It’s time to pop the question!
No, not that question. But an extremely important, life-changing question all the same.
Will you be my surrogate?
The decision to embark on your surrogacy journey is full of tough decisions and questions to weigh.
One of the biggest and most important questions is: Who will be my surrogate?
Some people choose to find a surrogate they did not previously know, either through an agency or through an independent search.
Others feel very strongly that they would like their surrogate to be a trusted friend or loved one.
There is no one right way to go about finding your surrogate, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each path.
Asking a close friend or loved one to carry your child for you as a surrogate mother is extremely personal and can result in complicated emotions for everyone.
Before you approach a loved one with this life-changing question, here are some tips:
- Know the characteristics and qualifications for surrogates.
- Be open and honest with your inner circle.
- Be prepared for either answer
- Have a legal contract in place.
Know what characteristics to look for in a surrogate
Women who choose to be surrogates are incredibly special people, and not many will meet all the qualifications.
In general, you need someone who is trustworthy, stable, open-minded, and healthy. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that a surrogate meet the following criteria:
- Between the ages of 21-45
- Does not use tobacco
- Has had at least one full-term pregnancy and is raising the child
- Has had no more than 5 vaginal deliveries or 3 C-sections
- Is financially independent
- Lives in a stable family situation
- Spouse/partner is in agreement
- Has no major health concerns and is within a healthy BMI
- Can pass a medical and psychological screening
Beyond the black-and-white qualifications listed above, it’s important to realize this person will be a huge part of your life – through pregnancy and beyond.
You should feel confident enough in your ability to weather stressful situations together, have raw, honest conversations, and set healthy boundaries prior to entering into any sort of agreement. You need to be sure your values, expectations, and intentions align.
If you feel like you know the right person, how exactly do you go about asking such an important question?
Be open and honest with your inner circle
Let your close friends and family know that you are seeking someone to serve as a gestational surrogate for you. You may be surprised to have a close friend or family member volunteer.
Otherwise, if you’ve identified a particular person you’d like to ask, begin by having an open and honest conversation. Provide her with resources about surrogacy, tell her about your struggles becoming a parent and how you landed on surrogacy as your path to parenthood.
Then give her space, and be willing to accept her decision, no matter what it is.
This is a very big choice to weigh, and she will likely have many questions of her own to discuss with her spouse or partner, her doctor, and her family. Avoid pressuring or guilting her into making a decision.
Be prepared for a “no” but ready for a “yes”
The last thing you want to do is harm a relationship. Be ready to accept no as an answer, without being defensive or taking the response personally.
On the other hand, should the answer be “yes,” you’ll want to be prepared for the next steps. You have to be ready to have tough conversations and make sure you’re on the same page.
Even if your potential surrogate is your best friend for life or your closest sibling, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Can you openly and comfortably talk about medical, emotional, and financial matters?
- Is she aware of all the risks and potential complications?
- Do you agree on important issues like termination or selective reduction?
- What will her relationship with the child be like?
- How will her spouse/partner, children, or other family members interact with the child?
- Will there be compensation? How much?
Seek legal advice
You may be best friends, but you still need a legal contract in place. Without one, surrogacy can get extremely messy, leaving hurt feelings all around. Find an attorney who specializes in surrogacy, and make sure that you each get your own advice.
You’ll need a legal contract that covers the following:
- Financial compensation
- Possible risks
- Parental rights
- Expectations and intentions of all parties
A good legal contract will help protect your relationship and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
For more tips on navigating gestational surrogacy, check out our step-by-step Surrogacy Roadmap, your comprehensive guide to understanding the entire surrogacy process.