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Exploring Surrogacy

What you should think about before you proceed in your journey


I am relatively new to the surrogate world.  I am currently matched with a couple as a Gestational Surrogate Mother (GS).  There are many things I have learned along the way to this part of my journey.  As a new comer, I needed to learn many things about myself, my husband, my children and what type of family I am willing to work with in a surrogacy.

A lot of thought and soul searching goes into a decision to be a surrogate mother: 

“Can I do this?”

“Can I carry a baby and give birth and not come home with the baby?”

“Am I aware of and do I accept the risks related to pregnancy and IVF medications-up to and including the risk of becoming infertile myself?”

“If the Intended Parents (IP's) want no contact after the birth, am I okay with that?”

“Where do I really stand on Selective Reduction and Abortion, and why?  Is my stance different as a surrogate versus with my own children?”

“How will my own personal life and relationships be affected by my choice to be a surrogate mother?”

“Is my partner supportive?”

“Does my partner fully know and understand what is and could be expected of him (her) during the surrogacy journey?”

“HEART CHECK!!  What is my motive for becoming a surrogate mother?”

“Can I be okay with my IP's life style choice or habits (ex: smoking) if they don’t match my own?”

There is, of course, much soul searching on the part of Intended Parents, as well:

“Have I dealt with my infertility and what may or may not have caused it?”

“Can I accept the potential to invest a lot of money and time and emotion into an IVF cycle to not have a pregnancy be the end result?  Can I accept there is no one to blame in that case?”

“Will I, as an Intended Mother, be okay with another woman carrying mine and my husbands child (especially if IM has not been able to carry)?”

“Can our (IPs) relationship withstand the stress of pursuing a surrogate parent relationship?”

“Have we researched ALL of our options (adoption, planned adoption, Traditional Surrogacy, Gestational Surrogacy, Egg Donor)”?

“Do we want contact with the surrogate mother after the birth?  Why or why not?”

“Where do I really stand on Selective Reduction and Abortion, and why?  Is my stance different as an Intended Parent versus if I could carry a child myself?”

“How will my own personal life and relationships be affected by our choice to have a child/children via surrogacy?”

“Is my partner supportive?”

“Does my partner fully know and understand what is and could be expected of him (her) during the surrogacy journey?”

“HEART CHECK!!  What is my motive for pursuing children via surrogacy? (‘because my friend has a baby’ needs to be re-evaluated)”

“Can I be okay with my surrogate mother's life style choice or habits (ex: smoking) if they don’t match my own?”

“Can we afford this (not just monetarily, but the personal sacrifice that needs to be made as well)”?

Most Intended Parents are surprised to find out how much is involved with a surrogacy and how much money it can cost.  The following items need to be considered (hot topics):

*All medical and psychological testing related to the surrogacy for the Intended Parents (both) and the surrogate mother and her partner (minimum of STD testing and drug screen for Traditional Surrogacy).

*All legal/lawyer fees for the IP's and SM.  Each needs separate representation (if necessary).

*Background checks on all parties.

*Any travel the surrogate mother needs to do related to surrogacy.

*The cost of procedures not covered by the surrogate mother's medical insurance:  IVF, Egg Retrieval, Medications.

*All other medical not covered by the surrogate mother's insurance-unable to be estimated.

*Medical insurance for the surrogate mother if she does not have any (unless paying ‘cash’).

*Be aware of costs that may be incurred during a surrogacy: Lost wages, child care, house keeping, life insurance policy premiums.

*Many surrogates have fees for procedures: cycle/transfer fees, invasive procedure fees, fee for carrying multiples, c-section fee, D&C/SR/abortion fees.

*Surrogate’s base compensation (if she has one).  The current average for a first time surrogate is anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000.  This base compensation is in addition to any other fees listed above.

*All legal and court costs if adoption is involved.

*If you use an agency to help you find a surrogate, their fees are in addition to those listed above.

Approximately $25,000 to $40,000 should cover an uncomplicated (no bed rest, minimal lost wages) Traditional Surrogate (TS-surrogate is egg donor and carrier-no IVF) journey, including everything listed above-without agency fees.

A gestational surrogacy is much more difficult to estimate, because of all of the different elements involved (IVF, extensive testing for surrogate carrier and egg donor/IM, drugs not cover by insurance, procedures not covered by insurance, etc).

HOW WILL I KNOW???

How do we know if we found our match?  Most people say, “We just knew!”  You want to make sure that everyone agrees on all the “hot topics”, and get along well.  You want to make sure you all feel comfortable with each other.  Take as much time as necessary to get to know each other.  Meet in person before making a commitment decision.  There is no minimum or limit on how many people you need to talk to before you decide to be matched. Some people only talk with one person and “know”.  I took many months and talked to many potential intended parents (PIP's) and finally working with an agency before I found the right couple for me.  You will be sharing very intimate details about yourselves and your lives during this surrogate journey.  Most importantly, you will be creating a new life, new hope and new families in a very untraditional way: via surrogacy!

May your journey be rewarding.

 

written by Sandra Van Scotter 
sanvanscotter@gmail.com

AAS username:  svs'n'dvs


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