The thought of entrusting something as precious as the care of your unborn child can be an overwhelming and stressful thought. While there may not be such a thing as “the perfect surrogate”, narrowing down the traits to those that are absolutely necessary is a good place to start.
- Health. The physical and mental health of your future surrogate is by far the most important quality to establish. A woman that is generally healthy and relatively fit is a good place to start, as pregnancy will put a great deal of stress on the body. It will be established early on that the potential surrogate is disease free, mentally healthy, and without prior pregnancy complications. A surrogate should also already be living a healthy lifestyle (drug-free, healthy diet, etc).
- Responsible. Any woman considering taking on the role of a gestational surrogate should fully acknowledge the huge responsibility they are undertaking. They should be willing to closely follow all doctors’ orders. Becoming pregnant through surrogacy is a complicated and intricate process, and demands that strict guidelines and procedures are taken seriously. A surrogate should also show responsibility in the general way they live their daily life. Does she always wear a seat belt? Does she refrain from dangerous activities?
- Communicative. Communication is key to a healthy surrogate/intended parent relationship. Early on in the relationship, both parties should establish their personal expectations regarding communication. At the very least, communication should involve updates about medical appointments and procedures. Some relationships will establish a schedule of sorts, like a weekly phone call or e-mail. Being that this is a long and intimate (and fun!) process, many surrogates and IPs become close, engaging in almost daily communication and updates about every little kick and flutter. Whatever your unique relationship ends up being, communication that everyone is comfortable with is vital. A surrogate should also show an ability to communicate with the agency and any doctors involved in an effective and timely manner.
- Intelligence. A gestational surrogate should have the general intellectual capability to be able to understand the legal contracts she is signing and what the different aspects of these agreements mean. She should also be able to fully grasp and be compliant with IVF procedures and prenatal care.
- Support System. A gestational surrogate has an important job, but it is never one she is doing alone. It is important that your surrogate is surrounded by people who can physically, mentally, and logistically support her throughout the entire pregnancy. Because having had at least one pregnancy previously is a requirement for surrogacy, she will likely have young children of her own to take care of. It is important that there is a backup plan, be it a supportive spouse, extended family, friends, neighbors. It truly “takes a village” to get through a surrogate pregnancy. She will need emotional support during and after the pregnancy, as well as physical help as the pregnancy progresses and daily life becomes more challenging.
The process of finding the right surrogate to make your dreams come true is an intricate one, but starting with the establishing of these basic qualities is a great place to start. The Stork’s Nest is here to answer any questions you may have and help with every step of the way!