Deciding to become a surrogate is a life-changing journey.
There are many important things you should consider before choosing this path, including the possible risks of being a surrogate mother.
Here, we break down the different types of risks and what you need to know about the risks of being a surrogate to help you make a more informed decision you feel comfortable with.
You can also reach out to us online to speak with a surrogacy professional to get more information about what the risks are of being a surrogate mother.
Like any traditional pregnancy, a surrogate pregnancy comes with possible surrogate mother side effects and risks. The right surrogacy professional will take detailed steps to help prevent these risks, but the possibility will always exist.
But what exactly are the potential risks of surrogacy? There are two general categories: physical and emotional.
Are the Risks of Being a Surrogate Worth It?
For women who choose to become surrogates, the potential risks of being a surrogate are greatly outweighed by the positives of being able to help create a family. They also understand that, by working with an experienced professional, they can reduce these risks of surrogacy and focus on what’s really important — changing a family’s life forever.
Surrogacy is a deeply personal decision to make, and it’s only one that takes a great deal of understanding. A surrogacy professional can answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about risks of surrogacy to help determine whether this family-building process is right for you and your loved ones.
Physical Risks of Being a Surrogate Mother
Any kind of pregnancy comes with physical risks and side effects, and a surrogate pregnancy is no different.
When you carry a child, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, there is the possibility of medical issues, such as:
- Morning sickness and nausea
- Weight gain
- Back pain
- Gas and bloating
- Itchy skin
- Frequent urination
- Gestational diabetes
- Damage to reproductive organs
- Preterm labor
- And more
Your OBGYN will work with you throughout your pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of these risks and side effects occurring. They can also help you manage any conditions that might arise during your surrogacy pregnancy.
Physical Side Effects from Medications
In addition to these risks of surrogacy, there are unique medical issues with surrogacy that can occur. This is because of the necessity of IVF treatments, used in the vast majority of gestational surrogacies today.
You do have to take medicine for IVF with surrogacy, and these medications can cause certain side effects, with most of them being minor:
- Bruising at injection locations
- Temporary allergic reactions
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- And more
The actual embryo transfer process also comes with certain risks and potential complications. While the medical procedure is usually quick and relatively painless, you could experience slight cramping or bleeding from the procedure and be required to stay on bed rest for a few hours or days after the procedure.
Physical Risks of Surrogacy Pregnancy
There are a few more medical risks of surrogacy to be aware of when you carry a baby, even for someone else.
For example, carrying multiple babies at once is more common in a surrogate pregnancy than a traditional pregnancy, and this can come with risks like:
- Preterm labor
- Surrogacy miscarriage
- Low birth rate of babies
- Placental abruption
- And more
To reduce these medical risks of being surrogate mothers, all women should work closely with a trusted surrogacy professional, physician and fertility specialist. They can help you create a schedule of medications and recommendations that should be followed as is.
If you become a surrogate, you should stay in close contact with these professionals and update them if anything feels wrong about your pregnancy.
To become a surrogate, you will need to pass certain medical screening that helps ensure you are healthy enough for the surrogacy process before even beginning. Completing this will help reduce possible surrogate mother side effects and help your doctor create a personalized plan for a safe pregnancy based on your personal circumstances.
Emotional Risks of Being a Surrogate Mother
While understanding the medical issues with surrogacy is a key part of preparing to become a surrogate, it’s equally important to recognize the potential emotional risks of being a surrogate mother.
Being a surrogate is a huge emotional commitment, as you will spend a year or more of your life in an intimate partnership with intended parents, working toward a common goal that has the potential for setbacks and accomplishments along the way.
Many people wonder whether surrogates are negatively affected when they do not go home with the baby they have been carrying for nine months. While this is not an issue for most surrogates, it is an important emotional complication you consider.
Being a surrogate may also lead to other complications, such as:
- Depression, pre-partum and postpartum
- Grief and loss following the birth of the baby
- Mental exhaustion
- Guilt over lack of time for your family
- Mood swings from pregnancy hormones
- Stress from a complicated relationship with intended parents
- Emotional pressure from carrying the intended parents’ baby
Before you become a surrogate, your surrogacy professional requires you to undergo a psychological or social screening to discuss these possible emotional risks of surrogacy. This professional will speak to you in depth about the emotions you may feel as a surrogate and help you determine whether you are prepared for coping with them in a positive manner.
Importance of Having an Emotional Support System
An important key to getting through the emotional challenges and risks of surrogacy is by creating a surrogacy support system of friends and family. These people should be those you trust and can turn to during difficult parts of your surrogacy journey.
They can provide help in a variety of ways, including practical help, like assisting with household duties and childcare, and emotional support. In order to get the help you may need, however, you’ll have to be open and honest with them and yourself throughout the process.
Remember that, when you become a surrogate, your choice to do so affects more than just you; it also impacts your family. Having your spouse’s full support during surrogacy can help prevent some of the emotional complications that arise from surrogacy.
For example, you and your spouse will need to abstain from sexual intercourse while you are undergoing IVF medication and treatment. Your spouse may also need to take on additional family and household duties while you are on bed rest or otherwise incapacitated during your pregnancy.
A traditional pregnancy can be an emotionally stressful and complicated period, and a surrogate pregnancy can be even more so. However, a good surrogacy professional will provide you emotional support throughout your journey, either through their own social workers or by referring you to an experienced therapist.
To learn more about possible complications and risks of being a surrogate and how you can work through them, contact a surrogacy professional today. We are always ready to help!