Thursday, February 7, 2013

Being A Surrogate Mother

Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Surrogate mothers are in a sense gift givers. They are giving a childless couple the opportunity to experience the joy of being parents, a joy they might not otherwise have known if it weren't for her help. It is not an act that all women can carry out selflessly, though, so it is important to know what is expected of you before you choose to carry a child for someone else.


The act of surrogacy was first noted in the Bible in the book of Genesis. Hagar, the servant of Sarah, gave birth to a child for Sarah and Abraham to raise. It has continued throughout the course of history, but it wasn't until 1976 that the practice came to the forefront in American society, when attorney Noel Keane developed the first commercial surrogate contract. He was responsible for opening many surrogacy agencies throughout the 1970s, and by 1988, was responsible for more than 300 surrogate births.


Becoming a surrogate mother is an extensive process. While rewarded financially for carrying another's child, the choice to be a surrogate should come from the heart. The amount of compensation a surrogate mother receives depends on whether she has been a surrogate before and how many children she is carrying for the intended parents. Compensation can range from $25,000 to $35,000; it is held in an escrow account by the agency to be paid out over the length of the contract, according to the terms of the contract. This compensation is to cover the medical expenses, maternity clothing and any inconvenience inflicted upon the life of the surrogate and her family. The contract itself starts a full year before the conception takes place, and ends at the actual time of the baby's birth.


Once you apply to become a surrogate mother, you will be asked to fill out a profile. This will include such questions as your age, how many children you have, their ages and if you have custody of them, when and where you were born, if you are under the care of a psychiatrist or have had any psychological problems, and if you have ever used drugs, including nicotine. An attorney will meet with you to make sure that your health insurance will cover the medical costs of the pregnancy. If you have no insurance, you may not be accepted as a surrogate. It will be necessary to undergo a criminal background check before working with a fertility specialist, who will be responsible for all of your physical testing. Once the testing has been completed, you will look over the profiles of couples who are searching for a surrogate mother. Once you have found a couple you like, they will receive your profile. A meeting will then be arranged and if everyone agrees to move forward, a contract will be drawn up and signed. In this contract you will agree to immediately give the baby to the intended parents as soon as it is born, state that you have no desire to have a relationship with the child, agree to not have sexual relations from your time of ovulation until after the conception has been confirmed, and agree to refrain from smoking, drinking or drug use. Once the contract has been agreed upon and signed by both parents, the surrogate will be either artificially inseminated or have a fertilized embryo placed in her womb through in vitro fertilization. Upon verification of pregnancy, the surrogate should stay in contact with the intended parents a minimum of once every two weeks, and have them come along when there is a scheduled doctors appointment.


There are four types of surrogacy that take place. The first is traditional surrogacy. This is needed when the father is fertile and his wife is not. The surrogate will then be artificially inseminated with the father's sperm. The second is known as gestational surrogacy. This is used when the mother and father are both fertile, but the mother is incapable of carrying the baby. In this instance, in vitro fertilization will be used. The third type is called altruistic surrogacy. This means that the surrogate does want compensation for carrying the child; she is doing it because she wants to help the parents have a child. Last, there is the most controversial type, and that is commercial surrogacy. In commercial surrogacy, it is known that the surrogate is being paid for the sole purpose of having a baby for another couple, rather than being compensated for the cost and inconvenience. Commercial surrogacy is also known as baby farms and wombs for rent. It is most common in countries like India, where the surrogate is poor and in need of money, and the intended parents are wealthy.


When you have made the decision to become a surrogate mother, be sure to use a surrogate agency. Not only will they protect your legal rights, but they will ensure you receive all of the money you are promised under the terms of the contract. When choosing an agency, make sure they have experience in surrogacy and research the number of babies who have been born successfully with their help. Another benefit to working with an agency is that if the pregnancy at any time is considered high rish, either before birth or on the day of delivery, the agency will have any number of high risk pregnancy specialists on hand to help ensure both baby and surrogate are okay. They will also take out a two hundred thousand dollar life insurance policy on the surrogate as a benefit for her spouse and children in the event that something goes wrong.


While surrogacy is a popular method used for couples who cannot have their own child, there are states in which it is illegal. These states are New York, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Utah and Michigan. There are also four more states in which the surrogate contracts are not considered legal and therefore, are not enforced. Be sure before becoming a surrogate, you know what the laws are in your state.

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