Surrogacy: What Questions to Ask When Looking for a Surrogate
If you are looking to have a baby via surrogacy, you will have probably realized how difficult finding the right match can be. Asking the right questions to the surrogacy agency or the surrogate mother herself is vital, to help you make the best decision.
To make sure that you don’t forget any important points during the face-to-face meetings, discover what you should ask the person who might carry your baby for you.
Should you choose an independent surrogate or go through a surrogacy agency?
First of all, before going any further, you’ll have to consider two options: would you prefer to choose an independent surrogate or go through an agency?
You can either make a private arrangement with a woman you already know, for instance, a friend, or someone you met on a dedicated website. You may prefer to go through a surrogacy agency. It’s important that you take the time to consider the pros and cons of both options, for instance, the legal and medical costs involved.Whatever path you choose, there are some topics that you should always discuss with the surrogate mother, in order to decide whether she should be the one to carry your child or not.
1. What are your motivations for being a surrogate?It’s really important to know what the surrogate mother thinks about gestational surrogacy. Is she only doing it for the money (don’t worry, this is rare) or because she feels empathy towards couples who can’t have a baby and therefore wants to help? What’s her story? Raising this question and hearing her answers will allow you to get to know more about her.
2. What were your other pregnancies like?Most women willing to become a surrogate have experienced one or more pregnancies already, whether they were her own babies or those of intended parents. Ask her if she experienced morning sickness, if the delivery went well, or if she encountered any problems.
Not only will discussing her former pregnancies help you to know whether she is likely to have a healthy pregnancy, it will also show her that you can empathize with her and that you understand the sacrifice that she is willing to make for you. This is also a great way to know a little bit more about pregnancy, if you have never been pregnant or if you are a gay couple, for instance.
If you go through a surrogacy agency, the potential surrogates must pass medical screening tests to ensure that they are healthy, both physically and mentally. If you make a private arrangement with an independent surrogate, make sure that she has undergone all the tests needed to ensure that she is capable of carrying a child.
3. Do you smoke or drink alcohol?To carry a healthy baby, your surrogate mother needs to have a healthy lifestyle. Talking about her consumption of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can help you make your decision. If she smokes, for instance, you need to make sure she is willing to quit and if she does, how she is going to do so.
As you know so little about her, it is hard to make your decision based only on her answers. Don’t worry, her medical exams will indicate if there is any problem and if her lifestyle choices might prevent her from having a baby in good health.
4. Are my partner and I welcome to participate in your medical appointments?Medical appointments are the opportunity to watch the first echography or to find out the gender of your child. Being in the delivery room to hear your baby’s first breath is another important moment that you will surely want to experience.
You need to tell the surrogate mother how much you want to be involved during the pregnancy. Participating in these significant moments of the early life of your child is very exciting.
In most cases, she will be happy for you to accompany her to these appointments. However, whatever your wishes might be, it's essential to let her know that you will respect her privacy and needs as much as possible.Being present in the delivery room is a trickier question and thus you need to know her feelings about this. She might not want to be watched during the moment, or may prefer to be accompanied and supported by her best friend or sister. It’s best to talk about this topic beforehand.
5. What kind of relationship should we maintain before, during and after birth?Before birth (medical appointments and delivery apart), how frequently can the intended parents communicate with her? If you live far from each other, is she willing to regularly chat via Skype to keep you up to date with any developments concerning her pregnancy? If you live closer, how often can you visit her?
You also need to discuss the frequency of your exchanges following the birth. Some surrogates are perfectly fine with a card once a year, others want to see pictures of the child from time to time, while others want to stay close to the intended parents. This is a very personal question.
Following the pregnancy may create a strong bond between you and your surrogate. Therefore, you might want to stay in touch and give them news of your child often. On the contrary, you might prefer to have as little contact as possible with your surrogate.
Talking about this topic is essential, so as to know whether or not you are on the same page. However, ultimately, the decision is yours, as she won’t have any legal rights towards the child after birth. You are the parents, not her.
6. In the case of complications that could harm the fetus, how do you feel about abortion?It is a tough topic to talk about but necessary in case the worse happens. Sometimes, because of complications during the pregnancy, the question of abortion might be raised. Some people would refuse to abort under any circumstances, while others might consider it the best decision to take. You and your surrogate mother should make sure that you are on the same page about this.
7. Would you accept to carry twins (or more)?The odds of having multiple births via in vitro fertilization (IVF) are higher. In fact, the more embryos transferred into the womb, the higher the likelihood of having twins, triplets or more. In order to increase your chances of having a baby, you might want to transfer at least two embryos.
Asking the surrogate this question will help you know what she would decide if she was pregnant with twins or more. If this is the case, is she okay to carry both babies or will she undergo a selective reduction of the embryos to keep just one of them?
Many intended parents wish to have twins. However, it’s important to remember that multiple pregnancies present a higher risk where the woman and the baby are concerned. Premature birth and late miscarriage rates are much higher than with single pregnancy, for instance.