If you’re considering becoming a surrogate to help hopeful parents build their families, you likely have a lot of questions about the process—what exactly it entails, how you’ll be compensated, and what you’ll be required to do. To help you get a better understanding of surrogacy, we’ll dive into seven common questions below.
- What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?
In gestational surrogacy, the intended parent(s) use their own eggs or a donor’s eggs. A fully formed embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus, and she carries it to term. In this case, the surrogate is biologically linked to the fetus through the placenta, but she is not genetically related to the baby.
In traditional surrogacy, on the other hand, the surrogate’s own eggs are used, and she carries the pregnancy to term. The surrogate and baby, therefore, are both biologically linked and genetically related.
- What are the requirements to be a surrogate?
Requirements differ from agency to agency, but most have stipulations regarding surrogates’ age, body mass index, financial stability, medical history, mental health, and overall lifestyle. Some agencies also have specific requirements regarding previous surrogacy or child-raising experience, support of the surrogate’s partner, citizenship, criminal background, and willingness to travel for surrogacy-related matters.
- Who uses surrogates?
All types of people turn to surrogacy services to help build their families, and serving as a surrogate can be an extremely rewarding experience.
With gestational surrogacy, for instance, same-sex male couples may seek an egg donor, whose eggs can then be fertilized by sperm from one of the prospective parents or from an outside sperm donor if sperm from the prospective parents cannot be used. After fertilization, the embryo is transferred to the uterus of a gestational surrogate. Married and single women who cannot get pregnant with their own eggs often go this route as well, as do single men looking to build a family.
- How are surrogates compensated?
Compensation can vary widely depending on the state in which you and the prospective parent(s) are located, your past experience with surrogacy, and individual arrangements with the future parent(s), but surrogates can typically expect to earn between $25,000 and $80,000. If you carry twins or triplets your compensation will be higher.
Medical-related expenses, such as travel/transportation, meals, lodgings, telephone calls, and appointments, will typically be reimbursed. The same is true for pregnancy expenses, such as maternity clothes, missed days of work, and prenatal vitamins and supplements.
- Is surrogacy emotionally difficult?
While most women are aware that surrogacy, like any pregnancy, will be physically demanding, the mental and emotional effort involved must be carefully considered as well. Carrying a pregnancy to term often involves bonding with the future child. Some surrogates choose to consider this “babysitting” in order to place enough emotional distance between them and the baby while still providing nurture.
After the pregnancy, surrogates may experience feelings of loss, sadness, or confusion. This is completely normal, but preparing for these feelings can make a big difference. It can also help to have regular bonding sessions between the intended parent(s) and the baby, preparing you, the future parent(s), and the future baby for the emotional transfer.
- What kind of relationship will I have with the intended parent(s)?
How much interaction you have with the intended parent(s), and how much information you have about them and vice versa will depend on the specifics of your arrangements with them and the agency you are working with. Some people working with a surrogate prefer to maintain a businesslike relationship, while others choose to be more involved in the day-to-day details.
Your agency will find the best setup for all parties involved, helping to ensure that no emotional or legal complications arise during the pregnancy or thereafter.
- How do surrogacy agencies match surrogates with intended parents?
This process will differ depending on the surrogacy professional you choose to work with, but most agencies will ask potential surrogates about their goals and desires for the pregnancy, including how much of a relationship they’d like to have with the intended parents.
Intended parents will be asked similar questions and be provided with background information about your life, family, and overall needs and desires as a surrogate.
Every effort will be made to find a good match, one that will benefit both you and the intended parents—and, of course, the baby.
Learn More About Becoming a Surrogate