How to Find a Surrogate Mother: Definitive Guide
Surrogacy is an amazing solution for couples of intended parents and individuals that want to start a family but cannot carry a baby on their own. Also, surrogacy for gay couples allows them to experience the entire process of starting a family, from implantation to birth.
So what do you need to know when starting to look for prospective surrogates and how to find your surrogate with a fertility clinic? Keep reading to find out.
What to start with when looking for a surrogate mother
The first thing to do when thinking of starting your surrogacy search is to dive into what the process actually is before learning how to find a surrogate mother. A surrogacy process implies that one woman, who is called a surrogate mother or a gestational carrier, carries and gives birth to a baby for another female.
Because finding a surrogate requires taking care of lots of factors, services or surrogacy agencies can be extremely helpful for intended parents willing to use surrogacy to build their family. But independent surrogacy is also possible.
How hard is it to find a surrogate mother?
Looking for surrogate mothers can be a challenge for intended parents. If intended parents decide to go through this process on their own, they can come across some serious difficulties, like what to start with or which factors to take into account.
But it’s still a lot when you have a list of things to consider. For example, each of the following factors plays a huge role in the process:
- health history
- body mass index (BMI)
- pregnancy and delivery history
- relationship status
- personal connection to the prospective surrogate
While it is a lot of things to think of when looking for a surrogate mother, it may be possible to find the person that matches the criteria in terms of all aspects, including medical, physical and personal.
But without the experience, since it is most likely your first time doing it, you’ll face more issues as you go through it, such as legal or medical considerations. This is why it is easier and less stressful to rely on a surrogacy agency when looking for a surrogate.
How to find a surrogate mother using a surrogacy agency?
When looking for a surrogate through an agency, there are still some decisions you have to make, even though it is still easier than doing it on your own. Of course, you need to make sure that you choose a reliable agency for the process.
But in the first place, you need to understand why you’re doing the right thing by relying on an agency in the first place.
Why should you use a surrogacy agency?
Thanks to experience, a surrogacy agency takes care of all aspects of the surrogacy process, making it a pleasing journey for you. When using an agency, you get access to a catalog of prospective surrogates that already fit the criteria and are ready to start the surrogacy process immediately.
They also handle a great deal of legal considerations and paperwork, which takes a significant burden off of you. Besides, an agency helps set a healthy boundary between you and the surrogate so that you can build a relationship that both you and she will be comfortable with.
How to find the right surrogacy agency?
Of course, it is crucial that you feel confident with the agency you choose. So to find the right one for you, make sure to consider different options and do your research to compare agencies.
A good agency has a good reputation, is not new in the field, has success stories and client testimonials and is open to answering as many questions as you may have. Of course, you may also want to consider factors like the agency’s location, the scope and the cost of its surrogacy services. And no matter what, trust your gut.
What are the advantages of using an agency?
There are lots of advantages to using an agency over looking for a surrogate on your own. Here are some of them:
- they offer ready-to-go surrogate catalogs
- all candidates meet the criteria
- they handle the logistics and supply chain
- they help with legal considerations and paperwork
- they organize your communication with the surrogate
After all, experienced surrogacy agencies will know the potential issues you may run into and will help prevent them.
How do screening and selection processes work?
We treat the screening and selection processes for surrogates extremely seriously — they consist of several stages and extensive criteria to ensure high surrogacy success rates.
First of all, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- age (18-36 years old)
- good physical and mental health
- no bad habits
- healthy birth history
- no criminal record
Only after our background check can we proceed to the next stages of the selection, which are medical and psychological screening at the fertility clinic. This includes a detailed medical examination, reproductive health testing, and a psychological one at the IVF clinic.
In case the results of the screening process match the criteria, the applicant is accepted and added to our catalog. From the catalog, the intended parent can then select the potential surrogate based on their personal preferences for their appearance, beliefs or other details.
How are surrogates and intended parents matched?
Of course, the matching process is conducted based on the preferences of both the intended parents and the surrogate. After we learn your preferences, we offer you a number of candidates that match your personal criteria as well as objective factors like their location.
As soon as an intended parent goes through the matching process and makes a decision on the candidate, we will arrange a call or meeting for the intended parents unless they prefer otherwise. The next events, such as meetings and calls, depend on the relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate.
How to build a surrogacy plan?
A surrogacy plan is a plan that defines the conditions of the surrogate giving birth and overall newborn care. Of course, it is best to decide on these before labor so that everyone is clear on what everyone can and cannot do when the day arrives.
So what does the surrogacy plan include? Here are the things to keep in mind:
- who can be present in the room during labor
- where the labor will be taking place — in bed at home, in a tub, at the hospital, etc.
- filming and taking photos during delivery
- using pain relief medication
- using interventions to assist the birth
- who will hold the baby first
As you can see, answering these questions helps define how labor and delivery take place. Hence, making these decisions at the beginning of your surrogacy journey will help you prepare with no hurry and know what to expect for all parties.
With this being said, building a gestational surrogacy plan starts after you figure out how to get a surrogate mother and implies thinking about the listed things and deciding on your preferences to define the conditions for the day of the baby’s birth.
What should you expect when meeting your surrogate?
Meeting your surrogate for the first time is an exciting and important step in your surrogacy journey to building a family. Don’t stress about it and enjoy it, but also be sure to take this opportunity to find out what you’re interested in, such as their views on various topics.
Still, don’t turn the conversation into an interview. Remember that it’s a two-way street, and it’s as important for the surrogate to learn about you as it is for you to learn about her. So be open to sharing your story and feelings about anything involved in the process.
Additionally, don’t worry about discussing legal or financial issues — the surrogacy agency handles these so that you can focus on the experience.
How to build a relationship with your surrogate mother?
A good relationship with the surrogate is important for the well-being of the baby and the enjoyment of your journey. So while building the relationship is a process and shouldn’t be rushed, be yourself and attentive to the needs of the surrogate.
Regardless of the cost of surrogacy programs, pregnancy is a special time for a woman’s body, so the surrogate may need your care and involvement as much as any woman would during this time.
How much does it cost to find a surrogate mother?
The cost of finding a prospective surrogate depends on a variety of factors. These include the way you’re looking for the surrogate, such as through an agency or on your own, the candidate’s location, the process of the IVF and surrogacy agency services and others.
At IFG, the prices for surrogacy vary from 40,000 to 54,500 euros. Naturally, the case is different for all intended parents, so the cost of your surrogacy needs to be calculated individually.
How to find a surrogate mother without an agency
Of course, an agency is not the only option you have when it comes to finding a surrogate mother. You can also find a surrogate on your own by using your personal connections, surrogate finder websites and social networks.
In the first place, you can let your closest people know that you’re looking for a woman to carry your baby. While they would still have to go through a medical examination to make sure they are a good fit, a family member or friend of yours can agree to become your surrogate.
Otherwise, you can expand your search to your network. Think of women who may be interested in becoming a surrogate and reach out to them with your offer. Don’t assume that no one will be willing to become a gestational carrier before your ask — anyone may appear to be interested.
Surrogate finder websites
For people looking for surrogates, there are websites dedicated to this purpose. Start with looking up the ads for surrogates wanted to find websites where you can place them. Of course, be sure to check out feedback and reviews for the websites before you place your advertisement to choose reliable ones.
Using social media to find your surrogacy is another great option — there are many groups with plenty of information and participants that are looking for a surrogate or willing to become one. You can make a post about your story and share your intention of finding a gestational surrogate, which other people will see and will be able to respond to.
Advantages and disadvantages of not using an agency
While looking for surrogacy both through an agency and on your own are great options, there are pros and cons to each.
For example, here are some benefits of looking for a surrogate on your own:
- it can be less expensive
- it’s more personal
- you can still hire medical and legal professionals to handle more complex processes
At the same time, there are also some drawbacks to looking for a surrogate without an agency:
- you don’t have access to the vast list of surrogacy candidates that an agency provides
- you’re limited in choice, hence may struggle to find a perfectly matching surrogate for you
- you may find out that a woman can’t be your surrogate because of her health or other conditions after you establish a relationship with her and get hopeful, so you’ll have to start the search all over again
- instead of using the agency’s education and contact mediation services, you have to do research on all the related processes on your own, which may lead to issues and challenges due to knowledge gaps
- the search can take a long time
- there is a risk of fraud
As you can see, there are some significant risks and disadvantages to independent surrogacy as opposed to using an agency. Of course, every case is different, but overall, using an agency is a safer and more effective choice.
The surrogacy process consists of a lot of stages, but the support of a fertility clinic and a surrogacy agency can take the burden off of an intended parent. In case you’re looking for a surrogate mother and still have some questions left, contact us and we’ll happily give you the answers you’re looking for.