The Gift of Surrogacy: 6 Surprising Answers About Being a Surrogate in Colorado

Surrogate in Colorado

I have one of the best jobs out there – all day I get to interact with women who want to give the gift of carrying and delivering a baby for families that are not able to do so on their own. The women I work with are incredibly giving, warm and compassionate and it greatly enriches my life to know them. However, there are a lot of questions that are asked (and should be asked!) before the magic happens – you’d be surprised by some of the answers!

Silhouette of Happy Family and Dog

1. I’ve heard that surrogates need to be in their 20s. I am over 35, can I still be a surrogate?

Age limits on surrogates are usually put in place by the fertility clinic that ultimately performs the embryo transfer. While it’s true that many clinics tend to prefer women in the younger age ranges, surrogates up to the age of 42-45 are sometimes acceptable, especially if they are in great health and had problem-free pregnancies.

2. I love the idea of being a surrogate, but I’m concerned about the people that seek out surrogacy as a way of having children. Why do they do it? How do I know they’d be good parents?

Intended parents (the parents looking to have a baby via surrogate) come in all configurations and walks of life. Some parents are single, some are in same-sex relationships, many have been struggling with infertility in one form or another for a long time.

If you are looking to match with parents without the help of an agency, be sure to do a social media check of your intended parent(s) and a background check. These will help you get a sense of who they are. Also plan to meet with them in person if at all possible and ask the hard questions (under what circumstances they would terminate a pregnancy, why they are interested in surrogacy, what they will tell the child born about surrogacy).

If you are using an agency to match, that agency will usually perform a background check and have the intended parents pass a psychological screening to ensure that they are prepared for the process of surrogacy and to be parents of a baby born through surrogacy. Agencies also usually facilitate the legal process, where a contract that contemplates all the hard questions is created, providing legal protections (like preventing a surrogate from being stuck with medical bills!).

3. I want to know what the real difference is between being a surrogate with an agency or just matching with intended parents on my own? 

Matching without an agency is a perfectly acceptable way to go about being a surrogate. It works especially well if you already know intended parents who are looking to have a baby via surrogate. This tends to be less expensive for intended parents. It can feel more personal, but the clinic will likely require (and it’s a good idea for everyone involved) to have a legal contract in place, with each side represented by independent legal counsel, even if you have a great relationship with your intended parents.

An agency is useful if you are looking for families to help, as many parents partner with agencies to find a surrogate. Agencies can also act as an unbiased intermediary between surrogates and intended parents, with the interests of both as a priority.

Some agencies offer “a la carte” services for surrogates and intended parents who have self-matched, allowing the surrogate and intended parents to take advantage of the case management agencies provide, as well as their insurance, escrow, and legal expertise, for a lower fee.

4. I’d love to help a family struggling with infertility, but I’m not interested in using my own eggs. Is it possible to be a surrogate and not be genetically related to the baby?

There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate not only carries the fetus, but donates an egg(s) to the intended parents that will be used to create the embryo to be implanted. In this case the surrogate is genetically related to the baby she is carrying, even though she will likely not be considered a parent. Due to legal and other complications, traditional surrogacy is rarely done anymore.

Gestational surrogacy is when a surrogate is implanted with an embryo created from the eggs/sperm of one or both parents (or donor eggs and/or donor sperm). In this case the surrogate has no genetic relation to the baby.

Gestational surrogacy is generally what is meant by the term “surrogacy.”

5. I feel weird about receiving money to do something that is so natural and easy for me. How do I reconcile my desire to give a family this gift and the compensation that comes with it?

Surrogacy is often talked about as a gift (I say it all the time!), but it is usually compensated in the United States. I don’t personally see a disconnect in that statement. It is an incredible gift to go through the process of hormone preparation, embryo transfer, pregnancy, and delivery for another family. And the surrogate should be compensated for it, because it is very important work, while still being a gift.

Compensation for a surrogate is to allow for the surrogate to take great care of herself and her family while she is pregnant for someone else. I often think of it as being paid to take care of someone else’s child, like a nanny; it’s just that the child is living inside your uterus! The money that a surrogate makes doing this incredible work can help women go back to school, create college funds for their own children, allow the family of a surrogate to put a down payment on a house. Personally, I don’t see anything to reconcile.

6. I’ve talked about becoming a surrogate with my husband and he is really against it for health reasons. Does he need to be on board?

It is true that being a surrogate, just like anytime we are pregnant, carries the chance (however small) that our health or fertility could be affected by the pregnancy or delivery. It is very important to discuss this with your partner or other people supporting you emotionally.

Sometimes a partner becomes supportive for surrogacy once he or she gets all the information about it. Sometimes, the partner is just not comfortable with it. Both the surrogate and her partner should be on board if surrogacy is being considered. It can be a very emotional journey, and it’s best if the surrogate has the full support of her loved ones.

Thanks for reading! If you have other questions that didn’t get answered here, please feel free to leave them in comments or email me at blucero@coloradosurro.com.

 

Guest Blogger Biography

Barrett Lucero is a Case Manager with Colorado Surrogacy, a local Denver business specializing in matches between surrogate carriers from Colorado and parents looking to expand their families. Our focus is on personal relationships, and on mutually beneficial and mutually protecting contracts. Follow us on Facebook at @ColoradoSurrogacy