What is surrogacy? This is a question that many people who are struggling to start a family often ask. Surrogacy is an alternative reproduction method aimed at helping prospective parents have a child. In this post, we answer some questions, such as the definition of traditional and gestational surrogacy and the role of the surrogate mother, to help you decide if surrogacy offers the right fit for you to start your family.
The Most Important Surrogacy Questions Answered
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a fertility treatment in which a woman agrees to carry a child to help prospective parents start a family. The surrogate mother waives all parental rights and agrees to let the intended parents have the baby right after delivery. Many consider it as a good alternative to adoption because it only takes around 14 months. It also helps prospective parents avoid all the bureaucracies tied to adoption.
Benefits of Surrogacy
Intended parents choose surrogacy over adoption for a number of reasons. Here are some of the reasons some choose to go on a surrogacy journey to welcome their child into the world.
- Surrogacy gives opportunities to people who don’t always get the chance of becoming parents. This includes LGBT couples, single people, and those struggling with infertility issues.
- Intended parents can have their child straight from birth.
- Intended parents can avoid the restrictions tied to adoptions, like age.
- Gestational surrogacy allows one or even both parents to be genetically-related to their child.
- Intended parents can experience the milestones of having a baby because they will be there from the start.
Does Surrogacy Work?
The success rate of the surrogacy process depends on many different factors. Some factors include the age and fertility of the surrogate and the quality of the genetic material.
What Are the Different Options for Surrogacy?
There are two different ways to approach surrogacy — Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy.
- Traditional Surrogacy Definition: In this method, the surrogate mother uses her own egg and is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s (or a sperm donor’s) sperm. The insemination process can be done at home using an insemination kit or at a fertility clinic. Using this type of surrogacy is often more affordable but less common.
- Gestational Surrogacy Definition: This method is more effective and popular and involves in vitro fertilization (IVF). The egg donor is the intended mother instead of the surrogate mother. This method, however, is more complicated and usually more expensive than traditional surrogacy.
How Does Parentage in a Surrogacy Work?
The Uniform Parentage Act states that the woman who delivered the baby and her husband (if she’s married) are the baby’s parents. Thus, in a surrogacy, there needs to be a legal acknowledgment that the intended parents are the baby’s true parents. To achieve this, the surrogate and her husband must waive all parental rights.
The steps in establishing parentage depend on state laws and the method of surrogacy used. For example, traditional surrogacy is trickier than gestational surrogacy because the surrogate mother is also the biological mother.
How Much Does Surrogacy Cost?
The estimated cost for traditional surrogacy ranges from around $40,000- $65,000. On the other hand, gestational surrogacy prices can range from $75,000-$100,000. There can also be additional fees depending on the program or agency handling the surrogacy. Additional fees include IVF screenings and procedures, which may cost anywhere from $10,000-$15,000. Surrogates may also need an allowance of up to $4000-$6000 for maternity needs.
What Are the Requirements to Be a Surrogate Mother?
Learning more about the requirements in place for the surrogate mother may help you set your mind at ease. Agencies and programs have very strict requirements to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Here are some typical requirements for surrogates:
- BMI of 18-32
- Financially able
- No criminal record
- Age of 21-39 years old
- Not currently on government welfare
- Must currently be a parent and has given birth
- Provide OB/GYN records and clearance letter
- Must be living in a non-smoking environment and a non-smoker
- Previous pregnancies and deliveries must be complication-free and documented
- Surrogate and partner must agree to undergo a psychological evaluation
- Must agree to home visits with everyone and pets currently staying at home
What Are the State Laws on Surrogacy?
The laws that govern surrogacy can vary depending on the state, especially when it comes to the process of establishing parentage. It is important to seek the help of an expert to help you navigate through all of the legalities of surrogacy.
Is Surrogacy Legal in Other Countries?
The legality of surrogacy varies from country to country. Countries like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, and Portugal ban all forms of surrogacy.
Surrogacy is allowed in countries like Ireland, the UK, Belgium, and Denmark as long as the surrogate mother is not compensated or only provided reasonable financial assistance for necessities. Compensating the surrogate mother will fall under commercial surrogacy, which is prohibited in these countries.
Commercial surrogacy involves paying the surrogate mother a fee. The practice is legal in some U.S. states and other countries like Russia and India.
Which Countries Offer Surrogacy Arrangements?
There are plenty of countries that offer surrogacy arrangements, such as the U.S., Thailand, India, Russia, and Ukraine. These countries offer options for those who live in places where surrogacy is illegal or for instances when they simply can’t find a surrogate in their country.
Other alternative choices are Mexico, Nepal, Poland, and Georgia. Costs vary from country to country and the number of IVF cycles needed and health insurance coverage. Here are some of the estimated costs per country:
- Mexico – $45,000
- Ukraine – $49,950
- Thailand – $52,000
- US – $100, 000
Check out this informative video from GrowGen to learn the steps involved in surrogacy:
Starting a family isn’t always easy, especially if there are factors preventing someone from becoming a parent, but this is where assisted reproduction methods like surrogacy come into play. It’s true that there is a lot of time, money, and effort involved in the process, but choosing surrogacy offers advantages that may not come with other options, such as adoption. We hope this guide has answered the question “what is surrogacy?” We also hope it has helped you understand more about surrogacy as well as explained the role a surrogate mother will play in your journey.
What tips do you have for couples considering surrogacy? Tell us in the comments section below!
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