Even though it may often seem like all surrogates are married or partnered, this is definitely not the case. Although being in a committed relationship is indeed common, this is not a requirement to become a surrogate. You too can succeed and thrive as a single mom and surrogate, and you will not be alone! ConceiveAbilities works with many strong, capable, and determined women who also happen to be single.
Actually, most of the requirements are the same. You’ll need to have given birth to and be raising at least one of your own children, have a stellar medical history, demonstrate financial and overall stability, and pass a comprehensive mental health evaluation. You’ll undergo a home check too, just like your fellow prospective surrogates who are married.
One requirement that takes on quite a bit more significance when you’re single, though, is your social support network. This is because partners are typically the primary providers of emotional and physical support to surrogates during pregnancy and after delivery. And it’s a fact that whether for a surrogacy or not, pregnancy can be both challenging and unpredictable.
As a result, you’ll definitely want to have a support system in place, and ensure that you’ve considered all of the following:
Do you have people in your life who support your decision to become a surrogate? Can you lean on them emotionally when needed, and can you also share your surrogacy hopes and successes with them?
Who will care for your children when you need to travel, attend appointments, and participate in monthly support groups?
Who will help you with any household and childcare needs during periods of bed rest? If you experience severe morning sickness? As you recover from childbirth? When your pregnancy becomes either exhausting or physically taxing? When you just simply need a break?
Everyone knows that being a single mom is probably already one of the hardest jobs around, right? On top of that, chances are good that you probably have work and/or school commitments, too. Add on a surrogate pregnancy and the appointments, emails, phone calls, emotions, physical symptoms, and new relationships that go with it, and it’s clear that you’ll need to become even more of an expert juggler than you already are!
You will absolutely be very busy, and you may occasionally feel more stressed and less supported than you did before becoming a surrogate, since you don’t have a live-in partner to confide in and to lean on. This, of course, is where your support system comes into play.
It will be critically important to get comfortable with asking for and accepting help from your loved ones. As they shoulder some responsibilities for you temporarily, you can focus elsewhere, even if it means scheduling some needed and well-deserved time for self-care and rest.
Physical and emotional recovery after a surrogacy delivery can also be more challenging for single moms - especially if delivery brings unexpected surprises, like a medical complication or a first-time emergency C-section. Again, this seems to be related to having less adult support available at home. The best way to meet this particular challenge head-on is to prepare for a range of possibilities in advance. Have plenty of back-up support ready and “on call,” just in case you end up needing it. Then, if you do need extra support after delivery, definitely ask for it!
Absolutely! Your match manager and your support group leader are invaluable sources of support for you. They can act as sounding boards when you need someone to listen; they can help you to access resources in your community, if your support system is unable to provide all of the help that you need; and they can advocate for you as needed.
ConceiveAbilities surrogates are also part of monthly support groups and an online sisterhood. These resources allow you to connect with hundreds of current and former surrogates throughout the country and in your local area. This is a great way to get to know other women who can truly relate to your more unique circumstances and challenges.
You’ll find yourself receiving support from many other surrogates, regardless of whether they too are single moms. However, if you would specifically like to hear from other single moms, you’ll have the ability either to reach out on your own, or ask your match manager or support group leader for help in getting connected.
This is an important question! Even if you suspect right now that you absolutely won’t want to date during a surrogacy journey, what if that special someone happens to enter your life at that exact time?
Not dating during your surrogacy does make things simpler; however, dating is not completely prohibited. It’s just very important to make good choices when choosing dating partners. After all, remember that you either are or will be carrying some precious cargo!
Your intended parents didn’t enter into a surrogacy arrangement agreeing to work with your new romantic partner, so you’ll want to feel sure that it’s a person who both you and they can trust and respect. And of course this person should be completely on-board with and supportive of your surrogacy.
If a romantic relationship seems to be taking a more serious turn, and it’s clear that both of you want to be exclusive and perhaps have sex, always prioritize the surrogacy and inform your match manager first. It’s taken a lot of effort to become a surrogate, and you won’t want to do anything to jeopardize an upcoming embryo transfer, put yourself in an unsafe situation during the pregnancy, or lose the trust of your intended parents.
Let your match manager know what’s going on in the relationship and where it seems to be heading. He or she will then guide you toward the next steps. Depending on the particular stage of the surrogacy process that you’re in at the time, your new significant other may need to participate in the legal process with you, or he/she may need to undergo psychological and/or medical testing just as married partners are required to do. Remember that any requests for your new partner’s participation in the process are put in place for everyone’s protection.
As long as you follow clinic restrictions and any guidelines outlined in your legal contract, and also keep your match manager informed if you become involved in a relationship that starts to become more serious, you should be able to navigate surrogacy and dating at the same time.
Yes, ConceiveAbilities has successfully matched many surrogates who are single moms! Knowing that pregnancy will place additional demands on a surrogate, intended parents do want to be assured that their surrogates have access to good support. They may also have questions or initial concerns about what may happen if their surrogate gets involved with new romantic partners during the surrogacy. ConceiveAbilities staff will help ease their minds, assuring them that surrogates will follow the dating guidelines discussed above.
If becoming a surrogate is your dream and you have good support around you, you can do this! Even though you may encounter some additional challenges, they won’t be insurmountable. In the meantime, you’ll be acting as a wonderful role model for your own children. And in the end, you’ll feel a unique and unmatched sense of accomplishment when you gift another family with their perfect baby boy or girl.
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.