Intended parents often have several questions about the process of having a child through surrogacy. And, prospective egg donors and surrogate mothers also have their own lists of questions. With such an intensely personal and important life decision, these topics range in scope from mild curiosity to meaningful concerns.
Surrogate mothers are required to have had experience with childbirth, but a carrying a child for another individual brings legal, financial, and personal concerns to the front of everyone's minds.
At ConceiveAbilities, we're here to offer answers to some of these fundamental questions for intended parents, egg donors, and surrogate mothers alike.
So... how does surrogacy work?
With modern, compensated gestational surrogacy, a surrogate mother is implanted via IVF with an embryo created from another woman's egg and a man's sperm. The egg and sperm in question may be those of the intended parents - or the egg, the sperm, or both may have been donated. For the purpose of a gestational surrogacy agreement, the gestational surrogate's own eggs cannot be used; she will bear the child, but she most definitely will not also be the child's genetic mother.
This sets gestational surrogacy apart from traditional surrogacy agreements, in which the surrogate carries a child who is her own genetic offspring on behalf of another woman. Traditional surrogacy agreements are largely unprotected and in some states are legally void.
Gestational surrogacy is growing steadily by 15% per year, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That said, the legal landscape that supports gestational surrogacy is complex and varies by state and even by county. ConceiveAbilities has an expert legal team that provides assistance to intended parents and surrogates to ensure a successful outcome.
In the United States, gestational surrogates are compensated, and their medical needs are paid for with insurance and the finanical support of intended parents. The surrogate's compensation considers the time spent and risks undertaken by the surrogate. ConceiveAbilities pays surrogate mothers between $43,000 and up depending upon several factors including, for instance, the individual's prior experience as a surrogate. Egg donors are also compensated beginning at $8,000 and up.
Surrogates must have experience with bearing and raising her own children, and must be in a financially stable situation. Most surrogate mothers are married with a full-time job.
In addition to being within a specific age range, viable candidates must be non-smokers, and have a history which is free of drug use. Tests are conducted for the presence of disease, which can be passed from mother to child during the course of a pregnancy, and the health of both egg donors and surrogate mothers is monitored closely over the course of their respective procedures.
ConceiveAbilities offers lots of information and resources for surrogate mothers, and for those considering surrogate motherhood. This includes a network for surrogate mothers, events, and a place for surrogates to share stories of their experiences. This page will help get you started, as it presents an informative overview of what ConceiveAbilities has to offer – including a video about the surrogacy process.
If you're certain that you are ready to share in the joy of bringing new life into the world for an intended parent or couple, you can begin the application process here. There is no obligation to complete the application; you can stop, and return at a later time, if you decide that you need more information – or just time to think.
The demands placed upon an egg donor are less significant than those imposed upon a surrogate mother, but the process is still longer and more involved than many women realize when they first look into the possibility of donating eggs. Click here for a compilation of useful information concerning the egg donor process, and here for additional information on becoming an egg donor. If you feel that this is something you would be willing and able to commit to doing, after familiarizing yourself with the details, you can begin the egg donor application process here.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.