If you have decided to grow your family through surrogacy, you aren’t alone! Surrogacy is a viable and safe option for creating a happy, healthy family. The CDC estimates that 2% of assisted reproductive processes in the United States involved surrogacy between 1999 and 2013, and that number is only increasing.
However, you may be nervous about choosing a surrogate for your family, concerned about surrogacy’s emotional impact, or daunted by the process. After all, surrogacy involves not just finding a suitable surrogate mother for your future child; several legal processes can vary by state.
In this guide, we will address some of the common questions you may have about the surrogacy process so that you can make the best and most informed decision for a happy family.
Finding a Surrogate for Your Family
The first step of the surrogacy process for future parents should involve educating yourself about the different types of surrogacy, the legal implications, and what to expect. You should then list the ideal qualities you are looking for in a surrogate mother.
Some of the things to consider when choosing a surrogate mother might include the following: ● Physical and mental health
- Academic and creative capabilities
- Family medical history
- Whether or not you also plan to use an egg donor as part of your surrogacy process
However, the critical factor in finding your ideal surrogate match is to recognize that you should have a good relationship with your surrogate mother; as intended parents, you want to make sure that you are happy communicating with and supporting the future biological mother of your child. Surrogacy can be an emotional process for everyone, so finding the correct match for your future family and building a happy relationship is the key.
How to Find Local Surrogates
Once you know who you are looking for, you can begin looking for your surrogate mother. The most common methods for finding the right surrogate include contacting family and friends first and then connecting with potential surrogates and other intended parents on online surrogacy communities. Involving an attorney or a clinic can also be essential in the process.
Each potential surrogate mother you meet should be vetted thoroughly for the qualities outlined in your surrogacy wish list. Performing a full background check and medical screening is essential. You should also aim to meet your surrogate mother multiple times and be upfront about your expectations during the surrogacy process. Because surrogacy involves various processes and steps, many intended parents find that choosing a surrogacy agency can make planning your future family significantly easier.
Should You Use an Agency?
Surrogate agencies offer a variety of benefits for intended parents. In addition to being an expert resource for matching surrogate mothers and future families, surrogate agencies can also assist you with the medical and legal considerations of the surrogacy process. In addition, reputable surrogacy agencies have strict screening processes that all potential surrogate mothers must complete before they are matched with families.
Agencies can make the surrogacy process considerably more straightforward, but choosing a reputable agency that matches your values and needs is essential. Qualities to look for in an agency should include the following:
- High success rate
- Demonstrated knowledge of the legal and medical processes that are part of a surrogacy ● A surrogate and intended parent matching process that aligns with your family’s values
Be sure to be as thorough when researching what agency to choose as you would when meeting and screening a potential surrogate mother.
Legal Considerations to Keep In Mind When Hiring a Surrogate
Whether or not you choose to select a surrogacy agency to help you plan for your happy future family, you do need to keep some legal considerations in mind when hiring a surrogate mother. You will need to create and sign a gestational carrier agreement, have insurance coverage, and also, as intended parents, secure a court order to establish parentage.
In addition to this, keep in mind that surrogacy laws vary by state, which may limit or change the type of arrangements you can enact when planning your future family. When drawing up legal documents and determining your ideal surrogate match, you need to be sure you are asking the right questions.
Ask the Right Questions When Choosing Your Surrogate
There are some common questions related to both emotional and legal boundaries that you may have as intended parents. In addition to seeking advice from medical and legal experts during the surrogate matching process, you should be upfront with any potential surrogate mother candidates about your wishes to ensure you have a correct match.
Do You Want to Have a Relationship After the Birth?
Whether or not you choose to have a relationship with your surrogate mother after birth entirely depends on your wishes and what you are looking for in a match. For instance, if you and your partner have a close friend who will be your child’s surrogate mother, you will likely continue to have a relationship after your child’s birth.
Suppose you choose a surrogate mother with whom you do not have an established relationship beforehand. In that case, you may prefer to continue a relationship with them after the birth. Alternatively, you may choose to end your relationship with your surrogate mother right after delivery. Discussing your wishes as intended parents beforehand and keeping this in mind when choosing a surrogate mother can ensure a happy surrogacy process.
Do Surrogates Have Rights to See Children After the Birth?
One of the most common questions intended parents have when going through surrogacy is whether surrogates have the right to see the children they have carried to term after the birth. In general, because a surrogate mother is not a biological parent of your future child, she will not have the right to see the child after the birth, nor will she be able to decide to keep the baby. However, grey areas can exist depending on the type of surrogacy agreement plan drawn up for your future family and state laws. These grey areas are why legal counsel and a surrogacy agency’s advisement are necessary to ensure a smooth process for all involved.
If Possible, Meet With a Lawyer
As intended parents, you must establish parentage of your biological child through legal means. Because of how complicated this process can be, it is highly recommended that you have legal counsel to ensure your surrogacy experience goes smoothly. Legitimate surrogate agencies can also assist with legal matters.
How to Talk To Your Children Conceived Through Surrogacy About Their Birth
Many intended parents may also be curious about the emotional impact of surrogacy on their children. Research has demonstrated children conceived through surrogacy are well-adjusted and have positive parental relationships. As parents, it is ultimately your choice to disclose how your children were conceived. Overall, revealing to your children how they were conceived is an emotionally positive decision.
The same study indicates that telling your children at a younger age about the circumstances of their birth, usually before the age of seven, resulted in better perceptions of their mother’s feelings towards them.
Young children are often highly accepting and open-minded, so having this conversation earlier has various benefits. Because of the subject’s sensitive nature, consider using a children’s book
that explains surrogacy to open the conversation. You can then discuss your child’s birth circumstances with them as they ask questions.
While surrogacy can seem daunting, remember why you are beginning this journey in the first place – because of the excitement and desire for you to become intended parents. Being thorough and clear about what you want and do not want in your surrogacy plan is an excellent way to ensure your best surrogate match and your happy future family becomes a reality.