If you are considering participating in a surrogacy arrangement, there are many resources both online and offline to consider.

The first place I would recommend is one of the large surrogacy communities. The largest I know of is Surro Moms Online but there are others. Read the message boards there to learn about the different types of surrogacy and ask questions. There are smaller private communities out there too but the best place to start is somewhere large with many people’s experiences. Blogs about surrogacy can give you valuable insight into the emotional aspects or the process and many communities maintain a list of active member blogs.

Agency websites are the next place to go. Just type surrogacy agency into your favorite search engine and you’ll find dozens of them. Read several of them to learn more about the process. On the agency websites people who want to become parents through surrogacy can get an idea of average costs and people wanting to be surrogates can get an idea of the compensation to expect.

In the communities, agency websites, and blogs, you’re going to hear about the possible decisions that you need to know your feelings on ahead of time. What amount of contact with the other party are you looking for during the pregnancy? Do you want contact after? Are you willing to work with singles? Same-sex couples? Do you want to work with someone childless or someone who already has children? Would you want to/be willing to terminate the pregnancy for fetal abnormalities? How do you feel about multiples?

If you’re planning to be a gestational surrogate, the next stop in your research should be infertility treatments. IVF, the process used to let you gestate an embryo not related to you, has its risks that you should explore. Many of the agency websites don’t even mention those risks. Many of the large IVF clinics have websites where you can ask questions of the doctors there, called reproductive endocrinologists.

In print you can find many magazine articles. There are books that tell of the technical aspect of surrogacy and books written by both intended parents and surrogates that tell of their experiences. There are also children’s books to help you explain the process to your children.

There’s a lot available for you to read. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the stories of others or be hurt by the conflicting viewpoints expressed in the communities. The best advice I have for you is to take what useful information you can find, ask your questions, and leave the rest of the drama behind. Keep moving forward with your journey.