Finding the right surrogate mother is a deeply personal and significant decision for individuals or couples seeking alternative paths to parenthood. Whether due to medical reasons, fertility challenges, or other circumstances, searching for a surrogate mother requires careful consideration and thorough research.
By navigating the complexities of surrogacy, understanding legal requirements, and connecting with reputable agencies or support networks, finding the perfect surrogate mother in your area becomes possible.
Finding a surrogate is a significant journey, and it’s of the highest importance that you make informed choices and ultimately find the ideal surrogate to fulfill your dreams of starting or expanding your family.
Factors To Consider Before Choosing a Surrogate There are various factors to consider as you begin your search for an ideal surrogate mother. Having these requirements as an intended parent can ensure you can go into the screening process with a clear idea of what you want and need in a surrogate match.
Location may be an essential factor to consider when choosing a surrogate parent. If you plan to visit her often during the pregnancy, you may want to select a surrogate in your state.
Remember that surrogacy laws also vary by state and that no federal laws govern surrogacy. Where your child is born can make a difference in the type of legal agreements you will need to draw up as part of your surrogacy plan.
Your surrogate mother’s location can also factor into the cost of surrogacy and travel expenses. For instance, if you choose a surrogacy agency in Los Angeles, the price of surrogacy may be impacted by the cost of living in that area.
To ensure a viable and healthy pregnancy, you want to ensure your surrogate mother is in her prime childbearing years. Generally, a gestational mother’s ability to carry a pregnancy declines significantly after age forty. However, you must also consider the individual health of the surrogate mother.
All surrogate matches should undergo a thorough physical and mental health screening process. You will want to establish a plan for how and when you will get updates about the health of your surrogate match and your future child as part of your surrogacy plan. The health screening should also document if she has had children of her own and how healthy those pregnancies were, as these factors could influence whether or not she is a good match for your intended family.
Whether or not your surrogate mother has previously carried a child to term, you must also know their family history as part of the health screening. Even though your surrogate mother will not be your child’s biological mother, the reproductive history of her family could play a role in whether or not she is a good match for you as an intended parent.
When it comes to choosing the right surrogate mother in your area, willingness refers to these types of qualities:
- Someone whose reasons for becoming a surrogate mother match or mesh with your desires as intended parents
- Someone is comfortable letting the intended parents make medical, health, and planning decisions regarding the pregnancy
- Someone comfortable communicating with you about the pregnancy
- Someone who is emotionally prepared to give the baby over to their intended parents after the delivery
While not as clear-cut as other factors, willingness is a subjective component of the surrogate match process that should involve a thorough discussion, so you can ensure that your surrogate match is right for you.
Certain lifestyle factors may also be a part of your ideal surrogate match. Consider how your surrogate mother lives now and the lifestyle she will have during her pregnancy. You will need to consider both her current exercise and eating habits; her financial status; her career, her ability to travel, family obligations, or anything else that could contribute to stress during the pregnancy or an inability to meet the needs outlined by the intended parents; and finally her past and current relationship with drugs and alcohol.
Whether or not your surrogate mother is part of a committed relationship, either with a spouse, a long-term partner, or a single mother, should also be considered. Your surrogate match’s relationship status matters partly because she may need additional support as she carries your child to term. In addition, her relationship status and her partner’s attitude could impact her
willingness to work with you as intended parents or her reasons for becoming a surrogate in the first place.
If the above screening factors seem like a lot to consider, remember that it is vital to be as thorough as possible during the surrogate match process to ensure the best relationship possible. However, if these processes seem too daunting to take on as intended parents, consider selecting a surrogacy agency to help you through the process.
Should You Use a Surrogacy Agency?
Surrogacy agencies are organizations that work to match surrogate mothers with intended parents. Surrogacy agencies can be the right choice for intended parents if you do plenty of research and find a surrogacy agency that meets your needs.
Benefits of Utilizing Surrogacy Agencies
Surrogacy agencies can take a lot of guesswork out of the surrogacy screening and matching process. Instead of looking for surrogate mothers independently, these agencies already have dedicated networks and relationships. These organizations also have strict surrogate mother screening requirements so that every potential match has met specific standards. Surrogacy agencies can also provide legal and medical advice and assistance during pregnancy. In addition, if your family needs alternative reproductive services, such as being matched with an egg donor, most surrogacy agencies can assist with this process.
How to Find the Right Surrogacy Agency for You
You want to ensure your surrogacy agency is right for you because they will assist you throughout the entire surrogacy process. When looking at surrogacy agencies, you want to ensure that the organization matches your values and that the surrogate screening process matches what you are looking for in a surrogate mother. Consider the following: ● Cost of the procedure;
- The agency’s success rate;
- The amount of legal and medical expertise the surrogacy agency has. If you’d like to work with a surrogacy agency in your area, looking into the agency’s location is essential.
Researching Surrogacy Agencies In Your Area
Remember that location matters when establishing parental rights because there are no federal laws governing surrogacy.
Ideally, you want to find an agency that can match you with a gestational mother in a surrogate-friendly state. Typically, states are categorized in these three ways: ● Surrogate-friendly: states that have laws on the books that make it easy for surrogacy to happen.
- Non-friendly: states that have laws that either openly forbid surrogacy, forbid compensated surrogacy, or have other laws that make it challenging to establish parental rights.
- Legally Grey: states that are vague about surrogacy laws or have no laws governing surrogacy. While some of these states are considered surrogate-friendly, it can also mean that establishing parental rights comes down to the county or even the judge on the bench that day.
Finding a reputable surrogacy agency or even speaking with legal counsel before you begin your surrogacy match process can go a long way to ensuring the process goes smoothly. Consider agencies located in specific areas of the country that are more surrogate-friendly.
Finding a Surrogate Mother on the West Coast
Finding a surrogate mother on the west coast may be significantly easier than finding one in other areas of the United States. Both Oregon and Washington are considered surrogacy-friendly states.
Overall, California is one of the most surrogacy-friendly states because of the extensive system of laws allowing all types of intended parents to begin their surrogacy journey and have their rights and interests protected at every step. As a result, some of the best surrogacy agencies are in California.
Finding a Surrogate Mother on the East Coast
The laws governing surrogacy vary widely throughout the East Coast. Both Connecticut and Delaware are considered states that are surrogate-friendly to all types of parents. New York, previously considered one of the least surrogacy-friendly states in the U.S., recently legalized surrogacy.
Other states, such as Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, do not have any surrogacy laws; therefore, establishing parental rights may vary by county. Massachusetts also falls into this category. For instance, if you are looking for assistance with the surrogacy process in Boston, having an agency on your side can go a long way.
Finding a Surrogate Mother in the South
Finding a suitable surrogate mother in the South may be difficult, depending on what type of intended parents you are.
For instance, Louisiana’s surrogacy law will only be upheld if the intended parents are a heterosexual married couple. Florida also requires that the intended parents be married. Alabama requires unmarried couples to go through the adoption process after birth. Meanwhile, Texas is considered a surrogate-friendly state.
Using a surrogacy network, connecting with family and friends who live in these areas, or seeking out the advice of an attorney can significantly assist when finding a surrogate mother in the South.
Finding a Surrogate Mother in the Midwest
While surrogacy laws vary widely in the Midwest, Michigan is the least surrogacy-friendly state in the U.S. All surrogacy contracts are unenforceable, and paid surrogate contracts are expressly prohibited. Intended parents looking for a surrogate match in Michigan should seek the advice of a specialized attorney or agency.
Finding the right surrogate mother can be an extensive process, as there are many aspects and qualities to consider, from physical and mental health to compatibility with your wishes as intended parents.
Since surrogacy laws depend on the state, searching for a reputable surrogate mother in your area can be tricky. Luckily, surrogate agencies can help you grow your family by providing the legal and medical counsel and assistance you need to make your surrogacy journey go as smoothly as possible. Being thorough and doing plenty of research – whether you choose to select a mother by yourself or go through an agency or clinic — can go a long way in making the exciting surrogacy journey go that much smoother.