Deciding on the right surrogate mother or surrogate person is a challenging endeavor. The decision can have emotional consequences. It can also be fraught with legal implications. You may feel overwhelmed as you weigh the pros and cons.
The best advice anyone can give you is not to hurry through the process. It's important to take the time to gather all the information you need. Interviewing a potential surrogate mother or surrogate person is crucial in this process.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Surrogate
There are many factors that determine whether someone is the right person to carry a child for you. For example, you'll likely consider their:
- Physical health
- Emotional well-being
- Support network
These all have a bearing on the development and well-being of a child. Beyond that, you also have medical, legal, and financial considerations to keep in mind.
In any meaningful interview, you will need to discuss a variety of issues. These could involve:
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) and IVF cycles
- Whether there is any indication that the candidate has infertility issues
- Artificial insemination, which could require donor sperm
- Egg donation, which can be from an anonymous donor
- Whether you will use your own eggs
- Whether there is any set of concerns around the gestational carrier's health
- Whether the egg donor has any genetic predispositions, as found in genetic material during genetic testing
- Embryo transfers, which involves the implantation of an embryo
- A variety of medical procedures outside of assisted reproductive technology
- Fertility treatments (sometimes called infertility treatments)
You'll want to review the surrogates' medical history, including history related to mental health. You should find out whether the surrogate has any medical conditions. You should determine whether the surrogate has any reproductive issues. These can include endometriosis and any issues related to the surrogates' ovaries or ovulation. If the surrogate has any of these issues, it's important that you are aware of them.
If you choose to proceed, keep in mind that additional medical treatments may then be necessary. Infertility services could be completely necessary even for the surrogate you choose. This is rare, but it still could be an issue that arises. It's important to know the FAQs before you proceed through any surrogacy.
During the interview, you might also cover:
- Gestational surrogacy and whether the gestational surrogate is willing to consent to a variety of terms (that you will specify)
- Legal issues related to parentage (possibly those related to parental rights post-birth)
- How much exposure, after the child's birth, the child will have to the carrier
- Which fertility clinic will be used, and whether fertility services will be used
- Whether family members of the surrogate will be involved during the surrogacy
- Intrauterine insemination
- Whether egg retrieval will be involved
- Whether the surrogate has insurance coverage and whether their insurance policy covers certain procedures
Concerning potential legal issues, it's important that you discuss with the surrogate whether they—as the biological mother—may have the option of remaining in the child's life post-birth. It's important to discuss who the legal parent will be post-birth and enter into a contract to that effect.
Raising these questions early is important. In the interviewing process, these questions will help you. They will help you quickly narrow down surrogates. It will be important to determine which candidate shares your vision of the future and your vision of your family. Much of what is discussed during the interview should also be in the surrogacy agreement.
Questions To Ask a Potential Surrogate
The following questionnaire can serve as a helpful tool. It can help in your determination of whether a particular candidate could be the right choice.
In addition to the potential surrogate's name and contact information, you'll want to ask for the following information:
- Why do you want to be a surrogate?
- Are you married? If so, does your spouse support your decision to become a surrogate?
- Are you currently taking any medications?
- Have you had any recent surgeries or hospitalizations?
- Do you have any health problems?
- Do you suffer from mental illness?
- Do you have any sexually transmitted diseases?
- Have you ever been tested for AIDS and/or HIV?
- Do you consume alcohol? If so, how often?
- Do you smoke? If so, how often?
- Do you now or have you ever used illegal drugs?
- Do any health problems run in your family?
- Would you allow the intended parents to be involved during the pregnancy?
- Will you allow the intended parents to be present at the delivery?
- Are you willing to undergo physical examination and psychological assessment? Are you willing to do so before entering into the surrogacy arrangement?
- Do you have health insurance?
- Are you willing to sign a surrogacy contract?
- Are you willing to relinquish all claims to the child born as a result of the surrogacy arrangement?
You also might want to ask if your potential surrogate has children of their own. If the answer is yes, consider asking the following questions:
- Do your children have any health issues?
- Did you have any pregnancy complications?
- Did you suffer from post-partum depression?
- Do you think surrogacy will impact your children?
Your attorney can help alert you to possible red flags. They also can serve as an objective advisor. They also can draft the surrogacy contract once you have made your decision.
Keep in mind that some states do not recognize surrogacy contracts as enforceable legal documents. An attorney can help you protect your interests and determine how to proceed if you live in one of these states.
Hiring an Attorney
Surrogacy laws are constantly changing. A skilled family law attorney can help draft an enforceable surrogacy contract. Such a contract addresses the important issues and the contingencies that could arise during any stage of the pregnancy.
With an attorney on your side, you stand the best chance of achieving your objective-having a child. Most offer free consultations. Your first step should be to contact an experienced family attorney. Many issues related to surrogacy are subject to state law. It's important you find someone licensed as an attorney wherever you live.