Carrying a baby for someone else is incredibly rewarding but also very intense. When you first imagine being a surrogate, it might sound quite easy. You spend ten months being pregnant, and you get paid. Great!
But there’s a lot more to surrogacy than just being pregnant. And it takes the right kind of person to handle all the commitments and responsibilities that come with it.
So, what does it take to be a surrogate?
Patience (and lots of it!)
The average pregnancy may take 40 weeks, but the actual surrogacy process is a lot longer – maybe around 18 months. It’s filled with many stops and starts, which many surrogates refer to as a “hurry up and wait” situation.
Once you apply to become a surrogate, you’ll have to submit all of your medical records and wait to learn if your chosen agency accepts you. Next, you’ll undergo medical and psychological screening, and you’ll have to wait again to be selected by your Intended Parents. Then there’s another wait while you’re preparing for the embryo transfer. And then, of course, waiting for confirmation of your pregnancy, which may not happen the first time around — and for each attempt, the waiting process begins again.
There will be more tests and checks throughout the pregnancy, all of which will require time and patience. Surrogacy is not a process that anyone can speed up!
A strong support system
Being pregnant is technically a one-woman job, but your pregnancy will affect the lives of everyone around you. If you have a partner and/or children, they will not only have to be okay with your surrogacy but support you as well.
As a surrogate, you’ll be committing a huge amount of time and energy to your agency, your Intended Parents, your clinic, and your own health. There will be times when you have to put yourself ahead of others or shift your responsibilities. But if you have a strong support system, you’ll breeze through this.
The good news is that Family Source Consultants provides support groups for all surrogates, both online and in-person. These groups allow you to connect and share with other surrogates going through the surrogacy process or who have already completed their surrogacy journey!
Ability to stick to a schedule
Being flexible and committed is crucial for a surrogate. Remember, you’re on this journey with many other people, and they all have a right to expect you to be there when they need you. You’ll have lots of appointments to attend at your clinic. In fact, appointments will become a big part of your life. Your agency application will be followed by the mandatory medical and psychological screenings (mentioned above), and you’ll also have many in-person or virtual meetings with your IPs, who will be eager to know how you’re progressing.
This schedule will have to take priority over almost everything else in your life, and there will be times when things don’t go to plan. There may be times when you miss out on special events or other moments with your own family and friends. An open mind and a flexible schedule can make all the difference.
And remember, it’s only temporary: after the pregnancy, your life will return to normal!
Lots of medications that need to be taken on time
Pills and needles will become very familiar to you. While a natural conception causes the body to produce the hormones required for pregnancy, an IVF conception will not. So, for a surrogate pregnancy to be successful, your uterus will have to be prepared with supplemental hormones and medication.
These medications will help control your menstrual cycle and get your uterus ready for the embryo transfer at exactly the right time. They are essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy, so you’ll have to be okay with taking whatever your fertility doctor has prescribed.
Empathy and desire to help build a family
Of course, there are many financial perks to being a surrogate. But money shouldn’t be your sole motivation.
The most important part of becoming a surrogate is your genuine compassion for others – especially Intended Parents. You should have the desire to create a new life for a person or a couple who cannot do so on their own.
Many Intended Parents have gone through a lot of sadness before choosing a surrogate. You may have seen family or friends experience a similar ordeal, which has motivated you to become a surrogate.
Surrogates are selfless and caring. Having a child for someone else isn’t easy: you’ll have to consider someone else’s needs first for a substantial amount of time. You’ll also have to put aside your own mothering instincts as the baby grows, which may be challenging. But, as a mom yourself (this is one of the requirements), you already know how incredible having children is, and helping someone else fulfill that dream is just as amazing.
If you think you have what it takes to be a surrogate and you truly want to help someone else build their own family, we’d love to hear from you!