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Last Updated on: December 5, 2023

Are you interested in becoming a surrogate mother? It’s a rewarding experience that can earn you competitive compensation.

The team at Joy of Life put together this list of steps to teach you about the surrogacy journey and requirements to be one — including medical requirements and answers to commonly asked questions.

Our surrogacy agency in California employs both past surrogates and intended parents, so you can trust you’re getting the right information for this important decision.

Basic Requirements to be a Surrogate Mother

As a surrogate applicant, you’ll be screened to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo this process. This is done to protect you and the future child.

Typical requirements for surrogate mothers include:

  • Be a non-smoker living in a non-smoking environment.
  • Be between the ages Of 21 and 39 years.
  • Have Aa BMI in the range of 18 to 32.
  • Have her own biological child/children that she is raising.
  • Display records of previous pregnancies with no complications.
  • Provide OB/GYN records for all her previous pregnancies.

Common Questions About Becoming a Surrogate

We have a full list of FAQs about surrogacy, but here are some of the most common questions we hear from people who want to become surrogates:

1. Is Being a Surrogate for a Friend Permitted?

Yes, it is possible to be a surrogate for a friend or to undertake the surrogate mother process for a friend. However, here at Joy of Life, we still follow the strict protocol surrounding surrogates and their intended parents, regardless of their relationship.

With this said, we also offer surrogate mothers the opportunity to be gestational carriers, which means that they will not have any genetic link to the child that’s born. When this is done, the intended parents’ own eggs and/or sperm are used, and then an embryo will be implanted into the surrogate’s womb during the surrogate mother process.

It is also possible to be a traditional surrogate whereby you, as the surrogate, will have a genetic link to the child. If you are friends with the intended parents, they might not mind the genetic link. This is something to be discussed, of course, by both parties.

This can happen in the surrogacy process if the surrogate is a close relation to one of the intended parents, such as a sister.

2. Can I Become a Surrogate Without a Previous Pregnancy?

The simple answer is no. Among the surrogate mother process requirements, one has to have had at least one previous successful pregnancy before one can be considered to be a surrogate.

This is a guideline that’s laid down by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and one that we follows to increase the chances of a successful outcome.

3. Can You Be a Surrogate if Your Tubes Are Tied?

Yes, it is perfectly possible if the type of surrogacy opted for is gestational, whereby the surrogate does not have to use her own eggs. Tubal ligation does not prevent a woman from being a gestational surrogate, either.

Getting your tubes tied doesn’t inhibit the embryo from being transplanted into the surrogate’s womb. The only thing that getting your tubes tied does is to prevent ovulation in the surrogate, which, by no means, has any bearing on this surrogacy process.

4. If I Have HPV, Does This Disqualify Me From Becoming a Surrogate?

No, having HPV does not disqualify you from being a surrogate; however, the conditions of birth might be influenced by this diagnosis. The surrogate’s medical records with colposcopy results are required in order to chart out a proper birth plan and match with parents who don’t mind.

HPV will not harm the child, and neither will it hamper the baby’s development. If the surrogate develops genital warts prior to birth, a C-section will be necessary.

5. Is It Possible to Not Fall Pregnant?

Yes, but if the surrogate has made it through our intense screening process, the chances of not falling pregnant after the embryo transfer attempts are slim.

6. When the Child Is Born, What Is Expected?

What happens after the baby is born is determined by what you have agreed with the intended parents. Some surrogates have no qualms about having the intended parents in the room with them to share in the birth of their child.

Once the child is born, the intended parents may assume their parental rights. Depending on the discussed points, the intended parents may take the child home and allow for visits, or they might move away with the child and keep in touch through email or other media as agreed upon.

Some intended parents may not wish to have any ongoing relationship with the surrogate mother. What happens at this stage will be based on your prior agreement with them, which is in writing.

It’s not uncommon for some surrogates to go through an emotional upheaval at this time, and some may require post-partum counseling from the surrogacy agency.

7. Is There a Timeline for Matching?

There are no hard and fast rules about how soon you will be matched. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to ensure that both potential surrogates and intended parents are matched up with the right party based on their unique set of preferences.

8. What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

For couples struggling to have children, or women considering surrogacy, assisted reproductive technology (ART) offers a solution. This is a medical procedure whose objective is getting a woman pregnant by scientific means and not through sexual intercourse.

There are various ART solutions, which include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracervical insemination, intrauterine insemination, donation of gametes, intracytoplasmic sperm insemination and embryo transfer.

How To Become a Surrogate Mother

The first step to becoming a surrogate is doing some research. The more you know about the process, the better your decision-making.

1. Decide on the Type of Surrogacy

You will discover in your reading that there are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.

Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy is less common today as it is more complex legally. It involves the artificial insemination of donor sperm or intended father sperm into the surrogate’s uterus to fertilize her egg. This means the surrogate is genetically related to the baby she is carrying and becomes both the child’s birth and biological mother.

Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy is the preferred version, as the surrogate has no genetic link to the child. An embryo is created using the intended parents’ oocyte (egg) and sperm or donated gametes (sex cells) via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and then transferred to the gestational carrier’s womb.

Commercial vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

Surrogacy can be commercial or altruistic. It is defined as commercial when the surrogate receives financial compensation for carrying the child. It is altruistic when she is not reimbursed except for the medical costs incurred with the pregnancy. Most surrogacies today are of a commercial nature.

Find a Surrogacy Agency to Work With

Armed with this information, the next step is finding a suitable surrogacy agency to work with. Here the hopeful surrogate is screened and ultimately matched with intended parents with the same surrogacy goals.

Surrogacy Contracts

From here, legal contracts are drawn up and signed, and the medical procedures to prepare the surrogate for pregnancy can begin.

Talk with Your Family About Being a Surrogate

Additionally, you’ll also want to have sincere and honest discussions with your family and friends about your decision to become a surrogate. Consider these 4 steps for help navigating the conversation with your loved ones:

1. Preparing for the Conversation

Before starting the conversation, it’s crucial to prepare emotionally, mentally, and knowledgeably.

Have a plan in mind of what you’d like to talk about, depending on where you are in the surrogacy process. Being aware of all the information will help you have a meaningful conversation with your family.

Researching surrogacy agencies can provide you with helpful information and answers.

2. Starting the Conversation

When approaching a conversation about becoming a surrogate with your family, choose a private and comfortable setting. Be open and honest about the decision you have made. Speak from the heart and be clear about why you want to become a surrogate and how it will benefit you and the people you are helping.

Explain the process you have gone through and the surrogacy clinic you have chosen. Reassure them that you will take every precaution necessary for a successful surrogacy journey and that you are available for further conversations in the future

3. Responding to Concerns

Your friends and family may respond in a variety of ways, some supportive and others opposed. They may have questions or concerns about surrogacy, such as the physical and emotional risks involved or how you will handle giving up the baby.

If their response is negative, resist the urge to become defensive or argumentative. Instead, remember that they are probably just worried about you and your safety and that their concerns come from a place of love.

Listen to their concerns and provide them with accurate information about the surrogacy process and the support you will receive from surrogacy agencies in California, such as Joy of Life®. Most importantly, let them know that you are making the decision to become a surrogate because you care deeply about helping an aspiring parent fulfill their dream. Acknowledge their support and thank them for understanding your intentions.

The surrogacy process can be stressful, but having the full support of your family and friends can help make it a positive experience.

4. Finding Support

Surrogacy can be an emotionally challenging experience, and it’s important to have support. This support can come from loved ones but also from professional surrogacy support groups. With their expertise and experience, they can provide you with the information and resources needed to make an informed decision.

At the Joy of Life® surrogacy clinic, our professional advisors, psychologists, and nutritionists are there for you every step of the way. We are committed to making sure you have all the information and support needed for a successful surrogacy journey.

Other Tips for Qualified Surrogate Mother

Surrogacy agencies require all surrogates, regardless of marital status, to have a solid, strong support system in order to proceed with surrogacy. Surrogacy is a taxing, emotionally exhaustive, and trying process hence the need for a good community that will stand with you throughout your journey. The average surrogacy journey can last anywhere from one year to two years. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Ensure You’re Ready for Extra Stress

There can be no doubt that pregnancy brings with it additional stress! From the hormone treatments a surrogate will receive to dealing with the questions that will undoubtedly come from society, it is vital to prepare for the extra stress that will come. There will also be physical stresses such as nausea, swelling, fatigue, cold feet, and backache.

Emotional stress can be triggered by thoughts of delivery and who will take care of the child if anything happens to you. Figuring out a strategy for managing the various stresses ahead of time will prove beneficial.

Pick the Right Supportive Intended Parents

Fortunately, if you’re working with a reputable surrogacy agency, you don’t have to go through the arduous process of screening the intended parents you would like to work with by yourself.

An agency will assist you in creating your surrogate profile and present you with the profiles of intended parents with similar surrogacy goals and plans. In this way, you can be assured of picking not only the right intended parents that you feel comfortable with, but indented parents who will provide you with the kind of support you would like to receive.

Work Through the Right Surrogacy Agency

Navigating surrogacy alone can be an uphill task. Many surrogates prefer to be guided by experienced professionals. That is why they choose to work through a surrogacy agency. A surrogacy agency will provide legal, mental health, and general support.

Having recourse to a trusted agency will lead to less stress for you as the surrogate. Listening to the stories and testimonials of former surrogates who have worked with your chosen agency will give you peace of mind and assurance that you are in good hands.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

Good health is advantageous to women considering surrogacy. Being in optimal health can make your pregnancy easier. Doctors encourage women thinking of surrogacy to adopt a healthier way of life to increase the odds of a smoother pregnancy term.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t just good for the surrogate only but will prove beneficial to the baby she is carrying. Routine exercise can decrease postpartum depression, reduce potential complications during labor, and help to balance the hormonal changes a surrogate will potentially face.

Our Surrogacy Agency is Here to Help

Joy of Life is one of California’s top surrogacy agencies. Our team is composed of women who were themselves surrogates and parents who were once intended parents. Because of this, we are well versed in the surrogacy process and can, therefore, walk with potential surrogates and intended parents from an informed point of view to become a surrogate.

When you reach out to us, we’ll sit down and have a chat about the process again and then begin to process your application to become a surrogate. With the application filled in, you will undergo medical screenings to ensure that you’re fit physically and psychologically to undertake the surrogacy process.

While all this is going on, you’ll be given guidance and resources so that you can keep learning more about the process of how to become a surrogate mother.

Would you like to talk to a surrogacy professional in person about some of your concerns? Do you have questions about the surrogacy process not answered in this blog?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free no-obligation consultation or apply to become a surrogate mother today!

Joy of Life

Author Joy of Life

Joy of Life is a compassionate surrogacy agency committed to creating life, fostering joy and nurturing dreams. We are experts in our field, with team members boasting extensive experience in the clinical, psychological and legal aspects of surrogacy. But more than that, we are a family — a community bound by the shared purpose of helping others realize the joy of parenthood.

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