Like many hopeful prospective parents, if you are considering surrogacy you have likely already gone on a long journey trying to bring a little bundle of joy home. Perhaps you have faced infertility issues, been looking for the perfect partner, time has passed wondering if parenthood was right for you, or due to your sexual orientation you won’t be able to achieve parenthood on your own.
While every intended parent may have their own reasons for exploring surrogacy, the core desire should be based on the right motives as well as a clear understanding of how surrogacy works.
If you find yourself thinking about surrogacy, there are a number of things to consider before moving ahead. This 4-step guide will help you to decide if this option is the right one for you and your family.
Step 1: Learn About Surrogacy
If you are thinking about surrogacy, the first thing you should do is educate yourself about your different options and the process. You may want to start by reading about surrogacy online, or you may want to connect to other intended parents to learn about their surrogacy journey. At this early stage it may also be worth talking with a surrogacy specialist.
Surrogacy is a complex, lengthy and emotionally demanding process, with a lot of different professionals involved in the legal, medical and personal decisions that come with it. It is critical to learn as much as possible about your options, the surrogacy regulations in your state, and what would work best for your family.
This is a life-changing decision and you must carefully think this choice through before making your final decision.
Step 2: Create your Surrogacy Plan
Every surrogacy journey is unique and it is important to understand your motivations and expectations for the journey.
While creating your surrogacy plan, as a prospective parent, you get to decide on what type of surrogacy is best for you and your family.
A traditional surrogate is a woman who has a genetic tie to the child she is carrying. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides the eggs and will carry the child. A gestational carrier, on the other hand, is a woman who does not have a genetic connection to the intended child but agrees to carry the child on behalf of the intended parents.
While creating your surrogacy plan, you will need to answer the following questions:
- Do you need a donor sperm or eggs?
- Do you already know a surrogate? Or will you need matching services?
- Will you work with a surrogacy agency?
- How involved would you like to be during the surrogacy process?
- Would you like to have twins?
- What are your thoughts regarding selective reduction or termination?
Preparation is key in surrogacy, and working on your surrogacy plan will help you to be prepared for the challenges that might arise, and increase your chances of having a successful journey.
Step 3: Research the Costs of Surrogacy
Once you decide the type of surrogacy you wish to pursue, it is important to obtain a solid understanding of the costs involved. Surrogacy is an expensive process and you need to be sure you can manage it.
Standard surrogacy costs typically include, but are not limited to: surrogacy fees, surrogate-related expenses, travel and legal expenses.
Step 4: Choose the Surrogacy Professionals
During the final preparation phase, you need to decide if you want to pursue an independent journey or to work with a surrogacy agency.
Each option has its own pros and cons; some intended parents may prefer to go “indy” to save on the agency’s fees, however before choosing this route you need to be aware that you might face some challenges, as you will need to undertake the different steps of the process on your own, as well as manage any emotional ups and downs that might appear during the process.
While researching various surrogacy professionals, it is important for you to understand that not all agencies provide the same services in the same way. Some handle the entire surrogacy process, helping you through every step, while others may only handle certain parts of it. It is crucial that you ask each surrogacy professional you are interviewing to give you an accurate layout of all the costs you will incur.
During this step of the process, you should do your research so that you know what you want, need and expect of your surrogacy journey.
Keep in mind that surrogacy is a huge commitment and you may still be wondering if you are ready to take the next step. These four steps will help you to prepare for the process, and while many surrogacy specialists can offer advice and support, ultimately the decision comes down to you.
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About the Author
David Bull is the founder of MySurrogateMom, an online surrogacy community dedicated to everyone considering pursuing a surrogacy process in the US and Canada. He is a passionate advocate of surrogacy education and access for all seeking their third-party path to parenthood.