Deciding to move from infertility to surrogacy is a big step. Intended parents often spend many years and funds trying to become pregnant to no avail, and they may see considering surrogacy as a failure, in a way. However, it’s important to remember that while surrogacy will not allow you the pregnancy experience you may have wanted, it can still provide you the parenthood experience you’ve been dreaming about — and isn’t that all that matters?
For some people, it is — but for others, giving up the experience of pregnancy is a hard thing to do. So, how do you decide when you’re ready to move from infertility to surrogacy?
The best way to determine if surrogacy after infertility is right for you is by talking to your infertility counselor and a surrogacy professional. They can give you a better idea of what to expect from the surrogacy process and whether you meet the requirements for intended parents pursuing surrogacy.
Ultimately, however, the decision to pursue surrogacy after infertility will be up to you and your partner. Because this is such a personal decision to make, it’s important to discuss it in detail with your partner to determine if it’s the right infertility option for your situation. There is no single way to determine whether you are “ready” for surrogacy after infertility; you’ll instead need to consider several different factors and your individual situation.
While it’s always important to talk to a medical professional to see if surrogacy is right for you, there are also some questions you and your partner should ask yourselves if you’re considering moving from infertility to surrogacy:
1. Are You Ready to Give Up on Your Other Infertility Treatments?
Many times, intended parents who choose surrogacy after infertility have already gone through years of fertility treatments with no success. They’ve already spent thousands of dollars on assisted reproductive technology like IVF that failed to result in a pregnancy of their own. When they start considering surrogacy after infertility, it’s because they know the treatments they are currently using are not working and will not work in the future.
If this is the situation you’re in, surrogacy may be the next step for you. However, you should be ready to move forward from these other infertility treatments and accept that they will not result in the success you hoped for. If you are still holding out hope that a process like IVF will result in a pregnancy of your own, you may not be ready to move from infertility to surrogacy quite yet. Surrogacy does require a lot of time, money and energy — which, to be most effective, should not be split between multiple assisted reproductive technology methods.
2. Are You More Interested in Parenthood than Pregnancy?
One of the biggest challenges intended parents have with deciding to pursue surrogacy is giving up the chance that they might carry their child to term themselves. Many intended mothers have dreamed for a long time of being pregnant, and letting go of that dream can be difficult. However, it’s crucial to having a successful surrogacy experience.
The intended parents who choose to pursue surrogacy do so because they recognize what’s really important to them: being parents. Once they realize that being pregnant is not the goal — having a child is — they are more willing to embrace the surrogacy process. However, if you’re not ready to let go of your desire to be pregnant and the difficult emotions tied up in that, you may not be ready to move from infertility to surrogacy.
3. Are You Ready to Let Someone Else Carry Your Baby?
Similarly, when you let go of the dream to be pregnant yourself, you must also be comfortable with relinquishing that control over your baby’s in-utero development. Surrogacy is an intimate partnership between intended parents and surrogate, and you must be prepared for that relationship before you begin the surrogacy process.
This is one of the biggest challenges for intended parents (intended mothers, especially). It should comfort you to know that all surrogates are thoroughly screened to make sure they’re physically and mentally ready for the responsibilities of surrogacy. You will also sign a legal contract with your surrogate detailing what the expectations are for her while she carries your unborn child. Still, you must be prepared to place a good deal of trust in your surrogate and be able to address any feelings of jealousy that may arise during your surrogacy process.
4. Do You Have Leftover Embryos from Your Infertility Treatments?
Sometimes, when intended parents choose to move from infertility to surrogacy, they have a few remaining embryos left from their in vitro fertilization process. Because they know that an implantation in the intended mother’s uterus will likely fail again, they choose to use their last remaining chances to have a genetically related child in a process more likely to succeed — surrogacy with a woman who has successfully carried children before.
If you have remaining embryos and know that your previous infertility options are not likely to succeed, you may consider talking to your infertility counselor about the possibility of surrogacy with those embryos.
5. Have You Talked to Your Infertility Counselor About Your Options?
Talking your infertility counselor about your medical options is always an important part of your infertility process — especially if you’re considering surrogacy. Unfortunately, surrogacy may not be right for everyone’s individual situation. Before you begin investing time and energy into the surrogacy process, you should talk to your family-building professional to determine whether it’s an option for you and your partner. A professional can give the best advice if you are feeling stuck in a rut with your current infertility options and looking for a new family-building process.
6. Are You and Your Partner on the Same Page About Surrogacy?
As with every other family-building process you pursue, it’s important that you and your partner are equally committed to the surrogacy process before moving forward. Surrogacy requires emotional investment, so if you and your partner are not equally excited and prepared for it, you will likely encounter some challenges along the way, including feelings of resentment, anger and disappointment.
You and your partner should honestly discuss your feelings about surrogacy before starting this process. It may be a good idea to involve your fertility therapist as well to have the most productive conversation possible.
7. Have You Looked into What Surrogacy Requires?
Finally, before you consider surrogacy, it’s important that you and your partner do as much research as you can to determine whether it’s really right for you. Surrogacy is an intricate process, and it’s important you understand what it will require from you before you commit to a year or more of this process.
Make sure that you meet a surrogacy professional’s requirements for surrogacy, and take the time to talk to them about what their surrogacy process looks like. Usually, after talking with a surrogacy professional and your infertility counselor, you can better determine whether surrogacy is a process that will work for your situation.
Deciding to pursue surrogacy after infertility is only a choice you should make after you have fully researched the surrogacy process and learned more about whether it will work for you and your partner. Like all family-building processes, you’ll need to be 100 percent confident in surrogacy before starting because of the dedication and commitment of time, money and energy it requires. A good surrogacy professional will talk you through this process before you commit, educating you about the potential challenges that may arise along the way.