Surrogate Parenting: Insights into the Process & What to Expect for Parents & Surrogates

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... they say that one of the greatest miracles is to give life, but I believe that the greatest miracle is to raise a baby into a mature adult. For some couples, having a baby is out of the question. Medical reasons may prevent a woman from conceiving—she or her spouse may be infertile, high-risk or desire not to go through the experience of pregnancy and delivery for personal reasons.

Such parents can still experience the joy of having a child through an option called surrogate parenting. This is an arrangement in which another woman carries and delivers the couple's child. Although some people object to this because the surrogate mother usually makes a good amount of money, she also provides a bundle of joy for two people who truly want a child.

For Potential Surrogate Mothers

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate mother, then knowing the qualifications in advance will help. First, it's important to know that some states frown on this, so you need to check with the local authorities to see if it is legal. You need to be a permanent resident, between the ages of 21 and 42. You should not be on any type of government assistance programs such as food stamps. In order to be a surrogate mother you should have already given birth to your own child that and be raising this child. You also must be a non-smoker and in good health.

Surrogate Parents: Questions to Ask Yourself before Considering Surrogacy

There are few questions you want to ask yourself before going forward. The first question is what is the mental capacity of the surrogate. You need to determine to the best of your ability whether she will have a problem giving up the baby after birth. If she does, this will lead to great heartache for you and your spouse.

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Pay attention to the way the surrogate lives. Make sure she doesn't have a lifestyle that could harm the baby in any way. She should not take drugs or be in contact with any chemicals or hazards. She should not drink or smoke. While these seem like obvious questions, make sure to ask. Also, ask for a medical history to determine if there are any conditions that could be passed on to the child. Go over all the legal aspects, so that each party understands what is expected. Dealing with these issues can be complex which is why most parents work with surrogate parenting consultants.

How to Make Surrogate Parenting Successful

Doing your utmost to get matched up with the best surrogate will go a long way to making this successful. There are plenty of agencies that can help you find the perfect fit for your needs. An surrogate parenting consultant will take you through every step of the process and has the experience to guide you with regard to important issues.

What to Look for in a Surrogacy Agency or Professional

When you start looking for someone to help you with this process, you will want to ask for recommendations. Find a forum or message board that covers the topic and see if you can get some referrals in your area. Be sure to check out more than one agency, so you compare pricing, services, location and your intuitive sense of what feels right.

Venturing into parenthood can be exciting, but make sure you proceed with care, exploring all your options and taking the time to select the best surrogate parenting consultant and surrogate mother to ensure the most beneficial outcome for everyone involved.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which teaches parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and lead meaningful and productive lives as adults. The book won a Nautilus Award for "books that promote conscious living and social change."

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