As an intended parent one of the most important decisions you are going to be making as you embark upon gestational surrogacy is who will carry and deliver your baby. It can be a scary time. It can be a happy time as well as an overwhelming time – and many who have gone before you will tell you it’s truly an adventure of a life time!
Your partners in all of this are going to be your surrogacy agency, your lawyer, and most importantly your Reproductive Endocrinologist. Your doctor is going to look over and screen your potential gestational surrogate’s entire medical history. Your IVF doctor will be looking for anything that would suggest your gestational surrogate / gestational carrier (GS / GC) might be a risk for complications during pregnancy, miscarriage risks, or anything that would indicate that she wouldn’t be a good candidate for gestational surrogacy. Your doctor is going to want to know if the potential GS is able to carry twins. Would she have any sort of medical issues that would cause the pregnancy to be a risk. Things like that.
Next the potential GS will have a physical exam as well as other kinds of testing. Her uterus will be examined, she will undergo blood work. If she’s married or partnered her partner will have his or her own blood work for infectious disease screening. The GS will have her previous pregnancy history examined to look for things like miscarriage, premature delivery, gestational diabetes, how her delivery went, bleeding issues etc… The doctor will leave no stone unturned as he or she will review everything focusing on any sort of risk factors.
What’s the ideal gestational surrogate? A woman who’s had at least one successful pregnancy before that’s gone full term without any complications. It helps if the GS has carried for other parents and shown she can carry a baby healthily and safely with having no emotional issues with giving the baby(s) to you the intended parent and then move on with whatever relationship both parties have intended. The potential GS will also meet with a psychologist or therapist to talk about potential emotional issues and if the GS is emotionally prepared to take on the huge responsibility of carrying your baby, the ability to carry the baby safely and healthily and last but not least the ability to give your baby to you after delivery in a healthy way.
When we think of gestational surrogates we have this woman in mind that is height and weight appropriate – healthy, has easy pregnancies and even easier deliveries. Intended parents are looking for that “something” that’s going to tell them equivocally that this GS is “the one” someone who stands apart from everyone else they may have interviewed.
As you wade through profiles and finally move on to interviews you might want to keep this list handy and in the back of your mind when talking to potential gestational surrogates.
• Does this GS demonstrate that she’s committed 100000% to the cycle, pregnancy and the entire surrogacy process?
• How easily do you think or your agency think she will be to communicate with? For instance how easy is she to reach? Does she have more than one method of communication that as intended parents you can reach her by?
• This might seem elementary (no pun intended) but how well can the GS follow the directions given to her by her doctor? Or agency? Or yourself? How proactive is she to call her doctor if she has ANY questions or if there is ANYTHING she doesn’t understand?
• What does she tell you about her diet? Is she a person who eats good, healthy food? Drinks plenty of water and tries to stay away from fast-food, junk food, and stuff that’s not great for her?
• What’s her take about cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy? The answer should be “I am not a smoker and I do not drink any alcohol as well as limit my caffeine use during pregnancy” If she says anything other than that – pass.
• Will she put your needs and your babies needs first in front of her during the pregnancy? How does she feel about selective reduction or termination of a pregnancy?
• Does the GS like to be healthy, active, and exercise? Being in the best shape possible is incredibly important during pregnancy.
• What kind of family support does the GS have? Does she have a good support network besides yourself, the agency, and her doctor?
• It’s been said over and over a good gestational surrogate doesn’t need the money she is going to earn by carrying your baby. What’s your GS say about the money part of things. Is the extra money just for a rainy day or is the money she is depending upon. That’s something you want to iron out early before you commit.
• How educated is your GS about the whole process. How does she feel about talking to others about what she’s doing and educating them about what she’s doing?
The relationship you will have with your GS is going to last a lifetime. This will always be someone who will have a special place in your heart as well as your children’s life. That’s why it’s incredibly important that when you select a GS you choose wisely and choose a GS that’s going to be a great fit within your family.
Another way to look at this is selecting a GS is sort of like dating – Dating you say? Yes, dating, in that when we date another we are doing what? Gathering information about the other person. Discovering what we have in common. Are they a good fit? Do they mesh with my belief systems? Are they a good person? How many times in your life have you met someone you thought was amazing but shortly thereafter found they weren’t as amazing as you might have liked?
Granted you are not going to have a romantic relationship with your gestational surrogate – but you are going to be involved intimately in each other’s life – and when we say intimately we don’t mean again in any sort of romantic way we mean this person is going to be carrying your baby and there’s nothing more intimate than that –seriously.
There’s so much to talk about – How much involvement do you plan to have with your GS during the cycle, pregnancy and after your children are born? Are you going to want frequent interaction? Do you want regular updates? How hands-on are you going to want to be? The majority of gestational surrogates welcome, and encourage their intended parents to be hands-on. They love to share with their intended parent’s weekly progress – they love to be connected as much as possible. And why wouldn’t they? They are carrying precious cargo for YOU! After your baby(s) are born what kind of contact and/or relationship do you foresee having with your GS? Is she going to be a special Aunt? Or someone you connect with once a year. Will this person serve any role as your children grow through their childhood – through the teen years and beyond?
As you see – there is so much to think about when selecting a Gestational Surrogate. This means surround yourself with the best possible people beginning with your REI, the surrogacy agency, a great surrogacy consultant, a wonderful lawyer, a great therapist, a great OBGYN, and most importantly an amazing Gestational Surrogate.