What Parents Are Looking for When Choosing a Surrogate
Choosing a surrogate to have a baby is a deeply personal and important decision for many parents. It is a decision that involves entrusting another person with the responsibility of carrying and giving birth to your child. This fact makes it a complex and emotional journey that requires careful consideration.
As surrogacy becomes more accessible and widely accepted, parents must recognize essential factors to consider. Here, we’ll discuss the key factors parents consider when choosing a surrogate. From physical health to legal requirements, here is a comprehensive guide on what parents look for in a surrogate.
Understanding Surrogacy: A Brief Overview
Surrogacy involves using a third party, or surrogate, to carry and give birth to a child. It is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) where a woman carries a pregnancy and gives birth to a child for another person or couple. Individuals and couples who cannot carry a pregnancy often use surrogacy for various reasons, from medical to personal choices. There are two main types of surrogacy, each requiring different legal services and requirements.:
- Traditional surrogacy. This type involves artificially inseminating a surrogate’s egg with the intended father’s sperm. In this type, the child is genetically related to the surrogate.
- Gestational surrogacy. In this type, doctors create an embryo through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the genetic materials of the intended parents or donors. Once created, the doctors implant it into the surrogate’s uterus, where it grows to term. A child born through gestational surrogacy is not genetically related to the surrogate parents.
Criteria for Choosing a Surrogate: Key Factors
Parents often consider the following factors when choosing a surrogate.
Good Physical Health
Physical health is vital when choosing surrogate parents. A surrogate in good physical health has a better chance of carrying the pregnancy to term. They also have a lower possibility of experiencing complications during delivery, which might impact the child.
According to Worldwide Surrogacy, there are numerous complications that a surrogate may experience before, during, and after pregnancy. Therefore, to minimize the risks involved, parents tend to choose a surrogate with a clean bill of health.
To certify the health of a potential surrogate, doctors may carry out medical tests and review their medical history. A surrogate will often have to undergo a blood and urine test. This test checks for any signs of drug use, genetic abnormalities, and infectious diseases.
Once cleared, the doctors perform a physical exam and an ultrasound. This exam will assess the uterus and ovaries for any abnormalities that could impact the pregnancy. If conducting traditional surrogacy, doctors may also need to check the surrogate’s family medical history. Here, they will look for genetic factors that could affect the pregnancy or child’s health.
Good Mental Health
Besides physical health, mental health is just as important when choosing a surrogate. Pregnancy can be an emotionally demanding task by itself. But when combined with the responsibility of carrying someone else’s child, it can take an even bigger toll on one’s mental well-being.
Therefore, parents must ensure that potential surrogates undergo a mental health assessment. This test ensures that they are emotionally capable of carrying and delivering a child, even in challenging situations. Parents may also choose to pay for professional counseling throughout the pregnancy. Such a measure aims to positively deal with the emotional challenges of pregnancy and surrogacy.
Fertility and Pregnancy History
Fertility and pregnancy history are also vital when choosing a surrogate. Parents often need to know if the potential surrogate has had previous successful pregnancies and deliveries. This fact proves their ability to carry a pregnancy successfully and deliver a healthy baby.
But what exactly does a good pregnancy and delivery history entail? A potential surrogate may have had a C-section for her previous delivery. While this is not a deal-breaker, the individual must fully recover to avoid any associated risk.
Parents may also want to know about the emotional and physical experience when reviewing past pregnancies. That often establishes that the surrogate is not predisposed to pregnancy challenges. These may include conditions such as postpartum depression, affecting both the surrogate and the child’s well-being.
However, knowing that people experience pregnancy differently is essential. Even with normal pregnancies, there are varying degrees in the emotional and physical experience. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor on whether a potential surrogate is suitable based on their pregnancy and delivery history.
Another critical factor for parents to consider when choosing a surrogate is the age. While no specific age requirements exist, certain age brackets may be more suitable than others. According to Forbes, the ideal age for a surrogate is between 21–40 years. This range ensures the surrogate has reached full physical maturity and is healthy enough to carry a pregnancy to term.
Younger surrogates tend to have lower pregnancy complications risks than older surrogates. They also have higher success rates with IVF, used in gestational surrogacy. However, age requirements may vary depending on the laws and regulations of each country or state.
Currently, no laws prohibit single individuals from becoming surrogates. However, parents may have their preferences regarding the surrogate’s relationship status. For instance, some parents may prefer a surrogate in a stable and committed relationship or marriage. Ideally, such individuals are more emotionally and mentally prepared for surrogacy. They value the support system that the surrogate will have throughout the pregnancy.
On the other hand, some intended parents may feel more comfortable with an unmarried surrogate. Such parents tend to think that having a spouse may complicate and affect the dynamic of the arrangement. For instance, the spouse or partner of a surrogate may want to be overly involved, which may put off the parents. Ultimately, the relationship status of a potential surrogate is subjective to individual parents’ preferences. However, it remains an essential consideration when choosing a surrogate.
Healthy Lifestyle and Habits
Surrogacy can be physically demanding, requiring a healthy and active lifestyle. This factor makes it essential for parents to consider the lifestyle of potential surrogates. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are vital for a surrogate to maintain good physical health during pregnancy.
But it’s not just about dietary health; lifestyle also includes other aspects such as hygiene, habits, and living environment, including facial treatments. For instance, parents may want to ensure the potential surrogate does not engage in activities or practices that may compromise the pregnancy. These habits can include smoking, alcohol, or drug use.
Some parents may also discount potential surrogates using Category C medications and supplements. According to the National Library of Medicine, Category C are medications or supplements that may pose a risk towards pregnancy. While the extent of the risk is unknown, it can’t be ruled out. Sunflower lecithin is one example of such medication and supplements.
The proximity of a surrogate is another factor that parents often consider when choosing a surrogate. Ideally, both parties should reside within proximity for regular medical appointments and check-ins. However, with advancements in technology and communication, physical distance may pose less of a challenge than it used to.
The state of residency can also play a role in determining the legalities surrounding surrogate arrangements. Some states may have more favorable surrogacy laws compared to others. Therefore, parents may opt for a surrogate residing in a state that better protects their rights and interests.
The location of a surrogate also matters because of legal considerations. For instance, in the USA, different states have different laws on parental rights for a child born through surrogacy. Some states may require intended parents to submit a pre-birth order to a court to establish parentage.
Such an order has to be submitted before the child’s birth for the court’s consideration. On the other hand, some states may rely on a post-birth parentage order. In this case, intended parents must file an adoption petition after the child’s birth to establish parental rights.
Due to these differences in legal requirements, legal support teams often advise parents to look for surrogates in areas with favorable laws. They typically prefer states that recognize their parental rights before birth. This measure offers parents a sense of security and stability, reducing potential risks and uncertainties.
Connection and Personal Preferences
Apart from the crucial factors mentioned above, personal preferences can also play a role when choosing a surrogate. This aspect is subjective and varies from individual to individual. For example, some parents may connect better to a surrogate who shares their cultural background or values. Others may prefer someone with similar interests and hobbies as themselves.
Other preferences may include physical attributes like straight teeth, educational background, and personality. Can the surrogate accept cat boarding if the situation demands so? Parents often communicate their personal preferences with their surrogacy agency. This measure ensures they find a surrogate with whom they feel comfortable and compatible.
When choosing a surrogate, intended parents may sometimes prefer someone with shared expectations. This aspect refers to how the surrogate views the nature of their relationship. For instance, some parents may prefer a closer bond with the surrogate throughout the pregnancy. Such parents may desire to experience the pregnancy with their surrogate, especially if they can’t bear a child.
Other intended parents may prefer a more professional relationship with minimal personal interaction. Such an arrangement may work better for parents who wish to maintain their privacy and boundaries during the process. Having these shared expectations with a surrogate can help establish a healthy and effective relationship.
Willingness to Adhere to the Agreed-Upon Terms
It is not unheard of for some surrogates to change their mind and deviate from the agreed-upon terms. A surrogate may feel entitled to certain decisions that go against the intended parents’ preferences. For instance, a surrogate may feel weighed down and consider terminating the pregnancy against the intended parents’ wishes.
Such a change of heart can cause a lot of conflict and misunderstanding to the point it soils the entire experience. Therefore, intended parents typically prioritize surrogates willing to adhere to the agreed-upon terms and respect their rights as parents. Another area of concern is finance. In some cases, will parents cater for the expenses, including getting a cleaning service? These factors can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and harmonious journey for both parties involved.
During surrogacy, responsibilities, expectations, and needs are joined at the hip. This calls for constant communication and consultations. In simple terms, clear and good communication is vital in surrogacy. For this reason, surrogacy parents consider a surrogate whose communication style aligns with their expectations.
The idea is to create a genuine connection that makes everyone feel confident. An ideal surrogate doesn’t hesitate to ask the right questions to showcase commitment, understanding, and empathy toward the hopeful parents. The communication should carry a positive tone, gratitude, fun, and follow-ups to create a positive relationship while helping the intended parents achieve their dream of building a family.
Responsibilities of parents to their surrogate
Besides understanding what to look for when choosing a surrogate, it is equally essential for parents to understand their responsibilities towards their surrogate. They should also be aware of surrogacy’s legal and ethical considerations.
1. Financial Responsibilities
Parents have a significant financial responsibility towards their surrogates. This responsibility includes covering all medical expenses related to the pregnancy. They are also responsible for providing a reasonable sum of money to protect the surrogate’s time and effort. This sum may also cover other expenses incurred during the surrogacy process. For example, surrogates may choose to pay for their or even preventative dentistry. Depending on the agreement, they may also cover various services such as. The legal agreement should outline all these expenses.
2. Emotional Support
The surrogacy journey can be emotionally taxing for both parties. Parents should ensure adequate emotional support to their surrogates throughout the process. Whether through counseling or pet care, supporting the surrogate is imperative. They must also respect the surrogate’s boundaries and wishes during labor and delivery.
3. Legal Obligations
Parents must abide by the terms and conditions outlined in the legal agreement. They must also ensure they follow all necessary steps to establish parental rights for their child.
Choosing a surrogate is a significant decision for parents pursuing surrogacy. It requires careful consideration of legal, emotional, and financial aspects to ensure a smooth and successful journey. By understanding what to look for in a surrogate and their responsibilities towards her, parents can make an informed decision and ultimately have a positive experience welcoming their child into the world.