However your family is formed, making the decision to become parents is a big step. Couples and individuals who are considering adding to their family through surrogacy often wonder whether they meet surrogacy requirements and whether it is the right time for them to begin the process.
Surrogacy is an exciting, life-changing and worthwhile way to bring a new little one into your home, but it is important that you feel prepared before committing to the process. As you consider growing your family, you’ll need to ask yourself whether you meet the emotional and financial requirements to get a surrogate and proceed with this family-building journey.
That’s right — surrogates aren’t the only one who have to meet requirements to start the surrogacy process. In surrogacy, parent requirements are important, too. They will play a crucial role in determining whether you are really ready to make the leap forward into this complicated, yet rewarding, process.
We always encourage intended parents to speak with a professional to see whether they meet the qualifications for surrogacy. In the meantime, there are four important requirements for surrogacy you’ll need to meet before moving forward.
Surrogacy Requirement #1: Understanding of the Surrogacy Process
There are many different legal, medical and social aspects of surrogacy, and it can be a complicated issue. One of the best things you can do to feel prepared for your surrogacy journey is to learn as much as you can on the subject.
Here are some steps you can take to educate yourself about surrogacy before making your decision:
- Do your research. Simply by reading this article, you have already taken this important step. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the basics of surrogacy, including state laws, surrogacy requirements, the surrogacy process, and surrogacy costs. The life-changing decision to pursue surrogacy should not be made without careful thought and consideration of all the facts.
- Consider the pros and cons. At least one advantage of surrogacy is obvious — it will fulfill your dream of finally having a child of your own. But it is important to weigh all of the wonderful things about surrogacy with some of the potential challenges and drawbacks. As you do your research, keep a running list of surrogacy pros and cons to help you make your decision.
- Compare your options. If you are unsure about starting the surrogacy process, it may be helpful to consider other possible alternatives. Before committing to surrogacy, many professionals suggest that you consult an IVF doctor for recommendations. You may also want to compare surrogacy with adoption to determine the path that is best for you.
- Talk to others. Often, the best way to learn more about surrogacy is to consult with those who have firsthand experience. Reach out to a surrogacy professional for answers to your questions, help determining whether you are ready to take the next step, and an evaluation of whether you meet the requirements for surrogacy as an intended parent. Surrogacy agencies can often put you in contact with intended parents who have previously used their services.
The field of surrogacy is always changing and expanding. There is always something new to be learned, even for intended parents who have already completed the process, but having a basic understanding of surrogacy can help put your mind at ease as you prepare to take your next steps.
Surrogacy Requirement #2: Emotional Readiness
For intended parents, surrogacy can be a long process with many ups and downs. Whatever your reasons for considering surrogacy — whether you are a couple who has struggled with infertility, a member of the LGBT community or a single parent hoping to expand your family — you should make sure you fully understand the emotional investment involved.
One of the most important requirements to get a surrogate is that you are really ready to emotionally commit to the surrogacy process. A surrogacy professional will not allow you to move forward with your journey until they are confident in your ability to commit to a prospective surrogate, without harboring any negative feelings toward her or the process in general.
Before you pursue surrogacy, you and your spouse should ask yourself these questions:
- If you have struggled with infertility in the past, have you fully grieved those losses, including the loss of the pregnancy experience?
- If you are in a relationship, are both of you fully committed to surrogacy? Do you and your partner agree on your surrogacy goals?
- Can you allow someone else to carry a child for you? Will you be able to relinquish some control during the pregnancy?
- Are you willing to commit to psychological screening and counseling before and during the surrogacy process?
- Are you prepared for a high-risk pregnancy and the possibility of premature birth or miscarriage?
For parents who have previously added to their families through surrogacy, the joy of bringing a new baby home far outweighs the emotional challenges that may be experienced throughout the process. However, every individual or couple must decide for themselves whether they are ready for this emotional journey.
If you are struggling with the decision to pursue surrogacy, it may be helpful to consult a surrogacy professional, fertility specialist or family counselor to help you work through any doubts or fears you may have about the process — and ensure that you are ready for the commitment that certain requirements for surrogacy demand.
Surrogacy Requirement #3: Financing
Between medical expenses, legal costs, agency fees and surrogate living expenses, surrogacy can be expensive. Most surrogacy expenses are variable, and the overall cost of surrogacy can be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every intended parent should be prepared for the financial requirements of surrogacy well before they ever start the process.
The cost of your surrogacy will depend on many factors, including the services you use and the professional and surrogate you work with. Some of the costs commonly associated with surrogacy include:
- Base compensation for the surrogate
- Monthly food, maternity clothing and travel allowance
- Medical expenses, including screening, fertility treatments, embryo transfer and delivery costs
- Attorney fees
- Counseling expenses
- Agency fees
Because it requires a significant financial investment, it is important for prospective intended parents to fully understand these costs before committing to surrogacy. You should contact the agencies you are considering to discuss your specific surrogacy needs and goals to determine an accurate cost estimate. Every agency will have different financial surrogacy requirements, and those estimates may play a role in your choice of professional.
It is also important to note that insurance often does not cover many surrogacy costs, and unlike adoption, there are few grants available for surrogacy. Intended parents should be prepared to budget for their surrogacy and should research all available financing options, including loans and fundraising possibilities.
Surrogacy Requirement #4: Excitement to be Parents
Surrogacy is a long process with life-changing implications. At the end of your surrogacy journey, you will be bringing a new baby home, and it is important that you and the rest of your family are prepared for all of the exciting changes a child will bring to your life.
In many ways, this is the most important question to ask yourself as you prepare to grow your family through surrogacy. When you decide to begin the surrogacy process, you should not only be prepared for surrogacy — you should be prepared for all of the challenges, joys and excitement of raising your child. This excitement will be a key motivator during the tough times in your surrogacy journey, so you need to be 100 percent committed to and excited for this path to make gestational surrogacy worth it for your family.
Ready to start the surrogacy process now? Contact a surrogacy professional today to learn more about the qualifications for surrogacy you’ll have to meet as you take the next step to the baby you’ve always wanted.