimbursed, you could avoid some of those issues by matching with local intended parents.
3. Surrogacy has real health risks.
Whether you realized it or not, even your pregnancies for your keeper babies had risks. Pregnancy causes major body changes, and potential surrogates shouldn’t take this lightly, even if they’ve had easy, relatively uncomplicated pregnancies in the past.
Prior pregnancy ease or success does not guarantee a smooth surrogate pregnancy!
Prospective surrogates should consider that there are risks up to and including death. Thinking “it won’t happen to me” is a great way to be unprepared if it does, indeed, happen to you. This is why you should have appropriate plans in place for possible bed rest, hospitalization, and even death.
4. This is not a way to get rich quick.
This shouldn’t have to be stated, but I’m going to put it out there anyway. It’s not a get rich quick—or at all—deal. If that’s what you’re after then, please, leave now. This is a long, often difficult, process for intended parents and surrogates. It’s an emotional and physical investment and there’s even a chance that your journey will end without you ever giving the intended parents the baby they wanted.
It could be months or longer before you ever receive any compensation. You may need to pay for some expenses up front before being reimbursed. Basically, you need to be financially stable.
5. You may not end up being friends with the intended parents after birth.
Many surrogates and intended parents go into the journey planning to be friends and keep in touch afterward. However, relationships between surrogates and intended parents can change for a variety of reasons. Be prepared for that because unfortunately not everyone finishes their journey feeling like best buds.
For whatever reason, your relationship may not be ideal and you might not see the baby after birth or after the parents and baby leave the hospital. Even under good circumstances, you may lose touch or simply not be all that close with the baby and intended parents.
It’s irresponsible to be a surrogate without being informed. Your team of people can only be expected to do so much. It’s important to take responsibility and research surrogacy thoroughly before entering into any kind of legal agreement.
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