The relationship between Intended Parents, IP’s, and a Surrogate has the potential to be very stressful, and if the match of the IP’s and the Surrogate is not good, there is the potential for a very antagonistic relationship with the person who is carrying your baby. Once you have chosen a surrogate, and she becomes pregnant, it is a relationship that you must sustain until the baby is born.
From the surrogate’s perspective, many surrogates choose to work only through an agency as they feel more secure that a reasonable 3rd party will collect the surrogacy fees and expenses, manage the escrow account, and be able to act as a buffer between the IP’s and the surrogate, if needed, to facilitate an equitable resolution to any issues that arise. The conversations you should be having with your surrogate should be about feeling the baby’s first kick, and not about mailing her monthly payments, insurance co-pays and expenses.
Whether you or your Agency are doing the screening, general best practices guidelines for identifying attributes of good surrogate should be:
- Age 24-40
- Appropriate Body Mass Index (BMI) – most agencies will accept BMI’s of 18-33 ( for BMI calculations see http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/tp://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ )
- Has at least one biological child that she is raising in her own home
- Has a history of uncomplicated pregnancies where she carried the babies to term
- Has a steady job with health insurance or is a stay at home mom with a spouse whose job provides health insurance for the family
- Is married, single or divorced (not in the process of a separation)
- Is willing to have a background check performed on her and any adults living in her household
- Is not in any financial or legal trouble
- Is not on any state or federal assistance
- Is able to take time off from work (and potentially travel) for medical appointments related to the surrogacy
- Is willing to undergo any tests that the Reproductive Endocrinologist at the IVF clinic and the OB/GYN believe are necessary
- Has a supportive spouse or partner (if applicable)
In addition to these concrete qualifications IP’s or the Agency should also inquire about the following more subjective and emotional issues:
- Motivations for pursuing surrogacy?
- What kind of support does she anticipate from her friends and family?
- Does she think she will have trouble separating from the baby after carrying it for 9 months?
- Feelings about carrying multiple fetuses?
- Feelings about termination in the case of a serious abnormality of the fetus?
- Feelings about selective reduction (terminating one or more of the fetus if she becomes pregnant with multiples – this is usually done for the health of the other fetus or fetuses, and sometimes for the health of the birth mother)?
- Number of IVF cycles she would be willing to undergo?
- Would she be willing to work with IP’s of a different race, if applicable?
- Would she be willing to work with a single parent or same sex couple, if applicable?
- Desired amount and type of contact with IP’s?
- Feelings about IP’s attending doctors’ visits and being in the delivery room at the time ofthe birth?
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