Not all heroes wear capes. Indeed, surrogate mothers are some of life’s greatest heroines. By stepping in to selflessly help infertile couples start a family, thousands of women have brought life, laughter, and love into the homes of these intended parents. If you’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a surrogate mother in California and are looking for more information regarding the process, you’re in the right place. Here are nine tips to help you get started.
1. Decide If Surrogacy Is Right For You
Surrogacy is more than just a nine-month commitment. It’s a journey that will encompass every aspect of who you are. For this reason, it is important to read everything you need to know about the surrogacy process including the legal side of surrogacy. Surrogacy experts such as the team at Joy of Life can answer any questions you may have.
As a surrogate, every aspect of your life will be laid bare – medical history, psychological state, sexual health, criminal record, and financial status. This information is pertinent as it helps to screen potential surrogates so that only women in good health, who are mentally stable and have the right support system get to proceed.
These surrogacy requirements are set in place because of the complex nature of surrogacy. It is done to protect everyone involved in the case.
2. Emotional/Mental Health
To understand the surrogates mindset, every woman thinking of becoming a surrogate mother in California must undergo psychological testing. This is to ascertain and identify any personality disorders or psychological conditions the potential surrogate may have.
3. Physical Health
Becoming a surrogate mother in California requires women to be in good health. Part of the health requirements states that applicants should ideally have a BMI between the range of 19 – 33. In addition, potential surrogates should have had at least one biological child of their own and preferably finished having their own children. Surrogates should not be abusers of illicit drugs.
4. Legal Requirements Of Becoming A Surrogate Mother In California
California is one of the best states to enter into a surrogacy arrangement. There are surrogacy laws that protect surrogates and intended parents. Unlike some states where surrogacy is illegal and may even attract penalties and fines, women thinking of becoming a surrogate mother in California have little to worry about. As part of the surrogacy arrangement in California, both sides, surrogate and intended parents, will be required to consult with an attorney who will help draft the surrogacy arrangement and discuss the legal requirements of surrogacy with them.
5. Choosing A Surrogacy Agency In California
You might be asking, “Why do I need a surrogacy agency?” It is recommended that potential surrogates work with a reputable surrogacy agency because of the complexities surrounding surrogacy. A surrogacy agency such as Joy of Life can help you with their expertise, experience, and connections. How do you choose a surrogacy agency? In a nutshell, look at their track record, their success rate, their level of involvement, and the help they provide to surrogates.
6. Consider The Types Of Surrogacy
There are two types of surrogacy that exist – traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is the lesser favored between the two as the surrogate mother and child will share a biological link. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own egg is fertilized with either the intended parent’s sperm or that of a donor in a laboratory. The biological link to the child can lead to sentimental attachments which can make letting go much harder.
With gestational surrogacy, none of the surrogate’s eggs are used to make the embryo that’s implanted into her womb via in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is the preferred option that’s encouraged by surrogacy agencies across the board. Both gestational and traditional surrogacy are legal and well-regulated options in California.
7. Find The Right Parents
Whether you’re thinking of becoming a surrogate mother in California for a friend or for people you don’t know, what’s clear from the get-go is that you must be comfortable with the parents and can communicate well with each other. Surrogacy can last anywhere from nine to 12 months. As a result, finding a couple that you can relate with and who understands your concerns will be of great help.
Fortunately, this isn’t something you have to do alone. With the help of your surrogacy agency, you will be able to find a good match. Agencies have profiles of couples who are looking to pair with surrogates. If you’re planning on carrying for a friend, it’s still recommended that you approach a surrogacy agency to help you figure out the legal and medical side of the process.
8. Build A Support System
Your surrogacy experience will be one that is both emotional and demanding. Combined with hormone therapy and general morning sickness, it may prove to be quite a taxing time indeed. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this alone. Before you start it would be a good idea to identify people in your network of friends and family whom you can count on.
Pregnancy brings with it an array of feelings and receiving emotional support from others that can help ease the difficulties encountered on the journey. They can help you by simply offering a listening ear, running your grocery errands, taking you out for a spa/lunch, or simply doing some house chores on your behalf. It doesn’t hurt to have someone to drive you to and from appointments either!
9. Protecting Yourself And The Parents
Having matched with your intended parents, the next step is to begin the legal process. The woman thinking of becoming a surrogate mother in California and the couple looking to start a family must each approach attorneys who specialize in surrogacy. The attorneys will help in the drafting of legal contracts that represent their clients. This stage is imperative even if you all know each other prior to this arrangement. The contract will layout protocol of what to do should the surrogate develop pregnancy complications as well as addressing other key issues such as detailing the birth plan.
10. Taking Care Of Yourself
The first few months of your pregnancy can be difficult. With hormone therapy, supplements, and regular checkups it can all take a toll on you physically and emotionally. It’s not unusual to not feel your absolute best with some women having mild to severe morning sickness. It’s therefore very important to take care of yourself.
Being pregnant and emotional is normal. However, you can reduce the discomfort by adopting a healthy pregnancy diet and making sure that you’re getting enough exercise. This may also assist in regulating hormones and balance your emotional state, making you feel better. Interestingly a good diet, getting enough sleep, and some form of exercise can also help to reduce the chances of developing postpartum depression.
11. Prepare To Let Go
There is no denying the fact that giving the baby away is one of the hardest stages of this entire process. While you’re cognizant of the fact that you’ve played your part and brought joy to the intended parents, it is a process to resolve your emotions and feelings. Postpartum depression is common and is often worsened by the sense of loss felt. With the support of a good counselor and family, many women emerge out of this shell and resume their lives.
Looking for a surrogacy agency in California?
Joy of Life is one of the premier surrogacy agencies in Southern California. Contact us for more information about becoming a surrogate mother in California. Get in touch today.