Surrogacy is an important reproductive option that brings hope and joy to those who can’t conceive naturally. Being a gestational carrier is a rewarding journey that lets you help individuals and couples achieve their goals of becoming loving parents.
You may be asking yourself: “Should I become a gestational carrier?” You may have lots of other questions about being a gestational carrier. This article will discuss the process and whether being a gestational carrier could be right for you.
What Is a Gestational Carrier?
A gestational carrier, also referred to as a ‘surrogate,’ is someone who carries a baby on behalf of another individual or couple. Single men and women, LGBTQ+ couples, and heterosexual couples who can’t conceive or safely go through pregnancy due to age or medical concerns may use gestational carriers. Every year, as many as 1,000 babies are born through surrogates in the United States.
There is some difference between the term ‘surrogate mother’ and ‘gestational carrier”, which we discuss at length in another article here. To sum up; while a surrogate mother sometimes uses her own eggs to conceive a surrogate child (traditional surrogacy, which we do not offer here are Pinnacle Surrogacy), a gestational carrier becomes pregnant using the eggs and sperm of the intended parent(s). Therefore, as a gestational carrier with Pinnacle Surrogacy, you would not use your own eggs to become pregnant, nor would you share any genetic material with the baby (you can find more about surrogate DNA sharing here).
What To Know Before Becoming a Gestational Carrier?
Gestational surrogacy is a great solution to help individuals and couples achieve their parenthood goals. However, it can also be a fulfilling experience for the gestational carrier. If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate, there are a few things to know.
Who Is a Good Candidate to be a Gestational Carrier?
Your health, safety, and well-being are our top priorities. Therefore, gestational carriers must meet some requirements to ensure a safe and positive experience.
While surrogacy can be rewarding, going through pregnancy is physically and emotionally demanding. Therefore, you must be in good physical and emotional health to become a gestational carrier.
Additionally, surrogates must have had at least one successful pregnancy prior to deciding to become a surrogate. You must also be under age 40, have a clean record, and have no smoking or drug use history to become a gestational carrier.
What Is the Process to Become a Gestational Carrier?
First, you’ll need to complete an application online. Next, one of our caring surrogacy coordinators will reach out to you. They’ll answer your questions and get your consent to perform a background check and obtain your medical history.
You’ll then complete a profile questionnaire to help us get to know you and match you with potential parents. Then, once we’ve reviewed your medical records and you’ve spoken with one of our physicians, you’ll come in for medical and psychological screenings. If you’re in a relationship, your partner must also be screened for drug use or infectious diseases.
Finally, a licensed social worker will perform an assessment of your home to ensure you have a safe, stable living environment before a doctor approves your application. Once approved, you can start the matching process. After a surrogacy match is found, you and the intended parents will sign legal contracts before proceeding.
What Happens During the Matching Process?
There are several steps before getting matched with potential parents. Once you’ve been approved to become a gestational carrier, intended parents can review surrogate profiles to help them choose a gestational carrier. You’ll also be able to review the profiles of the intended parent(s) before meeting them to ensure you’re a good fit for each other.
If both parties decide to move forward after the meeting, attorneys for each side will draw up legal contracts for the surrogacy arrangement that both you and the intended parents will sign.
What Is the Conception Process as a Surrogate?
As a gestational carrier, you’ll undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant. First, an egg will be fertilized with sperm in a lab. The egg and sperm may come from the intended parents or a donor.
The fertilized egg becomes an embryo, which a physician will introduce into your uterus using a thin, soft catheter. The embryo then has a chance to implant and grow into a fetus. The procedure is typically painless, but some women may experience mild cramping.
What Testing and Medical Care Take Place Before and During Pregnancy?
You’ll undergo evaluation by a high-risk obstetrician, a psychologist, and a Fertility Specialist as part of your surrogacy application. We’ll perform blood and urine tests to rule out infectious diseases and prenatal testing. We’ll also perform an ultrasound of your ovaries and uterus.
We’ll closely monitor you throughout the entire embryo transfer process. Once you’ve become pregnant as a surrogate, you’ll receive high-quality prenatal care and be able to establish care with a local OB/GYN. They’ll provide whatever prenatal care you need to ensure you’re having a happy and healthy pregnancy. In addition, Pinnacle Surrogacy will provide monthly support meetings with a psychologist to ensure your mental and emotional well-being.
What are the Risks of Gestational Surrogacy?
The risks of being a gestational carrier are the same as with a naturally conceived pregnancy. You may experience symptoms of morning sickness early on in the pregnancy, like nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Pregnancy complications may include the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, persistent nausea and vomiting, or pregnancy loss. However, these risks are likely minimal since all surrogates undergo careful medical screening.
What are the Legal Considerations?
Both you and the intended parents will sign legal contracts before proceeding with a pregnancy. These contracts are in place to protect the surrogate as well as the parents. You will not be able to keep the baby, and the intended parents will have full legal parental rights.
If pregnancy complications or medical decisions may affect the unborn child, these decisions will usually fall to the intended parents. The intended parents and gestational carrier can decide whether or not they will maintain any contact after the surrogacy process, and there are no obligations either way.
In addition, surrogacy is legal in most states, excluding Michigan, Nebraska, and Louisiana. But the rules can vary, so you’ll need to ensure you live in an area where it’s permitted before pursuing surrogacy.
What are the Costs and Compensation for Being a Gestational Carrier?
As a gestational carrier through Pinnacle Surrogacy, you’ll receive excellent benefits and reimbursement. You’ll receive a monthly allowance throughout the pregnancy. You may qualify for additional benefits like housekeeping and childcare reimbursement if you need to be on bed rest and compensation for missed wages related to the pregnancy. Most surrogates make at least $50,000 and up.
Is Being a Gestational Carrier for Me?
Becoming a gestational carrier is a very profound and personal decision. It does entail certain risks, medical procedures, and personal sacrifices. But it’s a wonderful way to positively impact the lives of people hoping to become parents.
If you would like more information, our team at Pinnacle Surrogacy would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You may also find our article ‘Pros and Cons of Becoming a Surrogate’ helpful in making your decision. Explore our website and contact us to learn more.