About the Roles and Responsibilities of Bringing Life into the World
As the old saying goes, “If having a child was easy, everyone would do it.” The same goes for surrogacy. There is a reason that surrogates are in such high demand in the U.S., with the average surrogate mother in California making between $45,000 and $60,000 in compensation. Being a surrogate is hard work, and becoming a surrogate is a challenge in and of itself.
A surrogate is a job, and the application process feels quite similar to one. Just as different companies have different qualification requirements for their jobs, different surrogacy agencies have different standards for their surrogates. Entry-level employees are paid less, and first-time surrogates are typically paid less than more experienced surrogates as well. While the qualifications for becoming a surrogate can change slightly depending on the agency, here are some standard requirements you can expect to encounter:
- Must be of child-bearing years, between 22-40 years old
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be a non-smoker and in good health
- Must meet a healthy height and weight ratio
- Should not be receiving state or federal financial aid
- Should be willing to undergo necessary injections
- Should be willing to undergo a background check and have their partner undergo a background check if applicable
- Should be willing to undergo a psychological evaluation
If an agency determines that you are not fit to become a surrogate, we know this can be harsh news, but try not to take it personally. We are all unique individuals, and failing to meet a specific set of expectations does not make you any less than another.
On the other hand, if the agency determines that you are fit to be a surrogate, your duties have just begun. The next step will be to match you with a suitable individual or family who is looking to have a baby through a surrogate. Sometimes, an agency can match you in one to two months, and other times, it might take as long as six months.
Once you are matched with a family, remember your ultimate goal: to see to it that the intended parents receive custody of their baby. All of your other responsibilities in the surrogacy process fall under that goal. As a surrogate, you are responsible for releasing all claims to being a parent to the baby, as well as all custodial claims. This sounds a lot more intimidating than it is. All it means is that you will not be having custody of the baby, which as a surrogate, is not what you signed up for in the first place. Other than that, your roles and responsibilities as a surrogate are important, but fairly simple and intuitive. They will often be written out in a gestational surrogacy agreement, and include duties like:
- Staying healthy
- Taking medications to prepare for the embryo transfer
- Attending necessary medical appointments
- Cooperating with the proper court processes to establish pre-birth orders and legal parentage for the intended parents
- Maintaining a healthy pregnancy to the extent that is reasonably within your control
It is important that both the surrogate and the intended parents are fully aware of their legal rights throughout the surrogacy process. To seek support from a gestational agreement attorney, call Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law at (818) 839-2533 or contact us online.