Monday, February 11, 2008

Questions To Ask When Considering Surrogacy

I WAS a surrogate mother and let me just say that it was the most incredible experience of my life. Giving birth to my own children was incredible, but helping that dream come true for another couple was absolutely priceless.
Whether you are considering using a surrogate or considering becoming a surrogate, there are many questions that need to be considered and answered. For the purpose of this article I am going to focus on "becoming a surrogate" because this I actually know about.
The first, and most important question that should be answered is "Do I want to use an agency or do I want to do it independently?". As a former surrogate, I chose to go through an agency. The agency served as my pathway for success and took care of many issues for both myself and the intended parents.
Next, you need to ask yourself "What kind of people do I want to help become parents?" This can be a tough question because we all know of at least one person that we have at least thought "He/She should have NEVER been allowed to become a parent". Do you want to know that the mother will be a "stay at home" mom, do you care if they are jet setters and will have nannies raising their child(ren)? This is a question that should be thought about deeply and you need to remember this...It is not just about what is important to intended parents when they are choosing a surrogate, but what is important for a surrogate when choosing intended parents.
Compensation is also a HUGE issue. First you need to check with the laws in your state regarding surrogacy. In some states it is actually illegal to be a surrogate. In some states it is illegal to be compensated for being a surrogate. Those states will, however, allow one to be a "Compassionate Surrogate" which of course means that there is no money exchanged. If your state allows surrogacy, then you have decide just how much you think the service is worth. Keep in mind that you are not going to be getting paid for having a baby, but for the use of your uterus. Baby selling is illegal. How much is your uterus worth? Again, having an agency behind you will help with this issue.
Next, you need to find an attorney that practices surrogacy laws. Find a good one. Many surrogate agencies are able to recommend someone. Your attorney can make or break the whole experience for you.
Another question you MUST ask yourself is, "Will I use my own eggs or not?". As a surrogate mother I chose to be a "gestational" surrogate, which means I carried only. The eggs belonged to the mothers and that was the best choice for me. As a word of caution, let me just say that using your own eggs, as a surrogate, opens too many doors that really need to stay closed.
"Will I really be able to hand this child over to it's parents?". That is a tough question. Going through an agency helped me tremendously with this one. The agency required psychological screenings and mandatory sessions with a psychologist. The screening took months, but in the end it was worth it because I knew that I could do it and would be good at it. Consider this question patiently.
"What kind of relationship do I want to have with the parents after it is all said and done?". Some continue to remain friends, some do not. I am still in touch with one couple, but not the other one. They send me pictures and letters and we are very much still friends. It is nice. The other couple and I just never really clicked like the first couple and I did and that is okay. It's all good.
There are a myriad more questions one needs to ask before becoming a surrogate but this article would go on forever. I feel that the questions I gave you to start with are the most important and suggest that before you make a decision you at least consult with someone from an agency. You need to keep yourself protected and be prepared. Surrogacy is a wonderful alternative for many infertile couples and it takes a special woman to even have the desire to want to be surrogate mother. Get answers, get educated, then get going...hundreds of couples are waiting, just for you.


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