The Surrogate Selection Process
Some women may be unable to carry a baby to term because of health problems, uterus problems or being born without a uterus. These women may choose to hire a surrogate. A surrogate is a woman who chooses to be artificially impregnated with another couple's embryo, carry the baby to term and give birth to the child without expecting to keep the child or even be in that child's life.
Is It Legal?
Surrogacy is not legal in all countries or even in all areas of one country. In the United States, for example, surrogacy is legal in California but illegal in New York. If choosing a surrogate, it's important to make sure the process is legal in your country, state or province. If it's not, you could lose your child if the surrogate chooses to change her mind. This is because in many countries, it's assumed that the woman giving birth to a baby is the child's mother.
If surrogacy is legal where you live, you'll still need to visit a lawyer to make the arrangement legally enforceable.
The Search for a Surrogate
Perhaps you have a friend or relative who has agreed to be your surrogate. This can be the ideal arrangement if you know the person well and trust them. You can feel comfortable that they will take care of your child as they would their own as they carry him or her to term. Even if you know the surrogate, it's still a good idea to consult a lawyer and make legal arrangements.
Your other choice is to consult an agency. If surrogacy is legal in your country, there will be agencies that will help you find a suitable surrogate. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself and your spouse and then the agency will match you up with potential candidates to interview and select. Most surrogates are women who have had living children and do not want more of their own. Rarely will you get a surrogate who has never had a child and never will you have one who has suffered repeated miscarriages or stillbirths.
Surrogate mothers from a reputable agency must pass a criminal and background check, and is medically and psychologically screened. Then she is matched to the woman or couple looking for a surrogate.
Choosing the Candidate
If going with an agency you will receive a short list of a few potential candidates that the agency feels match well with you. The agency will arrange a meet-and-greet. You don't need to ask the candidate many questions about her qualifications for being a surrogate because the agency will have already done that for you. But you do want to look for someone who is open with you, who you feel comfortable with and someone you feel is willing to follow any reasonable restrictions necessary for the healthy birth of your child.
You and the surrogate mother will both have independent lawyers to draft a surrogacy contract. If choosing a surrogate yourself, you will need to find a lawyer experienced in third party reproduction. If working with an agency, the agency will put you in contact with the appropriate lawyers.
Surrogates do not pay to carry your child and you will be responsible for all the medical and clothing costs associated with her carrying your child to term. The contract should clearly state the details of the agreement you and your surrogate have made.