Surrogacy and two important tips
There are many ways to bring children into the world these days. As technology advances, more options become available. More and more people are turning to surrogacy.
Why should you choose surrogacy?
For 12–15% of couples experiencing fertility problems, surrogacy can help to address some of the issues they face as well there are those who want to have their own biological child and find themselves in different circumstances.
There are many reasons why people choose surrogacy:
- Health problems prevent the woman from conceiving or carrying a full-term pregnancy.
- Fertility problems prevent couples from conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy, such as in the case of recurring miscarriages.
- Same-sex couples who want a child. They may be two men, but women can also find this option attractive because one partner’s egg and embryo can be transferred to the other partner who can then also carry it in her uterus.
- Singles who want their own biological child.
The term “surrogacy” is usually used to describe a situation in which a pregnant woman carries the pregnancy for another person or a couple, using an egg that does not come from the pregnant woman herself. The egg may come from the intended mother or from a donor. Also, the sperm may come from the intended father or from a donor. The pregnancy is achieved through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
How to find a surrogate?
In most cases, by contacting a surrogacy agency, in Israel or abroad, to find a good match. Agencies first examine candidates to make sure they meet the criteria associated with the process.
What are the criteria for becoming a surrogate?
The criteria for becoming a surrogate are different for every agency, but they include things like:
- Age – Candidates must be between 21 and 45 years of age. Again, the specific age range varies depending on the location.
- A history of reproduction – The surrogate must have carried at least one pregnancy to completion without complications but must also have had less than 5 vaginal births and two caesareans.
- Lifestyle – Surrogates must live in a home that has a supportive environment and is approved by investigating the home. Drug and alcohol use are additional considerations.
- Tests – In addition, surrogates must undergo mental health screening and a full physical examination, including testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
The intended parents must also meet certain requirements. These include:
- Providing a complete health history
- Passing physical examinations to ensure that they can successfully pass IVF cycles
- Screening for infectious diseases
- Testing for certain genetic diseases that can be passed on to a child
Mental health counseling – It’s also advisable to address expectations from the surrogacy, addiction, abuse, and other psychological problems.
How does the actual process work?
- A surrogate is chosen, usually through an agency.
- A legal contract is drawn up and reviewed.
- Then there is the process of ovulation (if using the intended mother’s eggs) or obtaining eggs from a donor. The embryos are then produced using the sperm of the intended father or donor sperm.
- The embryos are transferred to the surrogate and if it is successful and she conceives, the pregnancy is monitored. If this step is unsuccessful, the intended parents and the surrogate can try another IVF cycle.
- The child is born and the intended parents receive full legal custody as set out in the legal contract.
Coordinating expectations with regards to surrogacy
When planning surrogacy, everything may seem pretty simple; however, it’s important to note that as with most things in life, sometimes you can run into obstacles even with surrogacy.
IVF does not guarantee pregnancy. Sometimes, these procedures don’t work the first time round or even the next times. Chances are that you may need a couple of cycles before conceiving.
2 important tips when choosing a surrogate
The surrogate must have a good support system.
This doesn’t mean that she should be married, and there are many wonderful surrogates who are not married. She may be in a committed relationship or single but what matters is that she has family and friends nearby who can help with her own children when needed and be a positive source of support. A surrogate with supportive friends and family is better than a married surrogate with a spouse who is not really involved in his wife’s surrogacy.
It’s an excellent idea to find a surrogate who has been through the process of surrogacy in the past.
Of course, it’s important not to consider a surrogate who has never borne any children and yet it must be kept in mind that previous children are not considered “experience” in the sense of the surrogacy process because the surrogacy process involves very different emotional and physical challenges. For example, the surrogate needs to inject herself with drugs and hormones for a period of at least 10 weeks during the process.
Don’t underestimate the importance of experience and maturity. Not only will an experienced surrogate know what to expect, she will not be as stressed and she will even be able to explain things to you. Keep in mind that your relationship with the surrogate will last at least one year so it’s important that she be someone who is calm and understands what the process entails.
* Note that the information on this page does not constitute advice of any kind or a recommendation to undergo a procedure or not to undergo a procedure. Anyone who relies on the information does so at their own risk. The accuracy of the information may change from time to time.