The most intimidating part of surrogacy is selecting a right surrogate mother who is going to carry your baby in her womb. It could be stressful to find a surrogate who is committed to carry and take care of someone else child for over nine months within herself. This relationship involves lot of medical, social, legal aspects and not to mention the emotional too.
Once you have decided to undergo the type of surrogacy, the next step is to find the right surrogate. There are various approaches to finding a surrogate, via – Clinics, agencies or family/friends.
Surrogacy clinics and agencies across India provide profiles of surrogate mothers with information on age, religion, education, children, previous pregnancies (successful/unsuccessful), eating priorities (vegetarian/non-vegetarians) along with their pictures. You can reasonably put your preferences for the future surrogate mother and also request for the medical record of the surrogates, which is essential to know.
Finding a right surrogate in the family or friends is the best thing you can have. There are many benefits, such as well-acquaintance with the surrogate (background, health, emotional stability as there is easy emotional bonding between you and the surrogate) and save on thousands of dollars paid to surrogates through agency or clinic.
Criteria for the right surrogate
You should ensure complete analysis – social, medical, emotional, economical before selecting a surrogate. Although, clinics’ database cover major information about the prospective surrogate mother but you can always give your preferences and ask for other information you seek.
Below are the necessary criteria for selecting a surrogate that will guide you through the process:
Age – Age is a determining factor especially in case where your surrogate is also the egg donor. If just carrying in womb, age is not a primary determinant. However, a good age of a surrogate mother who is also an egg donor is probably between 21-35 years.
If she is only carrying your baby, the upper age limit is based on medical condition of the woman. There have been successful cases of even grandmother becoming surrogate to their daughter’s children.
Do not choose a surrogate of less than 21 years of age as she may not be mature enough to deal with the emotional and physical complexities of surrogacy.
Successful pregnancies – A preferred surrogate mother is married and has had at least one successful pregnancy of complete nine months with healthy children. Surrogate with her own children is more mature and would better understand the intricacies of surrogate pregnancy.
Medical record – You should be well aware about your surrogate’s physical, genetical, and mental medical history. Check, if all the standard tests (for infectious, genetical diseases etc.) are done before she becomes a surrogate for your baby. You can always ask clinics for additional tests to be done, giving adequate reasons.
Height, weight, and built – Your baby in a surrogate’s womb will only have your DNA (genetic mom and dad), implying he/she will not be affected with height, weight or built of the surrogate.
As Indian women are short, you may choose a taller and bigger surrogate, if you have family history of bigger babies, as the conception goes that little women may have increased risk during delivery of bigger babies. This may also become irrelevant if you opt for c-section.
Previous surrogacy transfers – If you have a choice of surrogates with multiple transfers, check for any failed attempts a surrogate may had. Try to select the more successful surrogate in terms of transfers to avoid stress, loss of money, and time.
Though, medical science has still no clear reasons for the failed attempts. There are also reported cases when a surrogate mother delivered healthy babies after three to four failed attempts.
Surrogates husband/family support – A surrogate having a complete support of her husband, family or friend is in better state to deal with physical and emotional needs during surrogate pregnancy. The living conditions of the surrogate should permit her to take care of herself and your baby in her womb. Some clinics also have surrogate hostels where they are taken good care of.
Religion, education, and economical background – Genetically the baby in the surrogate mother’s womb is yours. Religion, education or economical background of surrogate is not much of issue. In India, often a surrogate from small town may not be highly qualified, but you must make sure that surrogate understands that she is carrying someone else baby in her womb and is not “giving” away her own baby to you. She may undergo similar process/complications (if may arise) as in normal pregnancy.
Diet preferences – Vegetarian or non-vegetarian does not effect the child unless surrogate is having healthy food with all nutrients necessary for her and the growth of your baby. But you can always have your preferences laid.
Non-smoking and strictly non-alcoholic conditions should be met.
Clean criminal record & criminal tendency – Generally, surrogacy clinics do the background check, but you should ask them about surrogate’s or her immediate family’s criminal record or tendency to avoid any issues in future.
Feeding breast milk/colostrum – While selecting the surrogate, also consider if you would like colostrum/initial milk to be given to your baby for some period of time by the surrogate. This milk is said to boost the baby’s immune system. You should include it in the contract to avoid the risk of surrogate declining later.
A surrogate should be loving, nurturing, committed, and a positive person. When choosing a surrogate from the long list, you should take an informed decision.
Before taking a final call on the selected surrogate, it is always better to meet her and have one-to-one interaction for comfort level with her, which is utmost important through this journey. You also have the choice of refusing any pre-selected surrogate.