Surrogacy is one of several ways individuals or couples can have children if traditional methods have been unsuccessful or for other reasons. Intended parents enter into a legal agreement with a surrogate—the woman who agrees to carry the child to term and give birth. If this is a journey you are about to embark on, read this guide.
Where To Start
Surrogacy is a journey with many big decisions along the way. There are different ways to go about it. Here’s what you need to do before you start your surrogacy journey.
1) Familiarize Yourself With The Terms
It’s essential to learn the terms used and the processes of surrogacy. Below are some words that you need to get familiar with:
- Surrogate: This refers to the woman who agrees to bear the embryo and carry it to term.
- Intended parent(s): This refers to individuals or couples seeking to have a child via surrogacy.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This is the process by which an egg and sperm cell are combined in a laboratory to form an embryo.
- Traditional surrogacy: This is the type of surrogacy where the surrogate provides the eggs to be fertilized. This means the surrogate has a biological link to the child.
- Gestational surrogacy: This is where the surrogate does not provide the eggs and has only agreed to carry the embryo (conceived through IVF). This means the surrogate is not biologically related to the child.
- Compassionate surrogacy: This refers to surrogates who do not ask for compensation for their service.
- Compensated surrogacy: This refers to the financial agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate, where surrogates are compensated.
Surrogacy gives many people a chance to be parents. These include people who struggle with infertility, single individuals who want to become a parent, same-sex couples, and women who cannot safely carry a pregnancy.
2) Select Your Route
There are two ways to go about surrogacy: independently or through an agency. Knowing the importance of third party surrogacy and doing it independently can help you decide which fits you best.
- Independent Surrogacy: Many intended parents are tempted to go the independent route to save on agency fees. This usually works best in compassionate surrogacies, especially if the surrogate is somebody you know, like a friend or family member.
You skip the search and matching process for a surrogate with this method. However, this isn’t entirely cost-free as intended parents usually cover the surrogate’s expenses relating to pregnancy.
- Third-Party Surrogacy: Many credible agencies help intended parents on their surrogacy journey. They can help you throughout the entire process—from legal consultations, selecting a surrogate, the IVF process, your surrogate’s pregnancy, and up until your child’s birth. They also have in-house experts to help you, saving you the time and energy needed to assemble your own team.
Make sure to meet with several agencies before deciding on one. Research their ethics, practices, and feedback from other intended parents to make sure you get your money’s worth.
3) Get Legal Help
Surrogacy is a legal agreement. Failure to cover everything legally will result in problems, especially as the child grows up. Find a lawyer with much experience in this area and have them draft legal contracts between the intended parent and the surrogate. Your lawyer will also guide you through the legality of surrogacy in your state and work with you to establish your parental rights.
The surrogacy journey requires a lot of preparation, and shortcuts won’t help you in the long run. Educating yourself before going through this costly and lengthy process is essential.
How To Prepare
Aside from learning the basics, you also have to consider knowing how to prepare. Preparation includes the following:
Parenthood must be your big dream, as you’re willing to go through many hoops to have your baby. Whatever reason you may have, this new chapter in your life is a significant undertaking that requires mental and emotional preparation. If you’re going through this journey with your partner or spouse, you can be each other’s support system throughout. It’s also essential to involve the people you trust and care for so you don’t go through this journey alone.
There are several factors to consider—such as surrogate fees, insurance, agency fees, legal fees, and others—in determining the cost of surrogacy. Surrogate fees alone can cost anywhere between USD$30,000 and USD$60,000.
Apart from this, you’ll also find yourself preparing for the arrival of your little one. This might mean renovation or relocation costs, buying baby products, insurance, and more.
Your Surrogacy Team
It’s ideal to hire the best experts to ensure your surrogate’s safety and protect you, the intended parent. Here are the experts you should start contacting:
- Obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN)
- Reproductive Specialist
- Fertility Insurance Specialist
- Mental Health Professionals
If you decide to go the agency route, they can act as your surrogacy team and guide you.
Counting The Days
As intended parents, you may feel all sorts of emotions about surrogacy. Whether excitement, anxiety, hope, fear, or all of them together, it is a beautiful and rewarding journey for you to meet your child. The best way to go about it is to be thoroughly prepared. Educate yourself and get all the support you need in your surrogacy journey.