Surrogacy is becoming increasingly common in the United States. Through surrogacy, parents who are unable to have a baby of their own are able to start families. While surrogacy is a promising method of assisted reproduction, many people aren’t exactly sure what is involved or how to get started. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering becoming an egg donor, surrogate, or parent.


What Does Surrogacy Cost?

The cost of surrogacy depends on many factors. Most intended parents choose to pursue surrogacy through the help of an agency. A surrogacy agency provides all of the necessary services you’ll need, from finding donors and surrogates to coordinating medical procedures and covering your legal bases. Although you can save money with a private surrogacy, many parents find that the process is too complicated to tackle on their own. It’s recommended that parents only pursue private surrogacies if they’ve already found a friend or family member to carry their baby.

Hiring a surrogate through an agency can cost anywhere between $75,000 to over $100,000. This includes medical procedures, legal fees, compensation for the surrogate mother, and insurance coverage. If you’ve already found a surrogate, you can save money by finding an egg donor only. According to Circle Surrogacy, using an egg donor costs about $26,000. This expense covers egg donor screenings, compensation for the donor, insurance, and coordination of the entire process.


Choosing a Type of Surrogacy

There are two main types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is inseminated with sperm from a donor or from the intended father. As a result, the surrogate is the child’s biological mother.

A gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, involves a surrogate who is completely unrelated to the baby. Often, the sperm and egg are taken from the intended parents and used to create an embryo that is transferred to the surrogate. Gestational surrogacies can also take place using donor eggs and donor sperm. Because legal issues can arise when the surrogate mother has a biological connection to the child, most parents prefer a gestational surrogacy.


Surrogacy Laws

Surrogacy laws are complicated in the United States. Since there are no federal surrogacy laws, individual states have set their own regulations. Some states are very open towards surrogacy while others place restrictions on the process and will not recognize surrogacy contracts. Some states have outlawed traditional surrogacy or banned surrogates from receiving compensation for their services. Whether you’re becoming a surrogate or a parent, make sure you take some time to learn about the surrogacy laws in your region.


How to Become a Surrogate Mother

Most surrogate mothers sign up with an agency. This is the easiest way to find intended parents and ensure the entire process is handled properly. In order to be accepted by an agency, surrogate mothers must meet certain qualifications defined by the organization. Mothers also have to undergo psychological and medical testing.

If you want to be a surrogate mother to a friend, LiveStrong recommends carefully considering the emotional aspects of carrying a child for someone else before moving forward, especially if you will be providing your own egg. Whether you choose a private or agency surrogacy, you will need to receive fertility treatments to ensure your body is prepared for the pregnancy.

Additionally, you will need to prepare for this journey by getting everything an expectant mother will need to stay comfortable during the pregnancy. This includes everything from comfortable clothing to prenatal vitamins, moisturizers, and essential oils. Self-care is incredibly important during pregnancy, so make sure you practice it whenever you can.


Getting Involved as an Egg Donor

While being an egg donor is easier than being a surrogate mother, eggs donors still face many tests and fertility treatments. For example, you will have to be screened for any genetic disorders that may be passed down to your biological child. Egg donors are also required to undergo hormone injections which trigger the body to create multiple eggs. Although you can receive compensation for donating eggs, make sure you’re not doing it just for the money.

Surrogacy can be a life-changing experience for everything involved. Intended parents get a chance to grow a family while egg donors and surrogates get a chance to provide a selfless gift to others. But surrogacy can also be extremely emotional. Before getting involved, make sure you’re mentally prepared to ensure the experience is a rewarding one.