Becoming a Surrogate
Choosing to carry a baby for a couple or individual as a surrogate mother is a complex and selfless decision. Emotional and physical health, the time commitment, and your current family unit are all considerations when investigating agencies, surrogacy requirements, and more.
If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, this guide details what you need to know.
Surrogacy helps all kinds of couples and individuals have a child. This includes couples dealing with infertility, parents with genetic conditions they don’t want to pass down, the LGBTQIA+ community, and more.
Surrogate mothers work with an agency to match them with intended parents. They then undergo an embryo transfer through in vitro fertilization, carry the baby through pregnancy, and deliver the baby for the intended parents.
Gestational surrogacy implants another woman’s egg fertilized by a partner’s or donor’s sperm into the surrogate. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries a baby that’s not biologically hers. This is a departure from traditional surrogacy, which uses the surrogate’s egg, meaning she is the biological mother of the baby.
Not every woman is eligible to become a surrogate mother. All prospective surrogates must complete a thorough screening process through the agency. Most agencies follow the general surrogacy requirements from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 45
- Abstain from smoking or drugs
- Have a healthy BMI with no treatable STDs
- Not receive government assistance
- Be able to travel to appointments
- Have a sound support system and stable lifestyle
If you meet the basic surrogacy requirements, you’ll complete the agency’s application and undergo a physical exam that also covers your social and medical history. A social worker may complete an in-home assessment, and you’ll most likely complete a background check and mental health evaluation before starting the legal paperwork.
From there, you’ll begin fertility medications in preparation for an embryo transfer. These medications often include:
- Estrogen: Taken as birth control pills to help align your cycle to the mother or egg donor’s cycle
- Progesterone: Helps prepare the uterus for embryo implantation and maintains a healthy pregnancy
- Lupron: Suppresses your natural cycle to prevent early ovulation and to sync your cycle with the mother or egg donor
- Medrol: Helps increase the change of successful embryo implantation by suppressing the autoimmune system
The whole surrogacy process usually takes around 18 months.
Yes. Even if you know the intended parents, you’ll each need an attorney to walk you through your state’s specific guidelines. The attorney draft the contract outlining how much the surrogate will get paid, social requirements, and pre and post-birth legal processes to ensure custody goes to the intended parents.
Surrogacy pay varies by state and agency. On average, you can plan to receive between $50,000 to $80,000. This total may or may not include additional allowances for health insurance, services like house cleaning, fees for carrying multiples, or undergoing a Cesarean section.
Becoming a surrogate is a beautiful act. If you decide it’s right for you, Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy is available to help you through this process, including the intricate role of fertility medication. Contact our dedicated donor support team and remember that you’re not in this alone.