How to Become a Surrogate Mother
One of the most selfless things a woman can do is become a surrogate mother. For nine months, a woman carries a child for a couple in need and then happily hands the baby over to the couple to parent the baby. Surrogacy helps those who want a child, but it’s also a process that is incredibly rewarding for the surrogate. This article will discuss what a surrogate mother is, how to become a surrogate, what the Pennsylvania rules are, and where you can go to become a surrogate.
What Is a Surrogate Mother?
Before we get into how to become a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania, you need to understand what a surrogate is and what the two types of surrogates are. Let’s review:
You have a couple, let’s say a man (1) and a woman (2). The couple hires another woman (3) to be artificially inseminated by man (1). Then woman (3) carries the baby to term and delivers it to man (1) and woman (2). In this example, woman (3) is the biological mother because her egg is fertilized by man (1). However, woman (3) doesn’t keep the baby because when the baby is born, the baby is delivered to man (1) and woman (2).
You have a couple, let’s say a man (1) and a woman (2). With in-vitro fertilization or IVF, eggs are gathered from woman (2), fertilized with the sperm from man (1), and then the embryo is placed in the uterus of woman (3), who is the gestational surrogate. Woman (3) carries the baby, gives birth to the baby, but has no biological ties to the baby because the eggs didn’t come from her body. Woman (3) in this scenario is the “birth mother.” After she gives birth to the baby, she delivers it to man (1) and woman (2).
The legal process to establish parentage varies from state to state. We will discuss the legality of how to become a surrogate mother in PA later in this article. However, a gestational surrogate is our focus for surrogacy in Pennsylvania.
Why hire a surrogate mother?
There are a wide variety of reasons to go with a surrogate. Here are some reasons:
- A woman may be unable to get pregnant or carry a baby due to problems with her uterus, including a hysterectomy.
- She may have serious medical condition that makes pregnancy risky for both mother and baby.
- She may have tried to get pregnant but has not been successful.
- A couple may have been unable to adopt a baby.
- A gay male couple want a baby that is biologically related to them, but needs a woman to carry the baby.
Am I Ready to Become a Surrogate Mother?
You’ve wondered how to become a surrogate. It’s a huge step and one that should not be taken lightly. There are important questions you should ask yourself before becoming a surrogate mother. Let’s look at some of them:
1. Will I Feel Okay Handing the Baby Over to Another Family?
As a surrogate mother, you’ll be carrying an infant in your womb for nine months and then handing the baby over to another family. How will you feel about that? Even though the baby is not biologically related, the baby has grown inside your womb, and it not out-of-the-ordinary to have complex feelings of joy and relief, but also sadness.
2. Can I Commit to Being a Surrogate?
You’re wondering how to become a surrogate. The thought process should begin before you commit to being a surrogate. It’s a huge step with lots of medical, emotional, and legal implications.
To be a surrogate, you need to commit the process for a minimum of twelve to fifteen months. That means you need to take care of yourself, attend a variety of appointments at the fertility clinic, take injectable medications for several months, go to prenatal visits, take your prenatal vitamins, and follow your doctor’s advice. If you are put on bed rest, for example, your entire family has to commit to a change in routine.
You need to be in constant communication with the intended parents. They will want to know how you’re doing and if the baby is healthy inside you.
In addition to your medical responsibilities, there will more than likely be emotional implications. You’ll be pregnant, and pregnancy can lead to a wide range of emotions, some driven by hormones. As you grow into your pregnancy, the baby you’re carrying gets bigger and bigger, and that’s more physical stress on you and your joints. Then when that’s all done, you’re expected to hand the baby over to the individual or the couple. That can be emotionally difficult.
Strong support, from your family and friends, is critical. Will they be supportive of your surrogacy journey?
3. Why Do You Want to Be a Surrogate?
To become a surrogate, you should be in the right frame of mind. Why do you want to be a surrogate? What are your reasons? Sure, you’ll be financially compensated, but that shouldn’t be your only reason. You should have a deep desire to help others.
4. Am I Healthy Enough to Be a Surrogate Mother in Pennsylvania?
To be a surrogate mother, you should be healthy. For example, you should not be severely overweight or have other health issues that could affect a healthy pregnancy. You’ll visit your doctor, and your doctor will issue an approval for you to carry a healthy pregnancy for the couple desiring a surrogate.
5. Do I Meet the Requirements of the Agency?
If you’re interested in how to become a surrogate, whether in Pennsylvania or any other state in America, you need to meet the requirements of not only the state but also the agency.
What Do I Need to Know on How to Become a Surrogate Mother in PA?
Surrogacy rules differ from state to state. To become a surrogate mother, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have to be at least 21 and no older than 40.
- You have been pregnant at least once, carried the baby to term, and parented that child.
- You cannot have a history of complicated pregnancies or deliveries.
- You must not have a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 32.
- There must be no depression, mental illness, or illegal drug use in your background.
- Your living situation must be emotionally and financially stable.
- You enjoy pregnancy.
- You must be willing to take injectable medication.
- You must live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or any other state that is surrogate friendly.
In Pennsylvania, the surrogacy laws let the intended parents work with the surrogate mother. That means that any contract between the intended parents and the surrogate mother is legally binding.
How Are Surrogate Mothers Compensated?
Surrogate mothers are compensated according to each agency. For example, at the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia, surrogates get compensated over $40,000. They are also paid for maternity clothing, medical insurance, childcare and housekeeping, lost wages, monthly allowance, etc.
Where Can I Go to Be a Surrogate Mother?
For complete information on how to become a surrogate mother, you can visit the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia to get all of the information you need. The center offers gestational surrogacy services. The surrogate mother is presented with profiles of families that are interested in the surrogate mother. If there is a mutual interest, the Surrogacy Center of Philadelphia will set up a facilitated meeting. The center offers a wide range of support for the surrogate mother and the family she is working with – from legal services, to appointment and travel coordination, and insurance and medical billing support. Surrogate mothers within the program do not have to travel far with this local program. Most clients and fertility clinics are in the Greater Philadelphia area.