A few decades ago, many people were still getting used to the idea of using a surrogate. Fast forward to 2019, and surrogacy, an assisted reproductive process to help more people have the families they desire, is much more prevalent across the country.  The Council for Responsible Genetics reports that babies born as the result of gestational surrogacy grew by about 89 percent from 2004 to 2008, and the trend is still growing. But not everyone knows what surrogacy entails. If you’ve been considering surrogacy but have some lingering questions, read on to learn a bit more about the process.

 

Who Should Consider Surrogacy?

 For those who want to grow their family but who are unable to do so on their own, surrogacy can be a viable option. There are many reasons you may be unable to carry your own child, such as a pre-existing medical condition, previous pregnancy issues or a family history you may fear passing on to your child. Whatever the issue or concern may be, knowing that you can use a surrogate to fulfill your dreams of a growing family can provide some comfort and a solid solution.

 

Will Surrogacy Services Fit into My Family’s Budget?

 This is a great question and one many hopeful parents may not fully consider. While surrogacy is a rising trend, these services are still rather expensive. One surrogacy estimate puts the total for all care and services involved at around $240,000, but that doesn’t mean your final costs will be this high. Unlike other fertility services, the expenses surrounding surrogacy are rarely covered by insurance, and you may even need to purchase additional health insurance coverage for the surrogate mother.

 

What are My Responsibilities to My Chosen Surrogate?

 While the movie Baby Mama may be entertaining, your role as the intended parent can be as involved or not involved as you like. As mentioned above, you will cover the costs of any prenatal care for the chosen surrogate, and you may wish to provide additional support as well. Think about helping out with housework or providing some pre-prepared meals. However involved you choose to be, it’s always a good idea to seek legal counsel too, so that you understand state surrogacy laws and understand your rights and responsibilities in this situation.

             

How Can I Become a Surrogate for a Family in Need?

 So maybe you’re not ready to have a baby but would like to help families who are. If you are thinking of being a surrogate, whether it’s for a friend, family member or even a stranger, there are several things to keep in mind. While this can be such a fulfilling process, becoming a surrogate can bring on some challenges too. Pregnancy can be hard on your body and your feelings can become complicated along the way. So before you agree to carry another person’s baby, talk to others who have been there and who can share their experiences with you. Consider asking for support from the surrogate program you may join, as many offer support groups for this very purpose.

 

Are There Other Ways to Help Families Conceive?

 Not ready to carry a baby for nine months or go through childbirth? You can definitely still provide hope for individuals and families dreaming of having a baby by becoming an egg donor. According to CircleSurrogacy, you will need to meet specific egg donation qualifications in order to successfully provide donor services. Limits on age and body mass are always a factor, as is education. You also need to be sure that the same type of cancer has not occurred more than once in your family history.

 There’s a lot that intended parents and potential surrogates need to know about the surrogacy process. It’s an arrangement that can bring a lot of hope and joy to those who cannot reproduce on their own, but it’s a monumental process not to be taken lightly by anyone involved. Do your own homework and make sure you understand each step involved before deciding to play a role in a surrogate pregnancy.

Written by: Ashley Taylor who has severe scoliosis. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to fellow parents raising their children while living with disabilities.