The Surrogate Mother
With so much focus on the parents, some may question the surrogate mother's role in all of this. A surrogate mother is a woman of childbearing age who often sees surrogacy as the way to give the gift of life to a well-deserving family. Although financial compensation is a consideration, it is typically not the primary motivating factor. In fact, determining motivation is a part of the psychological assessment provided by most agencies.
Most surrogates have their own children, enjoy being pregnant, have a history of uncomplicated pregnancies, display a strong compassion toward others, and possess a high respect for parenthood. In an agency setting, potential surrogate mothers are carefully screened both medically and psychologically. The full medical assessment—including medical history, family history, psychological test results, and a report of physical health as assessed by an agency-designated physician—is a part of the surrogate's profile that is provided to the prospective couple. Because of the complexity of this relationship, it is essential that both the couple and surrogate mother are assured of a mutually beneficial relationship.
Finally, in addition to the medical and relational concerns, prospective parents can become dissuaded when it comes to financial issues. It is important to remember that each agency or lawyer will have a determined fee schedule to cover the medical procedures, legalities, and other considerations. Fees can vary greatly from state to state and agency to agency, ranging from $10,000 to over $50,000. Additionally, if the surrogate mother has medical insurance, it will be used for her care, and any costs not covered by insurance are typically the responsibility of the intended parents. Yet, couples often find that surrogacy can be a cost-effective option, even when compared to ongoing infertility treatments or adoption.
As infertility and reproductive medicine increase in public awareness, surrogacy is becoming better known and understood. The individuals involved—the parents, surrogate mother, egg donor, etc.—all have the incredible blessing of participating in the creation of a family. Through this combination of medical technology and heartfelt compassion, many couples are finally able to experience the joy of parenthood. As with any pregnancy, surrogacy is an amazing and miraculous journey.