For many people, surrogacy represents a crucial and final opportunity to fulfill their dreams of starting or expanding their family. Fortunately, by engaging with a reputable agency, the process of how to become a surrogate can be a straightforward journey, offering life-changing outcomes for both you and the intended parents involved.
Surrogacy helps a wide range of people. In particular, for same-sex couples, surrogacy stands as the sole pathway to having a biological child, especially when adoption or surrogacy itself might be prohibited in their country. Heterosexual couples may also find themselves in a situation where a medical condition prevents them from carrying a pregnancy to term. Agencies like IARC help connect surrogates with intended parents to help dreams come true.
If you’ve ever been curious as to how to sign up to be a surrogate, you probably have an internal calling or a natural desire to help others and have a positive impact on the world. This altruistic quality is essential for surrogates. So, how do you become a surrogate? Below, we’ll cover what the two types of surrogacy are and all of the necessary steps so you feel prepared and ready for the journey ahead, including what to look for in a surrogacy agency.
Give the gift of a lifetime by becoming a surrogate with IARC! Get started today by filling out our general inquiry form.
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is defined as an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent after birth. A surrogate (also known as a gestational carrier or surrogate mother) is the woman who will carry the child for another family who cannot carry it themselves.
Most “surrogates” and women who are “gestational carriers” prefer these terms over the term “surrogate mother” as they do not wish to be referred to as the mother in any way. This is considered an outdated term, so from here on out, we will refer to them simply as surrogate or gestational carriers.
Two Types Of Surrogacy
When it comes to being a surrogate, there are two types of surrogacy. They are vastly different in how the embryo is created and whose genetics are used. Due to the legal and emotionally complex nature of traditional surrogacy and the strides made over the last couple of decades in in vitro fertilization technology, traditional surrogacy is much rarer. Here is how the two types differ.
Traditional Surrogacy is when the carrier is also the egg donor, so the surrogate is genetically related to the baby. The surrogate uses her eggs, combined usually with the intended parent or sperm donor’s sperm, via artificial insemination.
By far, the more common type of surrogacy and what we offer here at IARC (and most other agencies) is Gestational Surrogacy, in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby they carry. The embryo is created via in vitro fertilization using sperm and egg from the intended parents or that of a donor. Once fertilization has occurred, it is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. Since the surrogate does not use her own eggs, they are solely a carrier of the baby and not genetically related.
Reasons To Become A Surrogate
Becoming a surrogate is not a decision to take lightly. Surrogacy is a lengthy and involved medical process that will change you physically and emotionally. The vast majority of our surrogates at IARC become surrogates not for financial reasons alone but out of a true desire to help families who are struggling to have children. They have unconditional love for their child(ren) and can’t imagine life without them. Every intended parent has likely spent years dreaming of creating a family and is just in need of a surrogate like you to bring their dreams to life.
You may be a good candidate to become a surrogate if you:
- Enjoyed being pregnant
- Are done having children of your own
- Find joy in helping others and want to give the gift of parenthood to another family
- Watched a loved one going through infertility firsthand
- You’re ready for a new experience
- You’re committed to the process, and the timing feels right
Steps To Become A Surrogate
If you’ve ever wondered to yourself, “How do I become a surrogate?” you’re in the right place. Becoming a surrogate can be a lengthy but incredibly rewarding experience, one that is absolutely life-altering for the family you are helping.
Surrogate compensation reflects the level of commitment required. It is certainly an added bonus for you and your family, but it hopefully is not the sole reason you choose to become a surrogate. Do your research beforehand to ensure you understand the process and that you can fully commit. In this section, we’ll outline the exact steps involved in how to be a surrogate.
Research and Self-Assess Eligibility
Before you get too into the weeds in your research, take a step back and ask yourself, “Can I be a surrogate?” The question is straightforward, but the answer should come from your heart. Your commitment of time and energy will be rewarded financially and with an immeasurable amount of joy in bringing life to this world for a family who is unable to on their own.
In addition to the internal desire and willingness to commit to the process, you’ll want to ensure you meet the following general criteria. For more detailed information, check out our surrogate requirements and qualifications page.
- You’re between the age of 21-41 (up to age 44 on a case-by-case basis)
- You’ve had a previous healthy pregnancy with no more than three C-sections
- Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is below 35 (or just above and working on it)
- You do not use tobacco, drugs, or alcohol
- You have no significant history of depression or other mental health illness
- You’re willing to travel and have a good support system
- You have a clean criminal record
- You’re financially stable and independent
Develop Your Personal Plan
As you think about becoming a surrogate, it’s critical to develop a personal plan for the journey ahead. To make the process as smooth as possible, write out in advance your goals and expectations as a surrogate. Do you have any special requests for what kinds of parents you are looking to match with? How will you manage any emotional challenges that come up, and who will you rely on for support in this process? Will you allow the intended parent(s) to be present for the birth of the child?
All of this should be considered. If you complete your journey with IARC, we will discuss these points and much more throughout the matching process so that you have thought everything through before connecting with potential parents.
Choose A Professional Agency
One of the most important steps in the process of becoming a surrogate is finding a professional agency that is right for you. Agencies are not only there to match you with intended parents but to support you every step of the way. Remember your ‘why’ and stick with an agency that aligns with your goals and values.
There’s no harm in reaching out to multiple agencies to get a feel for them and their process but be aware of any agencies pushing you to sign an exclusivity agreement, especially very early in the screening process. Make sure you’ve had enough interaction, understand their process fully, and feel confident that they are a reputable and trustworthy partner.
Read testimonials from our surrogates about why they loved working with IARC, so much so that they often come back!
Understand Exclusivity Agreements
When considering how to apply to be a surrogate, the agency you go with matters. They can make or break your overall experience as a surrogate, so make sure upfront that it’s a good fit. Many agencies will require you to sign an Exclusivity Agreement at the outset, ensuring that you only work with them going forward, even prior to matching with parents. Although IARC does not require this, many agencies do, so it’s something to look out for.
An agency’s top priority should be in providing education on the process and shouldn’t force you into being with just them before you’ve had time to research and learn more.
Fill Out Surrogacy Application Forms And Pre-Screen To Match With Intended Parents
Once you’ve considered all of your options and have done your research on surrogacy agencies, you will fill out surrogacy application forms and begin prescreening steps. At IARC, we’ll make sure you’ve completed the prescreening steps (all forms, background checks, clinic approval, and psychological evaluation) before matching to avoid any heartbreak in the event that you do not qualify. Many agencies do not do it in this order, so that is one thing to be mindful of when in the research phase and something to ask each potential agency.
With IARC, we will work directly with you to get all necessary medical records, insurance information, and personal preferences for your surrogacy profile. Once you are pre-approved by one or more clinics and complete IARC’s prescreening process, the fun part begins! Your profile will be ready to share with intended parents for matching!
Apply To Be A Surrogate With IARC Surrogacy
Becoming a surrogate is more than just financial gains; it’s a life-changing experience for both surrogates and intended parents. We are honored to help these intended parents and make their dreams come true. They are beyond thankful for women like you!
If you have a desire to help others bring their children into the world, understanding the process and the commitment involved is the first step toward surrogacy. Now that you understand the steps required, check out our most frequently asked questions about surrogacy. If you have any other questions, email us any time at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help! All of the Surrogate Coordinators who help in the pre-screening process have all been surrogates themselves, so we have been in your shoes and want to make sure you have any and all information you are looking for!
We have our 7-step proven surrogacy process that ensures you are in good hands every step of the way. In addition to our surrogate coordination team, who will help you in the beginning steps, you’ll also be supported by our network of current and first-time surrogates throughout your surrogacy journey and beyond. Get started today with IARC Surrogacy and be one step closer to connecting with a family who needs your helping heart.