Often times, there are taboo subjects that arise and fall without much notice to those not int he drivers seat. Or, in this case, to those not considering the intricacies of surrogacy.
When I first began looking into becoming a gestational surrogate in 2017, I had no idea what other's would say-- thankfully, I didn't really give a damn either.
I have found that while many can be supportive, there are so many individuals who don't think before speaking. Remember though, that is a testimony of their character, and in no way should be considered a viable opinion on the choices you make. Just like if you wear makeup, cut your hair, or want to drop $7,000 on a new pair of boobies.
If you have considered becoming a surrogate, but have never explored the options, I am here to say it is a long journey-- one that comes with ups and downs. Needless to say, all things in life go as such. Even considering a pregnancy of your own-- there were certainly times you may have not felt your best, had insane cravings go unfulfilled, felt growth in places you'd never imagined, swelled in the face, feet, and ankles, gained more weight than you'd hoped, felt exhausted, and just wanted to get that baby out! Not all rainbows and butterflies, egh?
Surrogacy is much of the same. Not all rainbows and butterflies.
These are things I think are helpful to those who are considering surrogacy.
For specific requirements and to get more information clicking here.
1. Is the baby related to you?
This seems to be the biggest misconception while speaking with others and sharing the news of becoming a surrogate. If you are a gestational carrier, there is no relation to the baby you are carrying. The egg will be from the mother and the sperm from the father. In some cases, there will be an egg donor or sperm donor, but still-- there are no genetics of yours being passed to the child. You are just holding on to the little guy or gal while they are growing and preparing to make their entrance into the world.
2. How much do you get paid?
Initially, I felt holy cringe set in each time somebody asked this. People would blatantly blurt out, "How much are you making for carrying that thing?"
While I wouldn't refer to a baby as a "thing" I also would never walk up to somebody and state, "How much do you make at your job?" or "So, what's your salary?"
However, you all are not a stranger, coworker, or acquaintance approaching me. You all are hopeful surrogates yourself, so I will certainly explain what I know from my personal experience.
And let me make this clear before I say anything else: it is okay to be compensated well for surrogacy. It is okay to be compensated well for surrogacy. It is okay to get compensated well for surrogacy.
It seems the norm for a first time surrogate ranges between $30,000 and $40,000. That is the base compensation.
When Ads pop up saying "make up to $60,000 as a surrogate," be aware of the language-- up to $60,000. Not a base compensation of $60,000.
That being said, there are many factors that come into play and are included in the contract that will protect you for additional payouts when needed. These things include:
maternity clothing (usually around $500)
monthly stipend (usually around $100)
start of medications/hormones (usually around $300)
Lost wages (amount varies case by case)
Bed Rest Childcare (amount varies case by case)
Physician Ordered Bed Rest (amount varies case by case)
Travel Requirements (amount varies case by case)
C-Section payment (usually around $2,500)
Amino (usually around $500)
D&C (usually around $500)
Reduction (usually around $750)
Amino (usually around $500)
Loss of Uterus (usually around $5000)
If you took all of these items and assumed worst case, you need bed rest, child care while on bed rest, have twins, end up getting a c-section, and lose your uterus-- you can see how this could quickly populate to be up to $60,000.
It would be reasonable to assume if you were to have a base compensation of $32,000, plus maternity clothes allowance of $500, $300 at medication start, and a monthly stipend for things like copays, gas to local appointments, etc. an accurate estimate would be around $35,000.
Other things to consider:
Are you carrying one baby or twins? Of course, if you are carrying two, the payment will increase as does does the risk for the carrier.
Do you have your own surrogate friendly insurance? If not, that's okay. The agency and intended parents will sort that out. Often times compensation can be higher if you come with surrogacy friendly insurance.
This link gives you more information on requirements to become a surrogate and allow you to request more information.
3. Do you get the money upfront?
This is a common question and okay to wonder! Depending on the preference of the agency and attorney, the fees are split up into monthly payments. So if you were going to receive $32,000 as a base compensation, it would be safe to say your compensation would likely be over $3,000 per month. All of the remaining balance is paid out after delivery.
4. Do you think you'll get attached to the baby?
Many women have looked me dead in my face and said, "I could never be a surrogate, I would get too attached."
If that is the mindset you are in, surrogacy is definitely not right for you.
If you go into this journey knowing it is your desire to help bring life to the world for another family to experience the feelings you do as a parent, then all will be well.
Certainly, there will be some bond or emotion in connection to growing a baby inside of you over the course of 40 weeks, but personally, it could never be a maternal one knowing it is not my child.
I went into surrogacy aware that I was merely taking on some long term babysitting to ensure the little embryo placed in me had a safe place to grow and develop healthily. It was just my job to assist the parents with the most magical gift one could offer-- a sweet and healthy baby.
5. Why doesn't anybody talk about the bad parts involved with surrogacy?
I suppose while we hate to admit it, most of us are of the era of placing our best face forward. We naturally want to share the highest of the highs, but don't to often mention the lows.
I can openly share, things get hard.
I have had 3 canceled cycles, meaning I started medications, drove two hours for appointments to measure my lining, and blood draws to be told to stop all medications and wait for my next period to begin due to my lining being too thin or my hormones not being at the right levels. It can feel like a waste of effort, but you have to remember if the goal is a healthy baby, all of the requirements from the fertility clinic have to be accurate and met.
I also had a successful transfer.
We were confirmed pregnant first by blood work, then by ultrasound and locating the baby's heartbeat. Ultimately, we ended up having a 19 week miscarriage. Reasons were unknown-- all we were told is the brain was not developing as it should and it resulted in the baby not surviving. To be almost half way and find out the baby had still been inside of me, but the pregnancy was no longer viable was Earth shaking.
We ended up going to the hospital and I delivered then had to get a D&C also.
While these are the downs, ultimately, I knew I had to just dust myself off and try again-- the bigger plan is never known. I had no choice but to accept the miscarriage, stand up straight, and move on.
There is always hope to be given in the world of surrogacy, so I would certainly say commitment and hope is required on all ends along this journey.
If you've made it this far and want to chat about surrogacy, feel free to begin that conversation. You don't have to rush and fill out an application or sign your life away.
All things start with a conversation.
Then a conversation can turn into a commitment.
A commitment into fulfilling a families dreams.
If you are ready to start that conversation you can get in touch here!
If you think surrogacy may be of interest to you, that you would consider helping another family become parents, and that earning a hearty compensation to give the gift of life seems right to you, then start that conversation.
For more information and requirements on surrogacy for women in Idaho, check out the link below.