Surrogacy has paved the way for childless couples to realize their dream of building a family. The practice goes back to biblical times when traditional surrogacy was more popular, where the surrogate mother uses her own eggs to carry a child for another couple.
Today, Gestational surrogacy has become the main practice. It has grown in popularity after key celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, and Nicole Kidman publicly admitted to using surrogacy to build their families. Demand for it also has risen after the legalization of gay marriage.
In gestational surrogacy, intended parents (IP) have the option to have one or both partner’s genes linked to the child while surrogate mothers do not have any genetic link to the baby.
Once you have decided to take on the surrogacy journey, a lot of research is required on your part. It is important to find reputable sources to assist you in your journey. Laws and regulations differ in every state.
There are states that consider surrogacy as legal while there are those that have different statutes involved in naming the legal parents of the child as reflected on the birth certificate.
In states where gestational surrogacy is supported, intended parents are asked to file a pre-birth order where it takes care of the birth certificate pre birth. This is called the “declaration of parentage” where the name of the intended parents reflect as the legal parents of the child.
In states where surrogacy is supported but not legal, the surrogate mother’s name appears on the birth certificate along with the biological parent. The other intended parent applies for adoption to become the legal parent of the child.
Rights and Consents
In order to ensure that rights are protected during the surrogacy process, it is important that the right information is obtained from reputable sources. Contracts and agreements should be carefully reviewed by lawyers who specialize in reproductive rights by state.
There may be states that have not legalized surrogacy but it also does not mention that it is illegal. There are several ways around laws in every state and seasoned lawyers and surrogacy agencies would be able to provide the best assistance in the legal process
- There is indirect evidence that military wives are the most likely demographic to agree to a surrogacy.
- The average surrogate is paid between $12k-$25k per pregnancy in salary.
- When health care costs are included with a surrogacy arrangement, the costs to a parent may be as much as $120k.
- Although the salary seems like it is high, the reality is that a surrogate mother who carries a child to full term at $12k is making just $0.50 per hour.
The Surrogacy Process
The process starts with surrogate matching where a surrogacy agency searches for surrogate mother profiles that would be a good fit with the intended parents. This means that the surrogate mother has a healthy body suited for pregnancy and childbirth while also open to lifestyle practices that intended parents want for their child’s health (ie. prenatal yoga, lamaze classes, etc).
When IP’s find a suitable surrogate mother, they meet to agree on requirements and sign consents. Lab tests and physical examinations follow to prepare the surrogate mother for the IVF process.
The surrogate mother is given hormones to prepare her body for implantation. IVF or in vitro fertilization is a vital part in gestational surrogacy. It takes the eggs and sperm of an intended parent or donor and mixes them together in a dish to create an embryo.
In the past, IVF often resulted in multiple births as multiple embryo transfers were performed to ensure pregnancy rate is at a maximum level. Today, more and more couples prefer single embryo transfers.
There were 57 single embryo transfers during 2012; 35 resulted in a pregnancy, which is a good 65 percent success rate (because yes, even with embryos implanted with lab assistance, success is not guaranteed). Of those 35 pregnancies, one resulted in a naturally occurring incidence of multiples.
When an embryo is formed, one is picked and transferred to the surrogate’s uterus for implantation. Intended parents have the option to freeze embryos created for future use.
Once the implantation is successful and the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, the surrogate mother becomes pregnant. She will be prescribed to take more hormones to encourage her body to be in the natural state of pregnancy.