What to Consider Before Entering into a Surrogacy Arrangement
Before signing the dotted line on your surrogacy agreement, it’s important to take a deep dive into all of the factors and outliers to consider before entering into a surrogacy arrangement. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. The good news is we have it broken down for you here. Let’s begin!
Are you emotionally prepared for surrogacy?
Building a family through surrogacy is equal parts beautiful and emotionally challenging. Whatever your reasons for pursuing surrogacy, many unexpected feelings can surface. Just how most gestational carriers undergo psychological screening to ensure they are psychologically sound to withstand the potential emotional challenges of surrogacy, the intended parent(s) need to be sure they are also in a good head space prior to entering into a surrogacy arrangement. Ask yourself these questions:
Have you fully come to terms with your need to pursue surrogacy?
Years of infertility or the inability to build a family due to sexual preference can bring on a certain amount of mental baggage. Giving yourself time to mourn the loss of the ability to carry a pregnancy of your own will help you be in a better, more positive mindset to not only support your gestational carrier through the pregnancy, but it will also help you fully embrace the surrogacy process to its fullest.
Can you explain surrogacy to friends and family?
Compared to over a decade ago, surrogacy is becoming more of an available option. Even though there is a growing awareness of this incredible life-giving option, you may encounter some initial questions. People are curious by nature, especially those who are close to you. It’s best to be in a place where you can be honest, and have a pocket response prepared as to why surrogacy was the best decision for you. We also recommend these tips on how to explain surrogacy to your family and friends.
Do you have a good support network to help you through the surrogacy process?
Support from your partner, friends and family is key in helping provide a solid foundation of emotional support. Surrogacy can be taxing both physically and mentally on your gestational carrier. It can also bring about both financial and emotional challenges to the intended parent(s). Surrogacy extends to your partner and can radiate out to your family no matter if you are an intended parent or a gestational carrier. By explaining how surrogacy works and especially what you need from your loved ones to support you through it, will truly help you have a less stressful and more enjoyable experience.
Do you have enough time for the surrogacy process?
There are many factors that can greatly impact the amount of time you will need to invest into the surrogacy process. Some factors that affect time include, but are not limited to, the dynamics of both travel and medical treatments.
Travel: Ultimately, it starts with determining which surrogacy program you will consider. Although both domestic surrogacy and international surrogacy can have some lengthy travel attached to it, international surrogacy programs will require the most, being that you will need to take time to travel abroad to another country. More than likely, travel will be required a few times over the course of the pregnancy and birth. Even in a domestic surrogacy, many surrogacy arrangements are made across state lines which would also require travel and missed time from your work and day to day life.
- Medical: There are two parts to this. If the intended parent(s) will be undergoing fertility treatment to produce an embryo for a gestational surrogacy arrangement, then the In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, process can be rather life consuming. Albeit temporary, it will still require a great investment of time. Another factor to consider is how much time you will have to contribute to the pregnancy process. This will obviously depend on many factors, as well as determining how involved in the pregnancy you will want to be. If you want to take on an active role in the pregnancy, then you’ll need to account for missed work to attend the number of prenatal care appointments that accompany standard pregnancy. If there are unforeseen complications then you can expect to spend more time away.
Are you ready for parenthood?
This may seem like a ridiculous question to ask yourself, but it’s on our list for a reason. The gift of a child through surrogacy is one that is immeasurable. Just getting to this point, of even considering it, means that you and your partner have likely had long discussions on planning future family building. It is important that you and your partner are unequivocally on the same page of wanting to pursue parenthood. Once your surrogate/gestational carrier is pregnant, fully understanding that this is your baby and that you will need to be ready physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially for your baby when his or her due date arrives.
Can you afford surrogacy?
Family building through reproductive treatment and, in this case surrogacy, comes with an associated cost. There are many factors that can influence cost such as legal fees, donor and surrogate matching, travel expenses, agency fees, pregnancy expenses and medical costs, just to name a few. A knowledgeable surrogacy agency can walk you through what to expect in terms of cost, as well as ways to make surrogacy more affordable. At the end of the day, you need to put your pen to paper and determine if this is the right family building option for you and your budget.
Understanding surrogacy law
This will also depend on the type of surrogacy program you consider. If you decide to pursue a domestic surrogacy arrangement, surrogacy laws often vary from state to state. And, depending on the state, they could have restrictions or even ban compensation to your surrogate. Although the U.S. is fairly regulated and much less complicated than other countries abroad, you will need to have a clear understanding of surrogacy law in the state that your gestational carrier or surrogate resides. If you plan on going overseas for a surrogacy arrangement, you’ll need to know what laws are in play for that particular country. In some countries, surrogacy is banned to foreign intended parents. This is why it is extremely important to hire an attorney that is well versed in reproductive law, specifically adoption and surrogacy law.
There are many things to think through when you are considering surrogacy as a way to grow your family. It also may feel overwhelming at first. If you are reading this, then you should feel confident that you are already a step ahead in the game. Being informed and knowing what is in front of you will only make this process easier.
If you have questions or want to learn more about what is involved in the next steps of entering into a surrogacy program, please feel free to contact our team at ConceiveAbilities!