From your baby’s first laugh to your child’s unconditional love, parenting has countless rewards. Of course, it’s not always easy. For many intended parents, conception is stressful and emotional. Whether you’ve been struggling to conceive, lost a pregnancy, or are unable to conceive on your own, you still have options.
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One of those reproductive options is surrogacy. Here are some ins and outs on how surrogacy works and how you can get involved, courtesy of The Online Review.
What Is Surrogacy, and How Does It Work?
Surrogacy is an assisted reproduction method that helps intended parents start or grow a family. It’s becoming increasingly common in the United States.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Unlike traditional surrogacy, which artificially inseminates the surrogate’s egg, gestational surrogacy uses either the intended parents’ egg and sperm or donated egg or sperm if needed. Gestational surrogacy is the most common form of surrogacy these days because the surrogate remains unrelated to the baby and one or both intended parents are the baby’s biological parents.
How Can You Become Involved?
There are three ways to contribute to the surrogacy process: as an intended parent, a surrogate, or an egg donor.
- Intended Parents. If you’ve been struggling to have children, you’re not alone. An estimated one in eight couples experiences infertility. Surrogacy helps individuals and couples become parents by partnering them with a gestational surrogate, a woman who carries their baby to full term. The intended mother’s egg is fertilized with the father’s sperm through IVF. The embryo is transferred into the gestational surrogate’s uterus.
- Surrogates. The women who carry babies for the intended parents are known as surrogates or carriers. By giving the gift of parenthood to others, they forever change lives. Gestational surrogates can be implanted with the intended mother’s eggs, or with donated eggs if needed. That way, one or both of the intended parents are the baby’s biological parents. Although surrogacy frequently takes a physical and emotional toll, it is a fulfilling way to help other families.
- Egg donors. The egg donation process allows fertile women to donate their eggs to intended parents who wouldn’t otherwise be able to conceive. Women who donate their eggs to intended parents must meet several requirements, including age and body mass limits and not having multiple occurrences of the same cancer in their family.
What Are the Costs?
Although surrogacy is expensive, financing helps parents achieve their dreams. Fertility loans and grants are available, or you could use home equity, personal loans, or even host a surrogacy fundraiser. If you’re considering becoming a parent, a surrogate, or an egg donor, get in touch with a clinic near you to discuss your options.
Surrogacy helps make parenthood possible for LGBTQ couples, high-risk mothers, and parents who would otherwise be unable to conceive. Children born via surrogacy grow up to live happy, healthy lives, and many families stay in touch with their surrogates. Some surrogates, like Cari Lorman, carry multiple siblings for intended parents who decide to grow their families over time.
Planning for Your Baby
If you’ve made the decision to choose surrogacy, you’ll need to prepare yourself and your home for your baby’s arrival. Start researching pediatricians and day care options (if necessary). You’ll likely have to purchase several items for their nursery, including a crib, changing table, and nightlight. Also make plans to baby proof your home. This will include securing heavy items, installing gates by stairs, protecting outlets, and covering sharp corners.
Being a new parent is an amazing experience, but it can be tiring as well. Find ways to promote self-care whether that’s attending a yoga class a couple times a week, taking a relaxing bath, or just wearing some versatile and comfortable clothing around the house.
Just like any other parent trying to conceive, stay patient, dedicated, and don’t lose hope. You still have options, including surrogacy, and a positive mindset will pay off in the long run. Speak to a medical professional or talk to a surrogacy clinic to determine what pathway to parenthood works best for your unique situation. Conception is easier for some parents than others, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up on your dream of raising a child.
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