Considerations for Choosing a Surrogate Mother

65474_4285451289028_1438605948_nWhether you are a single man or woman or a couple, you may choose to use a surrogate to help bring your dreams of parenthood to reality. When you’ve decided to choose a surrogate mother to help you start a family, there are still further options to consider, like whether you’ll use traditional or gestational surrogacy. With a gestational surrogacy, the carrier becomes pregnant by means of in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the eggs of the intended mother or an egg donor. This means that the surrogate baby is not genetically related to the carrier.

With a traditional surrogate, the surrogate’s egg is fertilized with sperm from the intended father or sperm donor through IVF or artificial insemination, making the carrier and the child genetically related. This form of surrogacy is less common than gestational surrogacy.

Choosing a Surrogate

If you do not already have a surrogate in mind, such as a friend or family member, you can contact an agency or fertility clinic who will help you find one. There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a carrier for your surrogate baby including:

  • The surrogate’s medical history—this should include a genetic profile (traditional surrogates only), blood tests and obstetric history.
  • The surrogate’s lifestyle choices including their history of drinking and substance abuse.
  • The cost of the surrogacy process—this includes surrogacy compensation, health and life insurance, legal fees, agency fees, psychological screening and monitoring, travel costs, medical expenses, and egg donation compensation and expenses (if applicable) .
  • The legal issues—the laws on surrogacy vary from state to state, so the location of your surrogate is an important issue to consider.
  • What kind of relationship you wish to have with the surrogate after the child is born—you may wish the surrogate to remain an integral part of your child’s life, or have the relationship complete upon delivery.

When you are looking for a surrogate with whom you can entrust the first nine months of your baby’s life, you will want to find someone who will treat the pregnancy as if it were her own. If you do choose to find your surrogate through an agency, ask them about their screening process for surrogates, what they are like and why they do this to determine if the agency is able to provide you with the right surrogate for you. Ultimately, the key to making the right choice, is finding a surrogate that you can trust completely and with whom you can feel at ease.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.