To become a surrogate mother you must be in good general health, and be able to undergo a pregnancy with minimum risk to your health. Surrogate mothers should not smoke, drink excessively, be involved with illegal drugs, or be significantly overweight.
If the surrogate mother is also the egg donor, she must undergo a range of screening tests as laid out in the HFEA Code of Practice. This helps identify a wide variety of medical conditions that could be passed onto the baby.
Although age is not a criteria, it is recommended that surrogate mothers be aged 35 or under. This is because of the increased risk of miscarriage and chromosomal defects as women age.
It also preferable that surrogate mothers have already borne at least one baby, and ideally no longer want any more children of her own. This helps ensure a surrogate mother is familiar with the pregnancy process, as well as decreasing the risk of her changing her mind and wanting to keep the baby.
Being a surrogate mother can be both emotionally and physically draining. It can also greatly affect the surrogate mother's existing children, partner, family and friends. Physical and mental strength, as well as a good support network, are essential to help you through the process. Surrogacy is not suitable everyone.
It's important to carry out as much research as you can, before even thinking of becoming a surrogate mother. The support organisation Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS) helps surrogates understand the true implications of surrogacy before they commit to an arrangement.
Fertility clinics in the UK the are not allowed to represent surrogate mothers. However, there are several unregulated organisations that can help. Take a look at Infertility Network UK (INUK) for more information.
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