What Is It Like to Be a Surrogate?

It’s a common question, but it’s difficult to answer: What is it like to be a surrogate mother?  The answer is different for each woman, but for most surrogates, their answer has a lot to do with the joy they get from what they’re able to do for another family.

What does a surrogate mother do for families? They help people become parents, and that’s an amazing gift.

If you’re interested in what it’s like to be a surrogate mother in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C., contact us now. All of our attorneys are proud to represent women who have the courage to help others achieve their dreams of having a family.

The following guide will give you a general overview of the physical, emotional and practical experiences of a surrogate, so you can know a bit about what to expect:

The Physical Experience of Surrogacy

Women often wonder, “What do surrogate mothers go through physically?” Here are some of the physical demands that surrogates can expect from the typical surrogacy experience (although everyone’s individual process will vary somewhat):

  • You’ll complete medical screenings and requirements in order to be sure that your body is ready for the medical process of surrogacy, which includes several medical tests.
  • You’ll take a series of fertility medications like hormone injections under the guidance of an agreed-upon fertility doctor.
  • An embryo transfer will take place at the fertility clinic following your fertility treatments.
  • If a pregnancy is confirmed by the doctor following embryo transfer, the early stages of pregnancy are carefully monitored.
  • If implantation or a pregnancy fails, you may need additional embryo transfers. This is not uncommon.
  • Once a healthy pregnancy has been confirmed, you’ll be able to proceed with routine prenatal care and checkups like you would with any pregnancy.

The Mental and Emotional Experience of Surrogacy

Pregnancy is always an emotional experience, and many women are uncertain about how surrogacy will factor into that. Here are three of the most common questions about the emotional and mental experiences of a surrogate pregnancy:

“Do surrogate mothers get attached to the child?”

Most gestational surrogates don’t feel any maternal bond with the child they carry, unlike with their own biological children. This is one reason why traditional surrogacy is so rare — because a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby she carries, there is a greater risk of her becoming emotionally attached to the baby. In gestational surrogacy, however, surrogates say that they always feel that the baby is the intended parents’, and that they’re simply caring for the baby in the interim.

“What are the mental risks of traditional surrogacy?”

Because of the biological connection between the surrogate and the baby in traditional surrogacy, there are increased mental, emotional and legal risks associated with this type of surrogacy compared to gestational surrogacy. Many surrogacy professionals will not work with traditional surrogates because of these risks.

"How does it feel to be a surrogate mother?"

Of course, the individual emotions that every woman will feel throughout her surrogate pregnancy are unique and varied, just like with any pregnancy. But most surrogates describe the overall experience as rewarding. They’re able to help someone to become a family. Despite the demands of pregnancy and the often time-consuming legal and practical steps of the surrogacy process, surrogates usually describe the end result as being well worth it.

At the end of your surrogacy journey, you’ll place a baby into the arms of his or her parents for the first time. Surrogates often describe this moment as the best part of the entire experience.

The Legal and Practical Experience of Surrogacy

Becoming a surrogate is a major commitment of one’s time and energy. It requires your whole family to be supportive of your decision, and the entire process can take up to a year or more. Women who are considering becoming surrogates often ask, “What does being a surrogate entail?” Some of the legal and practical aspects of a surrogacy commitment include:

  • Being able to attend all surrogacy-related appointments, like fertility clinic procedures or legal meetings.
  • Taking time away from work and family for surrogacy- and pregnancy-related appointments and to take care of yourself during your pregnancy.
  • Involving your spouse (if applicable) in the surrogacy contract phase, as they’ll need to confirm that they have no legal parental rights to the child you would carry. They’ll also be an important source of emotional and physical support for you during your pregnancy.
  • Talking to your children about your surrogate pregnancy.
  • Managing a relationship with intended parents before, during and after your pregnancy.
  • Depending on the state you reside in, you may need to complete a different series of legal steps with us to ensure the legal parental rights of the intended parents.

If you feel that you’re prepared to meet these commitments and you’re ready to help others in an incredible way, contact us now. We’ll represent you throughout the legal steps of your surrogacy journey.

How to Know If You’ll Be a Great Surrogate Mother

Women who have felt inspired to help others achieve their dreams of parenthood have often asked themselves, “Would I make a good surrogate? How do I know if I’m ready to be a surrogate?”

Here are four questions to ask yourself that may help you decide whether or not you’re ready to become a surrogate and experience what it’s like to be a surrogate mother for yourself:

“Am I healthy enough for the surrogacy process?”

As we mentioned earlier, the medical process of surrogacy is fairly intensive. Make sure you look through the health requirements for surrogates. Are you a generally healthy person? Have you given birth without any complications? Then it’s likely that you’re physically healthy enough for the surrogacy process, but checking in with your doctor can always be reassuring if you’re not certain.

“Am I prepared to commit myself to this?”

Surrogacy is an approximately year-long commitment of your time, energy, body and heart. You’ll need to be sure that you can attend every pregnancy- and surrogacy-related appointment, communicate regularly with intended parents and be able to spend some time away from work and family as your pregnancy progresses. Of course, this is not a decision you’re considering lightly. Just be well-informed of all the legal, medical and social commitments you would be agreeing to before you begin.

“Do I have a committed support system?”

Surrogacy is a lot of work for you! You’ll need the mental and emotional support of friends and family, along with some practical everyday help, just like with any pregnancy. It’s important that your significant other and children are also ready to support you and encourage you during your surrogacy journey, for legal reasons as well as emotional and practical.

“What are my reasons for wanting to be a surrogate?”

It’s important to examine your own motivations for becoming a surrogate. It’s ok if you feel you should be fairly compensated for your time and effort, but if finances are your primary motivation then you’re not likely a good candidate for surrogacy. If, however, your primary motivation is to help families in the most special way possible, then you’ll probably be a wonderful surrogate.

Do you think you have what it takes to become an amazing surrogate for people who are waiting and hoping to become parents? Contact us now, and find out how we can represent you as you pursue your dream of becoming a surrogate.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax