Any couple that has decided to find and work with a surrogate mother has already committed to overcoming some significant obstacles. In the majority of cases, people that choose surrogate motherhood as a way to have a child have either medical or biological considerations for choosing this over traditional pregnancy and childbirth. A same-sex male couple for example, has no uterus present in either partner for pregnancy to take place, while a woman with a heart condition may be advised that she puts both herself and the baby at risk if she becomes pregnant.
In these situations, surrogate motherhood, where another woman agrees to become pregnant and unite that newborn with the intended parents, is an alternative to adoption. However, for the surrogacy process to succeed, one of the most important components is finding a surrogate mother. This, unsurprisingly, is an in-depth process and here’s what couples should look for if they want to work with a surrogate mother.
Of course, one of the most important factors in finding a suitable surrogate mother candidate is her state of health. Since, in some instances, it is the health of a woman in a couple hoping to start a family that makes pregnancy a risky or impossible undertaking, the health of the surrogate mother must be at a high level.
This means that the usual indicators are looked for, such as whether there are any hereditary diseases to keep an eye out for, especially if the surrogate mother’s egg will be used for fertilization. Beyond any possible medical conditions the surrogate mother may transmit to an infant, her own health is just as important for enduring the considerable demands pregnancy makes on a woman’s body over the course of nine months.
In some ways, this next factor is even more crucial than health. Plenty of women may be physically healthy, and thus potentially suitable to be a surrogate mother. However, physical health does not necessarily guarantee a successful surrogacy. This is why one of the things that an experienced group, such as a surrogacy agency, looks for in suitable candidates is the appropriate age and have had at least one successful birth in the past.
A 21-year-old woman, for example, that has received a clean bill of health, but has never had a child, is likely to be an unsuitable candidate for many reasons. The physical consideration is that she has no “track record’ when it comes to pregnancy. Her physical health may not stand up to the rigors of pregnancy, or they may be other conditions that will only make themselves apparent with pregnancy that could jeopardize both her health and the baby.
The other major factor is the psychological one. Someone who has never experienced the hormonal and physical changes brought on by pregnancy or the challenges of delivery may not be prepared for the emotional upheaval of pregnancy. Emotional and psychological preparedness are critical factors in the well-being of a surrogate mother, and someone that has already experienced pregnancy and childbirth is in a much better position to deal with what comes since she’s already coped with it before.
A combination of health and experience, the lifestyle of a surrogate mother, is important. A woman can be examined by a doctor and determined to be in her physical prime, but she lives a lifestyle that involves smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol, and drug use, and insists on consuming these substances even during pregnancy, then her prime physical condition will be offset by the negative impact from her lifestyle choices.
A woman that is healthy and leads a healthy lifestyle is an ideal surrogate mother. A healthy woman who takes her health for granted and makes life choices that put herself and a baby at risk is far less suitable.
Even when a surrogate mother “checks all the boxes” for suitability, there’s still an “x-factor” at work that needs to be resolved with the couple getting to know the surrogate mother. In the same way that a prospective romantic date can meet all a person’s theoretical requirements and still “not click” upon actual meeting, the same can be true for a surrogate mother. And since the surrogate mother will be the literal mother of a couple’s child, it’s even more important that a good rapport is established.
These are all important considerations to look for in a potential surrogate mother, and for a couple wishing to start a family, undertaking this search alone can involve much time, effort, expense and, worst all, mistakes if the couple has had no previous experience in selecting a suitable surrogate mother. This is one reason why many couples choose to invest in working with a surrogacy service. It takes much of the guesswork and time out of the process, as an experienced organization will have the methodology and the vetting process to present a large selection of safe choices in a short period.