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How to Become a Surrogate? Eight Things You Must Know!

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Are you passionate to finding out how to become a surrogate mother or what the requirements are to become a surrogate?

Women thinking of becoming surrogates often have a few of questions about the surrogacy process and how it will all work out. It is crucial to get educated so that you can make an informed decision about this life-changing journey. In order to help you and explain more about how to become a surrogate, here is a surrogacy guide, including medical requirements, that answers guided towards the most commonly asked questions.

What Are the Specific Surrogate Mother Requirements?

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A potential surrogate mother will be screened in order to ensure that she is healthy enough to undergo the surrogacy journey. This is done to protect her and the future child she will carry. There is a range of surrogate mother requirements, including

  • The potential surrogate mother must be a non-smoker living in a non-smoking environment.
  • The potential surrogate mother must be between the ages of 21 and 39 years.
  • The potential surrogate mother must have a BMI in the range of 18 to 32.
  • The potential surrogate should have her own biological child/children that she is raising.
  • The potential surrogate should be able to display records of previous pregnancies with no complications.
  • The potential surrogate must provide OB/GYN records for all her previous pregnancies.
  • The potential surrogate must have no history of mental illness.

a. Is Being a Surrogate for a Friend Permitted?

Yes, it is possible to be a surrogate for a friend. However, here at Joy of Life, we still follow the strict protocol surrounding surrogates and their intended parents regardless of relation. With this said, we also offer surrogate mothers the opportunity to be gestational carriers, which means that they will not have any genetic link to the child that’s born. When this is done, the intended parents’ own eggs and/or sperm are used and then an embryo will be implanted into the surrogate’s womb.

It is also possible to be a traditional surrogate whereby you, as the surrogate, will have a genetic link to the child. If you are friends with the intended parents, they might not mind the genetic link. This is something to be discussed, of course, by both parties. This can happen if the surrogate is a close relation to one of the intended parents, such as a sister.

b. Can I Become a Surrogate Without a Previous Pregnancy?

The simple answer is no. Among the surrogacy requirements, one has to have had at least one previous successful pregnancy before one can be considered to be a surrogate. This is a guideline that’s laid down by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and one that Joy of Life follows faithfully to increase the chances of a successful outcome.

c. Can You Be a Surrogate If Your Tubes Are Tied?

Yes, it is perfectly possible if the type of surrogacy opted for is gestational, whereby the surrogate does not have to use her own eggs. Tubal ligation does not prevent a woman from being a gestational surrogate, either. Getting your tubes ties doesn’t inhibit the embryo from being transplanted into the surrogate’s womb. The only thing that getting your tubes tied does is to prevent ovulation in the surrogate, which, by no means, has any bearing on this surrogacy arrangement.

d. If I Have HPV, Does this Disqualify Me From being a Surrogate?

No, having HPV does not disqualify you from being a surrogate; however, the conditions of birth might be influenced by this diagnosis. The surrogate’s medical records with colposcopy results are required in order to chart out a proper birth plan and match with parents who don’t mind. HPV will not harm the child and neither will it hamper the baby’s development. If the surrogate develops genital warts prior to birth, a C-section will be necessary.

e. Is It Possible to not Fall Pregnant?

Yes, but the Joy of Life surrogacy agency provides professional services in order to ensure a higher chance of success and works hand-in-hand with reputable fertility clinics. If the surrogate has made it through our intense screening process, the chances of not falling pregnant after the embryo transfer attempts are slim.

f. When the Child is Born, What is Expected?

What happens after the baby is born is determined by what you have agreed with the intended parents. Some surrogates have no preference about having the intended parents in the room with them to share the birth of their child.

Once the child is born, the intended parents may assume their parental rights. Depending on the discussed points, the intended parents may take the child home and allow for visits, or they might move away with the child and keep in touch through email or other media as agreed upon.

Some intended parents may not wish to have any ongoing relationship with the surrogate mother. What happens at this stage will be based on your prior agreement with them, which is in writing.

It’s not uncommon for some surrogates to go through an emotional upheaval at this time and some may require post-partum counseling from the surrogacy agency. Joy of Life always supports our surrogate mothers in getting through this period with its superior service, experience, and understanding.

g. Is There a Timeline For Matching?

There are no hard and fast rules about how soon you will be matched. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to ensure that both potential surrogate and intended parents are matched up with the right party based on their unique set of preferences. However as a leading surrogacy agency, Joy of Life provides very fast matching in the industry, based on its growing number of intended parents.

h. What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?

For couples struggling to have children, or women considering surrogacy, assisted reproductive technology, (ART), offers a solution. This is a medical procedure whose objective is getting a woman pregnant by scientific means and not through sexual intercourse. There are various ART solutions, which include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracervical insemination, intrauterine insemination, donation of gametes, intracytoplasmic sperm insemination and embryo transfer.

Here’s How to Become a Surrogate Mother

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Equipped with the information from the FAQs above, here are the first steps to becoming a surrogate.

You’ll need to get in touch with a reputable and successful surrogacy agency. Joy of Life is one of California’s top surrogacy agencies. Our team is composed of women who were surrogates themselves and parents who were once intended, parents. Because of this, we are well versed in the surrogacy process and can therefore, walk with potential surrogates and intended parents from an informed point of view.

When you reach out to us, we’ll sit down and have a chat about the process again and then begin to process your application. With the application filled in, you will undergo medical screenings to ensure that you are fit physically and psychologically to undertake this journey. While all this is going on, you’ll be given guidance and resources so that you can keep learning more about the process.

Would you like to talk to a surrogacy professional in person about some of your concerns? Do you have questions not answered in our FAQ? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free no-obligation consultation.

 

 

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What is the Best Age to Become a Surrogate Mother?

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Are you thinking of becoming a surrogate but need more information about the surrogate mother age limit?

Does the age of the surrogate matter?

Surrogacy is a very sensitive and delicate process that requires the surrogate mother to be in good health and of an appropriate age to reduce the chances of complications.

The screening process for surrogate mothers is strict and, while one might not be disqualified simply based on age, it is important to know that age will be considered very closely in the criteria that is needed to be fulfilled by a potential surrogate.

The Generally Accepted Surrogate-Mother Age Requirements

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So, what age is considered too old or too young to be a surrogate mother? Let’s take a look and discuss.

a. How Old Can You Be to Be a Surrogate Mother?

Many surrogacy agencies set the surrogate limit for women desiring to be gestational carriers at 40 or 45 years old. However, it is not uncommon to hear stories of women well into their prime —50s and sometimes even 60s—becoming surrogates for intended parents.

In these special circumstances, an agency is oftentimes not directly involved. This is an independent arrangement between the surrogate and the intended parents.

It should be mentioned that even those interested in pursuing an older surrogate arrangement must do so with medical approval. The older surrogate will still need to be cleared by a medical professional at the intended parents’ fertility clinic.

b. What is the Average Age of a Surrogate?

A potential surrogate is ideally a woman in her late 20s or 30s, someone who has had her own children and is raising them.

She is also someone expected to be in good health, of a sound disposition and financially stable.

A surrogate mother should also be someone who has finished having her own children and doesn’t want anymore, because the surrogacy process can affect a woman’s fertility and chances of having her own children in the future.

c. Why is There an Age Limit to Be a Surrogate?

Age limits are set down for the protection of both the surrogate mother and child. A woman passed a certain age may be able to carry a child, but it can come with several complications, such as high blood pressure, premature birth, miscarriage and sometimes even stillbirths.

Because intended parents are hoping for the best, it is always advised that they work with a younger woman within the recommended surrogate age to ensure higher chances of success. The best way to match with such candidates is to work with surrogacy agencies like Joy of Life.

The Joy of Life, a Premium Surrogate Mother Service

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If you’re planning on becoming a surrogate mother, Joy of Life is a premier California-based surrogate mother service that’s prepared to walk with you on this wonderful journey. We are committed to ensuring that you’re armed with the right information and support.

Get in touch with us for more information on surrogacy.

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Everything You Need to Know About IVF Treatment

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IVF is not an overly complex process to understand. Here at Joy of Life, we believe that our surrogates and intended parents should be well-informed and that’s why we’ve put this article together to inform you about in vitro fertilization. So, what is IVF treatment?

IVF procedure decoded

In vitro fertilization, also known as, IVF, is the scientific process in which human life is created in the laboratory through a series of medical procedures. Eggs and sperm, harvested from intended parents, are collected and carefully screened for genetic defects. The eggs and sperm are then combined in glass Petri dishes in the lab to generate embryos that will be transferred to the surrogate mother.

The entire IVF treatment process begins with the administration of hormone treatments to the intended mother. This is done by fertility specialists. The hormone treatment is designed to encourage the production of eggs to be harvested.

This entire process is highly controlled and may require several visits to the IVF center. Because of its delicate nature, only 10% to 20% of embryos generated in this manner will develop into a healthy pregnancy.

A step-by-step guide to the IVF processes

In order to fully understand what goes on, here is a step-by-step guide to the IVF process:

  • Step 1: Monitored Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Women release one egg per month in a normal cycle. In order to harvest the best eggs and reduce the number of trips to the IVF center, a series of hormone treatments are administered to the intended mother in order to stimulate ovaries to produce more than one egg. Ultrasound imaging and regular hormonal assessments help to monitor the development of the eggs. When the desired eggs harvested and have reached their peak size, they are matured through the administration of HCG. The intended mother will be required to come back to the IVF center for egg retrieval within 34-36 hours after HCG injection administration.

  •   Step 2: Egg Retrieval

Matured eggs are retrieved in a surgical procedure carried out under intravenous sedation. The eggs are aspirated through a needle that is guided by transvaginal ultrasonography. All collected follicular fluid is carefully screened to ensure that all the healthy eggs have been harvested. The collected eggs are then transferred to a special media where they are cultured and fertilized awaiting insemination.

  •   Step 3: Fertilization procedures and resulting embryonic culture

If the sperm collected from the sperm donor meets the normal parameters then it is transferred to the Petri dish in which the matured eggs are stored. At least 50,000 to 100,000 motile sperm are introduced into this dish in a process called standard insemination.

In the event that the sperm is abnormal, a different process referred to as the ICSI technique will be used to facilitate insemination. This process is also employed in the event that sperm is harvested directly from the donor through a surgical procedure. When the sperm is collected using a fine glass microneedle, the embryologist selects a healthy spermatozoon and injects it into the egg. This significantly increases the rate of fertilization.

Post insemination or ICSI, the embryologist waits at least 16 hours before assessing the fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs, now referred to as zygotes, are monitored for growth on special mediums in the lab. Continual assessment is carried out on days 2 and 3. Healthier zygotes are allowed to develop until the blastocyst stage. At this stage, these embryos stand a better chance of successful implantation when transferred to the mother’s womb. Embryo transfers can happen on day 3 if the cycle is of poor quality or has low numbers. If the cycle is of good quality, transfers take place on day 5.

  •   Step 4: The quality of embryos

It is important that the best and healthiest embryos are transferred to the surrogate to increase the chances of implantation. On the day of transfer, the embryos are studied and photographs are taken so that your physician and embryologist can determine which of the eggs is best for transfer.

Embryos can be transferred at one of two stages: at the cleavage stage, which is the third day after oocyte retrieval, or at the blastocyst stage, which is the fifth day. The successful embryos from the IVF process are those that score well on the quality grading system.

Day 3 Transfers

Embryos transferred on day 3 are those that have 4 – 8 cells and are in the cleavage stage. Before transfer, these embryos are routinely evaluated and only those embryos whose cells are not fragmented and appear symmetrical are chosen. Only embryos with the highest scores on the grading system are selected.

Day 5 Transfers

By day 5 the embryo has developed into a ball of cells called a blastocyst. The embryologist and physician once again study the shape of the cells and the expansion of the embryo. A grading system is employed again to ensure that only the best-quality embryos are selected for implantation.

  • Step 5: Transfer of embryo into a surrogate mother

Embryo transfers are possible at two stages: the cleavage stage on day 3 or the blastocyst stage on day 5. You will not have to be sedated or receive anesthesia for this procedure. The selected embryos are placed inside a soft catheter that is then guided to your cervix through the uterine cavity.

Pros and cons of in vitro fertilization

You may be wondering if there are any in vitro fertilization advantages and disadvantages. As with all things, there are always advantages and disadvantages involved. Here are some of the pros and cons of the IVF process.

  • Pros of IVF

The very first advantage that IVF affords intended parents is the ability to have a biological child using the intended parents’ own sperm or egg.

IVF is not a new process. It’s been around since 1978 and in these four decades has enjoyed a long and safe track record as well as modern advancements and refinements.

IVF also affords intended parents with reproductive problems or fertility issues the chance to have children.

Intended parents can additionally opt to screen embryos in order to prevent passing on of hereditary diseases or chromosomal problems to their future child.

And, lastly, IVF allows couples of different sexual orientations the opportunity to start a family.

  • Cons of IVF

IVF is a relatively expensive medical procedure that many insurance companies do not cover.  When you decide to start IVF, you must make sure you are financially stable, as costs can multiply very quickly.

IVF is not a 100% guaranteed method that you’ll walk away with a baby. Only 35-50 % of IVF cycles in developing countries end up with live birth.

There are numerous complications that may arise during the course of the process. The woman might suffer from overstimulation of ovaries, miscarry, or suffer an ectopic pregnancy, requiring immediate medical intervention or loss of life may occur.

What to do in the event of multiple failed IVF cycles?

Accepting the fact that you might not be able to carry your own child can be one of the most devastating things to face. Fortunately, it is not the end of the road. There are other options and surrogacy is just one of them. In the United States, the surrogate route is a very viable option and one which enjoys 75% success. The odds of having a child significantly increase to 95% once your chosen surrogate is pregnant.

So, what is the first step to surrogacy? Choosing the right surrogacy agency.

Joy of Life – a surrogacy agency that cares

Joy of Life is one of California’s best surrogate agencies. We are a team that’s made up of previous surrogates and intended parents. We understand the journey of trying to conceive and the complications that all too often may arise. As such, we are able to start this journey with you and walk you through the process, whether you’re considering being a surrogate mother or intended parents.

For more information regarding our surrogacy program contact us

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Why Do I Need A Surrogacy Agency?

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If you’re considering entering the wonderful world of surrogacy, you’re going to need all the support you can get. Surrogacy agencies are the bridge that links you to the right information, surrogacy specialists, and potential intended parents or surrogate.

Working with a surrogate agency can help you navigate the process, equip you with all the necessary legal information, as well as offer the support needed to go through with such a life-changing decision.

3 Reasons why you need a surrogacy agency

Surrogacy agencies are here to help you. Their main mission is to ensure that your surrogacy is as stress-free as possible so that you, the baby, and intended parents have a smooth transition. Here are three other reasons you should consider working with an accredited surrogacy service.

  • Agencies provide legal assistance

Do you know in which states it is legal to be a surrogate or to engage in a surrogacy arrangement? Do you understand the legal framework surrounding the rights of the child and intended parents? Surrogate agencies step in and ensure that you have all the legal information you need on hand to make an informed decision before you start the journey.

They can even point you in the right direction to talk to legal counselors who are specialized in this area. You will need to understand the legal background of surrogacy arrangements before you enter into your contract.

  • Agencies are experts at matching surrogates and intended parents

If you intend to be a surrogate, your surrogacy agency in California will help to match you with intended parents. As intended parents, the surrogacy agency will likewise facilitate and act as a mediator to match you with the right surrogate.

Matching is a very important part of the process and one in which the surrogate agency is well-versed. Surrogacy agencies are responsible for screening potential surrogates to ensure that they are healthy emotionally and psychologically

  • Agencies provide ongoing support and counseling

Surrogacy is a process that requires ongoing support for all who are involved in the process. The surrogate will face unique challenges as she gets her body ready to carry the baby. The intended parents are also under immeasurable stress as they wait patiently and excitedly for their bundle of joy to arrive.

Surrogates may be subjected to mood swings because of hormonal changes, and fears because of the sense of responsibility they feel and the complications that may occur. In all this, the surrogacy agency is always there as a pillar of support.

Choosing the right surrogacy agency

It is imperative to find a surrogacy agency in California that understands you. Joy of Life is one of the leading surrogacy agencies in California that has journeyed with scores of surrogates and intended parents. As a team made up of former surrogates and intended parents, we are uniquely suited to helping you with your surrogacy arrangement.

To learn more about working with us, contact us today. 

 

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What Should a Surrogate Mother Do While Waiting to Match with Intended Parents?

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Surrogacy is such a special experience and one that you, as the surrogate mom, will want to share with the right intended parents.

Getting to know the intended parents

Once you’ve made up your mind to be a surrogate mother and go through the screening process carried out by the surrogate agency, it’s time to find a pair of intended parents. Ideally, the surrogacy agency will help match you with a couple that fits in with the description you’ve given of your desired intended parents.

When a match is made, the surrogacy agency will let both parties know and you’ll soon be scheduled for an in-person meeting or a teleconference call. This will be your initial contact with the intended parents.

What to look out for when interviewing potential intended parents

Surrogacy is a process that can take well beyond nine months, and therefore it is one that requires you to be paired up with a couple that shares the same goals and values as you do.

As you build a relationship with the intended parents, always trust your intuition or gut feeling. If you don’t feel like you and the intended parents are a good fit, it’s perfectly fine to discuss your concerns with your surrogacy specialist before the surrogacy process begins and papers are signed.

Be wary of intended parents who exhibit any of the following behaviors:

  •         Discourage the signing of legal papers and contracts
  •         Don’t appear to care about your well-being as the surrogate mother
  •         Constantly complain about the cost of the entire process
  •         Hide the surrogacy agreement from their family and friends
  •         Lack of proper support systems
  •         Aren’t keen to engage you in conversation

Additional things to consider when pairing with intended parents

Surrogacy is a unique relationship that requires careful consideration and planning, especially where communication is concerned. Here are a few points to think about and discuss with the intended parents.

  • How do you prefer to connect with the intended parents?

How often do you plan to communicate with each other? What communication means will you use? Will you text, call, or email? It is not unusual for some surrogates and intended parents to opt for a more professional relationship. Tell your match manager ahead of time what kind of communication you’d like to have with intended parents and they’ll help match you up with intended parents with similar surrogate matching preferences.

  • Will the intended parents come to medical appointments?

Do you wish the intended parents to be present at the appointments? If they live locally, they might like to come. If they live out of state perhaps Skyping or FaceTiming might be a viable option. One of the key points you should not forget is to write a birth plan and share it with the intended parents ahead of time to avoid conflicts.

  • Will there be future contact between you and the intended parents?

Surrogacy agreements tend to end when the baby is born. Some intended parents might not wish to have ongoing contact with the surrogate mother. Others don’t mind sending an occasional picture. Discuss the type of contact you wish to have with each other when the baby is born.

The importance of working with the right surrogacy agency

Joy of Life is one of the premier surrogacy agencies in California. We walk with you through the entire surrogacy process from start to finish. We help match you with intended parents who share a common surrogacy plan, values, and beliefs. You don’t have to do this alone.

Keen to learn more about our surrogacy program? Contact us today. 

Surrogate mom with surrogate baby

How Surrogate Mothers Can Get Their Best Sleep

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One of the things that many surrogate mothers struggle with is sleeping well, particularly as they get further into their pregnancies. There are a lot of things changing in their bodies as they help another human being to grow, making life difficult in a lot of ways.

But when you don’t get enough sleep, you are not going to take the best care of yourself and, therefore, your baby. So, we’ve compiled some tips for every surrogate mothers to help you get enough sleep to feel rested.

  • Treat Any Sleep Disorders

In the early stages of a pregnancy, many surrogate mothers find that they are getting the same amount or more of sleep as they were before they got pregnant but that they aren’t feeling as well rested as they were before. As they get further into their pregnancies, they get less sleep and lower quality sleep.

If you already struggle with sleep issues, you might find that you need to treat them more seriously. Pregnancy can exacerbate pre-existing issues and make them into something more serious than they were before. Talk to your doctor or the staff at Joy of Life about adjusting your medication or treatment plan in order to make sure both you and your baby are getting enough oxygen.

  • Adjust Your Pillows & Mattress

One of the problems with pregnancy is that your body changes in ways that you can’t control. Your stomach will get bigger as you get further along, which might change the way you sleep. As your sleep position changes to make you more comfortable, you will also need to adjust your pillows to support you and your belly. Although manufacturers make pillows specifically for pregnant bodies, you don’t have to buy one of those; just surround yourself with pillows until you feel comfortable.

Surrogate mothers also need to make sure that their mattress is actually comfortable. That will make a huge difference in both the quantity and quality of sleep. Some mattresses are better for sleeping than others (https://www.sleephelp.org/best-mattresses-for-pregnancy/) for surrogate mothers, so do some research before you go replacing your mattress.

  • Set Yourself a Bedtime

One of the best ways to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep is to schedule it into your day. By setting yourself a bedtime and a wake-up time, your body will get used to waking up and going to bed at the same time every day.

  • Add Naps During the Day

Something else that you can add to your daily routine is a nap, especially if you are finding it really difficult to make it all the way through the day without one. By scheduling it into your day, it will be less of a disruption to your schedule.

If you find yourself really struggling to get through the day, talk to your doctor and the staff at Joy of Life. They will be able to help you see if there is another reason that you are as exhausted as you are, whether that is an iron deficiency or some other illness causing you problems.

A surrogate mother is taking the test

Commercial Surrogacy vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

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Beginning a family can be an exciting time in a person’s life. However, while many long to have kids, some can’t conceive for one reason or the other. Nevertheless, you’ll find that surrogacy can offer a solution. The process entails a woman carrying an embryo and subsequently birthing a baby for another couple or individual.

Surrogacy agencies such as Joy of Life can identify with couples that can’t have children. That’s why they’re ready to take you through the process so you can enjoy the experience of having kids. In the surrogacy world, the two major kinds of surrogacy are commercial and altruistic surrogacy.

The major differentiating factor is that the altruistic type doesn’t require monetary compensation and the surrogate might be a friend or close family member

Here’s an insight into the distinction between the two kinds.

Altruistic Surrogacy

This type involves an agreement where the surrogate doesn’t receive financial compensation. In most of these agreements, the surrogate tends to have close relations with the intended parents. While entering into this agreement with a known surrogate is a great experience, unforeseen expenses or complications might arise during an altruistic surrogacy that could cause problems.

Commercial Surrogacy

Commercial surrogacy is an agreement that involves pre-determined financial compensation for the surrogate, along with full coverage for the associated medical expenses.

Critics feel that the practice exploits vulnerable women and the system of reproduction while commoditizing human life. Advocates argue that it’s unjust for a surrogate to carry a baby for somebody else without receiving compensation. Proponents further believe that it’s best to permit the practice so regulation can occur and everybody’s rights can be protected.

While a number of critics accuse and demoralize surrogates using this method, testimonies prove the criticism is unfounded. Gestational surrogates assert how selfless they felt when they entered into the commercial surrogacy agreement. Moreover, this kind offers the intended parents involvement in the surrogacy process through agreed-upon terms in the contract.

For instance, the couple can require the surrogate to follow a certain diet. Surrogates in this agreement also obtain support from the services offered by the surrogacy agency throughout the experience. The screening process helps potential surrogates understand what to expect to make sure it’s what they want.

A social worker and professional surrogate advocate will assist the gestational surrogate during the procedure, including after delivery, where necessary.

The Pros of Commercial Surrogacy

surrogacy consulting

Some of the benefits associated with this kind of surrogacy include the following:

  • It allows fair compensation for women for their year-long dedication to the intended parents, along with the emotional and physical demands of pregnancy.
  • In countries and states where well-defined laws exist, commercial surrogacy is under lawful regulation to guard the surrogate’s and the intended parents’ rights.
  • Commercial surrogacy is ideal if you don’t want to pressure your friends or family to participate in altruistic surrogacy. The last thing you’d want is to jeopardize your relations with your family or friends, so this form of surrogacy can be easier for families.
  • In this form of surrogacy, the negotiation of contracts occurs beforehand to establish the financial compensation the surrogate will obtain. This is to avoid disputes regarding reimbursements during and after the pregnancy.
  • In the U.S., most surrogates who choose this form of surrogacy don’t do it exclusively for the compensation. All surrogacy entails some degree of altruism because every surrogate needs compassion and a willingness to sacrifice. Actually, most women engage in this practice in order to help other families.

The Other Side of Altruistic Surrogacy

A Surrogate Mother

Be aware of these challenges before you enter into this kind of surrogacy agreement:

  • Most of the surrogates who opt for this form of surrogacy are usually family or close friends of those who intend to be parents. You’ll find that the parents-to-be are unlikely to find a match through the matching services if they aren’t seeking identified surrogacy.
  • The parents-to-be might feel as though they don’t have much control over the process because they aren’t compensating the surrogate. As such, they might be reluctant to advise the surrogate.
  • There might be a feeling of exploitation or under-appreciation from the altruistic surrogates. Moreover, family members might feel pressure to enter into an agreement where compensation doesn’t exist.
  • These circumstances could possibly have a negative influence on the intended parents’ relations with the surrogate.

Relationships

In this agreement, the risk of straining your relationship during the pregnancy and after the birth exists. The surrogacy process can be intricate with mutual demands. While the intended parents (IP) endure financial and emotional strain, surrogates equally undergo a lot physically and emotionally.

IPs might withhold fundamental requests relevant to the procedure because they aren’t offering any compensation. On the same note, the surrogate might experience a sense of discomfort and might be concerned about asking their friends or family to cover minor items, which could end up being costly over time.

You’ll need to ask yourself whether the relationship can survive a surrogacy and whether it’s worth the risk.

Cost

The cost can be a drawback for various reasons. In the case of commercial surrogacy, the surrogate and parent-to-be would have to prove they’re financially stable and capable of participating in the program with a surrogacy agency.

As a result, the parents-to-be must demonstrate the ability to cover medical expenses and other accompanying expenses throughout the process. The surrogate would also need to show that their motive isn’t just the money. In this agreement, the surrogate could incur considerable expenses out of pocket.

Fewer Safeguards

Reputable surrogacy agencies in California such as Joy of Life help the surrogate and intended parents navigate through the intricate process. Be aware of protective measures that seek to cover both parties, for instance, psychological screening, background checks, and verification of financial stability. The altruistic surrogacy agreement lacks a third-party objective to safeguard against possible risks.

Although an altruistic surrogacy is a gesture of compassion, it comes with risk. Keep in mind that each situation is distinct and, where some experiences might be picturesque, for others, the risk might outweigh the positive aspects. Whichever option you take, make sure you consult with a professional reproductive attorney to help you determine whether this path is suitable for you.

The Way of Surrogacy

surrogate mother

Surrogacy is a life-changing experience for the parties involved and the IPs should be wary of the possible long-term effects of this procedure. If you were to choose between altruistic and commercial, you’re better off choosing commercial surrogacy, due to the professional services that come with it. It’s just as important to choose the right surrogacy agency.

One such agency is Joy of Life, which seeks to help mothers going through the frustration of not conceiving. If you’re thinking of fulfilling your dream of becoming parents in the future, you can turn to Joy of Life for outstanding professional services.

One of the most significant things to consider when pursuing surrogacy is the legal process. Surrogacy is indeed a satisfying experience for gestational carriers and intentional IPs. Nevertheless, it demands considerable dedication from both parties.

If you’re keen on expanding or beginning your family through surrogacy, you’re welcome to schedule a consultation with the staff at JOL. The California agency seeks to make treatment easily available for its patients while giving the surrogate mother an opportunity to enjoy the birth to help others parenthood.

Stressed out mother with baby

Postpartum Depression in Surrogate Mothers Following Surrogate Birth

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Surrogacy is a beautiful, selfless gift of life for so many people and families struggling to conceive. Being a surrogate mother enables you to become part of these Individual’s  journey by creating  families and making the dream of parenthood come true. However , it’s also true that it greatly impacts the life of the surrogate mother. Following the birth of the baby, the surrogate may experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritation, and more. Such feeling and emotions  are often normal for women who give birth, and it is recognized as  baby blues. Most of the time baby blues go away. However, if the feelings persist or the surrogate mother continues to feel a sense of loss, then she may be struggling with postpartum depression.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is the most common problem that surrogate mothers can face after a surrogate birth. Signs and symptoms often include insomnia, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, irritability, and sense of loss that last longer than a few days or weeks. Postpartum depression can last anywhere from months to years, and without treatment symptoms can result in isolation resulting inthe surrogate detaching herself from friends and family. Although it can affect as many  as 20% of the new-mother population, including surrogate mothers, there is no exact known cause for postpartum depression.

What causes postpartum depression with surrogacy?

Even though it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, there are a number of possible explanations for why a surrogate mother may experience postpartum depression following a surrogate birth. One of the most widely held theories is that postpartum depression is the result of drastic and rapid changes in hormone levels following pregnancy and labor. After giving birth, a woman’s body undergoes a number of changes, including sudden drops in estrogen and progesterone levels. This drop may then spur a chemical change in the brain and lead to postpartum depression.

Some women may also be at higher risk of depression if they have a history of mental illness, or manic-depressive disorder. Lifestyle choices can also lead to higher risk, such as a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes the depression can stem from situations out of the woman’s control as well, if she experiences stress from illness or loss, complications during the pregnancy, or lack of support from loved ones. Surrogate mothers especially can fall into the latter risk categories, as surrogacy can be a difficult choice for some friends and family to understand, with the surrogate mother going through pregnancy and birth of a baby for someone else.

At the end of the surrogacy journey, following labor and birth and the daily experience of pregnancy, the surrogate can undergo a period of intense emotions. There is suddenly a shift in her daily routine, and the surrogate may be left with a feeling of loss from these changes. Prior to labor and birth, surrogates are in consistent communication with doctors and intended parents, but once the parents have their baby this communication often comes to a halt. As her life undergoes so many changes in such a short period of time, the surrogate may find herself struggling through postpartum depression.

All of this is also experienced without a baby. No research states that a surrogate experiences depression more intensely than a traditional mother, but for some surrogate mothers the responsibility of carrying and birthing a baby that isn’t theirs to keep can be life-altering. This is part of why it is so critical for a surrogate mother to maintain communication with doctors and loved ones throughout the entire surrogacy process. Surrogates give so much meaning to others, especially the parents they are helping, but they also have a responsibility to themselves It’s vital that they ensure their own health, safety, and happiness.

As the surrogate goes through the process, she needs to be open with how she is feeling so she can get the support she needs. This holds true following the birth of the baby as well. In order to be properly assessed and to receive the appropriate treatment, surrogate mothers should always schedule an appointment with a medical professional to discuss their symptoms and concerns.

Treatments for Surrogates Experiencing Postpartum Depression

Once a surrogate mother has been professionally diagnosed with postpartum depression, she can get help. There are a number of treatments available to help treat and alleviate the effects of postpartum depression, many of which may not even require medication. Depression can be extremely lonely since it leads to isolation, so an effective treatment may simply be talking. Surrogates going through postpartum depression are encouraged to talk to friends, family, and professionals to combat not only the loneliness but the sadness that comes with it as well.

Speaking with others about how they feel allows the surrogate mothers to embrace relationships with others, and opening up to a professional in counseling or therapy can offer a safe space to discuss deeper thoughts or feelings the surrogate may not feel comfortable sharing with someone they know on a personal level. A mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor, can help the surrogate through the more difficult or complex aspects of postpartum depression.

Doctors may also be invaluable resources for surrogates with postpartum depression by prescribing the proper medication. There are now a number of medications available that can help address the symptoms of depression. Before any of these are taken or prescribed, it is important to schedule an appointment with a medical/mental professional for help.

The Effects of Surrogacy on Relationships and Family

Help can come in a variety of forms, and one of the most important ones often comes in the form of loved ones, but this can be complicated throughout the surrogacy process. To ensure a safe and rewarding surrogacy journey, the surrogate mother needs support and encouragement during all the steps of the experience, from the good to the bad and everything in between. In order to have this support, the surrogate should consider how surrogacy may impact her loved ones and family, and how the commitment affects her as well.

Everyone affected by the surrogacy should talk about their questions and concerns, especially as it is common for the gestational carrier, or surrogate mother, to develop some level of attachment to both the baby and the baby’s parents. Once the baby is handed to the parents, the surrogate can then begin to feel that sense of loss that can pave the way to postpartum depression, so psychological and emotional support from her friends and family is critical to help her through the transition.

The Surrogacy Process

Making sure that the surrogate mother has access to a support system is a crucial part of the surrogacy process. Before she becomes a surrogate, she will complete a psychological evaluation in addition to an interview, medical screening, and more. This is just the first step of the process. After she meets with the intended parents, she will move to step two where the pregnancy begins with an embryo transfer. Step three is the pregnancy itself, where the surrogate has regular obstetric appointments up to  the birth of the baby. At every stage, the surrogate mother will have access to the compassionate, and empathetic team at Joy of Life.

How Joy of Life Helps Surrogate Mothers with Postpartum Depression

If the surrogate does go through postpartum depression, the Joy of Life team wants her to know she will never be alone. Her selfless gift of life is one of the most courageous and beautiful things she can offer to a family seeking parenthood, and every member of the team understands and respects her for this decision. When she needs help, she will have access to the care she requires that include  medical professionals and a dedicated team of individuals that are  ready to talk and offer support and guidance. Those interested in more information about how they can get help or how they can be part of the surrogacy process with Joy of Life are encouraged to contact the team.

surrogacy consulting

Top Surrogacy Questions Answered

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It is important for surrogate mother and intended parent(s) to have a foundation of knowledge about surrogacy. This blog will provide you answers to the most significant questions about surrogacy as you consider the surrogacy process.

  • What is a Surrogate Mother?

This is a woman who carries a child for someone who is unable to conceive a child with his/her partner. The surrogate becomes pregnant through either the fertilization of her own egg by a sperm donor (traditional surrogacy) or the implantation of a fertilized egg from another woman (gestational surrogacy). A traditional surrogate has biological connections to the baby, while gestational surrogates do not.

  • How Much Does a Surrogate Make?

The amount of compensation granted to a surrogate varies depending on experience, circumstances, and the agreement made between the intended parent(s) and the surrogate. The cost could also depend on the state and the demand for surrogates in that specific state.

  • Why Would You Want to Be a Surrogate Mother?

Being a surrogate mother gives you the rewarding opportunity to assist intended parent(s) in bringing a child into their lives. Any reliable surrogacy agency will ensure compensation for and health monitoring of the surrogate mother, giving a much-needed sense of relief to each surrogate.

  • What’s the Difference Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy?

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are fertilized by the intended father or donor’s sperm, making the surrogate genetically related to the baby. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the medical procedure that transfers the sperm of the intended father directly into the uterus of the surrogate mother.

In gestational surrogacy, an egg donor’s eggs will be used to create the embryo. In this situation, the surrogate doesn’t have any genetic relationship to the baby and is just considered the “birth mother.” The fertilized embryo is implanted through in-vitro fertilization.

  • What are the Requirements for Becoming a Surrogate Mother?

Being a surrogate mother requires that you’re in good health and have taken the necessary steps before becoming a part of the process. Here are the requirements:

  1. Age 21-39
  2. BMI between 18-32
  3. Non-smoker living in a non-smoking home
  4. No criminal records
  5. No history of mental illness
  6. OB/GYN records and clearance letter
  7. Not currently receiving financial support from the government
  8. Resident of a state where surrogacy is allowed (e.g., California)
  9. Have had a previous, successful pregnancy and birth
  10. Has undergone medical examination of physical and mental health (e.g., psychological testing)
  11. Has a lawyer and has all legal contracts signed by the surrogate’s spouse, if applicable
  12. Has health insurance that covers 8 weeks post-delivery
  • Why Choose Joy of Life Surrogacy agency?

Joy of Life is a specialized surrogacy agency that helps surrogate mothers through its hospitable and professional services. Joy of Life gives surrogate mothers every bit of knowledge they’ve gathered over the years that is significant to the surrogacy process before, during, and after pregnancy. We strive to prevent any complications and/or stressful factors, as the surrogacy process should be filled with health and happiness.

Joy of Life is a California-based surrogacy agency and has helped many couples build families. If you have any other questions, please contact us at info@joyoflifesurrogacy.com or 909-908-0772.

Becoming a surrogate mother

Everything You Need to Know About the Surrogacy Process

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Have you ever considered surrogacy?  What does surrogacy mean? What is the definition of surrogacy?

Here’s what’s important to know about surrogate process before entering the surrogacy world….

Surrogacy is a wonderful alternative for intended parent(s) when conceiving or carrying their own child is not an option. If you don’t understood the surrogate mother process completely prior to contracting with a surrogate mother, it can be a stressful experience, considering surrogacy’s medical, financial, and legal agreements, all of which are essential to the surrogacy process. While you will have a legal team assisting you along the way, it is crucial that anyone considering the surrogate mother process understand it in detail, so that you feel a sense of comfort and involvement during the surrogate’s pregnancy. In addition, a trustworthy surrogacy agency will provide you the guidance you deserve by answering any and all lingering questions you might have during the entire surrogacy process.

General Terms Regarding to Surrogacy process

  • Gestational Carrier

The gestational carrier is a woman who carries a child that was conceived through in vitro fertilization, using the egg and sperm of the intended mother and father. Further, the gestational surrogate mother has absolutely no biological connection to the baby (the baby won’t look like the surrogate mother) and is therefore referred to as the baby’s “birth mother,” rather than “biological mother.”

  • Intended Parent

The intended parent is the person(s) who will be the baby’s parent when the baby is born, regardless of the genetic connection. Whether the child was conceived using the intended parent’s egg and/or sperm or that of a donor, there is a mutual agreement that the surrogate makes with the intended parent.

  • Domestic Surrogacy

A domestic surrogacy is arranged between a surrogate mother and the intended parent(s), both of whom reside in the United States.

  • Surrogate Mother Pay (Compensation)

Compensation is the money a surrogate mother receives from the intended parent(s) for her time and effort during her pregnancy. These costs are not bound to medical or legal laws and can therefore vary, depending on the agreement made between the two parties.

Medical Terms Regarding to Surrogate Mother Process

  • Informed Consent

Informed consent is your authorization to proceed with any medical tasks, with the understanding that there could be possible health consequences. Usually, the patient has to inform the doctor that they have perfect knowledge of any risks and or benefits. In a surrogacy, this includes the IVF clinic, the legal team, and surrogacy agency.

  • Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)

This test is a comprehensive assessment of a person’s psychopathology, which may be relevant to any medical process. This very thorough test lists 344 items, each ranked on a 4-point scale, and takes 50-60 minutes to complete. This assessment is significant for any potential surrogate mother in order to evaluate her mental health before she carries surrogate baby.

  • Monitoring Clinic

The monitoring clinic is an IVF clinic that does blood work and performs ultrasounds and other examinations of a surrogate mother prior to the embryo transfer. A monitoring clinic will determine her suitability for a transfer before she goes to a transfer clinic.

  • Selective Reduction and Termination

Selective reduction is the process of reducing the number of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy, usually to prevent any serious risks to the surrogate mothers during her pregnancy. If one of the fetuses has an incurable disease or is outside of the uterus, then the process of termination will take place so a baby is not born with serious health problems. This process is different from abortion, because its underlying reason is a serious health issue. This two-day procedure was accepted in the 1980s when doctors became more aware of the health consequences that come with pregnancy.

Insurance Terms Regarding to Surrogacy Process

  • Infertility Coverage

This is the health insurance given to intended parent(s) for infertility and IVF treatments. Only 15 states currently provide insurance for these treatments, and it has remained the same since the 1980s.

  • Surrogate Health Insurance

This is the surrogacy insurance granted to the surrogate mothers during their pregnancy, in case any problems occur.

  • Comprehensive Surrogacy Insurance

This surrogacy insurance is given to the surrogate mother and is purchased by the intended parent(s). It will give the surrogate mother the ability to see any doctor and give birth at any hospital.

  • Newborn Health Insurance

This is the health insurance purchased by the intended parent(s) to protect their new-born child. The coverage will be effective as long as the intended parent(s) enroll their child within the first 30 days of birth. If not enrolled within the first 30 days, the child risks being subject to a pre-existing condition exclusion.

Legal Terms Regarding to Surrogate Mother Process

This is an agreement between the legal teams for both the surrogate mother(s) and intended parent(s). The contract covers parentage, state laws, and financial and medical terms in order to protect all parties involved in the process. It is required by the surrogacy agency before there is any direct communication between the surrogate mother(a) and intended parent(s) to prevent any legal issues between the two parties.

  • Escrow Account

These accounts help you plan for future payments by ensuring money is set aside. In a surrogacy agreement, an escrow account is required in order to make sure the surrogate mothers will receive her proper amount of compensation at an appropriate time.

  • Anonymous Signature Page

This page is signed by the intended parents and the egg donor during the surrogacy process to ensure anonymity after the Direct Agreement between the two parties has been signed. It will be signed as “Intended Parent” and “Egg Donor,” and both parties will receive a copy of this page for their files.

This agreement describes the surrogacy law of direct agreement between the gestational carrier and the intended parent(s). The contract covers medical decisions during the pregnancy, medical bills, medical complications, medical history, financial considerations, and the involvement that the intended parent(s) will have during the surrogate mother’s pregnancy. This is one of the few documents that involves direct communication between the intended parent(s) and the surrogate mother(s).

  • Parentage

This document covers the legal process of the intended parent(s) to obtain full rights over the baby once he/she is born and for the surrogate mothers to be relieved from legal responsibility over the child she is carrying. This process begins after the pregnancy commences and is handled by the in-state attorney. The process of parentage involves many legal documents in order to give full rights to the intended parent(s) and varies depending on the state surrogacy laws.

  • Pre-Birth Order (PBO)

This is one of the legal documents involved in assigning parentage to a child. These documents are usually started in the fourth month and completed by the seventh month of the surrogate mother’s pregnancy but may vary depending on which state in which the surrogate resides.

  • Post-Birth Order

This is a legal document that assigns you as the legal parent(s) of the child and is required by some states, depending on their surrogacy laws. The state court will sign off on the document once the baby is born as a final step in the parentage process.

 

surrogate mother

As it may now appear to you, the surrogacy process is not to be taken lightly, and it is important to understand the different surrogacy definitions and surrogacy’s legal aspects if you are considering the process. However, it is an amazing option for intended parent(s) who aren’t able to conceive their own children. Our goal is to bring all families who are considering surrogacy a sense of comfort and knowledge about the process. This blog gives you everything you need to know about surrogacy.

Joy of Life is a California-based surrogacy agency that has helped many couples build families. If you have any other questions, please contact us.