Your lifelong friend or a beloved family member has struggled to get pregnant. Or maybe you’re close to a gay friend or couple that wants to start a family. The bottom line is that you want to help by offering to become their surrogate, but you’re unsure how to proceed.
Surrogacy is a noble endeavor, but before you make the offer, it’s crucial to take the time to understand what the process entails. It is important for you to know and understand the generally accepted qualifications for being a surrogate in Minnesota. You should also know the legal parental presumptions and implications of taking on this responsibility.
Qualifications for potential surrogates
Many surrogates base their decisions on love, compassion, and other emotions. But surrogacy also involves a lot of medical tests and procedures as well as physical and other requirements, such as:
- You live in a state in which surrogacy is permitted, such as Minnesota
- You are between 21 and 41 years old
- You previously had a healthy pregnancy and delivery
- You don’t drink, smoke or do drugs
- Your BMI is under 35
- You don’t have a history of mental illness or depression and pass a psychological evaluation
A complete list of qualifications can be found here. Also, you should understand the different types of surrogacy. Most are “gestational surrogacies,” meaning the intended parents or others donate the egg. These surrogacies use an assisted reproductive technology called in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which an embryo is created outside the womb and then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. Far less common are “traditional surrogacies” in which the surrogate’s own eggs are used and combined with sperm from the intended father or another donor. This is usually accomplished through another assisted reproductive technology called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) in which the sperm is injected directly into the surrogate’s uterus using a small catheter.
Things to do before making the offer
If you meet the qualifications, seeking answers to other questions is crucial before making the offer. Even goodwill gestures can be extremely awkward unless the plan is well thought out. These steps include:
- Making sure there is a need to use surrogacy (the intended parent(s) cannot successfully gestate a child)
- Getting medical clearance based upon your health and pregnancy history
- Talking to other surrogates about their experiences to ensure the process is suitable for you
- Having your own reliable support system in place
- Understanding how IVF or other types of assisted reproductive methods work
- Talking to an experienced attorney about potential legal issues
There are many other things to consider, such as whether insurance coverage is available through your existing insurance plan, whether you will request and be paid any compensation, and which expenses will be reimbursed (and how). While you are not doing this to make money, having these discussions with knowledgeable legal experts about the process is a good idea.
Making the offer
If you’ve checked off all the boxes and feel it’s the appropriate time to offer to be someone’s surrogate, make sure it is done in a private setting. Let them know that you are serious, have researched what is entailed, and are willing to get medical and psychological clearance.
Then, give them some space. The intended parents have already gone through much in trying to have children. While some might jump at the opportunity, most will need time to consider your offer. Some may be worried about how it will affect your future relationship or have other concerns.
Whatever happens, the best approach is to be the supportive and loving friend or family member you’ve always been. If they turn you down, don’t take it personally and continue to look for ways to be there for them. Regardless of whether they say “yes,” you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did everything you could to help them.