4 Health Considerations to Make about Becoming a Surrogate
There are many considerations to make when becoming a surrogate mother, whether you’re doing it for the money or as a favor to a friend or family member. You’ll first want to look into the qualifications for being a surrogate, which vary from state to state. But most importantly, you’ll want to think about the physical and emotional toll this process will take on your body.
This is not an easy undertaking both emotionally and physically, but it can be empowering and wonderful at the same time. Before agreeing to carry another person’s child, here are a few health risk factors worth considering:
1. Your Age
An important qualification of surrogacy is age. Typically, surrogacies are only allowed to be between the ages of 21 and 39. After the age of 35, women who become pregnant are more likely to have complications such as placenta previa, gestational diabetes, hypertension, and more. It’s also more difficult to get pregnant beyond this point.
There are a few states that allow surrogacy beyond those age parameters, as well. For example, one woman in Chicago acted as a surrogate for her daughter, giving birth to her own grandson at the age of 61. It’s rare for a woman of advanced age to act as a surrogate, but if you do, your risk factors are amplified significantly.
2. Your Overall Wellness
Perhaps one of the most important considerations before becoming a surrogate is whether or not you’re overall healthy enough to take this step. You’ll complete a physical exam before the fertilized egg is implanted, and if your health screening does not pass, you won’t be allowed to carry the baby.
Important health considerations include the use of substances (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), communicable diseases, STDs, chronic health problems, and other health issues that could harm the baby. You won’t pass initial screening if you have any health concerns that could complicate your pregnancy or be passed onto the child at birth.
You’ll also want to consider your general health. You may not be in prime condition to become pregnant, and it can be dangerous to your own health to do so. A baby takes a lot of your nutrients, and many mothers find it extremely difficult to carry a child for nine months. Consider your BMI, blood pressure, heart health, nutrition, and other factors that could make it difficult to carry a child full term.
3. Your Emotional Health
Although the child will not biologically be yours, you will likely bond with the fetus in some way while it’s in your womb. That’s the nature of pregnancy, and those emotions can make it difficult to part with the child when it’s born. You should be in a good emotional place if you want to carry another couple’s child.
If you’re being paid to be a surrogate, you may never see the parents or the child again. The parents make this decision ahead of time, so make sure it’s something you’re okay with. You might consider counseling following the pregnancy to help with these emotions, which can be covered by your own insurance or that of the parents.
Pregnancy wreaks havoc on your hormones as well, which can lead to stress and emotional difficulties. You may develop anxiety or depression, before or after your pregnancy, that make it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. Speak with your doctor about these potential health concerns to help keep them in check.
4. Your Post-Birth Body
If you’ve had children before, you’re no stranger to the post-birth body. If you’re new at all this, you should understand the changes to come.
One of the most obvious changes will be your weight and stretch marks. With a healthy diet and exercise (after the doctor says it’s okay), you can get back to your original weight, but it may not come easily. Stretch marks can fade with time and treatment, as well.
Other post-birth health conditions include perineum soreness, afterbirth pains, changes to your skin and hair, breast engorgement, nipple pain and swelling, and other health concerns.
These risks do not apply in all women who give birth, but it’s important for you to be aware of the possibilities. Health screenings before, during, and after pregnancy help you stay safe and healthy while carrying the child.
All of these health concerns are often overshadowed by the sheer beauty of surrogacy. However, take your time before making this decision for the best interests of you and the biological parents involved.