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Five Questions to Ask a Potential Gestational Carrier

Here are 5 questions we feel every individual or couple should ask potential gestational carriers as they go through the selection process. Of course, our surrogacy agency, Shared Conception, will help you navigate the process.

  1. Why do you choose to go through pregnancy/labor/delivery for virtual strangers? While the money is nice, plenty of women will attest that there is no amount of money that would cause them to go through IVF, get pregnant and persevere through the labor and delivery process – only to hand the baby over to someone else. Gestational surrogates do it for the love of helping others. Each of them has their own unique inspiration – and their own story. Hearing them tell their story can help you get to know your prospective gestational carrier in a new light, and will certainly shed insight as to who she is and what makes her tick.

  2. How do you feel about selective reduction and termination? The goal of any fertility clinic is to facilitate the conception of a single, healthy child. This is because multiples increase the risk of pre-and post-natal complications for both mother and child(ren). However, there are two scenarios that might cause a couple to request either selective reduction or termination of a gestating fetus.First, we know that the more embryos we transfer,  the higher the chances are that one of them will implant. So, we can transfer multiple embryos and, if more than one implants, we also can remove one or more to bring the pregnancy back into the singleton or twin range. Some surrogates are willing to participate in this process and others aren’t. If you want to increase your odds of conceiving during the first IVF cycle using a gestational carrier, you may want to find a surrogate who is agreeable to transferring multiple fetuses with the idea that selective reduction/termination may be required.Secondly, even in a single embryo transfer, if you plan to terminate the pregnancy if a pre-natal test reveals chromosomal or genetic abnormalities of the fetus, you will need to find a surrogate who agrees with your plan. In either case, we recommend your contract include clauses that clearly present your stance and their agreement on these very sensitive topics.

  3. Are you willing to pump colostrum and/or breast milk? There is no doubt in the minds of the medical community about what food is best for baby: colostrum and breastmilk, in that order. Some gestational carriers are willing to pump colostrum and then breastmilk for a predetermined amount of time for an additional fee (and supplies provided by you). If you are a woman who was unable to get pregnant and/or carry your own baby, there is still a chance you can induce lactation via breast stimulation and various supplements. Typically, induced breast milk production doesn’t yield enough to be the sole source of food. However, you may consider finding a surrogate who will pump for you until your milk supply is sufficient enough to nurse, at which point you can then supplement with formula.

  4. Can I/we be present at doctor’s appointments and the delivery? At the end of the day, the gestational carrier has the last say when it comes to anything having to do with her body – even though she’s carrying your baby. This includes your presence at doctor’s appointments and the delivery room. Most gestational carriers are fine with attendance at doctor’s appointments – but may not want you right there when they’re giving birth. This is worth sorting out before hand, and may require some nice negotiation skills. Perhaps you can be allowed to stand right outside so you can still be the first one to hold the baby? Maybe she’ll allow you to be called in at the last push to stand at her head and see the baby emerge from a more modest angle…there are always options and possibilities if you’re willing to work together and compromise.

  5. Are you okay with our prenatal care plan? If you were pregnant, what would you eat? What wouldn’t you eat? Are there supplements you would take? Are there exercises you would do and others you'd avoid?  These are worth discussing with prospective gestational surrogates. Write a reasonable plan for how you would structure your pregnancy dos and don’ts, and then see if the plan is amenable to her. You may decide to pass on a seemingly great gestational surrogate if she isn’t willing to honor your nutritional/lifestyle requests.

Are there any other important questions you wish you’d asked your prospective surrogates? Please share them with us.

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