Considering Surrogacy? Get the Answers You Need

There are many couples who are unable to conceive or carry a child but that doesn’t stop them from starting their family. Such couples and individuals now have several viable options that give them the chance to have a child. One option is a surrogate mother

What Is A Surrogate Mother?

A surrogate mother is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another couple or individual. Surrogacy also provides a great option for those with certain medical conditions that make pregnancy or giving birth impossible or dangerous for both the mother and the child. Some of the conditions that may make getting a surrogate mother necessary include:

  • Malformation or a complete absence of a womb
  • Recurrent loss of pregnancy or miscarriages  
  • Multiple IVF treatment failures
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Types of Surrogacy

There are two types of surrogacy – traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.

Traditional Surrogacy – As the name suggests, it is a traditional approach towards surrogacy. Here the surrogate’s own eggs are fertilized by the intended father’s sperm. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or Artificial Insemination is usually used in traditional surrogacy to achieve fertilization. 

Gestational Surrogacy This type of surrogacy is also sometimes referred to as host surrogacy since the embryo transferred into the surrogate’s womb is created using the Intended Parent’s eggs and sperm. The embryo may also be created using donated eggs and the intended father’s sperm. In this case, IVF is used to create the embryo.  

How to Become A Surrogate Mother?

No matter how surrogacy is arranged, through an agency or privately, it’s important to remember that there are not only physical and emotional demands but legal aspects as well.  

Working with an agency is usually the more beneficial option. They can guide, assist, and support both the surrogate and the Intended Parents.  A reputable surrogacy agency will always make sure that both parties get all the help and support they need and fulfill everyone’s requests. This usually includes legal support as well.

If you choose to use an agency, such as Physician’s Surrogacy, they will provide the prospective surrogate with details of the process and an application form to fill, then they will find a couple who is looking to have a child through surrogacy.

  • First, a prospective surrogate needs to check and make sure she eligible in her state.  Surrogacy laws vary from state to state to protect not only the surrogate, but the Intended Parents as well. There are additional criteria which the agency will go over with you. This may include age and overall health. Along with these basic requirements, there are some additional qualifications that must be met. 
  • Next, any potential surrogate needs to fill out a detailed application. The application will have questions about your health so they should be answered truthfully. Most applications will also require the applicant to verify that she understands the standards she will have to follow and maintain throughout the pregnancy.
  • To get accepted as a surrogate, a woman must undergo a stringent screening process. This includes medical and psychological testing to ensure that her physical and mental health is stable enough to carry a pregnancy. This test will also ensure that there’s no risk of transferring diseases such as hepatitis and HIV to the child.
  • The applicant should also know her compensation rights well. The compensation amount for every gestational carrier varies from agency to agency. It is prudent to note that agencies may pay higher compensation to someone who has previously been a surrogate. 
  • The next step is to wait for a potential match.  Once a potential match has been made, a meeting will be scheduled between the surrogate and Intended Parents. This will help each party get to know each other and ensure there is a mutual agreement to work together.  
  • After the match has been made, a contract will be signed with clear guidelines for each party.  Another advantage of working with an agency is that they will work with legal experts to make sure that the contract written protects the rights of everyone involved. Physician’s Surrogacy will provide a lawyer for both the surrogate and Intended Parents. If you have any special requests, please make sure they are known before signing the contract.

Gestational Surrogacy – The Overall Process

Surrogacy with a gestational carrier is the preferred option for most couples and individuals.  Here, the surrogate mother does not have a genetic connection to the baby she carries. Since her eggs are not used, the baby will not be biologically related to her. It is difficult for some women to become a surrogate for a close friend or relative as the relationship may become difficult to manage now and in the future. 

Once a successful pregnancy is achieved after the embryo transfer, the agency will provide continued support for both parties throughout the whole journey.   This ensures that everyone’s needs are being met and that both parties will feel supported and respected. 

There are several legal considerations that need to be addressed. This requires putting all legal requirements that are a part of the surrogacy arrangement into a contract. Some agencies, such as Physician’s Surrogacy, will provide legal counsel. This way a surrogate can ask questions and ensure that she understands all of the terms in the contract.  

Legal issues involved in surrogacy can be complicated, hence it is advisable for surrogates to seek legal advice before making any decisions. Always remember that the surrogacy agreement cannot be enforced, even if the contract has been signed.

A surrogate’s legal obligations will depend upon the contract and may include:

  • A requirement to attend all pregnancy check-ups and seek medical support immediately if any problems occur. She will avoid any sort of reckless behavior that could put the baby’s life in danger
  • After the baby is born, full parental rights will be given to the Intended Parents.  A surrogate needs to prepare herself to give the child to the intended parents right after giving birth.
  • She cannot terminate the pregnancy without the consent of the Intended Parents. However, exceptions will be mentioned in the contract, such as when the surrogate’s life is in danger and calls for immediate termination.

Much like the legal obligations, a surrogate is required to adhere to, a surrogate has a right to protection as well. This should be written in the agreement and may include:   

  • Unreasonable measures cannot be enforced upon the surrogate unless they are clearly included and outlined in the contract.
  • Termination of pregnancy cannot be forced by the Intended Parents unless the contract permits them with that right. 
  • A surrogate’s privacy is also protected to a certain extent.

The legal aspects can be complicated, which is why so much care is required when drawing up a contract. With a fair and well-documented contract in place, the surrogate and Intended Parents are guaranteed to be satisfied throughout the process. 

If you have decided to become a surrogate mother, you’ll have to be prepared for anything that comes your way. Physician’s Surrogacy is here to answer any questions you may have regarding the surrogacy process. Visit us or call us at (858) 345-3273. to get detailed information on how to become a surrogate mother.

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