BECOMING A SURROGATE – Common Fears & How to Overcome them!
HELLO, HOPEFUL SURROGATE!
In this blog, we hope to ease some of your fears by addressing some of the many concerns we have had coming from hopeful surrogates and women such as yourself that have long thought of the idea of having someone else’s child for them- but perhaps you have not gone through the process yet, or perhaps you are looking for a different agency than the one that you are currently involved with or have used in the past.
First, we encourage you to look at our FAQ section for common questions that come from the surrogate journey or those who are inquiring to become a surrogate. The answers to these questions are short, but we hope that you will see that there is always an answer for your questions through our agency. We strive to have every person that wants to become a surrogate to have the answers they need to feel secure in their decision, and move confidently through the process to become a surrogate with Made in the USA Surrogacy.
HOW TO BECOME A SURROGATE WITH US
The first thing you must know about becoming a surrogate, is that there are many qualifications and steps to this process. As a former surrogate, I can tell you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the questions and easy to “get in your head” about the possibilities that can happen to a potential surrogate. That’s why I want to highlight our surrogate qualifications once again so everyone is on the same page.
To become a surrogate with our agency, first please visit our surrogate qualifications page. As a quick reminder, we search for women with an excellent pregnancy history. That means, is you have had trouble conceiving your children in the past, or there is any glaring medical issue that was a scary or troublesome moment while having your children, please reach out to us prepared to explain the issue and find out if it would disqualify you or not. Obviously for you to have a pregnancy history, we assume and expect that you have children of your own that you are raising (hopefully with a great support system as well! J)
The second major factor for our agency is that you be a healthy individual. Do you like to work out? Do you enjoy having the occasional or every other day run? Do you enjoy hikes and walks in the park? Do you enjoy sporting events with your family or enjoy watching people on the TV screen do sports as well (IE- American Ninja Warrior)??? I love that show BTW. I watch it all of the time. I keep trying to tell myself if I could possibly get back in the gym- maybe I could be like one of those mothers of three who’s stomachs are flat as a rock and hoofing themselves over huge obstacles and hanging on by a thread!!! Ok, no you don’t have to be an American Ninja Warrior contestant to be a great candidate for a surrogate. But we do expect a general 30 BMI rating- this is calculated by checking our chart on BMI. By general BMI rating, I mean that generally speaking there are many factors that contribute to your health and being a healthy candidate for becoming a surrogate mother.
Rest assured, we have spoken to many fertility doctors, and not every surrogate that is a BMI 30 or above would be rejected by our agency. We want you to know that we expect a healthy lifestyle, not perfection.
Another major factor in our surrogate qualifications is whether or not you have a support system or are on government assistance. No one is against government assistance for the principle of having the help that you need when you need it. But unfortunately, if you are on government assistance, that is a disqualifier. However, if you have an excellent family that loves you and you are the sole mother, sole provider, or a “stay at home mom”, this could literally be the best second job you ever came across.
Chances are, if you are already a mother, you love being a mom. You have compassion for others, and you are a selfless being! Many who come to us to be a surrogate would say that their want to help others in need is a major driver for them to want to become a surrogate mother. And believe me, the world does not have enough of that type of women! We want you to fill out a surrogate inquiry page, get ahold of our agency and see if you may qualify for one of the many families we have that need a surrogate to complete their family.
Ok, so we’ve dealt with a few reasons that may cause you to want to become a surrogate. We know you want to make an impact in someone else’s life.
We know you love to be pregnant, we know that you may have been looking into this for a little while, wondering and waiting if it is the opportunity for you- but where do you go to for answers if you are a little scared of this process?
- Maybe you have not undergone an IVF procedure before. Maybe you have a family of three, but you wonder whether you could carry twins.
- Maybe you wonder whether the shots will hurt.
- Maybe you wonder whether the horror stories of carrying a child that is not your own may cause you to want this baby and to hang onto it.
- Maybe you wonder whether you are too old.
- Maybe you wonder whether you are able to have someone else’s baby without your own children being jealous of confused.
Let’s start with some of the most common fears we have had:
FEAR OF COMPENSATION NOT BEING ENOUGH:
Many surrogate mothers fear that they will not make enough money, or whether they will be compensated a decent rate for their pain, suffering and the pregnancy process. Let me start off by saying that we understand that compensation of a surrogate is a driver of why surrogates may want or be interested in becoming a surrogate. While we don’t frown upon surrogates who may need the money, we stress that it is always healthy to have a surrogate mother that is more interested in helping another family realize the dream of having a child.
With that being said, perhaps you have seen ads showing that surrogate agencies are going to pay you “$80,000” for having a surrogacy. I can’t tell you how many are misled by this amazing yet unfathomable number. The reality of surrogate pay is that it does range from agency to agency, but at the end of the day, the number you see on the ad will not always reflect the number you will be paid. The number you will be compensated as a surrogate will greatly increase or decrease with varying factors such as undergoing a c-section or carrying multiples just to name a few. It will also increase if you are an experienced surrogate.
At Made in the USA Surrogacy, we have a competitive compensation structure that takes into account the risks involved with pregnancy and other factors that may have an impact. Check our surrogate compensation page to see a general idea of what you will be compensated as a surrogate. Will you have to travel for the transfer? We have a separate compensation set up for that. Will you have two embryos transferred? Will there be any complications during transfer, or any need to restart medications? Those are a lot of the reasons there are other numbers involved in your surrogate compensation that have impact on the base surrogate amount that we offer. Different surrogate agencies are different in their base surrogate amount, but believe us when we say- there are sacrifices different agencies may ask you to make for higher compensation that may not align with your values or Christian beliefs, or religious beliefs for that matter. These are main reasons for you to want or not to want to join with an agency to be a surrogate.
It’s important to consider that no matter the “compensation” amount listed in an ad, it definitely matters what surrogate agency in California you involve yourself with, where they are located, and whether their compensation figures are accurate with your situation or whether they will ask you to make any sacrifices you may not want to make in order to reach the number they are advertising. Many advertised surrogate agency compensation figures include all surrogate benefits that may or may not apply to your situation (whether you are a repeat surrogate, or whether you will have multiple babies etc) and we encourage you to research an agency that not only cares about your well-being, but will treat you with the utmost care for the needs that you need met in this process.
FEAR OF CARRYING MULTIPLES:
Surrogate Mothers are often asked to carry multiples. Let’s take a look at why this could be an issue. Perhaps you know other mothers that either wanted twins or wanted multiple children. Maybe you know personally how hard it was to carry twins or multiples to term. We want to make sure that you know it is our goal as a surrogate agency to personally pay attention and hear out your fears of what could be involved in a surrogate process. We want you to know that applying to have or not to have multiples could mean the difference of a great match or not being matched at all.
Here’s why: Most couples undergoing IVF treatment and surrogate procedures today are of Asian origin. Most of these couples may be or are undergoing a surge in their ability to have children. They may or may not have been able to have children of their own thus far. But that has not stopped them from wanting or trying. American medicine and California IVF specifically has defined some of the best surrogate and non- surrogate IVF pregnancy rates in all of the US and the world. This is why most of these couples from Asia, China, Europe and other European countries seek out modern California IVF Companies and Surrogate Agencies to give them the best possible results for the amount of children they have created in the embryo process.
Carrying multiple children, or “transferring multiples” by these intended parents is viewed as the best way to facilitate having multiple children at once, or will increase their odds of one of the embryos implanting.
While you will be compensated more for having multiple children implanted during the process of becoming a surrogate, another reason for attempting or being open to the opportunity to have multiple children implanted is that you give the families a greater chance to succeed in building their family.
It’s important to note that many families will want to implant multiple embryos as a means to increase their chances that one baby takes. Or to help their process go quicker by having 2 babies rather than just one at a time, and thus having two surrogate journeys. You may see it as a “qualification” for the surrogate they have chosen or are considering for a match for the above reasons.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that multiple embryos will actually succeed in implanting and becoming a baby during this process. Many times the multiple embryos will have one that implants and one that does not make it during the process. By implanting multiple embryos in the surrogate, the family is not “guaranteeing” their success with twins, but they are merely increasing their chances of being successful.
It’s worthwhile to note also that many doctors in this space are professionals and have been doing this for a long time. We work with several IVF Clinics that are the best in the business- they would not perform or suggest a procedure for any specific surrogate or family if it were not in their best interests and also safe to perform. That’s one of the reasons you choose to work with Made in the USA Surrogacy- because we work with the best clinics!
We ask all surrogates that are fearful but open to the idea of carrying multiples to keep an open mind. Sometimes families change their wants or needs that they come to the table with, or sometimes we are able to negotiate an arrangement for the surrogate that may better suit her with the parents. All parties involved in the surrogacy journey, including the parents, will want to remain open to communication on these subjects, potential changes, risks, and ultimately the outcome that both parties want- a successful pregnancy and successful childbirth.
Also, keep in mind as mentioned above that surrogate pay is increased for the added stress of a multiples pregnancy should it be determined that is the route the family would like to go.
FEAR OF HAVING MULTIPLES- WILL IT INCREASE MY CHANCES OF C-SECTION?
Unfortunately, having children at all with any complications could result in a “C-Section” for either a hopeful mother or a surrogate mother. The actual chances of having a C-Section as the result of having multiples implanted during IVF does not increase or decrease the chances of having a C-Section.
Every pregnancy comes with its risks, and C-Section is definitely a reason for concern. Though pregnancy rates of multiples may increase with C-Sections, the risk is still the same with a singleton baby.
The more important way to avoid the possibility that multiples will lead to C-Section is to have a birth plan. I know this sounds simple, but there is a reason that simple things like this can create success. We encourage all of our surrogate mothers to have a birth plan, and to be in communication with their doctors about this plan. If your birth plan includes having or not having a C-Section, this want for your surrogate pregnancy should be discussed in depth with your doctor. Most doctors will follow your birth plan, or make a great effort to follow it if there are no major birthing complications. We encourage all of our surrogates to follow a birth plan that will specifically follow the wants they would like to accomplish during the birth of their child, not just the big things like C-Section. This will increase the chances that the birth- whether with multiples or not, will be accomplished according to their wants and needs- not according to the statistics.
Another important note, is that if you are asked by your intended parents to carry multiples, your surrogate base will immediately increase if they are implanted and upon confirmation that both embryos successfully take. In fact, many of your benefits will increase due to the risks associated and in order to accommodate any increased discomfort or recovery time. If the procedure is ultimately needed, your compensation plan will allow for a payment specifically on top of your base to accommodate the longer recovery time.
FEAR OF TAKING MEDICATION:
When I first became a surrogate, I won’t lie- I was not a fan that I would have to use medications injected by needles to give my body the preparation it needed to have a baby. For some reason, needles seem so scary in the first place.
However, I will be the first person to tell you that it really isn’t as bad as it seems. In all seriousness, you’ll get used to it. I had my husband administer them daily for me before the surrogate baby was transferred- and eventually I was able to do it myself when his schedule no longer was able to accommodate helping me. It was pretty interesting that the one thing I really feared about this process became so easy after a little bit of practice. It also gave me joy to know that I was preparing my body for the process of pregnancy in order to bless another family that was in need. Short term sacrifice for life long gain!
EXPOSURE OF YOUR FAMILY TO A SURROGACY AND OR SURROGATE BABY:
One of the other fears I had about becoming a surrogate, was how my family would adjust to the surrogate process and to me having a child for another family. Surprisingly, I would say my first real support came from my husband. When I mentioned that I was interested in becoming a surrogate and explained to him why I wanted to do it (as a selfless act to help another family, and to help contribute to our finances) he was onboard almost immediately! Which brings me to another side point- when you are starting the process to become a surrogate, please take an in-depth look into your support circle. Do you have someone there to watch your kids when you’ll be on doctors appointments? Will your husband support you during the time you may need to abstain? (This will be part of your process when it comes time to transfer the baby- we don’t want any complications of who’s baby that is in there! 😉
The interesting part of exposing my family to my surrogate journey came when I was explaining to my then 2&1/2 year old child that mommy was going to have a baby that we would not be taking home! What I did was explain to my child the difference of the baby as more of a friend that we would have over time and explained the relationship of our family to theirs. Also what helped him understand better when it came time to have the baby was the fact that we actually developed a really strong bond with our Intended Parents. We had dinner with them multiple times before the birth of the child, and met them on several occasions where both of our children (she had a few babies of her own around the same age) could run and play together.
What a wonderful moment it was for me when I realized that not only would I personally be developing a lifelong friendship with this family – but my family as well would have a relationship with them. My child often asks about the baby that mommy had and how he is doing. He knows him by name, as well as all of the other members of their family and asks about everyone very often…not to mention “when are we going to visit them in China mommy?” We look forward to the time that we can visit our intended parents in China.
For more information on how I dealt with the issue or fear of letting the baby go – read my article on the difference between having a surrogate child vs. your own natural child.
FEAR OF ABORTION OR SELECTIVE REDUCTION:
When I started my journey to become a surrogate, there were many reasons I had for doing so. One of the many reasons I wanted to become a surrogate was not only because I loved being pregnant, but it was to give life to a child- not to take it away! I was very fearful that an agency would strictly prohibit me from my choice to want to prevent the need of selective reduction or abortion due to any causes that were not life-threatening.
Thankfully for many of you hopeful surrogates, we realize that the subjects of abortion and selective reduction are important values you hold. As it is with any of your wants or needs, we will have you mark them down on your application and match you with a parent who believes the same with you in your journey to have their child. We strive as an agency to be an advocate for the unborn child, and will never force any of our surrogates to have those invasive procedures if it is not their belief or want. Though we are not attorneys on the subject and cannot provide legal advice, we will make sure to the best of our abilities to support what your beliefs are about these topics in the making of your contracts between parents and yourselves.
For more information on our agency’s values, please visit our about us page.