Many factors impact the decision to have children, including personal and social aspects. Some people may argue that this is one of life’s biggest decisions. Each journey to growing and building a family is different, some with more steps than others.
Copulation is usually the traditional way to get pregnant, but this is not a viable option for some. Other ways to add to your family include adoption, IVF, fertility treatments, and surrogacy.
Surrogacy is a special, fast-growing method to grow your family, and it has many moving parts. There are two types of surrogacy, traditional surrogacy, and gestational surrogacy. Each type has its fair share of potential risks, laws, costs, and fertilization methods.
Thus, it’s important to understand both types to make a well-informed decision. This article will explore traditional vs. gestational surrogacy to give you the necessary information to choose a suitable path.
About Traditional Surrogacy
Genetic surrogacy (also known as traditional surrogacy) is the process of fertilizing the surrogate’s eggs with sperm. Thus, the surrogate is an egg donor and the child’s biological mother. The sperm could be either the intended fathers or sperm donors. Laws around traditional surrogacy vary, but the intended parents choose the sex cells. With traditional surrogacy, the intended mother can never be the child’s biological mother.
Traditional surrogacy can happen through sexual intercourse (natural insemination). It can also happen through artificial insemination, a short medical procedure where sperm is injected into the surrogate’s uterus. Due to the genetic connection between traditional surrogate mothers and children, they could claim the baby. Some laws protect the intended parents, but most don’t, so this method carries greater legal risk. Some states require intended parents to undergo an adoption process if they use a donor.
After fertilization, the traditional surrogate carries the baby and signs over rights after birth. Since parentage is established after birth, the law sees traditional surrogates as legal mothers. Due to this, the surrogate may bond with the baby, making the relationship emotionally complicated. The traditional surrogacy process places the intended parents at a disadvantage. So, more people opt for the alternative; gestational surrogacy.
About Gestational Surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy – also called host surrogacy – is where an embryo is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. This form of surrogacy is the most chosen by intended parents because it has less legal risk. In this case, the person carrying the baby is referred to as a gestational carrier or gestational surrogate. Gestational surrogacy pregnancies happen through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Scientists create an embryo in a lab using this procedure.
The embryo created during the gestational surrogacy process uses the intended parents’ cells. This surrogacy type also works with the father’s sperm and intended mother’s eggs or donor eggs. Intended parents could also use donated embryos, where the child isn’t biologically related to an involved party. During the surrogate’s pregnancy, the embryo is implanted medically. Due to the absence of a genetic connection, the surrogate has zero legal claim over the baby.
Surrogates prefer gestational surrogacy because they aren’t genetically related to the child. An application for gestational surrogacy usually starts with contacting a surrogacy agency. Next, a thorough process of vetting and matching takes place. A gestational carrier doesn’t have to be an egg donor, which tends to appeal to intended mothers. Though IVF has more fertility treatments, the gestational surrogacy journey is more comfortable.
Similarities Between Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy
Intended Parents: In addition, traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy are options that can be used by people who have difficulties conceiving. Couples of the same sex, single men or women, as well as people with health conditions or anatomical conditions that prevent them from conceiving naturally, are some examples of such individuals.
Surrogacy Procedure: Gestational and traditional surrogacy agreements require the carrier to carry the child to term. The surrogate and intended parents are protected by contracts in both types of surrogacy. The surrogacy agreement ensures the surrogate doesn’t change their mind during the pregnancy. In some cases, it ensures that the surrogate signs over parental rights after birth.
Surrogate Screening Process: Both surrogacies require extensive health and ability screening processes. This process includes drug and STD tests, a pap smear, plus blood tests. The surrogate’s partner – or previous partners – is also tested for blood diseases and STIs. Most surrogacy professionals perform background checks on potential surrogates and intended parents.
Differences Between Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy
Sex Cells: Gestational surrogacy can result from various sex cell blends, never including the surrogate’s egg cells. Traditional surrogacy, however, involves the surrogate being an egg donor during fertilization. As a result, a traditional surrogate becomes the child’s biological mother, and a gestational surrogate doesn’t
Fertilization Method: Traditional surrogacy has two egg fertilization methods, sexual intercourse and intrauterine insemination (IUI). During IUI, doctors place washed sperm into the ovulating surrogate’s uterus, hoping for fertilization. At the same time, gestational surrogacy using IVF to create an embryo in a lab and implant it.
Legal Process: Gestational surrogates have no genetic relationship to the baby, so they have no legal rights. The surrogate signs a contract before the procedure, stating she won’t cancel the agreement no matter the eventuality. Traditional surrogacy gives the surrogate parental rights due to their genetic contribution. As a result, the biological mother can terminate parental rights after birth. After that, the intended parents must perform stepparent adoption.
Cost: An IVF cycle is more expensive than IUI because it has a longer insemination process. Though IUI is more cost-effective, it may require more cycles than IVF. Traditional surrogacy situations tend to require less medical care; thus, it is the cheaper surrogacy type.
By now, you should understand the traditional vs. gestational surrogacy debate a little more. Most people are only aware of gestational surrogacy because it’s the most common surrogacy process.
The medical process is longer due to the complicated egg retrieval process. It also includes many fertility medications and treatments. Yet, it has fewer emotional risks involved, and gestational carriers don’t use their eggs. As a result, most surrogacy agencies and professionals lean towards gestational surrogacy.
Although surrogacy is the less conventional way to add to your family, it has opened up opportunities for hopeful parents. Hopeful intended parents and every potential surrogate should consider impacting factors.
Moreover, depending on what they’re comfortable with, they have two types to choose from. Gestational surrogacy is ideal for intended parents who want to use their eggs and sperm. Traditional surrogacy would appeal more to people who are unable to use their sperm or eggs.
It isn’t easy to quote a price for a surrogate in Texas or elsewhere because of situational differences that can influence prices between surrogate agencies and child intended parents. However, a surrogate costs between $50,000 and $65,000 in Texas. That excludes other charges you may have to pay.
Surrogacy is gaining more popularity every passing minute all over the US. Records show that both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ families are availing themselves of this opportunity of having the family of their dreams.
Though the reasons couples turn to surrogacy might differ, the end result is the same. They always get babies, and the surrogate always gets paid.
Typically, the intended parents start their surrogacy journey by seeking a surrogacy agency. The child’s intended parents are responsible for the surrogate mother cost and other expenses.
In Texas, surrogacy laws are clear and much more relaxed than in some other states. Yet, it is better to get legal services. There are some conditions you need to know before signing a surrogacy agreement.
Who Is a Surrogate?
A surrogate, also known as a surrogate mother or gestational carrier, is a woman who enters into a surrogacy agreement with an intended parent and their partner (where that is applicable) to provide her womb for their baby’s gestation in exchange for a fee.
Only a woman who is healthy and has had at least one child of her own can become a gestational surrogate in Texas. Such a woman must also be financially stable and willing to submit herself for evaluations.
Texas surrogates can be single parents or married. Where they are married, their partner must agree to the gestational agreement.
Also, an essential requirement is that she must not have a body mass index that exceeds 32.
Most intended parents get their gestational surrogate mothers through a surrogacy agency. The implication is that they would pay agency fees which adds to the overall surrogacy costs. However, it makes the task of the intended parents easier if you choose the right agency.
All parties in this agreement understand that the intended parents remain the baby’s legal parents.
How to Choose the Best Surrogacy Agency
For most intended parents, the surrogacy journey starts with choosing a surrogacy agency. This step is sensitive because it is the foundation upon which the surrogacy process is built. Any mistake at this point may result in critical problems.
Therefore, if you are an intended parent, this is a stage you want to tread with utmost caution.
Let’s look at the key factors you must consider while choosing a surrogacy agency.
Surrogacy Services/Surrogacy Program Available
First, you can use the internet to get a list of surrogate agencies in Texas. Then, you can check online reviews and choose the top three or two surrogate agencies that catch your fancy.
The first thing to consider is the surrogacy services that the agencies provide. It is important to note that not all surrogacy agencies are what they claim. As a result, you need to find out what services and care they offer every intended parent and surrogate mother. Of course, you should know what services you need and which will lead your surrogacy journey to your intended destination.
The next thing to do is dig into the agencies’ history. You want to know how long they have been in the business and their success rate. It is also necessary to find out about their gestational surrogates and the conditions in their gestational agreement.
You will most likely have a budget for your surrogacy journey and do not want to derail it. Thus, you must consider the total cost the agencies charge and see whether it falls within budget.
Surrogacy Process Clarity
Part of knowing what services a surrogacy agency offers is understanding the surrogacy process and the implication of every aspect of the process for the intended parents.
A significant process you must learn about is screening for both the intended parents and surrogates. The screening process is delicate; if sordidly handled, it may cause long-term problems.
Experience and Professionalism
A good surrogacy agency employs different professionals and values experience a lot. Such surrogate agencies have medical personnel and legal teams that can offer intended parents and surrogates the necessary assistance.
Surrogacy Process in Texas: What You Should Expect
Surrogacy laws vary from state to state. The differences are so pronounced that some states are labeled surrogate-friendly and others surrogate-non-friendly. By every standard, Texas is a surrogate-friendly state. The state has surrogate laws that create an enabling atmosphere for the intended parents, the surrogacy agencies and the surrogates.
Texas has many fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies that use in vitro fertilization to help many intending parents have the family of their dream.
It starts with a fertility clinic (an IVF clinic) creating an embryo. This embryo is later transferred into the gestational surrogate’s womb. Usually, the clinic creates the embryo from the sperm and eggs of the intending parents. However, the clinic may sometimes use eggs from an egg donor.
PS: Note that the egg donor is not the same person as the gestational surrogates; we shall discuss this later in this piece.
Medical Screenings, Tests and Matching
Yet other essential parts of the surrogacy process are the screenings and the test that prelude matching. The intended parents and the surrogate undergo physical and mental health screenings.
There is also a legal screening involving a criminal background check on the gestational carrier. This check will also include their partner if they have one.
Matching only comes up if the screenings/tests come out fine and there is a mutual agreement between the parties to carry on.
What Are Your Options as an Intending Parent
As an intending parent, you have a choice of either going for traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. These are the only two options recognized by Texas surrogacy laws.
In either case, you will need a surrogate mother. What differentiates these two types of surrogacy is the relationship of the surrogate mother to the baby.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother functions as a surrogate and egg donor. Therefore, she is biologically related (she’s the biological mother) to the baby, who automatically shares her DNA.
This type of surrogacy is considered a parental termination and adoption in Texas. The intended parents and the contracted gestational surrogate reserve legal parental rights over the baby for the first 48 hours after birth. The genetic father (intended parent) and the surrogate (and the surrogate’s husband, if she’s married) execute a paternity acknowledgement affidavit.
The child’s birth certificate, which is issued based on the affidavit, bears the names of the genetic father and the surrogate.
The surrogate mother (and her husband, if she is married) then execute another affidavit to relinquish parental rights formally. On this ground, the genetic father and his partner base their filing for termination and adoption of the new baby.
Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, involves intended parents and a gestational surrogate who carries the embryo in her womb till birth. In this case, the egg is either from the intended mother or an egg donor. There is no genetic link between the surrogate and the baby. This is what Texas surrogacy law recognizes.
Gestational surrogacy requires a gestational agreement that must identify all the parties involved.
The Gestational Agreement and Approval
Before entering an agreement, you must know the gestational carrier laws. These laws provide that the intended parents, the parents of the embryo, have the right to have a written agreement with the surrogate.
This agreement details the rights, duties and obligations, intentions and expectations of all parties in connection to the surrogacy arrangement.
The intended parents can also have the court validate this written agreement before birth.
Surrogacy Agency Fees in Texas: A Breakdown
Surrogacy costs differ from agency to agency and from intended parents to intended parents. To make this unambiguous, we will give you a breakdown of all charges involved in surrogacy in Texas.
Surrogate Agency Fees
These fees include a $17,000 1st installment agency fee, which is due as soon as match acceptance takes place. Then, a $17,000 2nd installment agency fee is due once the surrogate contract is signed.
In some situations, a surrogate rematch fee of $8,500 may be applicable. Likewise is an international surcharge of $5,000.
Surrogate fees cover housekeeping allowance, maternity clothing allowance and other expense allowances. Some of them are:
Surrogate fee – $50,000 to $65,000
Surrogate expense allowance – $3,500 (estimated at $250 per month for fourteen months)
Group support meeting allowance – $900 (estimated at $75 per month for twelve months)
Embryo transfer fee – $1,500
Housekeeping allowance – $2000
Screening and IVF Costs
All medical screening and medication costs (including IVF fees) will cost you around $25,000 – $$50,000.
The escrow account fee is $2,000, while surrogacy contract/ pre-birth order filing costs between $4,000 and $6,000. The services of a surrogate’s independent attorney can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000.
Other costs/fees are:
Health Insurance/Healthcare fees surrogate – $42,000 to $79,000
Live Insurance – $750 to $1,000
International Newborn Health Insurance – $3,000 to $125,000
Travel costs – Estimation not applicable
Lost Wages – Estimation not applicable
PS: Other miscellaneous expenses may apply depending on the peculiarities of your arrangement.
Can Same-Sex Couples Legally Use Surrogate Mothers?
Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples have the right to surrogacy in Texas. Both same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ families can start a family via surrogate mothers. The significant difference is that these intending parents need an egg or sperm donor for IVF.
The most critical condition is that they must marry just like heterosexual couples.
You will have to consider many factors to know how much a surrogate costs in Texas. These factors vary so much according to the peculiarities of individual cases. As a result, it may be challenging to get a fixed price that will be true in all cases may be challenging.
In addition, remember that the surrogate mother is just one of the people you will have to pay as intended parents. Surrogacy involves much more than just the surrogate and costs almost seven times of surrogate fees.
Enlisting a surrogate agency’s services can help you have a good idea of what surrogacy costs. However, it would help if you choose with care. From history, it is evident that only some surrogacy agencies can pass the litmus test. Some do not have a good contract for surrogates, so they do not have access to legal surrogates.
Surrogacy and gestational carriership are both forms of assisted reproduction. While surrogacy (classic surrogacy) is a good kind of assisted reproduction, we favor the use of a gestational carrier instead. In this article, we explain both methods to help you understand which is the better choice for you.
About Surrogacy (Traditional Surrogacy)
This is the process in assisted reproductive medicine whereby a person referred to as the surrogate agrees to carry and deliver a child. The child is conceived through intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for someone else, referred to as the intended parents.
Here, the parent or a donor’s sperm fertilizes the surrogate’s egg, and she carries the pregnancy and delivers the baby to the intended parents based on agreed terms. As the egg donor, she is genetically related to the child and the biological mother.
Intending parents can arrange the surrogacy process in either of two ways; commercial surrogacy or Altruistic surrogacy. In commercial surrogacy, the surrogate receives payment or material benefits for carrying the pregnancy and delivering the baby on behalf of the intended parents. The intended parent also pays for costs relating to the pregnancy.
In Altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate receives no payment or benefit for carrying the pregnancy and delivering the child. However, the intended parents pay the pregnancy bills.
It Is Demanding
Surrogacy (traditional surrogacy) is usually very tasking, emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding for the surrogate and intended parent(s). It is also financially demanding for the intended parent(s), especially when the agreement is commercial. It also requires that all parties concerned receive adequate counseling and psychological support.
A sense of fulfillment usually accompanies the birth of the child through the surrogate mother. The intended parents also feel fulfilled that they have a child and can experience the joy of parenting. The family is made complete with the help of a surrogate mother. The latter also feels a sense of accomplishment from carrying the pregnancy successfully and giving the gift of a baby to the intended parents.
Persons who would otherwise not have met themselves but for the surrogacy arrangement are brought together to have a relationship. Meaningful relationships with strong bonds are often built during the surrogacy process, and some of these relationships last a very long time or even a lifetime.
Surrogate mothers feel a sense of accomplishment
It leads to beautiful relationships that could last a lifetime
Opportunity to be pregnant without bringing another child into the surrogate’s family
It provides an opportunity for either parent to be biologically affiliated with the child
More affordable than paying for a gestational carrier
Possibility of complications in pregnancy and other related risks
It involves a lot of time and physical commitment
Has higher chances of legal complexities that could be emotionally draining
About Gestational Carriers
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate (gestational carrier) has no biological or genetic relationship with the baby she is carrying. Eggs from the intended parents or a sperm donor are fertilized through in-vitro fertilization and implanted in the gestational carrier, who carries the pregnancy and delivers the baby to the intended parent.
A gestational carrier is a woman who carries the fertilized egg from another woman during pregnancy and delivers the child to the other woman or the intended parent. She only serves to carry the pregnancy safely to term. Many prefer this because there are fewer legal issues here since the gestational carrier is unrelated to the child.
High Success Rate
Gestational carriers have a track record of carrying pregnancies successfully and birthing healthy babies. This makes gestational carriers more attractive as a means of having children fertility treatments for the intended parent, which may not be so successful.
The gestational surrogacy process involves and requires a lot of commitment from all parties. The gestational carrier commits her time and emotion to successfully carrying the pregnancy and delivering the child on behalf of the couple or individual parent.
The couple or individual, on their part, are also committed to fulfilling the terms and conditions under which the gestational carrier is carrying the pregnancy. They must also pay costs associated with the pregnancy.
Based on Trust
Gestational surrogacy is a process based on trust. The gestational carrier trusts that all the conditions under which she carries and delivers the pregnancy will be taken care of by the couple or individual she is carrying the pregnancy for, and costs associated with pregnancy will be paid. The couple or individual, on their part, trusts that the carrier will invest the time, energy, and emotions required in carrying the pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child on their behalf.
Gestational carriers have a less emotional attachment to the child than a surrogate
Couples get the opportunity to have biological offspring
Women can be biological mothers without carrying the pregnancy themselves
Gestational carriers reduce the risk of miscarriage
Single parents can have children through this process
The gestational surrogacy process and locating a gestational carrier can be quite complex
It may be expensive to get a donor and carrier separately
A gestational carrier may still experience pregnancy-related risks and complications
Similarities Between Surrogacy and Gestational Carrier
A traditional surrogate and gestational carrier are two popular options for people considering assisted reproductive medicine. Both describe methods of assisting couples or individuals in achieving their dream of becoming parents despite medical or biological limitations that make such naturally impossible.
Both involve a lot of commitment and trust. They also take a lot of time, energy, and money to ensure all parties involved are satisfied with the process from start to finish.
Furthermore, the conditions for carrying the pregnancy and birthing the child could be commercial or altruistic for both the surrogate mother and the gestational carrier.
Differences Between Surrogacy and Gestational Carrier
In surrogacy, the surrogate mother donates her eggs for the process, which makes her the biological mother of the child in her womb. However, the gestational carrier will not share their genes or biological features with the child they give birth to at the end of pregnancy. They use a donor’s egg instead.
Also, the doctors can do artificial insemination to attain pregnancy in surrogacy, but the gestational carrier can only receive an embryo formed through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
For various reasons, traditional surrogacy is not as prevalent as it once was, leading to increased use of gestational carriers. Careful consideration of both processes’ features, advantages, and disadvantages should help a couple or an individual make the best choice given their peculiar circumstance.
Infertility is a very sensitive condition that can affect your perspective on life, self-image, and relationship with others. But how you cope with the feeling depends on your personality or life experiences. Most people usually consider fertility counseling or support from family and friends to deal with infertility.
Either way, fertility counseling helps couples facing infertility issues cope with challenges like emotional stress and pressure from family and friends. Also, the fertility counselor might suggest options like adoption and surrogacy and help you navigate the emotions that come with that.
This article will cover fertility counseling, the causes of infertility, and what you can do to manage it. Besides, the guide reveals the infertility challenges that couples face in society and how to deal with them.
So, let’s get started.
What Does Fertility Counseling Mean?
Fertility counseling is where couples can discuss their emotional fears in their parental journey. Besides, it allows them to talk about relationship problems and feelings. This may also include infertility counseling for those having infertility issues.
Why Will You Need Fertility Counseling?
There are many reasons you may need fertility counseling. Some of those include the following;
1. Relationship Counseling
Infertility can be a huge stressor in a relationship, mostly when partners start to blame each other. In that case, fertility counseling comes in handy to help speak out the worries of both partners. Besides, couples face concerns when on fertility treatments because they cope with tight medical schedules and side effects. This increases the need for fertility counseling to help cope with an infertility diagnosis.
2. Coping Skills
Fertility counseling instills coping skills such as
Accepting the emotions when they come by reminding yourself that there is no good or wrong way to deal with fertility issues.
Taking care of your physical health despite your struggles. You can avoid this by taking medication or doing any activity promoting self-care.
Accepting self-deprecating behaviors to avoid self-blame habits.
3. Managing Anxiety & Stress
Family and friends can be a great way to offer you good advice and support when having fertility stress. However, they may lack the right tool to give you advice. Even so, some people or couples decide to keep their emotions a secret since they fear burdening others with their struggles.
Luckily, fertility counseling can be a good way to deal with this. Fertility counselors are a good space for couples to share their emotions and get advice on how to move on coping with their situations.
4. When You Want to Adopt
The most crucial time when a couple or a person may need fertility counseling is when planning to adopt or to have third-party reproduction. This is because the emotional consequences of making these choices are intense, although underestimated. In adoption fertility counseling, a counselor will help you with the following.
Clarify to you the reason why you are making an adoption or surrogacy choice
Confirm that this choice is a joint decision
Advise you whether to tell your friends or family members about the decision
Talk to you about the donation effect on your relationship with your donor
Discuss with you the factors to look for in a donor or surrogate
Talk to you when and how to tell the resulting child about the identity
5. When You Are Not Sure What to Do
Fertility counseling also comes in handy for couples who don’t know how to handle fertility challenges. The family therapists or counselors can help a couple make a good choice and consider treatment options such as taking Vitro fertilization and the outcomes of the choice.
6. When You Are Considering a Child-Free Life
Infertile patients may try all available infertility treatments or options and realize that there are no outcomes. This can be extremely hard to accept, but fertility counseling may help to cope with the situation. For instance, an infertility counselor can encourage the couple to live a child-free life and how best to come to terms with that.
7. Additional Support
Individuals may not feel depressed and anxious but need more support about their fertility challenges. In such a case, an infertility counselor can be a good choice and may help you deal with any fertility issues.
What Causes Infertility
Infertility occurs in both females and males. Thus, the factors causing the situation may vary with gender type as follows.
Infertility in Women
In women, infertility is mainly caused by ovulation problems, but other issues that can cause infertility include.
Poor egg quality: The egg quality in women can interfere with conception. Eggs with genetic abnormalities cannot sustain a pregnancy.
Surgery: Pelvic surgeries can cause damage to the fallopian tubes.
Fibroids: These are non-cancerous growths that can grow in the womb. They affect fertilization by preventing the fertilized egg from attaching in the womb or blocking the fallopian tube.
Chronic conditions: Some conditions like cancer and AIDS can also cause infertility.
Endometriosis: Occurs when the cells found in the uterus lining start to grow anywhere else in the body.
Infertility in Men
The distinct causes of infertility in men include
Ejaculation disorders: Occur when ejaculatory ducts get blocked. Therefore, no semen makes it to the egg.
Hormonal imbalance: When male hormones are not well balanced, it can lead to infertility.
Genetic disorder: This condition causes low sperm count and testosterone, leading to infertility.
Medicine and drugs: Some medications, like steroids, reduce sperm mobility, thus causing infertility.
Mumps: This condition causes low sperm production.
Other factors that cause infertility in both men and women are smoking and age. Moreover, radiation, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and cancer chemotherapy can cause infertility. Apart from that, obesity, stress, nutrition, and alcohol may also contribute to infertility.
Infertility Related Challenges
A major problem a couple with infertility faces is relationship issues. The comparisons and blame make it difficult for a couple to accept each other. Also, a couple may experience pressure from their relatives and friends, causing depression.
Lack of Awareness
Most couples try to solve their infertility challenges without knowing the scientific reason. Thus, this makes them lack awareness about fertility treatments. A couple also faces confusion when it comes to fertility treatments. Thus, due to unawareness, they end up seeking counseling services from local counselors that are unlikely to help.
In a relationship, it is necessary to have good and healthy communication between the partners. Communication involves the freedom of expression, listening, being non-judgemental, and acceptance. So, having a good communication environment is essential.
However, a couple experiencing infertility may lack good communication. For that reason, one of the partners may end up depressed as they don’t have the freedom to express what they feel or go through.
Strained Familial Relationships
Today the infertility issue has become more of a social problem than a biological issue. Hence, couples facing infertility must be ready to deal with questions and blame from extended family members. Also, they might be subjected to disharmony, stigma, discrimination, and even physical or emotional abuse.
With these atrocities, facing society and remaining strong becomes the most challenging thing a couple can experience, especially the female. Even though infertility in males is real, females face many questions from their in-laws about infertility treatments.
Physical Intimacy Issues
If a couple has anxiety and emotional stress due to the lack of children, it affects the sexual relationship. In turn, this affects their marital lifetime and joy.
Not Ready to Go for Infertility Treatment
Unlike women, many men may refuse to undergo infertility medical checks. Remember that a family therapist cannot treat a couple unless a reasonable investigation is done to determine the cause of the fertility problems.
So, if one person is unwilling to have treatments, it causes challenging discussions among the couples about the next steps. Also, it can lead to constant disagreements and even worse domestic flights.
How to Deal With Infertility Challenges
As discussed above, infertile couples face several challenges. Thus, such challenges can be difficult to deal with, hence the need to seek help from infertility counselors. In this case, a therapist will help you know how to support each other and communicate with your partner to see the way forward.
Most couples who can’t sire children become victims of negative comments. Also, they face family and societal pressure, as well as emotional harassment. These adverse situations and pressuring environments are not new to them.
However, coping with them and having a positive attitude cannot be easy. Similarly, avoiding such circumstances is very challenging. But, that can be well managed by some mindset changes and positive attitudes. For instance, the following tips can help you cope with infertility.
Communication With Your Spouse
The first thing to have a healthy relationship is good communication. Talking to your spouse and listening to each other’s views is good. This can be done without a pre-judgment attitude in order to help each other know the way forward.
In such a case, it is okay for each spouse to have different perspectives or views. However, a couple must have empathy during communication. This will help the couple listen to or understand each other without bias.
Support Each Other
Supporting each other also helps in dealing with infertility problems. This allows you to know that you are not alone in the issue. Remember that even your spouse is also going through the same. Your partner also finds it difficult to accept and deal with the situation. Therefore, you should support each other through thick and thin.
Seek Medical Guidance
In most people, the lack of children may affect daily life. For that reason, people who are going through the situation need to seek professional help. They can see a marriage and family therapist. This way, they can eliminate this taboo and cope with the challenge.
For instance, the therapist examines the couple and tries to find the proper treatment. That way, the couple will be physically and emotionally ready for the treatment.
Plan It Out With Your Spouse
Infertility brings disagreements and a sense of confusion. These emotions are normal, provided the couple plans to deal with them. For example, the couple can cope with them by willing to talk to each other about the problem. This can help them live in peace without any disagreements.
Spend Quality Time With Your Partner
Although every person may be busy, taking some of your time and being with each other for some moments may bring positive changes. You can spend time doing things you both like, like having a meal together or going for a short outing. Also, taking a day off from your busy schedule and finding small happiness together will make the infertility journey stress-free.
Support groups such as the Mental Health Professional Group (MHPG) can help to cope with infertility issues. Thus, you can look for such special support around you through infertility counseling services.
How to Treat Infertility Challenges
Treatment carried out to help an individual conceive naturally depends on many factors. These factors include personal preference, general body health, the length of infertility, and the person’s age.
Altogether infertility is treatable with medical therapies. For instance, here are some of the ways you can apply.
Frequent intercourse is the first strategy used by a couple struggling with infertility. Such a couple is advised to have intercourse more frequently, especially during ovulation. However, if the couple is dealing with ovulation cycle problems, they are advised to seek therapist guidance.
Other Types of Medical Treatment
Having frequent intercourse maybe not be effective in helping a couple conceive. Therefore, one may be advised to seek medical treatments depending on the cause of infertility. For instance, in males, medication can treat erectile dysfunction. Also, surgeries like varicose vein removal are effective.
In females, treatments include fertility drugs to help induce ovulation. Other than that, surgical repairs are done in cases of blocked fallopian tubes to make egg passage easier. Also, one may be advised to go through IVF treatment.
The following methods can be used for artificial conception.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): During ovulation, the doctor inserts a catheter into the uterus in order to place a sample of sperm into the uterus to help get pregnant.
Egg donation: Some people may prefer egg donation. The fertility treatment using the donor eggs is usually done using the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment.
Sperm donation: If necessary, one can also use sperm from sperm donors to achieve pregnancy. Sperm donors are sperm from unknown persons and are inseminated in a female for pregnancy purposes and are done by specially trained doctors.
Surgical sperm: In this process, the sperm is removed from the male reproduction parts. After that, a specially trained doctor uses IVF treatment to fertilize a female egg.
What Are Some of the Risks of Fertility Drugs?
Despite being effective, fertility drugs can cause side effects, such as long-term ovarian tumors. This usually happens to women taking these drugs for more than 12 months without any results.
Moreover, the drugs can cause ectopic pregnancy and multiple pregnancies. Other risks are stomach pains, breathing problems, and enlarged ovaries.
How to Prevent Infertility Issues
There are many in which both females and males can use to prevent infertility issues. The main ways include
Maintaining a Good Body Weight
Overweight women are at a higher risk of getting ovulation disorders than those with a healthy weight. Ovulation disorders usually prevent the monthly egg release causing infertility. Thus women should exercise regularly to help reduce excess weight hence preventing infertility.
Tobacco has many adverse effects on infertility. It’s good to know that smoking affects female hormone production and the genetic material found in eggs. Thus, females who are planning to have a child must stop smoking.
Reducing Emotional Stress
High-stress levels increase the production of the enzyme alpha-amylase, reducing the chances of a female getting pregnant. To minimize stress, females can consume medication or seek help from mental health professionals.
Intake of alcohol may decrease fertility in females. Therefore, those who plan to have a child must avoid alcohol.
Indeed fertility counseling is vital in helping people deal with infertility issues. Apart from that, fertility counseling can also help you deal with anxiety and emotional stresses from your parental life.
Moreover, many factors cause infertility, like smoking, excess body weight, and stress, especially in women. However, consulting a therapist can also direct you to medical treatments like assisted reproduction through egg donation, IUI, and sperm donation.
If you decide to use fertility drugs, know that they can cause risks such as long-term ovarian tumors, especially when one takes the drugs for a long time without any results. Also, reproductive medicine can cause ectopic pregnancy, stomach pains, and enlarged ovaries.
In some modern societies, surrogacy is commonplace. This new approach to starting a family is exciting. Parents who can’t have children on their own can have a child with their genes through surrogacy.
Surrogacy is the process by which a parent donates his gametes to a surrogate mother or gestational carrier. The surrogate becomes pregnant and gives birth to the donor’s baby for them. This way, the surrogates get paid, and the parents get a new family member.
You may understand that there are many other ways of giving birth to a child other than surrogacy. One such example is in vitro fertilization. In this process, scientists or doctors mix or fertilize an egg from a female with a male’s sperm in a laboratory under strict conditions. This fertilization is important, but surrogacy is more natural since it involves a human body carrying the pregnancy. So, we detail how to become a surrogate in this article.
Becoming a Surrogate
The decision to become a surrogate or gestational carrier is difficult yet beautiful. It is a journey where you earn and fulfill the dreams of incomplete parents who always want their own baby.
You must be mindful that not every woman can become a surrogate. The woman must meet several qualifications or criteria to become a surrogate mother. A wide number of surrogacy qualifications come in handy to know. However, we have listed the essential qualities of a surrogate that will help you in getting qualified for surrogacy.
These qualifications prepare the surrogate mentally for the journey ahead, as it is not as simple as it sounds. A surrogate mother is a woman who suffers extensively from pain related to bearing a child. It also demands huge time, commitment, and devotion with a high amount of energy to meet the surrogacy needs.
Therefore, a woman must complete these requirements to become eligible for becoming a surrogate. Let’s have a look at the basic requisites for a surrogate mother:
Basic Surrogate Qualifications
Pregnancy is no easy job as it comes with several risks to your physical health. While surrogacy is having a pregnancy for somebody else, it is highly challenging to do so. Therefore, the following are three qualifications that every surrogacy agency will demand that may help you achieve your dream as a surrogate.
Pregnancy is carrying another living body inside your womb. It is obvious that the baby will need the energy and nutrition that you will share. Therefore, robust and sound health is the basic requirement for qualifying as a surrogate.
Moreover, pregnancy can lead to health problems if your body is less capable or has some weaknesses. In this case, professionals have set a few qualities to help the surrogate preserve her health and the child not suffer during the pregnancy.
Be mindful that surrogacy agencies have different rules and requirements for surrogates. However, we have listed a few here:
Age of the surrogate must lie between 21 to 40.
A healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) is mandatory
Must have already gone through a successful pregnancy once
Already raising or raised a child
No major problems or complications in the past pregnancies
No use of antidepressants for a year
No history of tattoos or piercings for a year
In case you meet all these requirements, you can be qualified. However, you should contact a surrogacy specialist in case of a missing quality, and they may make an exception. The reason is that some agencies work case-to-case.
As surrogacy involves emotional and psychological situations over the length of the process, passing merely the physical qualities is not enough. Pregnancy can expose you to many emotional problems due to the hormone changes in the body.
Moreover, it is a full-time job that you will do by carrying someone’s child in your body for nine months. You will need to visit a doctor now and then for the baby and yourself. That alone may be a daunting task. Therefore, it can cause significant psychological issues.
To qualify as a surrogate, you must have strong psychological attributes, a strong will, and the motivation to devote yourself to the process. Hence, you should consult a professional surrogate to know this process in-depth.
Surrogate Screening Process
After successfully qualifying medical and mental qualities, your next step will be to visit a surrogate professional. This is where you will do some practical work like paperwork and interviews. The professionals will decide your eligibility based on the process.
The screening process involves the determination of your mental and physical health. The screening involves the woman and her spouse appearing before a mental health specialist to answer a few questions about the life ahead.
Then, you will go through a matching process with the intended parent. Afterward, you will have to pass the last medical screening. Once you are found eligible medically for surrogacy, the process of carrying a baby within your womb starts. At this stage, you can sign the surrogacy contract.
Why Does a Woman Become a Surrogate?
When we talk about surrogacy, the woman who gives birth to the baby is a surrogate. While the parents who will get the baby are the Intended Parents (IP). A woman becomes a surrogate to help different types of intended parents to have the family of their dreams.
After many organizations conducted several surveys and research, they found out that a surrogate earns about $80,000. Moreover, a surrogate may do so for someone they know who needs a child.
Simply put, a surrogate mother helps people get their dream child without the limitation of sexual orientation and ethnicity. Sometimes, the intended parents are single, while some may be wedded couples. In both cases, a surrogate woman is useful to have a baby in their family.
As you read in the qualifications of a surrogate, matching with the intended parents is crucial. After this matching, the surrogacy process gets started and completed with the delivery of the baby. Many surrogacy agencies allow their surrogates to decide their matching based on their preferences and choice.
Sometimes, intended parents want to breastfeed their newborn kid with the surrogate. It is a whole new thing that depends on the surrogate to provide them with her services.
Surrogacy – The Process
Surrogacy is of two types: Gestational and traditional surrogacy. The types of surrogacy are based on the involvement of DNA or genetics of the surrogate. When discussing gestational surrogacy, you must understand that the surrogates hold no genetic relation to the baby in her womb. She is merely a medium for fertilization and the delivery woman.
On the other hand, traditional surrogacy involves the gametes from the male parent fertilized in the surrogate to give birth. In this type of surrogacy, the carrier woman or surrogate mother is genetically connected to the baby she carries.
In both types of surrogacy, the technique that causes pregnancy is Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART). Artificial Reproductive Technologies may be either IUI or IVF for getting a woman pregnant.
Be mindful that traditional surrogacy is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) while gestational is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Traditional Surrogacy (IUI)
Traditional surrogacy involves using the surrogate mother’s egg mixed with the sperm of the intended father or a donor. This process is simple as you can do it in the clinic after using a few fertility drugs. In addition, the doctor will examine your overall health as well as your menstrual cycle to get a better sense of how well you are doing.
Intrauterine Insemination involves the surrogate lying on a table identically to a pelvic exam. The doctor put in a speculum with the donor’s sperm on it. The aim is to put the sperm into the uterus of the surrogate.
A catheter is useful for attaching the sperm from the vaginal canal to the uterus via the cervix. After the sperm deposition, you can wait for successful fertilization and embryo implantation.
Gestational Surrogacy (IVF)
In gestational surrogacy, the intended parents or anonymous donors supply the sperm and egg. It means the surrogate does not have a genetic link to the born child. Most surrogate mothers are gestational surrogates.
The doctor can do this process either with gametes like sperm and egg or embryo. If the embryo is made in the lab, it is directly implanted into the surrogate. The surrogate goes through several medications to balance the surrogate’s and donor’s cycles.
After the successful implantation of the embryo in the surrogate’s womb, pregnancy starts.
After Birth Process
The surrogate hands over the child to the intended parents after birth. This delivery of the child to the intended parents is legally contracted with a surrogate. Besides, the contract may also involve that the surrogate will never communicate with or meet the child.
It implies that the child belongs legally to the intended parents. Moreover, the surrogate must never let the child know that she carried them. In some rare cases, the parties involved in the surrogacy process can decide that the gestational mother should breastfeed the child for a limited time.
However, the outcome may differ if you do surrogacy for someone you know. They may allow you to meet the child legally. In the other case, it can be emotionally damaging to not bring home your child after suffering for almost a year. Then, you have no chance of seeing that kid for whom you have suffered.
However, you will heal every consequence of pregnancy over time. For instance, the body heals and returns to its normal state after delivery. Moreover, the breasts also have milk for a certain period that may turn them gorge. Also, it would be best if you dealt with extra weight due to postpartum depression from pregnancy.
Therefore, it is essential that you prepare yourself beforehand for all this before having a surrogacy. It will help you cope with the situation with courage and ease.
Types of Intended Parents (IPs)
Talking about the intended parents for surrogacy is also essential. Typically, four types of parents or people may go for surrogacy.
Typical Couple or Heterogenous Parents
Heterogeneous couples are traditionally male and female and have a bond of marriage. Sometimes, a member of the couple or even both are unable to complete or initiate the pregnancy process in the female. In this case of infertility in any of the parents, surrogacy is essential and helpful.
Mother Unwilling to Carry a Child
Sometimes, both family members, male and female, are fertile. They can initiate and complete the pregnancy and give birth to a child. However, the mother is unwilling or can’t carry the child during the pregnancy. In this case, they refer to the services of a surrogate.
Parents With Defective Genetics
There are many cases when the parents ask for the services of a surrogate when they carry a health problem. Some parents have genetic diseases that they don’t want to transfer to their kids. Therefore, they don’t initiate the pregnancy themselves.
This is a separate community that involves homosexual partners like male-male or female-female couples who want to have a child. This category also includes those still undecided about their orientation as well as transgender. These categories also refer to the surrogacy process to have a child with a genetic relation.
Where to Become a Surrogate?
Becoming surrogate demands both courage and sound health. After you understand yourself and know about becoming a surrogate, you will need to contact a professional surrogate agency.
The surrogate agency you can choose to work with can help you pave the way easier for you. They can share their life experiences and how it feels going through surrogacy. Also, they can tip you on how to stay well during and after surrogacy.
Meanwhile, after you are determined to become a surrogate, there are several agencies that help intended parents get a child through surrogacy. Also, you can carry out surrogacy independently if you know someone in need. However, independent surrogacy may not have the benefits that come with the agency.
Besides, you must decide the type of surrogacy before joining an agency. Whether you want a traditional or gestational surrogate, you should find agencies for it. After you join them with a legal contract, you proceed with the surrogacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is pre-experience with pregnancy mandatory for surrogates?
Yes, it is mandatory for any woman who wants to become a surrogate to have gone through pregnancy once in her life. This requirement ensures that the prospective woman understands what a pregnancy can bring to her.
Moreover, it also ensures that the woman is able to carry out a successful pregnancy. Sometimes, you may unknowingly have conditions that may cause complications during childbirth. Your physical health during pregnancy is also something doctors should check for. During such tests, it is a must for a surrogate to give information about all her previous pregnancies.
How many distinct forms of surrogacy are there?
In general, there are two forms of surrogacy. They are gestational and traditional. Most agencies perform only gestational surrogacies. Using a gestational carrier has become the standard method of modern surrogacy. It includes a gestational surrogate mother who only nurtures the embryo within her womb during pregnancy. This pregnancy is induced since the embryo creation takes place in a lab.
After the embryo is created, the doctor inserts and implants this embryo in a surrogate. Traditional surrogacy is different from gestational surrogacy, and you have already read about it.
Is surrogacy an effective technology?
Surrogacy has proven to be the most effective method for overcoming infertility. There is a high probability of a positive surrogacy experience for anyone who decides to go down that path. Dr. Brian Kaplan, a fertility specialist, elaborates on the topic of surrogacy success rates in his recent article for The Conversation.
What are the qualifications for surrogacy?
Qualifications for surrogacy include meeting age, health, and pregnancy history. If you worry that you don’t meet the requirements to be a surrogate, it shouldn’t deter you. Meet an expert that will identify ways for you on your surrogacy journey.
What are the financial benefits of becoming a surrogate?
Due to an increase in the number of families opting for surrogacy, there is a significant need for surrogates. Each agency may pay differently, but online tools and calculators can help you determine your individual starting surrogate salary.
How can prospective surrogate mothers ensure a healthy pregnancy through surrogacy?
As a prospective surrogate, you must always try to do everything in your power to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancies carried out by a surrogate are different from carrying a child that you conceived yourself in a variety of respects. As a result, you should seek the assistance of professionals to assist you with.
Is far-flung travel necessary for the surrogate?
Depending on where you currently are, you may be required to make a long-distance journey while being accompanied. If travel is necessary, there is the possibility of two or three trips, each of which may last between one and four days. However, such travel is optional as you can offer services within your area.
What is the number of embryo implantation for successful surrogacy?
Recent years have seen a change in artificial reproductive technologies (ART), particularly in the area of embryology. It is common practice for surrogacy procedures to involve a single embryo transfer. As a result, surrogacy has become standard practice due to the increased safety of the resulting pregnancies.
Besides, most surrogates can become pregnant after agreeing to carry a child for the intended parents through a process that may involve up to three embryo transfers.
What duties does a surrogate have once the kid is born into their care?
During the final three months of your pregnancy, you are responsible for taking care of yourself. When a child is born, the legal rights and obligations of parenting immediately transfer to the couple who was responsible for the child’s conception.
What is the best time to become a surrogate?
You can become a surrogate anytime you want since the demand is high. However, before deciding to become a surrogate, you should think about your own life and the people in it. If you have questions about whether or not you are ready to become a surrogate, feel free to get in touch with one of the professional surrogates for help.
A career as a surrogate can be both difficult and rewarding, depending on how you approach it. If you are interested in doing it, you should look into it further and conduct additional research to learn everything there is to know about the process.
Contacting an agency can be a good idea if you need more specific information about the rules you’ll be subject to. Aside from that, however, the decision is entirely up to the person making it. Take your time, carefully consider your options, and then act on your uncovered instincts.
In the past few years, surrogacy has become more popular among couples struggling with infertility. However, many people still have questions about the whole process.
Often, couples think they won’t be able to keep the baby due to ambiguous legal rights. However, intended parents can learn how to navigate such a scenario by getting familiar with the surrogacy laws.
Still, the legal surrogacy process is not straightforward. The intended parents must go through several steps to keep the baby.
So, can a surrogate keep the baby? If you have carried out a surrogacy contract with all the legal work, then the surrogate mother won’t be able to keep the baby.
Let’s find out more about the surrogacy agreement and process to clear out the doubts related to gestational surrogacy.
Can a Surrogate Mother Decide to Keep the Baby After Giving Birth?
A surrogate mother wanting to keep the baby is only a hypothetical threat. Furthermore, even the worst legal authorities are unlikely to take such a step. In reality, a surrogate mother doubts whether the intended parents will adopt the child; if not, she’ll be obliged to keep the baby.
The intended parents also wonder about who will be the child’s legal parents. It all depends on the state laws, which differ from state to state. Many laws that still recognize the surrogate as a birth mother are outdated. However, this can still raise issues for the intended parents, who might not get authority over their child.
To protect parental rights, intended parents and their legal representatives must take a few measures. Intended parents and surrogate mothers must sign orders allocating a percentage each at either the pre or post-birth order.
Many states will let the intended parent initiate a percentage of rights over the unborn baby. This is called a pre-birth order (legal contract). Generally, the lawyer will collect specific legal documents to sign a pre-birth order. Intended parents and surrogates will sign the statements of the percentage for the expected baby. Furthermore, the doctor at the hospital will produce an affidavit mentioning they have made the embryonic transfer for a gestational carrier.
The lawyer may also have to give in other social documents and evaluations assembled during the surrogacy process.
Pre-birth order is generally documented during the seventh month of pregnancy. However, it can be signed as early as the fourth month, depending on the state laws.
Once you file the order, the law will acknowledge your parental rights, and you will be:
Needed to list on the baby’s birth certificate.
Permitted to make medical decisions for your baby.
Assisted in solving insurance coverage problems.
Permitted to acquire your child from the birth mother and discharge from the hospital.
Many states might not allow pre-birth orders and require you to wait until the child is born. This is called post-birth order. Some state laws prohibit intended parents from signing the order to gain some rights before the baby is born. Surrogacy in these states may be an ordeal, but not impossible.
Intended parents can file these orders three to five days after the child is born. In this case, the intended parents must show up at the court after childbirth. The court process is more of a formality; the hearing will go smoothly if both parties agree on the same terms.
How to Stay Safe From Surrogate Claiming Parental Rights
To safeguard yourself and prevent a surrogate from claiming your child, you can take these steps:
Associate with a highly experienced agency with reliable surrogates that professionally looks after the surrogacy arrangements. Agencies possess integral processing that ensures the surrogate acknowledges legal obligations. Thus, everything moves seamlessly.
Other than surrogacy agencies, you can also employ a surrogacy coordinator. A professional individual possessing knowledge and experience will handle the women throughout the surrogacy process. This coordinator will connect you and the surrogate, spotting incoming issues and solving them beforehand.
Ensure the surrogate attends a psychiatric evaluation with a therapist adept at identifying emotional issues in people who are giving up on their babies. Loads of surrogacy agencies include this in their hiring criteria.
If you want to execute the surrogacy process, establish a friendly relationship with the surrogate. Make her want to help you by letting go of parental rights and legal mother’s name.
Last but not least, obtain a professionally made contract with the surrogate. Ensure the contract’s terms are clear, including the surrogate’s intentions, her rights after the birth, her compensation, and your commitment to her. After signing the contract, uphold your agreed terms.
Can a Surrogate Prosecute You for Attaining Legal Parents’ Rights?
Countries like the USA have a litigious culture where every other person is ready to sue anyone for anything. So a surrogate can try to prosecute you for parental rights.
Circumstances on Whether a Surrogate Is Eligible to Sue You
If you own a contract with the surrogate in a state where legislation confirms the validation of your contract, then the surrogate won’t be able to sue you. This legal framework will protect you from the surrogate’s claims. However, the surrogate mother might have a few legal alternatives to claim parental rights.
The probability of a surrogate suing you to gain legal rights over the baby depends on the circumstances:
The surrogate will get legal protection if the intended parents deny payback as per the agreed contract.
In states without an updated surrogate legal framework, the surrogate mother will be the legal mother and can hold onto parental rights.
Many states already have such legal groundwork. However, the laws appear to be outdated. In this case, the surrogate may file a case for parental rights. However, the possibility of winning the case entirely depends on the situation. The United Kingdom is one of those states where it is slightly common for surrogates to change their minds and hold onto some legal rights over the baby. Generally, the surrogate must demonstrate why she is a better caregiver than the intended parents.
If you are executing the surrogacy process independently using your own agreement and without the involvement of a capable lawyer, the chances of the surrogate suing for legal rights are high. In such an instance, you will be given minimum protection of the law since you haven’t legitimized your surrogacy process.
If the surrogate can convince the court that you won’t be a good match for the baby, the court may grant “parental rights” to her. You may be incapable due to your background, including involvement in illegal or menacing activities or refusing to follow the terms of the surrogacy agreement.
Importance of Agency and Lawyer in Surrogacy
It is significant to recognize the role of an experienced agency in this process. An agency processes surrogates through screening and psychic evaluation to separate females who cannot execute legal needs. If you choose to conduct the process independently, it is wise to employ a skilled lawyer before someone conceives.
Remember to fulfill the agreement honestly with the surrogate and remain faithful during your journey. Then there won’t be a chance that the court will overrule the surrogacy contract. Keep your surrogate from second-guessing her decision to give you the baby.
What Is the Distinction Between Traditional Surrogacy and Gestational Surrogacy?
The primary distinction between gestational and traditional surrogacy is the “biological relation of the mother”. The surrogate employs her own eggs to develop an embryo in traditional surrogacy. In contrast, gestational surrogacy requires both eggs and sperm that create the embryo are externally sourced.
A traditional surrogate is a biological mother. While in the gestational carrier, the surrogate is only the birth mother and does not relate to the child genetically.
In addition to genetic relations, medical procedures can distinguish both types of surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy involves the embryo insertion into the surrogate, which is created in the lab using in vitro fertilization (with eggs and sperm). At the same time, traditional surrogacy requires artificial insemination. Unlike gestational surrogacy, it is free from additional medical procedures like consuming fertility medications and going through the egg retrieval process.
Traditional surrogates have an emotional attachment to their offspring because of the genetic relationship. However, gestational carriers don’t usually have that attachment. Therefore, it might take a lot of time for intended parents to come across a willing traditional surrogate compared to gestational ones.
A surrogate might be able to keep the baby, depending on the circumstances. Surrogate mothers with pre-birth orders must give the baby to the intended parents. Therefore, it is wise for intended parents to work under a legal framework to get protection.
The surrogate mother should consent to relinquish legal rights right after childbirth. By using the proper legal documentation, the intended parents will have complete legal rights over the baby. The remainder of the process will be a formality, and the intended parents can keep the child.
Surrogacy is a great way to become a mother and grow your family. However, choosing a surrogate mother is a bit expensive and often overwhelming. Many people put off considering surrogacy due to the widespread belief that the process is too expensive.
This could be the case if you go through the process without preparing yourself. However, the reality is that raising a family through surrogacy is possible if one has access to the right information and resources. So, how much is a surrogate in California? Let’s find out.
Who Is a Surrogate Mother?
The term “surrogate” refers to any woman who agrees to bear a child on behalf of another. A surrogate mother is someone who carries babies for couples who are unable to conceive children on their own.
Most surrogate mothers are gestational, meaning they don’t use their eggs or transfer any of their genetic material to the child. The intended parents pay the surrogate mother, and all parties involved in the surrogacy arrangement must sign a legally binding contract.
Different Types of Surrogacies
In a traditional surrogacy arrangement, the intended parent’s sperm fertilizes the surrogate mother’s eggs. The procedure used for this is intrauterine insemination (IUI). In traditional surrogacy, IUI is the standard method used to fertilize the surrogate mother’s egg with the sperm of the intended father.
Compared to in vitro fertilization (IVF), the IUI procedure is typically less expensive and demanding. Next, the surrogate mother will carry the pregnancy to term and then hand the newborn over to the custody of the intended parent, who’ll raise the child as their own. With a traditional surrogacy arrangement, the intended couples don’t need to find or choose an egg donor.
The surrogate mother’s eggs are used throughout the surrogacy process. After the intended couples choose a surrogate, the next step is to sign a legally binding contract. The legal requirements outline the surrogacy agreement between the intended couple and the surrogate.
This is an important step because, unlike gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has a strong biological connection with the child. This means the non-biological parent must undergo the legal adoption process once the child is born to finalize their parental rights.
However, traditional surrogacy raises more legal issues for the would-be parents. Why? Because the surrogate is both the egg donor and the child’s biological mother. As a result of these legal concerns, many fertility clinics don’t offer this option to intended parents.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries the embryo for the intended parents. In this case, the mother’s egg (or a donor egg) is combined with the intended father’s sperm to create an embryo. Gestational surrogacy uses the IVF procedure to create the embryo placed into the surrogate mother’s uterus.
Next, the surrogate mother goes through with the pregnancy and hands the baby to the intended couple afterward. Gestational surrogacy has a simpler legal process than traditional surrogacy. Why? Because the surrogate mother has no genetic connection with the newborn.
One of the main benefits of gestational surrogacy is that the rights of biological ownership remain with the intended parents. On the other hand, the surrogate mother remains the child’s birth mother, eliminating any potential custody disputes.
Gestational surrogacy is by far the most common and available type of surrogacy. Most intended parents prefer gestational surrogacy because it has more favorable surrogacy laws than traditional surrogacy. When factoring in all necessary expenses, note that traditional and gestational surrogacy costs different amounts due to their varying requirements.
Surrogacy Costs in California
When calculating potential surrogacy costs, it’s important to note that each state has its guidelines and regulations. Regarding legal requirements, certain states have more legal hoops to jump through, while others are more surrogate-friendly. Thankfully, California is a surrogate-friendly state and welcomes even international intended parents to apply for surrogacy.
However, note that a surrogate cost in California can be much higher than in other states. This is because the surrogacy market in California is one of the most competitive in the U.S.
The Cost of Traditional Surrogacy in California
Determining the average cost of surrogacy can be challenging because there are so many factors to consider. When estimating the cost of traditional surrogacy, one must consider the following:
Health insurance policies
Medical costs (including IUI procedure)
Surrogate agency fees
Medical and psychological screening
These are just a few potential payments couples may cover throughout the surrogacy journey. Also, note that the total cost of these arrangements and procedures varies depending on the various services’ rates.
Traditional surrogacy is typically less expensive than gestational surrogacy because the intended parents are not responsible for covering the costs of an egg donation and an IVF procedure. The cost of an IUI procedure is much lower than that of IVF since it utilizes the surrogate mother’s egg.
Traditional surrogacy can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000, but the price can range anywhere from those numbers depending on several factors. This includes the points listed above concerning the fluctuating rates.
How Much Does Gestational Surrogacy Cost in California?
Intended parents going through the gestational surrogacy route pay much more than traditional surrogacy. The higher price tag is due to the complex legal preparations, surrogacy agency requirements, and the application of an IVF.
As reported by West Coast Surrogacy, costs associated with gestational surrogacy can range from $90,000 to $130,000. These totals include the factors mentioned above and a variety of additional factors like the surrogate mother’s experience, monthly allowances, and potential preventive measures.
Getting the right surrogate can be a daunting process. However, surrogacy agencies are happy to assist you and provide the resources and tools you need to start a family without breaking the bank. As a result, you can seek out cost-reduction measures and negotiate service fees to lessen the blow of what would otherwise be prohibitively high expenses.
How Much Do Intended Parents Pay Surrogate Mothers in California?
In California, first-time surrogate mothers can expect to earn around $50,000, while experienced surrogates make up to $80,000. However, note that these figures only represent the base salary and don’t include any bonuses or incentives that may be offered. A surrogate mother may receive bonuses or extra payment if she:
Lost wages due to time off work
Undergoes C-section (invasive procedure) during delivery
Gets pregnant with twins or triplets
Gives the intended parents breast milk.
Transfers more than one embryo or passes through multiple fertility cycles
Also, in California, the intended parents cover the surrogate’s expenses. This includes all of the following:
Medical expenses, medical procedures, and supplies.
Childcare, maternity clothing, and food.
Travel arrangements for legal and medical appointments.
The surrogate’s individual legal representation.
You’ll have to add the base salary, expenses, and bonuses to get the total surrogate compensation. As you can see, there are plenty of expenses to cover and information to remember. However, enlisting the help of a reputable surrogacy agency can simplify the entire surrogacy process.
Working with an experienced and reliable surrogacy agency will come in handy if issues arise during the surrogacy process. When working with a surrogacy agency, would-be parents can focus their attention where it is most needed: on getting ready for the birth of their kid.
How Can Intended Parents in California Pay for Surrogacy?
In most cases, standard health insurance plans don’t cover the cost of surrogacy due to the high cost of services. This includes medical screening, the IVF process, maternity clothes, surrogacy compensation, and other expenses associated with the entire surrogacy process. This type of coverage is specifically excluded from most insurance policies.
Additionally, unless the surrogate has a surrogacy-friendly policy, her insurance is unlikely to cover any expenses associated with carrying a child. What other options are available? What’s the best way to pay for surrogacy in California? If you find yourself in this situation, a reputable surrogacy agency can help you sort things out. For example, with the help of a surrogacy agency, you can easily purchase a surrogacy-friendly policy for the surrogate.
On the other hand, the intended parent’s insurance plan may cover the entire or part of the IVF. This is also known as “Cycle insurance.” However, note that whether or not this option is available depends on the insurance policy.
A good surrogate agency should be able to help you (the intended parent) precisely determine the insurance policy’s coverage. Lastly, note that agencies sometimes offer intended parents financing options, although it’s rare.
Surrogate Benefits in California
One of the numerous reasons California is a popular surrogate destination is that it offers one of the highest surrogate pay. Women in Northern and Southern California interested in becoming surrogate mothers get to enjoy various perks. For example, with surrogacy, you can complete families and create relationships with the intended parents.
Plus, most surrogate mothers get to work with a licensed social worker and personal Program Coordination Team. Additionally, as the surrogate mother, you receive generous compensation and a great sense of self-fulfillment for bringing another human being into the world.
Lastly, California is one of the best locations for surrogacy. California is home to some of the finest fertility clinics in the U.S. This makes California one of the most attractive destinations for intended parents seeking a surrogate mother.
Multiple surrogacy agency
Finest surrogacy clinics
Surrogacy is more expensive in California than in other states
Frequently Asked Questions (Surrogate FAQs)
1. What are the surrogate mother requirements in California?
One of the states with the most friendly surrogate rules in California. California is a surrogate-friendly state and has a straightforward surrogate mother requirement. Women who want to become a surrogate in California must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 32 and be between the ages of 21 and 41.
Plus, potential surrogate mothers in California are required to have already given birth and be the parents of at least one child. Additionally, your medical records must show that all of your pregnancies and births were problem-free. Furthermore, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.
Also, you must be healthy, a nonsmoker, and have no criminal record. Most fertility clinics will also require that you undergo medical and psychological examinations before being accepted as a surrogate.
2. Are surrogate mothers free to choose who they’ll become a surrogate for?
Matching a surrogate with a couple looking to start a family is a complex process that requires a lot of planning, thought, and investigation. Of course, the surrogate mother must be involved in the match-making process. First, the intended couples choose their surrogate. Next, the surrogate is then notified and allowed to request different intended parents. However, it is quite rare to find a surrogate requesting a different intended parent.
3. How long does surrogacy take from sign-up to completion?
Surrogacy, from initial paperwork through delivery, usually takes between 12 and 13 months. Medical screenings and legal work take around three to four months. Then, the surrogate mother carries the baby for nine months. Since every surrogate case is different, it’s hard to give an exact estimate of how long this process will take. However, a period of 12-13 months is a good estimate.
4. Will the surrogate mother and child have any biological relationship?
The surrogate mother would share a biological connection with the baby if the baby was conceived through traditional surrogacy. However, the reverse is the case for gestational surrogacy. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is only the birth mother and doesn’t share any biological relationship with the child. This is because the egg comes from the intended mother or an egg donor and not from the surrogate mother.
How much is a surrogate in California? It’s quite hard to give an exact estimate of how much surrogacy would cost you because there are many factors at play here. However, if you go for traditional surrogacy, you can expect to spend between 40,000 to $70,000.
On the other hand, gestational surrogacy is way more expensive than traditional surrogacy and can cost you $90,000 to $130,000. The hefty price tag is primarily due to the procedure (IVF) used to create the embryo. Also, as the intended parent, note that you’ll have to cover the surrogate’s medical costs, legal fees, travel expenses, and other expenses.
However, if the entire surrogacy process seems too daunting for you, you can hire the services of a surrogacy agency. A reputable surrogacy agency will provide you with all the documents, resources, and tools you need to start a family. Plus, they’ll help you simplify the surrogacy payment process and deal with any hurdle you may face along the way.
So, you’re wondering if a woman can carry another woman’s egg. The answer is YES! This is a medical procedure known as gestational surrogacy. So, learn everything you need to know about surrogacy and the egg donation procedure if you’re interested in having a child through a surrogate mother. This post deeply explains what it entails and how it works.
Surrogacy and How It Works, Explained
Surrogacy is an artificial reproduction process in which a third party (the surrogate mother) carries and nurtures a child in her womb for another woman or couple unable to conceive naturally for various reasons. We also refer to this as “assisted reproduction” or “third-party reproduction.”
We call it assisted or third-party reproduction due to the unique nature of the procedure. Usually, the process involves the prospective parents (individuals or couples who cannot have children naturally) and the egg and sperm donors.
Skilled medical professionals facilitate this process. And legal agreements are typically in place between all parties to avoid any future legal issues. Also, there’s usually an agreed-upon compensation for the surrogate mother at the end of the conception period and the child’s birth.
Furthermore, doctors perform a medical diagnosis on the surrogate mother before the surrogacy process begins to identify any genetic disorders or infectious diseases that may negatively impact the unborn child’s health. As we dive deeper into the different types of surrogacy, you’ll fully understand the different types of surrogacy and what each type means for you.
Types of Surrogacy: Which Is Best for You?
When it comes to having children through surrogacy, prospective parents have two options: conventional/traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
This method involves infusing sperm from a sperm donor into the surrogate mother’s womb to fertilize her eggs. Any male willing to donate his sperm or the prospective father could be the sperm donor.
Likewise, the surrogate mother donates her eggs and womb/uterus for fertilization. So, what does this type of surrogacy mean for you?
The implication is that the intended mother won’t be biologically related to the child since the eggs fertilized into a baby came from the surrogate mother. Even more, if both the egg and the sperm come from third parties, the intended parent won’t be the child’s biological parent.
Overall, traditional surrogacy involves a simple fertilization process. However, the child would have the donor or surrogate’s genetic qualities. Therefore, it is important to check for genetic disorders and other related diseases when selecting a surrogate (egg or sperm donor).
An IVF procedure uses in vitro fertilization to artificially fertilize an egg with sperm from a donor into an embryo in the womb or uterus of a surrogate (the woman who will carry the pregnancy). The sperm and egg donors could be the intended parents or any male and female willing to donate their eggs or sperm.
In this case, the surrogate won’t be the child’s biological mother. So, if the parents of the child being carried by the surrogate want to have a biological connection to the child, they should provide the surrogate with their sperm and eggs to fertilize.
Above all, gestational surrogacy involves a lot of complicated processes like IVF, gestation, embryo transfer, etc. Therefore, it’s best to consult a professional for this process.
Notwithstanding, gestational surrogacy has proven to be the most viable option for intending parents or individuals looking to raise a family through surrogacy.
Why Gestational Surrogacy May Be the Best Option for Surrogacy
1. It Affords People With Biological or Health Complications the Ability to Raise Children Naturally
This is one of the main perks of gestational surrogacy. Some individuals, couples, or aspiring parents may be unable to birth a child naturally for one reason or another.
Some of these people could include:
Individuals who have decided not to have a sexual partner but want to have children.
People who lack the ability to carry a baby biologically (e.g., women who don’t have a uterus)
Gay male couples
People who have exceeded the natural/biological age of giving birth naturally
People living with medical conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, fibroids, heart failure, etc.
However, thanks to gestational surrogacy, people in this category can have children by donating their gametes (sperm or egg cells) to a surrogate to have a child.
2. It Allows You to Have a Baby That’s Genetically Related to the Parent
Unlike traditional surrogates, gestational surrogacy allows an intended parent to get a baby that’s genetically related to them by allowing them to use their sperm and/or eggs for the artificial reproduction procedure.
3. Gestational Surrogacy Reassures Intended Parents of the Genetic/Biological Makeup of the Baby
One of the major concerns prospective parents have about surrogacy is having a baby that shares genes with a stranger. If this is you, you need not worry about this because gestational surrogacy makes it possible to have a surrogate baby that shares all of your genetic properties.
However, the intended parents would need to be the sole donors of the gametes for this to happen.
4. It Reduces the Risks of the Surrogate Mother Laying Claims to the Baby in the Future
This is another major challenge with surrogacy. In some instances, surrogate mothers have been known to breach the terms of the surrogate contract and lay claim to the child in the future.
However, in situations where the child is genetically related to the parents (such as in gestational surrogacy), the surrogate mother cannot claim to be the child’s biological parent.
Benefits and Risks of Surrogacy in General
Undoubtedly, surrogacy has helped many aspiring parents fulfill their wish to have a baby and grow their family. In fact, a study reveals that about 750 families in the U.S., including many influential personalities, have their babies through gestational surrogacy. In addition to that, surrogacy offers the following benefits for the intended parent:
1. Helps Prospective Parents to Be Actively Involved and Monitor All Stages of the Baby’s Growth and Development
This is arguably one of the best parts of surrogacy. You get to actively participate in the fetus’ early development until birth.
Depending on the contract or agreement signed by all parties involved in the process, the intended parent and surrogate ought to meet several times throughout the whole procedure until the delivery of the baby. This can be very reassuring for the intended parents and the surrogate.
2.Higher Success Rates Than Some Fertility Treatments
There have been instances where couples trying to build a family undergo several fertility treatments only to experience miscarriage after finally conceiving. This usually leaves the couple devastated and disappointed.
However, this is less likely to happen with surrogacy because surrogates are usually women with clean medical records and a history of at least one successful pregnancy. Thus, this increases the success rate of the surrogacy procedure.
3. Freedom to Choose Who’ll Be Your Surrogate
Once you’re ready to build a family through surrogacy, you’ll need to go to the appropriate agency and fill out an application. Afterward, you’ll be given a list of pre-vetted surrogate candidates from which you can choose based on their profiles.
More so, you can meet your preferred surrogate in person to get a sense of their personality before moving forward with the process. This allows you to choose the right person to carry your baby.
But with all these benefits, surrogacy has its own unique set of challenges.
1. Surrogacy Can Be Quite Costly
One of the questions prospective parents often ask when considering surrogacy is: “How much does it cost?” Unfortunately, the surrogacy procedure costs between $350,000 and $900,000.
This could be the cost of legal fees, medical procedures, and the surrogates’ compensation. It might cost more in some regions, especially in countries where surrogacy is common, and surrogates are in high demand.
Overall, the high cost of this procedure can be a huge discouraging factor for many intended parents.
2. It Can Be Very Complicated
Surrogacy can be both medically and legally complicated. First off, surrogacy involves several rigorous medical procedures, especially gestational surrogacy. There will be several medical diagnoses to conduct and medical conditions or regulations to adhere to for the process to work.
The legal processes can also be mentally, physically, and financially exhausting. Aside from the compensation for the gestational carrier/surrogate, you’ll also need to pay some legal fees throughout the entire process.
All of this can make surrogacy an overwhelming process. Nonetheless, its benefits outweigh the challenges, as it has offered many couples and intended parents the hope to bear children and raise a family.
Surrogacy vs Adoption; Which Is Ideal for You?
The chances are that you may be contemplating adoption and surrogacy. Both processes are effective ways to fulfill your desire to become a parent. Therefore, deciding which one to go for may not be an easy decision to make.
However, by examining the key differences between both processes, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which process is best for you.
Genetic/Biological Connection With the Child
Not being genetically connected to a child may not matter much to some intended or adoptive parents. However, some may prefer sharing some genetic or physical similarities with a child born through a third party.
Overall, genetic relations should not affect the bond between the child and the adoptive/intended parent. It should be more about individual preferences.
Can you afford the financial responsibility required to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent? Both options will require a significant financial investment, but one is more expensive than the other.
Surrogacy will require you to compensate the surrogate mother financially. The compensation price may vary depending on the country and the surrogate’s demands.
In addition to that, you’ll need to pay the medical bills associated with the fertilization process and other pregnancy-related expenses until after delivery.
Adoption would also cost you, but not as much as surrogacy. Of course, you’ll be required to pay the pregnancy-related costs, and in some cases, the birth mother may place a special financial demand on the adoptive parent.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to think carefully about how much you can spend and make a decision that’s best for you.
It may take prospective parents one to three years to process surrogacy or adoption. This time frame usually covers the application process, matching the surrogate or donor with the intended parent, and the conception and birth of the child.
Although some variables (unexpected factors) may make the process take longer than usual, some processes may be naturally longer than others.
For instance, with surrogacy, the intended parents often have to pick from a list of pre-screened candidates. This can make matchmaking much easier and speed up the entire process.
In contrast, in adoption, the potential birth mother may take some time to decide to put her child up for adoption and choose the ideal family. Again, it all boils down to your personal preferences.
When planning for adoption or surrogacy, it’s always best to consider the possibility of the third party making future contact with the child so you can take precautionary measures.
With surrogacy, there are not many biological ties with the surrogate. This is because one or both of the intended parents may donate their sperm or egg for the process. Due to this, the surrogate can not lay claim to the baby in the future.
However, with adoption, despite legal agreements, the birth mother may change her mind and request that the adoption be revoked. Although most agencies take precautionary measures against this to safeguard their clients, scenarios like this could nonetheless lead to prolonged legal issues.
Finally, surrogacy gives you more control over who will be your gestational carrier. However, with adoption, it is vice versa: the biological mother decides whom to give her child to.
Ultimately, both surrogacy and adoption are ideal options for having a baby when you can’t have one naturally. So, the best one for you would be what your unique preferences are in relation to the factors discussed above.
Complex Terms Explained
An egg donor is a woman who has agreed to voluntarily give her eggs to help someone who can’t have a child naturally. Now, the egg donor may receive monetary compensation for this act, especially if she is a complete stranger to the prospective parents.
The egg donation usually follows a medical procedure whereby the egg donor takes certain medications to induce her body to produce multiple eggs at once (in a single cycle). These eggs are then extracted from the ovaries to be used for the artificial fertilization process.
Sometimes, the egg donor would donate her eggs and her womb/uterus for fertilization. In other instances, the eggs are fertilized in another woman’s womb (the surrogate) or outside the womb through a process called IVF.
This is a sperm cell or semen from a healthy male individual that would be used for reproductive purposes, especially for individuals or couples having trouble with reproduction. People looking for donor sperm can use an anonymous donor or someone they know and trust.
In most cases, the second option is often preferable for the health and well-being of the unborn child.
Gestational Carrier/Gestational Surrogate
This is simply a woman who has undergone the gestational surrogacy process and is pregnant with a child that isn’t hers. As the name implies, she carries the baby for the intended parent.
Basically, eggs and sperm from an egg donor, either anonymous donors or the intended parent, would be fertilized into an embryo in the lab through IVF. The embryo is then transferred into her uterus so she can carry the baby to full term.
In this case, the gestational carrier or gestational surrogate will have no biological connection to the child.
Reciprocal IVF Procedure
Reciprocal IVF, also known as in vitro fertilization, is a unique reproductive process that allows female same-sex couples (lesbians) to have their own biological children. In this procedure, one woman becomes the egg donor while the other partner becomes the gestational carrier.
The eggs are fertilized artificially with donated sperm from a sperm donor. Then, the resulting embryo is infused into the gestational carrier’s (the other female partner’s) womb.
Thanks to IVF, lesbian couples can break the natural reproductive law and have children of their own.
Gametes are simply “sex” or “reproductive” sex cells. The male gametes are called sperm cells, while the female gametes are called eggs.
We use this word to describe an individual who replaces or fulfills the role of another person. In assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine, the term “surrogate” describes a woman who carries a pregnancy for another woman.
Intended Parent/Prospective Parent
This describes an individual, heterosexual couple, or same-sex couple who cannot conceive biologically for one reason or another. As a result, they’ve decided to raise a family via either traditional surrogacy or a gestational carrier.
This could be an individual or a couple deciding to legally adopt a child due to certain restrictions on their ability to reproduce naturally. The adoption process could take two forms: the adoptive parents could legally adopt a grown child or a newborn baby.
The latter is what we’ve referred to in the surrogacy vs. adoption section above.
This describes someone who gives birth to a child. In reference to assisted reproductive technology, the birth mother isn’t necessarily the baby’s biological mother, as we have seen that a woman can carry another person’s child through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Formerly, having children was almost a social obligation, and adoption was the only option for those who couldn’t conceive. Thanks to assisted reproductive technology’s advancement, anyone can have children biologically, regardless of medical conditions.
So, whether you’re a heterosexual couple or a same-sex couple, or someone who can’t give birth naturally without complications, surrogacy allows you to become a parent and have your own child or children.
Every parent deserves to have a child of their own. However, things don’t go according to plan every time. Some couples can have complications having a baby, and if they don’t want to go for adoption, surrogacy is an excellent option for them. Surrogacy is a process where a person agrees to carry and give birth to another person’s baby.
There is no need for intercourse for such a procedure. Surrogacy requires one of two methods — In Vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination (AI) — to get the results. In simple words, sperm cells are inserted into an egg in a laboratory dish. Then comes the tricky part: transferring the embryo to the woman looking to carry the baby.
The second process requires a mother to raise and give birth to her genetic child. The rest of the process is the same, except the woman must give up the child custody after the delivery to the parents.
Since the surrogacy process is challenging, many agencies have taken part in it to ensure safe results. After all, it demands expertise and patience, plus finding a person willing to spend nine months carrying a baby is not easy. So, if you plan to choose a surrogacy agency, we share the best surrogacy agencies below.
These companies offer a safe surrogacy journey for the person carrying the baby and provide surety to both intended parents. What’s more, these surrogacy agencies work in both traditional surrogate and gestational surrogacy.
Best Surrogacy Agencies
We found the best surrogacy agencies to keep things safe and avoid unnecessary complications during and after the surrogacy. They allow the parents to choose the egg donors and the process. If they already have eggs in the lab, they’ll let you know their health and who donated them. You have all the time to choose, but once they insert the sperm, you’ll have no choice but to pay for the process. So, here are the agencies we chose.
Founded more than three decades ago with a success rate of 99.5% and over 8,000 completed journeys, Hatch Egg is the best surrogate agency on our list.
This agency is not only about finding an egg donor or a surrogate but also gives you the option to become one. If you have what it takes to carry someone else’s child in your womb, this agency is the best place to start.
Hatch Egg has a fixed fee to cover all medical and agency expenses, unlike many other agencies. Their representative will disclose all the costs and methods of payment and when you must pay them. Their staff members are super friendly and warmly welcoming to anyone visiting them. Hatch Egg operates in over 52 countries worldwide, giving anyone a chance to become a surrogate or a donor.
For those looking to become a parent, Hatch Egg has the easiest process. Visit their websites and fill out the form, be specific and clear about what you want. Once that is over, a representative will call you to book the consultation session. Fill out another form, and they’ll schedule a session for you to elaborate further.
During the entire journey, the agency will keep you updated and care for you, so you won’t feel like a client but a family. If you have any problem or query at any time of the day, give them a call, and they’ll gladly help you out.
Hatch Egg is an excellent egg donor agency because they have fresh eggs and care for their donors. However, they require qualifications you must fulfill to become their surrogate or egg donor. You must first go through their screening test to check your physical and mental health.
Their compensation is handsome; you won’t feel like you are being underpaid for your donation or surrogate. On the other hand, the family you’ll help with can also provide extra compensation for your efforts.
If you decide to become a surrogate, the company keeps track of your health until you deliver the baby. They also have experienced surgeons to help deliver the baby safely without causing any harm to the mother.
Industry-high success rates
Peace of mind Program
Unlimited medical and agency services until live birth
Compared with Hatch Egg, Circle Surrogacy has a success rate of 99.3%. Not a big difference, but it brought this agency to the number two spot on our list. More than 73 countries are on their list of donors, surrogates, and parents. With a delivery of 2,600 babies and counting, this surrogate agency should be a good choice for international parents.
This agency has everything to cover their patients, donors, or surrogates. They don’t take help from others and would like to solve the conflicts within. More than 40% of their staff are experienced surrogates, parents, or egg donors. If this is your first time getting a baby via surrogate, this company can be the best choice.
Their experienced staff are always there to explain the process and its importance. They aim to deliver the baby and ensure the mother’s health remains at best.
One unique thing about Circle Surrogacy is the variety of family-building programs. You don’t have to come fully prepared but you should have a vague goal in your mind. This agency has multiple plans to offer, and their professional team will guide you. They also offer dual and sibling journeys for those who would like to have two kids. The best part is that you can choose the previous gestational surrogate to have another child. Moreover, they even have eggs for twins, in case you want to spice up your life to the maximum level.
Circle Surrogacy is transparent about the compensation they offer to surrogates. On average, a surrogate can earn around $30 – 40 thousand. With the benefits the agency offers, the total payment can reach $50 thousand. There are four cycles of compensation for surrogates. They get the money to purchase all the necessary stuff they’ll require during and after delivery. For things like maternity clothes or housekeeping, the company covers its cost.
However, the compensation won’t end with the delivery; you’ll still get compensation for months to improve your health. The agency might need you again, so they like to keep their surrogates in top-notch condition.
The egg donors must first see if they fulfill the requirements; you can visit their website to learn more about that. Each donation cycle can get you around $9000-$16000. Circle Surrogacy ensures that it’s not only the intended parent who enjoys the future but also the donors and surrogates.
Offers a delightful and personalized experience
99.3% success rate
73 countries with circle parents
The fixed-cost program can be an issue for people with low budget
It has been 25 years since ConceiveAbilities arrived in the surrogacy business, and it has been a favorite ever since. They keep the intended parents updated about every step of the process and keep an eye on the surrogate mothers. For them, money won’t matter much, but the mother’s health and customer satisfaction make it the best surrogacy agency for those looking for peace of mind.
The unique thing about ConceiveAbilities is its matching system. While most agencies might provide an 80% match between surrogate and parents, this agency ensures to reach at least a 90% matching score.
For example, every parent wants to get a child that looks exactly like one of them. This is where ConceiveAbilities ensures that the surrogate or the egg donor they provide for the parents share somewhat similar physical traits. Moreover, more than 97% of their customers instantly liked the first surrogate they were presented with.
Since this company works internationally, the entire fee structure is laid out on the website. You don’t have to call anyone to learn about the fixed cost, escrow cost, or any other fee they might charge during or after the process. The only additional charge is the fee for a remote donor. That only happens if the parents are not interested in the available surrogates or donors, and the agency has to look further.
ConceiveAbilities has different criteria when it comes to choosing the surrogate. Instead of choosing the best healthy candidates, they choose women who love their families and are willing to care for the unborn baby like their own. This is what makes ConceiveAbilities unique from other surrogate agencies.
They have a ten-point screening process to ensure you get the best match on the first attempt. Abiding by all the surrogacy laws, this agency delivers the best results while keeping the baby and the surrogate mother safe.
As a surrogate, you get insurance to cover any extra expense during or after the process. A new surrogate can make up to $62000, depending on their location. Some surrogates can even get an additional $10000 as a bonus. The basic egg donor pay is $8000; it goes up from there and can even reach $16000 per session.
Huge compensation compared to other agencies
Best agency to start your gestational carrier
24/7 legal support is available
One of the oldest and highly reputed surrogacy agencies
The remote egg donation makes the whole process expensive
Starting its operations in 1996, having more than 3000 satisfied customers put Growing Generations at number four on our list. They only choose 1% among the top qualifiers for their donors and surrogates. So, while they don’t have a huge donor or surrogate database, what they have is the best.
In fact, Growing Generations was one of the first agencies to bring this surrogation process to the market. Their idea was to help men with HIV+ to become a biological father; thus, they specialize in In Vitro fertilization. Since this process doesn’t require any human-body interaction, men can get a biological child despite having severe diseases.
Thanks to this, Growing Generations is popular among elders, especially those who tried but failed to have a baby. They aim to provide the best match to ensure the best possible outcome. However, you might have to wait a bit more when dealing with this agency since they consider each situation and explore options before confirming an answer.
Their process starts with consultation for parents, surrogate mothers, and donors. Growing Generations wants its partners to learn more about the entire process before deciding, so their consultants are always there. Fill out the form, and their representative will let you join a consultation session to clear up any confusion.
After the consultation, you can fill out a small profile to share your preferences with the agency. This process is necessary so the agency can find a surrogate to meet your preferences. Since they have the best matching percentage, this online form is thorough and requires many details.
Another good thing about this agency is that they hold a video call or in-person session between the intended parents and surrogates for better understanding. The pirates can communicate with each other at any time they want to keep an update on the baby.
The company only chooses the top 2% of applicants as their surrogates, but they didn’t share any information regarding the compensation. However, their reviews state that every surrogate is paid handsomely enough to chase their dreams.
The same goes for egg donors, who get higher compensation with every session. However, one cannot donate eggs more than six times as per American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines.
Best agency for men with HIV+
47 US states with surrogates
A personalized journey for every client
The transparent process at all stages
You must reach the center 45 minutes before the closing time
IARC Surrogacy was established in the 1980s, making this agency the most experienced on our list. With 35 years of experience helping families and facilitating surrogacy journeys, this agency is the one you approach when you don’t get satisfactory answers from others.
Not only is IARC good at surrogacy, but it also offers emotional and physical support to its surrogates and their parents. If a couple is confused about whether to choose surrogacy, this platform has experienced consultants to help clear their vision.
One unique perk of this company is personalized coordination. They don’t treat all customers the same. Instead, they’ll hear the story and treat them in a way that they feel safe and at ease.
One thing you might like the most about this agency is their guarantees on the process. It doesn’t matter whether you are a surrogate or a parent; this company offers multiple guarantees, so you stay loyal to them.
IARC Surrogacy has the best compensation plans for surrogates, covering everything, even their traveling expenses. Once pregnant, you are under the company’s care, and they’ll do everything to ensure your health stays at its peak. Even after the delivery, the company keeps you under supervision for two to three months to ensure you won’t face any adverse side effects.
For parents, they offer free consultation sessions until you are clear about what you want. During that time, they’ll share their clients’ experiences so you can get an idea of their work.
The screening process makes things even more apparent as this agency does its best to get a match in your first meeting. After that, they’ll keep you updated during the process and share every report with you.
Most experienced surrogacy agencies in the USA
Their team includes experts with decades of experience
Legal support and medical insurance support are available
The best company for parents who don’t want an egg donor
No option for gestational surrogacy
How to Choose a Surrogacy Agency
Here are some factors you can use to find the best surrogacy agency.
Remember to check for a surrogacy agency in your area so you can visit the nursing mother, and the company can easily deliver the baby. The same goes for donors and surrogate mothers. The closer they are to the location, the fewer expenses they have to bear to donate the eggs or meet with the intended parents.
Surrogacy is expensive; you might end up paying more than $50000 for a session. If the agency is among the top ones, they might charge up to $100000. Before you decide to choose a surrogate agency, check their pricing. If no information is available on the website, contact customer support or fill out the free form to get the information.
Not all agencies offer the same screening levels, so you must choose the one you are comfortable with. When selecting, look for an agency offering legal, medical, psychological, and social screenings. This helps candidates to get medically cleared and prepare well for the coming time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy?
In traditional surrogacy, a woman gets pregnant via artificial insemination (AI). In this process, sperms are inserted inside a vagina using a long, thin, flexible tube. This simply requires a slight push for the sperm to reach the uterus.
The intended father has to deliver the sperm, and first comes their health test. If the sperms are healthy, then the agency would proceed with traditional surrogacy. Otherwise, the parents have no other option but to opt for gestational surrogacy.
In gestational surrogacy, an egg in the laboratory gets healthy sperm. A total of 50,000 healthy sperm are enough to initiate the process. As the eggs show any signs of progress, it is transferred to the woman to carry and raise the baby for the next couple of months. Since the egg came from a laboratory, the raising woman has no biological connection with the baby.
Q2. What are the complications of surrogacy?
Although traditional surrogacy is much safer and healthier for the baby, things get complicated since the baby has a genetic mother. Since the custody process takes place after the delivery, some mothers develop a love for the baby and might find it hard to give away the baby.
Some parents sign a contract with the delivering mother before the surrogacy. However, that is easy to revoke via repaying the advance or all the payments. On the other hand, reports can cause complications since every parent wants a healthy child. If the woman can’t deliver a healthy baby or reports are “false positive”, things can go south quickly.
Besides this, a suitable woman with healthy genes is a requirement for most parents, which is hard to find. Moreover, if the woman’s genes are stronger than the intended father, the child will look nothing like their parents. There is no way to determine whose genes the baby will adopt more before the delivery.
Q3. What state pays the most for surrogates?
California is the number one state paying the highest compensation to surrogate mothers. Moreover, this state has the best surrogate agencies helping local and international families. Not to mention, the demand for surrogates is relatively high in this state, so you’ll see most women carrying a child for someone else.
Q4. How much is the cheapest surrogacy?
There is no such thing as the cheapest surrogacy, the base price starts from $50000, and it can go up to $150000. However, with some research, you can find surrogacy agencies with a $75000 fee, but if you want peace of mind, be ready to pay a lot for it.
Every parent wants a child to carry their legacy and to help them in their old age. However, people with HIV+ or infertility cannot become a parent, so they have to rely on surrogacy agencies. We shared the best surrogacy agencies that are functional in the USA and work internationally. Be sure to have clear goals and get a consultation session before you decide to choose a surrogate for your child.
If you or a partner are having difficulty conceiving a child due to infertility or other medical issues, you now have choices like adoption and surrogacy to explore.
Surrogacy is when a surrogate carries and gives birth to the child for another couple. The child is biologically related to its legal parents, but a surrogate mother carries their biological child in her womb. A legal contract binds both parties together.
In comparison, adoption is where the adoptive parents take up someone else’s child and bring it up as their own. Someone may be willing to give up their baby due to an unplanned pregnancy or for financial reasons.
Even though both surrogacy and adoption are two similar options, there are a few factors that you must consider before choosing between these two alternatives.
The Cost of Adoption vs Surrogacy
Before considering either of the alternatives, hopeful parents must evaluate both the legal and medical costs of adoption and surrogacy. After all, there are several medical expenses, especially during the surrogacy process. The biological parents have to bear the medical cost of fertility treatment, medical procedures, and surrogate compensation.
If we compare the medical and legal expenses of adoption and surrogacy, surrogacy is definitely heavier on the pocket. Let us compare the costs of both alternatives.
The Cost of Adoption
The cost of adoption can vary from absolutely free to about $60,000, depending on various factors like location and adoption type. If you adopt a child from foster care, then it is absolutely without any cost, as the government usually funds it. However, this process is usually more time-consuming.
Also, it can take a long time to match with the right child per your requirements. The government will ensure that your home is safe for the adoptive child. For this review, you may have to pay a fee of at least $1,500. You should also consider the agency fee if you have connected with the adoption agency in your locality.
If you go for domestic adoption, the process may take as long as twelve months, but the cost will vary between $25,000 and $30,000. Then again, the cost of adoption depends on a lot of factors. For instance, if you have paired up with an adoptive agency, the medical history, adoption home studies, court fees, legal fees, and profile evaluation processes.
Furthermore, international adoption costs much more than any other type of adoption and can cost even more than $50,000. However, these costs vary significantly between which country you adopt from and which agency you consult with. In a private adoption, the birth mother and the adoptive parents meet up directly and negotiate between themselves. In such cases, the adoptive parents might need to consider the birth mother’s medical fees, legal fees, social work costs, and other fees..
The Cost of Surrogacy
With surrogacy, you can opt for either gestational or traditional. In traditional surrogacy, the sperm of the father fertilizes the egg of the surrogate mother. This means the child will be genetically related to the father and the surrogate mother. However, in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate only acts as the carrier of the baby. In this process, both the egg and sperm are from the intended parents or external donors.
The embryo is placed inside the uterus of the surrogate mother. Hence, the child is only biologically related to the intended parents, not the surrogate. Generally, surrogacy costs more than adoption because it involves medical expenses and legal fees. The intended parents also have to pay for surrogate compensation that the surrogate demands in exchange for her effort and time in some states.
To estimate, traditional surrogacy can cost as much as $75,000, but the gestational surrogacy process will cost at least $100,000 in the USA. Furthermore, if you pair up with a surrogate agency, the agency may cost an additional commission fee. This includes legal parentage procedures, surrogate compensations, medical evaluation, psychological screening, and more.
Moreover, the surrogate compensation costs also vary greatly from state to state, but usually about $30,000. However, you may have to pay for other expenses such as insurance costs, traveling costs, missed wages of the surrogate, and other miscellaneous pregnancy expenses that may occur at the moment.
Furthermore, the surrogate has to undergo a medical screening process to carry the child in her womb. Moreover, the medical process requires a thorough medical and psychological evaluation to ensure that the surrogate has no hereditary disease or disorder. Other than that, the intended parents also need to consider the cost of the actual surrogacy process in their budget.
Other Distinguishing Factors
Apart from the cost and expenses of both options, there are a few factors that you can consider before making the final decision. Our team went through hours of painstaking research to help the intended parents decide which option suits them the best. Having a third party involved in your parenthood journey is not to be taken lightly and might raise a few concerns. Read below to find out some other factors to consider.
In surrogacy, there is a considerable possibility that either one or both of the intended parents are genetically related to the expected child. The sperm or the egg of the intended parent or both the sperm and egg can be used to form the embryo that is medically placed in the surrogate mother.
If you feel strongly about being biologically related to your child, then surrogacy is the best option for you rather than adoption. Other than that, birth parents do not have to go through a hectic and thorough legal process. Moreover, the law gives more rights and control to the intended parents of the child during pregnancy.
The Matching and Screening Process
During gestational surrogacy, if you pair up with an agency, the birth parents will have to undergo a thorough screening and watching process to find the perfect surrogate for your family. The intended parents, during the gestational surrogacy process, go through various profiles of surrogates and choose the ideal surrogate.
Furthermore, the adoption agency requires information from the adoptive parents about the criteria and types of adoption they prefer. Moreover, the birth mother or father also has the right to review the profiles of the families who wish to adopt their babies.
However, the surrogacy process is far more personal and interactive because, typically, the intended parents wish to know the prospective birth mother of their child. Both parties match and go through the files, backgrounds, and physical evaluations of each other. Intended parents also go through the medical assessment of the prospective birth mother in order to make sure that she is the right fit for them.
Be it the adoption process or the surrogacy process, it only moves forward once both parties agree and all legal requirements are fulfilled.
Birth Parents’ Involvement
Generally, adoptive parents may have little or no control over the process, especially if the birth mother is pregnant with the child. They may not be as involved during pregnancy as in surrogacy. However, they can meet and discuss ideas or any problems they face.
Furthermore, the prospective birth mother can change her mind anytime during the process, which can create a lot of stress for the adoptive parents. Till the process is done, there will always be a sense of uncertainty for the adoptive parents about the commitment of birth parents toward adoption.
However, in surrogacy, both parties are deeply involved with each other. Additionally, legal contracts clearly define their relationship and state the expectations both parties have for each other during the pregnancy. Moreover, both parties sign a binding legal before the medical process begins. Without any doubt, the surrogate mother is expected to take complete care of herself and the baby in her womb.
Different Medical and Legal Processes
Regarding legal and medical processes, surrogacy is far more straightforward than adoption. After all, it is a planned pregnancy that is achieved through proper medical procedures and legal contracts are signed.
The medical aspect might be a little complicated with fertilization and gamete donors, but it’s simpler because all these roles are clearly defined before the pregnancy begins. The entire process costs more than most other alternatives to creating a family. However, most of the legal process is completed before the gestational surrogacy begins, meaning there are very few complications once the process has started.
However, the adoption process has a different set of legal and medical procedures. The medical process is usually the sole responsibility of the birth mother, with little input from the intended parents. If the baby is yet to be born, then most of the legal process takes place after the birth of the biological child. In the legal adoption process, the prospective parents sign a contract where they legally consent to give up their biological child for adoption. After that, the law grants legal custody of the child to the adoptive parents.
Post Delivery Contact
In both surrogacy and adoption, the intended parents, adoptive families, and biological mother have the freedom to discuss and decide on post-delivery contact. During the surrogacy process, the surrogate and intended parents can decide whether they want to keep in touch or not. It can be as simple as sharing photographs or exchanging emails. Some families wish to stay connected, while others choose not to maintain any contact. So, it is totally up to both parties.
In adoption, the adoptive families must decide whether they wish to stay in touch with the biological mother. Either they can opt for closed adoption or open adoption. In a closed adoption, the adoptive family does not allow the birth mother to remain in contact with the child.
Some adoptive families even choose not to disclose any information to the child about their adoption. However, some families may also go for open adoption. In this case, the birth mothers can stay in touch with the child. The child would not only know about their adoption but may also regularly visit their biological parents.
There are a lot of factors to consider before choosing between adoption and surrogacy. It is difficult to say which one is better, as it differs from family to family. However, intended parents should know that adoption is cheaper than surrogacy in terms of cost. In this article, we have thoroughly discussed the factors one should consider. You should carefully weigh the cost, pros, and cons of surrogacy and adoption before deciding. Good Luck!