Having a child is one of the most emotionally exciting experiences in one’s life. While being one of the happiest moments, it also carries one of the most serious responsibilities a couple will endure during their entire lives. It will increase the bond, love, and the connection between a couple while building a new member of the family. Even as anxious as a couple might be to have a child, they may be experiencing health factors that are hindering their ability to conceive a baby naturally on their own. These factors could include, infertility, physical abnormalities or disabilities, or same-sex couples.
There are 4 types of surrogacy options;
Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate mother is also the genetic mother to the baby. The child may be conceived naturally or impregnated by fertility methods of IUI (intrauterine insemination), or ICI (intracervical insemination) performed by infertility doctors at a certified infertility clinic.
Gestational surrogacy is when a surrogate mother has an embryo transferred to her uterus to which she has no genetic relationship.
Commercial surrogacy is when the surrogate mother receives compensation for carrying and delivering the child.
Altruistic surrogacy is where a woman agrees, for no financial gain, to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons to whom she intends to transfer the child’s care at, or shortly after, the child’s birth.
There are many factors for infertility. There are male infertility factors and female infertility factors.. These reasons can be related to the fertilization process or the mother incapable of carrying the baby to full term. Adoption can provide an alternative in these cases, yet most couples prefer to have a child who is genetically related to them, thus surrogacy becomes the option. In the last decades, it has become possible to have a child regardless of the medical condition that is causing the infertility. If the mother is unable to carry the embryo they can choose to have IVF (in vitro fertilization), and find a surrogate mother which will provide the uterus for the embryo, and carry the baby to birth.
Even though this is a perfect solution for a couple building their family, there are many hidden pitfalls in the process and the couple needs to cover all the grounds making sure that this beautiful journey does not turn into despair.
The initial pitfall begins with finding a surrogate mother. She is the mother that will carry the couple’s baby for 9 months. During this process, there are many risks that need to be considered to make sure everything goes smoothly for your child.
Here are 10 tips for couples that are looking for a surrogate mother:
1. Seek professional help: There is a vast amount of information on the Internet, this will only help you become aware as an intended parent. Educating yourself through the Internet will not make you an expert in the surrogacy field but will help you connect, and relate with others who are experiencing similar struggles. Empowering your self with knowing your surrogacy options will help in your decision-making process.
Having a child via surrogacy is a step in your life in which you can’t leave yourself vulnerable to the system or find yourself in a position where it is too late to turn back. A knowledgeable surrogacy agency will have the know-how to educate and protect you throughout your surrogacy experience.
2. Check criminal background of the surrogate candidate extensively: You cannot trust your baby to a person with a criminal background. It is a risk you cannot take. Get information and references about the mother that you have chosen. Dig deep into their life. After all,a person who has nothing to hide, will not hesitate to provide you any necessary information about themselves. You must feel comfortable and trust the surrogate mother.
3. Select a surrogate who is mentally stable: It is not easy to determine if someone is psychologically stable with only a few meetings. Try your best to assure that she is mentally sound, has support from her family, and will stay psychologically stable throughout the pregnancy. If you choose to interview the surrogate yourself rather than a professional, check reputable sources for possible mental evaluation questions to ask.
4. Choose gestational surrogacy: Even if traditional surrogacy arrangements are legal in your state, still choose to proceed with gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy the surrogate mother is also the egg donor, which means that she is actually giving birth to her own child. This causes multiple problems on the psychological side, making it harder for the surrogate mother to let go of her child. And of course in addition there may be legal problems where the decision of the courts may be inclined towards the natural mother in case she insists on keeping the child.
5. Stay in constant communication with the surrogate mother: After the agreement, stay in constant contact (at least twice a month or more) to make sure you have empathy for each other during the surrogacy. After all this woman will be giving birth to your child, you should make sure that everything goes smoothly for both of you and your expectations are the same.
6. Make sure she is financially secure: If she is not financially secure, she will be dependent on your payment, and this may be the main motivation behind her choosing to become a surrogate. This should not be the main motive. The surrogate mothers main motives should simply be being happy to give birth and create a happy family for someone else. She has agreed to go through the birthing process simply because she understands your deep desire to have a child. If the surrogate mother only looks at this process from a commercial angel, and then she may conceal important information that might change your mind. Granted most surrogate mothers are compensated after the successful birth of the baby but each situation and agreement differs.
7. Do not choose a surrogate who is not already had a baby: Choosing a surrogate who has never given birth or who has never raised a child is a risky situation that you should not take. From start to finish, you are going to spend around a year together in the surrogacy process, someone who is not experienced with pregnancy might not be aware of the commitment and difficulties of childbirth.
8. Check past medical records: Ask for medical records of the surrogate mother, from a doctor or clinic that you trust. Try to check for any complications that may have developed with any past pregnancies. You would not want to repeat any complications that might occur again, if they are health related.. Do not be content with medical records that the surrogate mother has supplied. Ask her to visit a doctor of your choice for a complete health and medical check-up.
9. Make aware of your legal rights: Try to make sure you are covered as much as possible legally for the case that anything goes wrong in the process. Surrogacy is a very difficult process from start to finish. It’s best to seek professional help like a reputable surrogacy agency, lawyers, and individuals who know the adoption rules of the particular country where your surrogate mother is located. Unless you have dealt with hundreds of surrogacy arrangements before, it is not possible for you to figure out all the variables that can go wrong. Even one mistake can risk you being unable to register as a legal guardian of your baby.
10. Talk in-depth with your surrogate ahead of time: Talk extensively with the surrogate mother about what can go wrong. Try to change her mind about being a surrogate. This is not a joke, and you must make sure that she also perceives it the same way as you do. Especially young first time surrogate mothers are not totally aware of the conditions that they are accepting. Be sure that your surrogate is the decision maker and that there are not any individuals forcing them to be a surrogate mother for money. Are they willing to go for a bed-rest or stay in hospital for months if complications occur? Do they understand that they will have to abort in case of extreme situations even if they prefer not to? Are they fully aware of the emotional trauma they might endure while giving up the baby? Talking before will help make sure you will not face serious consequences if something does go wrong.
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