By: Ralph M. Tsong, Principal Attorney at Tsong Law Group
If you are considering contracting with a gestational surrogate to grow your family you probably have a lot of questions. We will try to answer one of the big questions: what should I be looking for in a surrogate?
Choosing the right surrogate for you requires a lot of thinking and many steps. It is not as easy as finding a woman who is able to reproduce and willing to carry your baby. There are a lot of other factors to consider. The right surrogacy agency will screen your potential surrogate to make sure she has all the ideal requirements. If you do it yourself, here are some basic considerations.
One would be to have a good rapport as you will want to communicate regularly. Characteristics that should not matter are race, physical appearance and height. None of these physical attributes will affect the gestational carrier’s ability to carry your child.
Another thing that is very important to ask a potential surrogate about is her reproductive history. Has she been pregnant before? Is she currently raising that child? The answer to both of these should be yes. A gestational surrogate should have experience with pregnancy so that she is comfortable being pregnant again. She should also express that she enjoys the feeling of being pregnant and has not had any previous pregnancy complications. Asking her if she is currently raising her birth child is important for many Intended Parents, so they can find out if she has a strong relationship with her birth child and is not using surrogacy as a way to bond with another child.
The second thing that plays a big role in a potential surrogate’s eligibility is age. As many of us know, age is an important factor when talking about our fertility. There are specific ages that science suggests are the best ages to get pregnant. These ages usually fall somewhere in our 20s and 30s. While fertility declines in the thirties, for surrogates, factors such as embryo quality may matter more. For this reason, most Intended Parents seek to find a gestational surrogate that is under the age of 40.
Other general things to look for are women who are physically healthy, and preferably with a BMI under 30. An obese gestational surrogate will have lower fertility and it may be dangerous to undergo the procedure. She will go through a physical health screening performed by a licensed physician. Intended Parents should also ask questions about her current financial situation. It is recommended that a gestational surrogate has a steady income and is not on public assistance. A surrogate on public assistance will likely be ineligible after receiving the compensation for surrogacy, and if she continues to use public benefits, it may constitute fraud. A gestational surrogate preferably shouldn’t have a criminal record. As part of the process, she will go through a mental health screening performed by a licensed psychologist. A potential surrogate will need to receive clearance from a licensed psychologist, saying that she is capable of taking part in the surrogacy process.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only, not legal advice, and not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Tsong Law Group, A.P.C.