If you are thinking of becoming a surrogate, being well prepared is key. Surrogacy will change your life as well as that of the parents you help. It is a fantastic but long journey that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, and you won't know at the start exactly where it will lead you and your family.
So what do you need to think about to become a Brilliant Beginnings surrogate?
1. Your health and well being
Being fit and healthy emotionally, physically and mentally are key ingredients to becoming a surrogate. Our guidelines include:
Your age - you should (usually) be over 21; some clinics will require further medical screening for surrogates who are over 35.
BMI - you should be within a healthy range for your height and weight.
Previous pregnancies - you should have completed your own family, or carried at least one successful pregnancy to term and delivery.
Mental wellbeing – it is good to speak to a counsellor so you are totally prepared for the impact that surrogacy will have and sure it will not adversely affect you.
Similarly you will need insight into the medical steps involved, the medication that you may need to take and the ways in which babies are created beyond natural conception!
2. Your support network
Having friends and family around you to support and love you at any time of your life is important and that is even more important during surrogacy. There will be times when your hormones might make you laugh or cry or you will be tired – you need people around you who care and understand you. There will be a team of clinicians and professionals, and of course your intended parents will be there, but there’s nothing like someone who is in this with you and you can call when you are feeling tired and need your feet rubbed or if you feel the first kick at 3am!
You might also need to deal with people who don’t quite ‘get’ surrogacy. Some might make some awkward (and personal!) comments. Give some thought to how you might respond and how you can help those around you to understand that what you are planning to do is amazing!
However independent you may be, the support of a partner or close friend or family member will be invaluable throughout your journey – these people are often the unsung heroes of surrogacy.
3. Your relationship with your intended parents
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes and they have to grow organically. Thinking about the truly great relationships you have in your life is a good benchmark for the kind of relationship you would like with your intended parents. Your relationship should be a strong one, based on honesty and trust.
Give some thought to how often you would ideally like to meet up with your intended parents - would you prefer to keep in touch through phone calls, texts and Skype? Would you like them to attend scans and appointments with you? Also give some thought to how involved you would like them to be with your own children and other family members.
You can’t predict the future of course, but it is also good to think about how much contact you would like to have with your intended parents, and any children that you carry, after the birth.
Money – no one likes to talk about it especially amongst friends. But you will have some expenses during any pregnancy and a surrogacy is no different. Your intended parents will NOT want you to be out of pocket so it is really helpful for you to have an idea of what your expenses are likely to be, so that your intended parents can plan for this.
It is a popular misconception that there is a fixed amount (often said to be £15,000) which is the accepted figure for surrogates to receive in the UK. In fact, most UK surrogates work within the framework of being paid ‘reasonable expenses’ but what is reasonable depends on the specifics of your situation; there are no set rules. The amount varies depending on your needs and circumstances, and is personal to every arrangement.
As a surrogate you can expect to be reimbursed for your expenses including travel costs, treatment costs, maternity clothes, childcare costs and any loss of earnings that you or your partner incurs. This might be agreed as a lump sum (and £12,000 to £15,000 is often the overall amount agreed) or paid for individually.
5. Your legal position
Regardless of whether you are genetically related to the child you carry, as a surrogate you will be the legal mother when the baby is born. But this can be sorted so that the right parents are on the birth certificate and all your responsibilities are completely extinguished. This happens through a court process called a Parental Order. There is legal information for surrogates at :
Remember that your intended parents want more than anything to have a baby that is completely and wholly theirs so will be as keen as you to get this bit sorted.
This list isn’t exhaustive and there are still lots of other things to think about, but it’s a great place to start! If you decide to become a BB surrogate, then we will be by your side to make sure you have what you need before, during and after your surrogacy.
We would love to hear from you and to tell you more about our growing team of inspirational women and their supporters. For more information please click here (http://www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk/surrogates).