Many couples struggle for years to conceive a child of their own. If you and your husband or significant other are one of these couples, you’ve likely tried everything to conceive, from old wives tales to modern medical intervention such as in vitro fertilization. When these methods do not result in a successful pregnancy, your next step may be adoption. However, there is another option – using a surrogate mother.
A surrogate mother is a woman who carries and gives birth to a child for you. You can choose to use a surrogate mother if you are unable to carry a child to full term successfully. This may be due to an early hysterectomy, incompetent cervix, existing medical condition, or other factors. A surrogate mother can be implanted with an embryo that is biologically both yours and your husband’s, if your eggs are viable. If not, the surrogate may use her own egg for artificial insemination or a donor egg for in vitro fertilization with your husband’s sperm. In this way, the child will be biologically related to your husband but not to you.
Once you’ve decided to use a surrogate mother, your next step is finding a suitable one. Many couples choose to use someone close to them as a surrogate, such as a family member or friend. You may decide to use a close family member of the mother-to-be, like a sister, if you are unable to provide viable eggs for the surrogate to be implanted with. By using a family member as the egg donor as well as the surrogate, you ensure the child will be biologically related to both you and your husband. Another advantage to using a family member or friend as a surrogate is that you know her history and how well she takes care of herself, which is very important to ensure a healthy baby.
There are drawbacks to using a surrogate mother that is a friend or family member, however. One of the biggest conflicts can be how much of a relationship the surrogate mother will have with the child. Also, if the child begins to strongly resemble the surrogate as he or she grows, it can lead to awkward situations with other friends or family members who do not know you used a surrogate mother. For this reason, you may decide to use an unrelated surrogate.
There are several agencies that specialize in matching prospective parents with surrogate mothers. Using one of these agencies is the best way to find a totally unrelated surrogate mother, as the agencies are very strict in their screening processes. Surrogate mothers who work with reputable agencies are subjected to medical, legal, and mental screenings to ensure that they are fit in every way to become a surrogate. You should check the agency out with the Better Business Bureau, medical licensing agencies in their state, and recommendations from past prospective parents.
Fees for surrogate mothers vary according to many factors, including whether the woman has been a successful surrogate mother before. Also, using an agency will add some costs to your surrogate’s fee, as typically you must pay for the surrogate’s background checks yourself. However, the extra money spent is well worth it so that you do not end up with a surrogate mother who cannot or will not live up to her end of the deal.
Finding a surrogate mother is one of the most important tasks you will take on in your life. You should not be in a rush to find a surrogate mother. Take your time and choose one who both you and your husband agree on or one who comes highly recommended by a reputable agency, and you will be sure to have a great surrogate experience that results in a happy, healthy baby.