Becoming a surrogate mother is an incredibly powerful and life-changing decision. It requires selflessness, resilience, and an extraordinary amount of love and compassion. As a surrogate, you embark on a journey that requires not only a commitment from you but from your family as well. You bear the responsibility of carrying another family’s precious gift, enabling intended parent/s to experience the joy of starting or growing a family. For many, this experience is a journey of personal growth that brings unparalleled satisfaction.
It’s important to understand that surrogacy isn’t just a biological process; it’s an emotional and psychological one too. By choosing to become a surrogate, you are offering an invaluable service and making a dream come true for those who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves. This shared journey of hope and love is one of the reasons surrogacy is considered one of the most selfless and rewarding experiences.
In this blog, we will take you through the step-by-step process of becoming a surrogate mother in Florida. It’s a detailed journey, but one that we will navigate together. We will delve into the six key steps of this journey, helping you understand what’s involved, the support available, and how to ensure that this incredible journey is safe, successful, and rewarding for everyone involved.
Step 1: Determine if Becoming a Surrogate is Right for You
Before deciding to become a surrogate mother, it’s crucial to evaluate if surrogacy is the right path for you. This decision requires a deep understanding of the physical, emotional, and legal complexities involved. It’s about more than simply having a baby for someone else; it’s a long-term commitment that impacts you and your family’s life.
Consider your health, your family’s support, and your emotional preparedness. Surrogacy involves a variety of medical procedures, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to ensuring a successful pregnancy. The unwavering support of your family and friends is vital throughout this process; they’ll be your rock during this demanding journey.
Surrogacy can be an emotional roller-coaster. Navigating feelings of attachment to the baby, dealing with potential complications, and managing the ups and downs of pregnancy can be challenging. It’s crucial to have a strong emotional foundation and coping mechanisms in place.
Lastly, consider the legal aspects. Understanding and accepting the fact that the baby you will carry is not legally yours is fundamental. You must be willing to give up all parental rights once the baby is born.
Step 2: Apply to Become a Surrogate Mother
Once you have evaluated and decided that becoming a surrogate is right for you, the next step is to apply to become a surrogate mother. At our agency, we have designed a surrogate application that helps us understand you and your background better. This application is a crucial tool for us to ensure that the surrogacy journey is successful and safe for you, the baby, and the intended parents.
Our application process is thorough. We examine each application meticulously, focusing on your physical and mental health, lifestyle, and support system. We also delve into your motivations for becoming a surrogate, as this journey requires a deep emotional commitment.
Step 3: Creating Your Surrogacy Profile & Matching with the Intended Parent/s
After submitting your application, our team reviews it to ensure it meets our surrogacy requirements. We want to ensure that you meet our criteria and that we can provide a positive, supportive surrogacy experience. If your application aligns with our criteria, we will contact you to arrange an interview. This could be at our office or via a Skype interview, depending on your location and convenience. Subsequently, an in-home interview is scheduled.
Post the interviews, arrangements will be made for your Psychological Evaluation, Medical Pre-screening, and Background Check. Once all clearance is received, we assist you in writing a “surrogate bio”. This bio is your personal story that we present to potential intended parents, giving them an insight into your life and motivations.
Simultaneously, we share with you potential intended parent bios. This gives you a sense of the people you may be helping. If there’s mutual interest, we arrange for everyone to meet. Once a match has been confirmed, we make arrangements for you to be medically cleared at the intended parent(s) fertility clinic (more on this under step 4).
Step 4: Psychological Screening, Background Check, and Medical Pre-Screening
Once your application meets our surrogacy requirements, the next stage of the process begins with psychological screening, a background check, and medical pre-screening. These steps are designed to safeguard all parties involved and ensure that you are well-prepared for the journey ahead.
The background check involves both you and your spouse or partner, if applicable. We conduct a federal and state criminal records check using your names and Social Security Numbers. In addition, we examine your residential history. These checks ensure that you provide a stable and secure environment for the pregnancy.
Next is the psychological screening, conducted by a psychologist specializing in third-party reproduction. They administer a personality assessment questionnaire, either the MMPI-2 or PIA, during a session which your spouse or partner is required to attend. This screening ensures that you are mentally and emotionally prepared for the surrogacy process, and that you have the necessary support from your spouse or partner. The psychologist is also available to provide support and address any concerns or fears you may have.
The medical pre-screening involves a thorough review of your medical history. We request your pregnancy records for the past seven years and any current medical records. A current pap smear and/or physical exam completed in the last twelve months are also required. If due for an annual exam, we’ll make arrangements for you to complete one. A clearance letter from your current ob/gyn confirming your medical suitability to be a surrogate mother is also necessary.
Step 5: Surrogate Medical Screening
Following successful completion of the initial screenings, the next stage involves a surrogate medical screening. This process is conducted at the fertility clinic of the intended parent(s), by their reproductive endocrinologist. This appointment aims to confirm your suitability to be a surrogate mother through an in-depth examination and infectious disease testing. A clinical nurse coordinator will guide you through the medical requirements and medications for the surrogacy process.
Every fertility clinic may have different protocols. Your spouse or partner will also be required to complete the FDA infectious disease panel. The medical screening can include physical and gynecological exams, blood counts, drug toxicology, a hysteroscopy, and tests for a variety of infections and diseases. These tests ensure that you’re medically fit to carry the pregnancy and all screening costs are covered by the intended parents.
Step 6: Surrogate Mother IVF Cycle
After the medical screening, you’ll be introduced to the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Your clinical IVF nurse will guide you through the necessary steps to synchronize your menstrual cycle with the intended mother or egg donor. This process involves various medications to prepare your lining for embryo implantation and to support a pregnancy.
You’ll undergo an embryo transfer, where the embryos are placed in your uterus in the hopes of successful implantation. Following the transfer, you’ll start taking estrogen and progesterone and have a pregnancy test 10-14 days later. Regular blood draws and ultrasounds will monitor the pregnancy for the first 8-12 weeks before you’re released to your ob/gyn.
Step 7: Surrogate Mother’s Pregnancy and Delivery
The last step of the journey is the pregnancy and delivery. Being a surrogate pregnancy, it may differ slightly from a natural pregnancy. Given the IVF process, you’ll be required to continue medication to support the pregnancy that’s naturally produced by the body in a natural pregnancy, at least for the first trimester.
You’ll be closely monitored throughout the first 8-10 weeks at the fertility clinic. The intended parents may wish to attend appointments with you, and open communication about every appointment is crucial.
The delivery is a special time for everyone involved. Beforehand, our surrogate coordinator, mental health counselor, intended parents, and you will collaborate to develop a birth plan that everyone is comfortable with. Throughout your surrogate journey with our agency, we will provide ongoing support, either in person or through Skype, to ensure that all of your questions are answered and that you receive all the assistance you need. Your well-being is our priority, and we are committed to making your surrogacy experience as smooth and rewarding as possible.
Post-delivery, our support does not end. We will be there to assist with any postpartum needs you may have and ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved. The moments after birth are precious, and we aim to make them as peaceful and fulfilling as possible.
Finally, you will need to adhere to all legal requirements post-birth, including the transfer of all parental rights to the intended parents. We will guide you through this process, ensuring a seamless transition.
Becoming a surrogate mother in Florida is an incredible journey, one of joy, emotional growth, and profound fulfillment. It’s a journey of giving, a journey that brings a family’s dream to life. While the path may be complex and challenging at times, the support and guidance you’ll receive every step of the way make it a worthwhile endeavor. As a surrogate, you aren’t just carrying a baby, you’re carrying hope, dreams, and love, and there’s nothing more rewarding than that.