Getting Started as a Surrogate

Updated on May 20, 2009
J.V. asks from San Angelo, TX
5 answers

hey mama's! just wanting a little advice so of course so i come to the experts. i have always wanted to be a surrogate after i had my own children. my husband and i have a wonderfully perfect 14 month old and have decided hes all we could ever want. so now that we have made our decision that were done having our own id like to look into becoming a surrogate mother so others that arent able to concieve can get the joy of having their own child to love. my husband is completely on board with me doing this as well. im just not sure on the safest, legal way to go about getting started. is it better to go through an agency or a private firm as well as national vs local...what kind of options are standard and what are things i have to ask for...medical coverage...breastfeeding the baby or being a wet nurse...any difficulties i may experience along the way(i realize that every pregnancy comes with its own risks and im prepared for that i simply mean difficulties with the process of surrogacy)? id really like some advice from any momma that has gone through the process or those who have some experience with the process through a loved one. im really excited to help someone else have all the joy and love my family does.

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J.P.

answers from Austin on

First, here are a couple websites for you!

http://www.nationalfertilitylaw.com/

http://www.newlifeagency.com/index.cfm?CFID=7722942&C...

http://www.cafemom.com/group/3087

http://www.cafemom.com/group/93764

Now, I was a surrogate mom for another couple and I LOVED it!! It was so rewarding. We had twins in December!
I will tell you that I did go through an agency. I had it in my head that I wanted to do this a few times, but the first time I was going to be safe about it and have myself covered. Going through an agency made sure that I was covered for meds, doctor's appts, hospital visits, maternity clothes, any medical testing, lost wages, the birth, etc. Yes, you can do this independently, but in my oppinion, it is best to go through an agency first so you at least KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH as far as paperwork and such. THEN, if you want to do it again, you will have all the know-how and where-with-all to do it yourself!!! (Just my opinion!!)

Above are the links to the National Fertility law firm. They are out of California but represent EVERYONE as I live in Austin and my "IP's" (Intended Parents) live in Norway! They took care of all the legal stuff (ie, contracts, next of kin (in case something happened to the parents), financial stuff too like who would be responsible for all the bills (YES, YOU NEED THIS IS WRITING!!!!!) and some other stuff.) Also up there is a link to New Life Agency. They covered EVERY PENNY of my medical!! They have special surrogacy coverage as well as surrogate life insurance policies....YES, YOU NEED ONE OF THOSE TOO!! Also, two links to CAFEMOM.COM (two different surrogacy groups on there!) I have found that CAFEMOM.COM surrogates have much more friendly and helpful advice to give than some of those surrogacy posting sites on the web like SMO or AAS. Those two sites can be brutal and quite intimidating!!

Now, there are "THOSE" who will tell you that if you are going through an agency that you are in it for the money. Let me tell you, nothing can "Pay you" for what you are about to do. Through an agency, you will only get a "fraction" of what the IP's will pay, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that everything will be taken care of. If you don't use an agency, yes, the IP's will save a bit of money, but you might loose too. There are horror stories on both sides (boy could that fill up a day) but the agencies are in the business of taking care of both sides.
Things you will be going through are:

DAILY oral meds and/or injections in your butt!!! This is really funny when your butt starts swelling and anyway, you'll find out.... he he.
If you are a "gestational surrogate or GS (using someone else's eggs, you're just the carrier)you will have birth control pills as well to regulate yourself with the egg donor. If you are a "Traditional surrogate or TS" (using your eggs) then it's just simple inseminations but months of total abstinence (don't want to mix up those babies).
Doctor's visits!!! This is NOTHING like having your own kids. I went to the doctor every two weeks whether I needed to or NOT and had ultrasounds every two weeks for the first 4 months!! If you get preggo with twins, a trip to the perinatal specialist every week (I was not allowed to take my kids per the perinatal office rules so I had to find childcare----a reimbursible expense by the way!)
If you do get preggo with twins, the maternity clothes are going to get crazy. I outgrew EVERYTHING SEVERAL TIMES throughout the pregnancy.
Tons of "LOOKS" and comments both good and bad. I am a single mom with two kids and I would get looks like "hey lady, don't you know where those things come from??" and I would just tell them "don't worry, they're not mine" and walk away!
MONTHS of waiting for the whole process to get started!! If you are going through an agency, expect at least two months of getting paperwork going, medical visits, physc screenings (for you and hubby as well as the IP's) and then a month or so before you get names/profiles of IP's. Then a month or more of contracts, a couple months of meds (providing the embryos take the FIRST time) and then the rest to follow. So, for me, start to finish, took about 17 months!!!

Things to consider:

Are you done having children of your own? It is a BIG risk. A friend of mine had complications after the birth of her surrogate twins and had to have a proceedure that has left her uterus unable to support life!! She is now an egg donor, but can no longer have babies of her own unless she goes through a surrogate!
Yes hubby is behind you 100%. Will he still be behind you 100% in 6 months when you are puking your brains out with someone else's kids?
Are you prepared for the first few months to travel alone without kids (match meetings, medical reviews, psyc evals).
Are you prepared for the agency or IP's to restrict your travel/diet/meds as they see fit for the duration of your pregnancy?
Do you have the support of FAMILY?? It is really hard on you when some or even one member of your family has a problem with it!
HORMONES (enough said!)
Giving the babies up when it's time? (I went into this KNOWING that they were NOT mine, I had no right to them, PERIOD!) The hospital will treat you like a "closed adoption case" unless there is an agreement with your IP's. I gave birth and that was the last time I was "entitled" to see the babies. They will keep them in a seperate room or the nursery. You will NOT get a bracelet!! You have NO RIGHTS, your are NOT THEIR MOMMY! (my Ip's did bring the babies to see me but it was their decsision, not the hospital's). Can you deal with that?
Many IP's (including mine) had the idea that I would breast feed the babies when they got here but changed their minds about that and several other things only DAYS before delivery. Their children, their choice!!! (I do still pump and donate the milk)

I would do it all over again just to see the looks on their faces when they held their children for the first time. I don't regret any of it!! In my opinion, it could not have gone better. This is not always the case, but I am glad I did it. For me it was because I knew so many who could not have children of their own and I couldn't imagine not having mine. I wish you all the luck in the world. If you ever have any more questions, feel free to email me and I will try to answer them all.

I am sorry this is so long. I could go on and on about this!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.S.

answers from San Antonio on

J. - you are in the right place! I have been a three time surrogate myself and I am getting ready to carry again next month. I created my own agency:

Surrogate Angels of San Antonio™
www.surrogateangelsofsanantonio.com
###-###-#### (Office)
###-###-#### (Cell)
[email protected]____.com

That will give you information on how to get started. I also have a Facbook page - Surrogate Angels of San Antonio - that gives updates on the surrogates who are working through my agency.

Personally I preferred working with an agency. I did my first surrogacy through an agency (Not my own, I founded my own agency in 2007). After my first surrogacy was complete, I thought I might go the independent route. The only hassle was I was having to research the parents myself, and do the background checks, and ask about financials - everything the agency normally takes care of. So I went back to the agency, and then founded my own because San Antonio didn't have one.

Parents who choose to find a surrogate on their own are not always aware of the legal, financial, medical and psychological hoops they have to go through to get a surrogate cleared and in the long run it can cost them more. My agency thoroughly screens both the parents and the surrogates, we conduct home studies and we get to know the parties involved and help match compatible people together. Things like abortion, selective reduction and the like are important values to match with.

I think it is great that you want to do this - it takes a special couple! And women are generally in two camps. When people hear I am a surrogate they either say, "Oh. I could NEVER do that!" Or they say, "I want to do that!"

Best of everything - you sound like you'd be the perfect candidate!

1 mom found this helpful
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A.B.

answers from San Antonio on

Although I haven't gone the surrogate route, I've used most of the other services fertility clinics have to offer! Anyway, I don't know what agencies are surrogate agencies, but fertility clinics should know where they turn to find their clients surrogates and fertility clinics are in the phone book. I'd call one up and I'm sure they can tell you who they call when they need surrogates.

Thanks for being willing to help others like me!

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L.K.

answers from Houston on

I have done this and will recommend whole-heartedly that you go through an agency that has done this for years! They will provide experienced legal professionals who know various state laws to protect both parties. A good agency will put both parties through many tests, including psychological, IQ, etc. Extensive medical histories will be gathered. I personally have experience with Dr. Richard Levine in Louiseville, KY. He was the first in the country and has been around for 30 years.

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S.G.

answers from Houston on

J., I just have to applaud you for considering this selfless act. Bravo!! I was one of those women who couldn't have children and we were looking into surrogate for a while and then the adoption agency called so we were blessed with the light of our lives.

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