I was a surrogate mother, and let me just say that it was the most incredible experience of my life. Giving birth to my own children was incredible, but helping that dream come true for another couple was absolutely priceless.
Whether you are considering using a surrogate or becoming a surrogate, there are many questions that need to be considered and answered. For the purpose of this article I am going to focus on what to ask before becoming a surrogate mother.
The first and most-important question to ask yourself is, "Do I want to use an agency, or do I want to do it independently?" I chose to go through an agency; the agency took care of many issues for both myself and the intended parents.
Next, you need to ask yourself, "What kind of people do I want to help become parents?" Do you want to be sure that the mother will be a stay-at-home mom? Do you care if the parents-to-be are jet setters and will have nannies raising their child? Remember: The intended parents are as important to the surrogate as the surrogate is to the intended parents.
Compensation is also a huge issue. Be sure to check the laws in your state regarding surrogacy (in some states, it is actually illegal to be a surrogate; in others, it is illegal to be compensated for being a surrogate, but women are allowed to be "Compassionate Surrogates," meaning that no money is paid for the service). If your state allows surrogacy, then you have decide just how much you think the service is worth. Keep in mind that you are not going to be getting paid for having a baby, but for the use of your uterus -- baby-selling is illegal. How much is your uterus worth? Again, having an agency behind you will help with this issue.
You will also need to find an attorney who practices surrogacy law. Find a good one. Many surrogate agencies are able to recommend someone. Your attorney can make or break the whole experience for you.
Another question you must ask yourself is, "Will I use my own eggs or not?" As a surrogate mother I chose to be a gestational surrogate, which means I carried the prospective parents' baby but contributed no genetic material. For me, using my own eggs, as a surrogate, would have opened too many doors that really needed to stay closed.
"Will I really be able to hand this child over to his or her parents?" That is a tough question. Going through an agency helped me tremendously with this one. The agency required psychological screenings and mandatory sessions with a psychologist. The screening took months, but in the end it was worth it because I knew that I could do it and would be good at it. Consider this question patiently.