Choosing to become a surrogate is a highly personal decision that requires thoughtful examination from all angles. The advantages and drawbacks of surrogacy vary a bit based on the type of arrangement, for example. At Joy of Life®, we focus on gestational surrogacy. If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, fully understanding the potential rewards and challenges can help with making the right decision.
How Common Is Surrogacy in the U.S.?
According to the CDC, 12% of females experience difficulties conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy, and 19% of all couples are unable to conceive after a year of unprotected sex. There are many factors that contribute to this, but with the advancement of reproductive technologies, surrogacy has increased in popularity in the United States in recent years. In the CDC’s 2021 Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, it was discovered that approximately 2.3% of all infants born in the United States each year are conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART).
The Success Rate of Surrogacy Is Between 75% and 95%
While success rates can vary for different reasons, the CDC calculated that IVF clinics in the U.S. have a pregnancy success rate of about 75%, and once the surrogate is pregnant, a 95% success rate for a healthy birth.
9 Pros of Being a Surrogate Mother
Surrogacy can be an exceptionally rewarding, beautiful experience for all involved. But there are also many things to consider with this profound and life-changing event. For intended parents and surrogates alike, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of surrogacy before proceeding to see if this journey is right for you.
In this article, we’ll cover some of surrogacy’s most common benefits and challenges. Understanding these key factors will empower you to make the best decision based on your unique needs and circumstances.
1. You’ll Receive Generous Compensation
Surrogates receive generous financial compensation for their time, commitment and the risks involved in pregnancy and childbirth. This payment reassures surrogates that their efforts are valued. For many women, surrogacy enables them to achieve significant financial goals that enrich their lives. Depending on experience, location and other factors, surrogate mothers with Joy of Life® typically receive anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 in total compensation.
2. You Have the Opportunity for a Fulfilling, Life-Changing Experience
Becoming a surrogate mother is a selfless act that brings immense satisfaction and pride by helping another family have a child. Carrying and delivering a baby for intended parents who can’t conceive is a significant, life-changing opportunity. Surrogacy provides profound emotional rewards through the ability to positively impact someone else’s life.
3. You’ll Get to Contribute to Inclusive Family Building
Surrogacy provides parenting opportunities to LGBTQ couples, single parents and those with health conditions who otherwise could not carry a child. Surrogacy arrangements reflect love, compassion and an inclusive commitment to helping all people form their desired families. Surrogacy enables diverse family structures.
4. Your Rights Will Be Protect Through Contracts
As a surrogate, you can feel fully protected by ironclad legal contracts and court orders safeguarding your rights. Surrogacy attorneys work to ensure agreements address your compensation, healthcare, schedule and other needs while upholding your autonomy. With binding documentation and representation solely focused on your best interests, you can be confident your rights as a surrogate are secured.
5. You’ll Create Meaningful, Lasting Relationships
Many surrogates stay in touch with the intended parents and receive updates about the child as they grow up. From the matching process, surrogates and intended parents often form a natural friendship based on mutual respect and working together during the surrogacy journey. Some even maintain lifelong relationships after the baby is born.
6. You’ll Receive Comprehensive Medical Care
The intended parents agree to pay for all medical costs arising during the pregnancy and birth, including medications, appointments, hospital stays and procedures. Surrogates pay nothing out of pocket and can undergo necessary treatments without financial worry. This comprehensive coverage provides peace of mind.
7. All Parties Are Protected by Rigorous Health Evaluations
Surrogates undergo robust medical and psychological assessments, including bloodwork, genetic testing, family history analysis and mental health evaluations. This rigorous screening ensures that only fully healthy, mentally prepared women can become surrogates. This protects the surrogate from undue risks and provides confidence for intended parents that the surrogate is fit for pregnancy.
8. You’ll Help Intended Parents Have a Biological Child
As a surrogate, you can provide intended parents with the ability to have a child genetically related to them. Even if donor eggs or sperm are used, surrogacy enables the intended mother or father to pass on their genes and maintain biological ties to their baby. Many surrogates find deep fulfillment in helping intended parents have the genetic connection to their child they’ve dreamed of.
9. You’ll Get an Opportunity to Help Families in Need
Surrogacy offers an opportunity for eligible women to assist others in a tremendous capacity. By providing the gift of life and helping build families, surrogates can find immense personal fulfillment in making a difference. The emotional rewards of such a meaningful gesture can be lifelong. Surrogacy is a unique way to change lives for the better.
7 Cons of Being a Surrogate Mother
As with any pregnancy, there are some risks and challenges to consider with surrogacy. Here are some cons to consider:
1. Surrogacy Can Be Physically Demanding
As a surrogate mother, not only will you be dealing with the expected side effects of being pregnant, but you’ll be required to go in for screenings, appointments, treatments and more. Surrogacy comes with inherent medical risks such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, premature birth, etc. just like any other pregnancy does. Surrogates undertake these risks that their pregnancy would typically involve.
2. Surrogacy Is a Lengthy Process
Becoming a surrogate requires an extensive commitment of over 12 months. The process involves numerous evaluations, appointments, treatments and legal procedures that can disrupt everyday work and family life. Surrogates must adjust schedules, arrange childcare and dedicate significant time to surrogacy responsibilities throughout the lengthy process. While demanding, the journey presents a unique and meaningful opportunity for qualified surrogates.
3. Surrogacy Can Be Emotionally Challenging
While incredibly rewarding, surrogacy arrangements can stir up complex emotions. After birth, parting ways with the newborn you’ve nurtured for nine months may be difficult. Surrogacy is only recommended for those confident they can manage these potential emotional challenges. Reputable agencies provide free counseling to help surrogates process feelings and cope with any difficulties on the journey. Most women find the experience emotionally manageable and profoundly positive overall with proper support.
4. May Involve Invasive Medical and Psychological Evaluations
Surrogates must undergo many intrusive tests during the screening process, including blood draws, genetic testing, STD tests, psychological evaluations and even analysis of complete mental health history. The probing nature of the screening can be mentally and physically taxing.
5. Laws on Surrogacy Vary and Can Complicate Things
Surrogacy laws differ significantly by location, creating complex legal issues around contracts, payments, parental rights and citizenship. While this uncertain legal landscape can seem challenging, working with an experienced surrogacy lawyer and agency is critical to navigating it confidently. Reputable professionals can provide invaluable guidance on jurisdiction-specific laws and ensure legal rights are protected through surrogacy contracts.
6. Ethical Concerns Lead to Stigma
Surrogates often encounter criticism and ethical objections from society based on the misconception that surrogacy exploits women and commodifies babies. Surrogates must be prepared to face stigma and lack of support from those with moral reservations. Hurtful judgment and discrimination can cause emotional damage without proper resilience.
7. Lack of Regulation Can Be Risky
Women can face risks of financial exploitation or being pressured into unfair arrangements. This can happen if you enter a surrogacy agreement without proper oversight, especially in places without regulations. To protect yourself, it’s essential to do your research on agencies and clinics, ask questions, review contracts carefully, seek independent legal advice, and trust your instincts if anything seems wrong. It can be challenging, but finding a reputable and ethical agency that prioritizes your health and rights will make the process safe and positive.
Wondering Whether You’re Ready for Surrogacy? Get Expert Guidance from a Professional Surrogacy Agency
Surrogacy comes with many benefits and rewards, but there are also challenges and risks to weigh carefully. Becoming a surrogate mother is a complex decision requiring deep personal reflection. Take time to examine your priorities and limitations.
If you feel ready to become a surrogate, it’s important to have open discussions with your intended parents to ensure you have their full support. Be honest about your concerns about emotional attachments, physical demands or lifestyle impacts.
Seek Expert Guidance
Make sure to seek professional advice and legal counsel to fully understand the process, protections and obligations involved. Ask questions to determine whether surrogacy aligns with your beliefs, values and life circumstances at this time. You may even consider speaking with a counselor about managing potential emotional aspects. With the proper guidance and self-knowledge, women who feel wholly ready to commit can experience immense fulfillment in changing lives through surrogacy. The choice relies on listening to your needs and intuition first and foremost.
How Joy of Life Can Assist on Your Surrogacy Journey
Joy of Life® is a surrogacy agency located in Southern California that helps unite future surrogates and intended parents nationwide. Many of our staff were previously surrogate mothers themselves and have had a great deal of personal experience. We know the surrogacy process inside and out and can assist you and answer any of your questions or concerns at every stage of the journey.
We’re here to answer all your questions so you feel safe, supported and excited to embark on the life-changing journey of surrogacy. We will be with you every step of the way to prioritize your health and happiness throughout the entire process.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about surrogacy and see if surrogacy is right for you.