What is it like to be a surrogate?

When you first decided to start a family, you probably talked to people you know and trust who are parents.

  • What was it like?
  • When did you know the time was right?
  • How did you prepare?

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, the odds are you don’t know anyone personally who can provide that type of perspective. Still, you have plenty of questions.

  • What’s it like to be a surrogate?
  • Is it hard to be a surrogate?
  • What does a surrogate do?

Becoming a surrogate is a big decision. It can change your life. We’ve created this guide to help you understand what it’s like to be a surrogate. Even though you may not know anyone personally who has been a surrogate, you can learn about the experience from the testimony of others who have worked with Southern Surrogacy, and by gaining a better understanding of the process.

What It’s Like to Be a Surrogate Mother vs Gestational Carrier

Before beginning, we need to make an important note about language. When you listen to the stories of women who have completed the surrogacy process, you will rarely ever hear the term “surrogate mother.” Even though this is a common way for people to talk about the process, it’s not the language that surrogates or surrogacy professionals use.

The main reason for this is that, when you are a surrogate, you are never a “mother.” You get to experience the joy of carrying someone else’s baby and giving intended parents the greatest gift of all. But because of the way the surrogacy medical process works, a surrogate (also called a gestational carrier) has no biological relationship to the baby.

We may use the term “surrogate mother” here in an effort to be accessible to women who are searching for information using these terms. However, “surrogate” or “gestational carrier” is preferred.

What Does a Surrogate Do?

In order to understand what it is like to be a surrogate mom, it is helpful to learn what a surrogate does. A lot of your experience if you choose to become a surrogate will be determined by the steps of the process. While every process is unique (more on that below), they do all follow the same general steps.

Because of that, all surrogates will do these things:

A surrogate completes an initial screening.

Every surrogacy program has its own requirements and screening process. It may feel daunting to put yourself through a process like this, but it really works out for everyone in the end. By completing an initial screening, you can be sure that a program is the right fit for you.

A surrogate finds a match with intended parents.

Each program handles finding matches differently, and the match you find will be a major factor in what it’s like to be a surrogate. Southern Surrogacy takes a more personalized approach to the process, matching surrogates with intended parents who are close by, so that everyone can experience the pregnancy together.

A surrogate undergoes the surrogacy medical process.

The surrogacy medical process involves working with a fertility clinic (chosen by the intended parents) to complete a successful embryo transfer. Because Southern Surrogacy only provides services for gestational surrogacies, the intended parents’ or donors’ egg and sperm will be used — meaning you will not have a genetic relationship to the baby. The clinic will prescribe some surrogacy medications for before and after the embryo transfer. Of course, all medical costs will be covered by the intended parents. 

A surrogate works with professionals to complete a surrogacy contract.

Southern Surrogacy is owned by a local law firm, which is good news for you if you are considering our program. Our legal background means you can be totally confident in your surrogacy contract — which is the foundational legal document of the surrogacy process. Our team makes sure that surrogates feel safe, protected and at-ease about the legal status of their surrogacy as each surrogate also has access to her own independent attorney to review the contract with her.

A surrogate forms a relationship with her intended parents.

What it’s like to be a surrogate is significantly influenced by the relationship with the intended parents. One advantage to the Southern Surrogacy program is that, because of our regional focus and personal approach, we find matches that allow for real, local relationships to form. Because of this, everyone experiences the pregnancy together. This can create a bond that lasts long after the process comes to an end.

A surrogate experiences the joy of pregnancy.

Many women who become surrogates enjoy being pregnant. This process is a way to experience pregnancy even if your own family is already complete. How hard is it to be a surrogate mother? When you enjoy being pregnant, the physical toll of the process is much easier to bear.

A surrogate gives the greatest gift.

Joy. Pride. Fulfillment. A long-lasting sense of accomplishment. That’s what it is like to be a surrogate when you reflect on what you’ve done. You’ve played a vital role in two wonderful people becoming parents. Through your generous and loving actions, they receive the greatest gift they could ever hope for: family.

What’s it Like to Be a Surrogate Mother?

These are all things a surrogate does. But, what does it feel like? It’s one thing to know the action steps; it’s another to embrace the emotional journey. The best way to do that may be to hear the stories of other women who have made the courageous decision to become gestational carriers.

For Jenna, surrogacy started with a realization of how much she enjoyed being pregnant.

“I have three little boys of my own, and I always had good pregnancies, easy pregnancies,” she said. “I enjoy being pregnant. So, when we knew that we were done having kids of our own, I was a little sad that I couldn’t be pregnant anymore. My husband actually brought up the idea of being a surrogate.”

Helping others, Jenna said, came very easy to her. So, the idea that she could help two people become parents by doing something she loved doing — well, it was a no-brainer. And with the Southern Surrogacy team by her side, it was a great experience.

You can watch Jenna’s video here to learn more about her experience.

What it is like being a surrogate mother was a bit different for Adrienne.

“I have been in an environment where close family and friends experienced infertility issues and it made me want to be part of the solution to their hope,” she said. “This is one of many ways I can help grow and complete families and I am honored to be able to do so.”

Adrienne became a gestational carrier with Southern Surrogacy. When she thinks about how it feels to be a surrogate, she reflects on the joys of the process — especially the relationship with the intended parents.

“The best part about the journey has been the communication between myself and the intended parents,” she said.

If you’re considering surrogacy and wondering what it is like to be a surrogate, women like Jenna and Adrienne would tell you that it can be a wonderful process.

Is it Hard to be a Surrogate?

There are aspects of the surrogacy process that can be challenging. It’s no secret — most things worth doing don’t come easy. As you consider what it’s like to be a surrogate, it’s worth thinking about how these challenges make you feel:

  • The surrogacy process can be demanding, and you will have disruptions to your life with meetings, medical appointments and more.
  • The emotions of carrying someone else’s baby can be confusing, which is why we offer counseling and support throughout the process.
  • The side effects of some surrogacy medication can cause discomfort.
  • The surrogacy process requires complete commitment — from yourself, your spouse and the rest of your family.

As you read that list, how do you feel? Are you prepared to face and overcome some of these things? Sometimes, it is hard to be a surrogate. But in many more moments, surrogacy is a beautiful, rewarding journey.

One of the best things you can do to mitigate these challenges is work with a trustworthy surrogacy program, like ours. Southern Surrogacy works hard to minimize the risks of surrogacy by protecting you legally and supporting you emotionally. You can trust our experienced professionals to find the right match for you, guide you through the process and compensate you fairly for all that you do.

Learn More

Would you like to learn more about our surrogacy program? To start, you can fill out this Information Request Form. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and it will help us figure out how we can best serve you.