Becoming a surrogate mother in California is a wonderful way to help intended parents have families of their own. If you’re certain that surrogacy is right for you, congratulations, you are well on your way to embarking on one of the most extraordinary journeys of your life.
Even if you are 100% committed to your decision, it is understandable to feel somewhat scared and worried. After all, it is a big life-changing decision that will require a strong will and commitment. However, as scary as it may seem, it is also one of the most rewarding things a human being can do for another.
Keep reading to find out how to become a surrogate mother in California.
What Exactly is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry a baby on behalf of another couple. The surrogate becomes pregnant and delivers the child for the parents. The parents raise the child as their own, and they are the legal guardians with full custody of the child.
The surrogate may or may not be a part of the child’s life afterward. This decision is entirely personal and up to the parents and the surrogate.
Surrogate Mother Requirements in California
Below are some general guidelines for surrogacy in the state of California. However, keep in mind that surrogacy programs may have their own set of criteria for joining their programs. Learn more about American Surrogacy Center’s qualifications here.
- Be a U.S. Citizen.
- Non-smoker and drug-free.
- Free of any sexually transmitted disease for at least one year.
- Be between 21-45 years of age (However, this will vary by agency. Our age requirements at American Surrogacy are between 21-35.)
- Have a body mass index below 30 (This will also vary by agency. Our BMI requirements are below 35).
- You should have had at least one successful pregnancy.
- It would be ideal, not necessarily a condition if you had previous pregnancies with no complications.
- No history of postpartum depression.
- Have reliable transportation to travel to and from medical appointments.
- Have a strong emotional support system at home.
- Maintain a healthy weight, neither underweight or overweight
- Be willing to undergo psychological screening.
- Be willing to undergo anesthesia and other medications and treatments, including injections.
What Your California Surrogacy Commitment Means
Surrogacy requires a year-long commitment. Commitment means your body, heart, mind, time, and energy. If it sounds too overwhelming, it’s because it is.
Surrogacy is not a decision to be taken lightly, nor is it a quick way to make money. If your only motivation is for financial reward, then surrogacy is not for you. There are better and easier ways to earn money. The purpose of surrogate compensation is to provide you with an incentive for your hard work and sacrifice.
Your commitment also means cooperation and willingness to work with others. This includes working with the intended parents, your doctors, agency staff, and even your own family.
For example, if you’re married, your spouse should also be on board with your decision to be a surrogate. At the same time, both you and your spouse should understand that you cannot claim parental rights to the child. The ultimate goal in surrogacy is to help another couple have a child.
The Types of Surrogacy in California
There are two types of surrogacy in California, each with key distinctions.
Traditional surrogacy is less popular in California as it is elsewhere, but it is legal. Through this method, the surrogate’s eggs are fertilized with sperm from the intended father or from a donor. The surrogate is the biological mother to the child. There are also more associated risks with this form of surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy is what most agencies offer in California (and other states). Through this method, an embryo is created through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) by combining the sperm and eggs from donors or from the intended parents. The gestational carrier is not the biological parent to the child. It is also a safer form of surrogacy than traditional.
Choosing the Intended Parents
In some cases, surrogates may already know which couple they want to help. They may know them on a personal level, such as friends or other family members. But most women looking to become surrogates, enlist the help of an agency for finding a couple.
The agency will have a list of parent profiles from which a surrogate candidate can choose. Likewise, the intended parents will also be able to choose who they’d like to work with as a surrogate. The decision has to be mutual on both ends. It is also vital that both the surrogate and parents have similar views on ethical issues, such as abortion.
As you can imagine, conceiving a child through surrogacy has legal challenges. For this reason, you will be required to establish a binding legal contract with the intended parents. Once the legal process is completed, you will then go through the embryo transfer process.
The Most Rewarding Moment of All
After you’ve gone through the screening, legal, and medical process, all the way through pregnancy, you will welcome a beautiful baby for the intended parents. It’s a moment of joy that both you and the parents will relish forever.
California surrogacy is a wonderful way to help a couple who wants to have children. By the same token, when you become a surrogate in California, it is an amazing way to do something selfless and for the good of others.