It’s a life-changing decision if you decide to become a surrogate mother in Washington, D.C., but your own life won’t be the only one that’s changed. By bringing a new life into the world and into the arms of waiting parents, you’ll be benefitting an untold number of people. Being a surrogate mother in Washington, D.C., is a unique way to help others have the family they’ve dreamed of. Through these seven steps, you can learn how to be a surrogate mother in D.C. so you can help create families and change lives.
Step 1: Decide Whether or Not You’re Ready to Become a Surrogate in D.C.
Simply put, not every woman is ready to be a surrogate mother. Washington, D.C.’s surrogacy process is an involved one, and it requires your full dedication and commitment of your time, body and emotions for approximately one year. You’ll need to be prepared for this if you’re considering becoming a surrogate in D.C.
Your spouse or domestic partner, if applicable, will also need to commit to your process to become a surrogate mother in Washington, D.C., for legal purposes. They’ll also be an important source of emotional and practical support for you throughout your surrogacy journey.
What are your primary motivations in your desire to become a surrogate? If your first answer is “compensation,” then you may not be an ideal candidate to become a surrogate mother. Washington, D.C., permits compensation for surrogates, and it’s fair to want to be compensated for the time and effort you put forth, but it shouldn’t be your main motivator. However, if helping families to have the child they’ve dreamed of is what drew you to surrogacy, then you’re likely a great fit for the role of “surrogate.”
Step 2: Choose the Type of Surrogacy and the Surrogacy Professional
If you feel that you’re ready to commit and still want to become a surrogate mother, Washington, D.C., has two types of surrogacy that you’ll next need to choose from:
Traditional surrogacy: This is the less-common type of surrogacy in D.C. because there are increased legal and emotional risks involved. For this reason, most surrogacy programs and agencies will not complete a traditional surrogacy. As a traditional surrogate, you would be the biological mother of the child. Your egg would be combined with sperm from a donor or an intended father in a fertility clinic using IUI or IVF. The legal processes of this type of surrogacy are slightly different, but are still regulated by the standard surrogacy laws in the District of Columbia.
Gestational surrogacy: This is the generally preferred type of surrogacy, and is also regulated by Washington, D.C., surrogacy laws. As a gestational surrogate (aka a gestational carrier), you would not be biologically related to the baby you would carry for intended parents. An egg and sperm from donors or intended parents would be used to form an embryo using IVF, and then transferred to your uterus in a fertility clinic.
You also have two different types of surrogacy professionals you’ll need to choose from. It’s important that you always work with a professional instead of seeking out intended parents on your own for your own safety as well as that of the intended parents and the baby. Here are the two surrogacy professionals in D.C. that you can choose from:
Surrogacy agencies: This type of professional, also called a surrogacy program, handles most, if not all, of the processes necessary throughout the entirety of your surrogacy journey and act as your go-to for everything. A surrogacy agency or program matches you with intended parents who are already screened.
Surrogacy attorneys: This professional handles the legal steps of the D.C. surrogacy process. They aren’t always able to offer any other services like searching or matching, but they can often offer tips to help to help you to search for possible intended parents on your own.
Step 3: Meet the Screening Requirements to Become a Surrogate Mom in D.C.
Once you’ve settled on the type of surrogacy and the surrogacy professional you want to guide you through your process to be a surrogate mother in D.C., you’ll need to make sure that you’re eligible to become a surrogate. Washington, D.C., professionals and programs throughout the U.S. will have individual sets of requirements, but the District of Columbia also has a few requirements that are established within its surrogacy laws that you’ll have to meet. Here are some of those requirements you can expect:
D.C. surrogacy laws state that you must “have undergone a medical evaluation” where you were “approved to serve as a surrogate.” It also states that you must “have given birth to at least one live child.” Most surrogacy professionals will also require that your previous pregnancies have had no complications, have a BMI between about 19 to 33, no exposure to smoke or drugs and more. Learn more about the health requirements to be a surrogate mother in D.C. here.
Some of the legal requirements you’ll need to pay attention to when learning how to become a gestational surrogate in D.C. include the condition that surrogates must “be at least 21 years of age.” You’ll also need to complete the surrogacy contract phase in accordance with D.C. surrogacy laws before you begin the medical processes of surrogacy. Most surrogacy professionals will ask that in addition to these requirements, you not receive financial assistance from the government, that you be a permanent resident of the U.S. and more. Learn more about the legal process of how to be a surrogate mom in Washington, D.C., here.
The laws of surrogacy in the District of Columbia require that you must “have completed a mental health evaluation” as well as a joint consultation with the intended parents with the mental health professional “regarding issues that could arise during surrogacy” as part of the mental health requirements of being a gestational carrier in Washington, D.C. Surrogacy professionals also ask that surrogates have an emotional support system at home so there are people who encourage you throughout your surrogacy process. Learn how to create your own support system as you learn how to become as gestational surrogate in D.C. here.
Step 4: Select the Intended Parents
Choosing the right intended parents is one of the most anticipated steps of learning how to become a surrogate mother in Washington, D.C. There are several different ways you can partner with hopeful parents and become a surrogate mother. D.C. families who are waiting to become parents through surrogacy can be found in several ways:
Work with someone you know: A common way that women learn how to become a surrogate mother in D.C. is through a personal connection to someone who needs help having a child. For this, you’ll just need to contact a surrogacy professional to be screened and complete the legal and medical steps of the process required by Washington, D.C.
Match through a surrogacy agency: If you want to be a surrogate for someone, but don’t have specific intended parents in mind, you can be shown profiles of waiting parents who are already screened and signed on with a surrogacy agency or program, and you can be matched with those parents.
Search for intended parents on your own: If you’re already working with an attorney and becoming a surrogate without an agency in D.C., you’ll need to search for the intended parents yourself. You can do this through your personal network, advertising, word-of-mouth and more.
Step 5: Finalize the Legal Surrogacy Contract
When you’ve found the intended parents that you want to carry for, you’ll next need to complete the legal stage before you move on to the medical steps of surrogacy. For this, you’ll need to create a surrogacy contract and you’ll need individual legal representation throughout this stage.
Your surrogacy contract will cover important topics like surrogate compensation, the legal parental rights of the intended parents, what you’d all want to do in the event of pregnancy complications and more. When your contract is finalized and signed by two witnesses, you’ll be able to move on to the next steps of becoming a surrogate in D.C.
Step 6: Complete the Embryo Transfer Process
In meeting the health requirements and medical screenings that are requirements to become a surrogate mother, Washington, D.C., laws and surrogacy professionals have confirmed you as being healthy enough to receive the necessary fertility medications, hormones and medical processes leading up to embryo transfer.
The embryo transfer procedure takes place at the fertility clinic determined in your surrogacy contract, which may require you to travel. Any travel-related expenses for this appointment are covered for you by the intended parents.
It may take several cycles of embryo transfers for a healthy pregnancy to occur. When a doctor confirms you’re stably pregnant, you can receive routine prenatal care from your own OBGYN. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, you can share your experiences with the intended parents and keep them posted about their baby’s progress.
Step 7: Welcome the Baby with the Intended Parents
For both surrogates and intended parents, undoubtedly the most exciting moment is the baby’s arrival. The ability to bring parents and their baby together for the first time is one of the most common reasons why a woman is drawn to becoming a surrogate in D.C. For this moment, intended parents will typically travel to be with you for the birth of the baby. When you create your surrogacy contract, you’ll often talk about your preferred birth plan so that everyone is ready for what happens when you go into labor and can act quickly.
One of the most unique ways that a woman can help others is by becoming a surrogate in Washington, D.C. You can help people to become parents and give them a gift that can never be repaid.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a surrogate mother in Washington, D.C., contact a surrogacy professional now.