Choosing to carry a child for a friend is a selfless act that takes an incredible amount of love and sacrifice. The decision to become a surrogate mother for a friend requires a commitment that lasts in excess of nine months. You must be in good overall health and willing to accept the physical problems that can arise during pregnancy as well as in labor and delivery. A surrogate carries a child in her body that will not be raised by her but will be given to another. The child may or may not be the surrogate's biological child, depending upon whether her egg is used or the egg of another woman. A woman who decides to be a surrogate faces a challenging prospect and should be well informed.
Find out if you will be required to provide your own egg for the surrogacy. If your friend doesn't have viable eggs, you may be asked to contribute your own genetic material, or the egg of another donor may be used. Carefully consider whether you can give up a child who is biologically yours before agreeing to use your own egg. If your friend and her partner provide the egg and sperm, you--as a gestational surrogate--must consider the emotional aspects of carrying a child unrelated to you.
Prepare for physical testing. This may include but is not limited to a pap smear, tests for infectious diseases and a hysteroscopy. The hysteroscopy is a visualization of the uterus by means of a narrow scope pushed through the cervix into the uterine cavity, in which imaging is obtained or the insertion of dye into the uterine cavity to determine the size and shape of the uterus. This also shows whether there are any blockages in the Fallopian tubes.
Undergo psychological testing to assure you are mentally able to be a successful surrogate. You will be examined by a psychologist trained in surrogacy issues. Typical questions posed will involve your motivation for being a surrogate, your outlook regarding the period of surrogacy and its aftermath, and your history and feelings regarding childbirth in general. The doctor may pose intimate questions regarding your marriage or other relationships, and may want information regarding how you parent your own children.
Prepare for fertilization or implanting by getting in your best physical shape. If you're a gestational surrogate, you may be injected with the drug lupron along with the egg donor. Lupron stops the body's normal production of hormones. The doctor will use this medication to synchronize the cycle of you and the egg donor. Over time, the egg donor's eggs will be harvested and fertilized with sperm from the designated donor. When the embryos reach implantation stage, one or more of them will be put into a catheter and "injected" into you. If pregnancy doesn't result, the process may be repeated with unused stored embryos. If your own egg is used, the process is to artificially inseminate you with the donor sperm (a must simpler process than implantation). This process can be repeated until pregnancy is achieved.
Discuss with the parents what will be done in the case of multiples, or if there is a physical problem with the embryo. Gestational surrogates have an increased chance of becoming pregnant with more than one embryo. All parties must decide whether the number will be reduced or not. Also, it should be decided what will be done in the event of a physical or mental problem with the embryo you are carrying.
Obtain legal representation. Both you and the parents must have authorities draw up a contract involving the surrogacy. Some concerns that must be addressed in the content include payment of medical costs and how much you will be paid as a surrogate, if applicable.
Take at least three months to consider the physical and emotional aspects of surrogacy.
It's not advisable to become a surrogate without the full support of those close to you, especially if you are married or in a committed relationship.