Being a mother is a blessing, but not all are blessed with it. There are women who cannot carry a baby. The most saddening part for a woman is when she cannot have her own baby. However, even if the biology restricts, the couple can still have a baby. How? Through surrogacy! We are not surprised to know that you don’t know everything about it. That’s what we are here for- to tell you What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work. It’s not necessary that you are a couple with a female and a male counterpart. The homosexual couples too can have their own baby now. We say our own because… well, scroll below!
What Is a Surrogate Mother and How Does Surrogacy Work
So let us start with it…
What is surrogacy?
Well, surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who cannot conceive. This means the woman in the couple is not fit to carry a baby. The woman who carries the baby for such a couple is called a surrogate mother. She acts as the nurture for your child until it comes into the world.
Who uses surrogates?
A woman without viable eggs or for whom pregnancy is a health risk turns to a surrogate mother. By this, the baby hence born will/can be biologically connected to her or/and her partner. Moreover, gay couples too can opt-in for a surrogate mother. As per the lesbians, they can have the advantage of having both of their biological aspects in the baby. For instance, if a lesbian couple decides to have a baby. The embryo created by the egg of one mom is implanted in the womb of the other mom.
What are the types of surrogates?
There are 2 types of surrogates – the gestational surrogates and the traditional surrogates.
Gestational surrogates – The woman who carries a baby who is not biologically related to her is called a gestational surrogate. In this type of surrogacy, your embryo that is formed in vitro with your eggs or with a donor’s eggs and your partner’s or a donor’s sperm is transferred to the gestational carrier’s womb. There it grows until the baby is ready to be born.
Traditional surrogacy – In this type of pregnancy, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with sperm from the male partner of an infertile couple. Another way is in which she is impregnated through IVF using the surrogate’s own eggs. However, this type of surrogate mother is rare. Moreover, some states also ban such type of mother.
Criteria for Becoming a Surrogate Mother
Surrogacy process is daunting yet so beautiful. A woman who embarks on this journey is truly phenomenal for she works towards making intended parents’ dream of a child true. To ensure that both the baby and the surrogate mother stay healthy throughout the journey, there are some criteria set for becoming a surrogate mother. While some requirements may vary from agency to agency, for a healthy and smooth surrogacy process, following are the ideal qualifications required for a surrogate mother:
- Must be between the ages of 21 to 41 years.
- Must be a mother who has had successful pregnancy and birth without any complications.
- Must be healthy with a good Body Mass Index (BMI) and a non-smoker as well as a non-drug user.
- Must be financially stable and receiving no government financial aid.
- Should not be currently on any medications for mental illness like anxiety or depression, etc.
- Must live a healthy and responsible lifestyle.
- Must be willing to travel to the fertility clinic for the IVF.
- Should not be having any criminal record.
How do you find a surrogate?
After you have decided that you will opt for a surrogate mother, the quest to find her begins. The surrogate mother can be someone you know, i.e family or friend. On the other hand, you can find a surrogate mother through an online agency.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has some parameters set for a surrogate mother. This includes a woman who opts in to be a surrogate is between age 21 and 45. She should have a healthy BMI, and a healthy lifestyle is in a stable living situation and has already given birth to at least one healthy baby.
Even though going with the agencies looks costlier, they give their full extension in doing the jobs like screen potential surrogates and provide you with candidate profiles to review. Mediate initial conversations between you and the surrogate. Recommend fertility clinics and mental health professionals who are experienced in surrogacy. Get you to attorneys who specialize in surrogacy and who are familiar with the legal issues particular to your state.
The screening process for your surrogate includes a full medical exam. Here she is checked for immunizations, an infectious disease screening. A psychological evaluation is also carried to ensure she won’t have any emotional difficulties handing your baby over to you after childbirth. Also, A criminal background is checked.
On your end, even you go through similar checks. Moreover, even though you choose a close relative or friend for the surrogacy, you will have to go through this so that you have a happy and healthy baby.
What happens once you find a surrogate mother?
Once all the above process is completed its time to gel around. It’s time that you meet the woman who will be carrying your baby and get to know her. Start by a call and a meeting. Here you both can ask each other questions. Ask about the surrogate’s background, interests, day-to-day activities, and work. Ask her what made her decide she wanted to be a surrogate? Is her family supportive of it?
Once this is done, you need to get into a counseling session where you, your partner, your surrogate, her partner, and a therapist can sit down together and discuss all potential scenarios. Here you need to tell about your expectations and know her as well.
How does surrogacy work?
Once the above drama is over, your gestational surrogate (which we say you should have) is asked to take birth control pills to synchronize her cycle with your cycle or the egg donor’s cycle. Then she will start taking estrogen and progesterone to get her womb ready for pregnancy. Regular checkups are done to make sure that she is synched with the cycle. Once it is done, the embryo is transferred through IVF.
If you are using traditional surrogacy (we hardly recommend this) then she is impregnated via the IUI route. Here her cycle is monitored and then while ovulation the father’s sperm is used for insemination.