Gestational surrogacy can be quite complicated, so I wanted to share what I have learned. Typically, surrogacy is outrageously expensive, but there are some ways to make it happen for less. It is my hope that this information might help others re-evaluate independent surrogacy as an option.
What is gestational surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is where a gestational carrier becomes pregnant with the genetic embryo of another couple through IVF, carries the fetus throughout the pregnancy and delivers the child for the intended parents.
Why use a surrogate?
Usually a surrogate is needed when there is a problem with the uterine environment, with repeat loss or being able to carry a child to term. For me, we think it’s a complex reproductive immunological issue and that my body attacks a perfectly normal baby.
Is surrogacy legal?
Yes, it is legal in Virginia, but it is not in some states. Surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state, so you’ll have to do research in your state. Check out this state by state guide by Creative Family Connections. The best thing to do is to go ahead and find an experienced surrogacy attorney and consult with them before you get started. Then, you will be ready when it comes time for the surrogacy contract between you and the carrier.
In addition to state laws, your clinic must operate under FDA rules and regulations, which essentially is to prevent the spread of disease. So, intended parents and the gestational carrier need to be free of disease so as not to infect the carrier or the baby. Here is the page on the FDA’s website where the information is provided on this issue.
Example: Virginia Laws
There are two ways to handle surrogacy in Virginia: pre-approved and non pre-approved. To my knowledge, hardly anyone ever does it as pre-approved, which would require both couples to have home studies done. Here are the basic requirements:
- The carrier must have had at least one live birth.
- If the carrier is married, then her husband must be a party to the surrogacy contract. All parties must enter into the surrogacy agreement.
- All parties must receive counseling — both intended parents, the surrogate and her husband (if applicable)
Steps to take
These steps are not set in stone as to the order. One through five is a good place to start, but after that, you can do things in a different order. For me, it was about doing the deal-breaker type things first and the less expensive things first.
- Come up with a budget.
- Talk to your clinic.
- Find an attorney.
- Find a surrogate and review her insurance policy.
- Discuss money and treatment decisions with the surrogate and come to an agreement.
- FDA Testing Requirements
- Do psychological pre-screening for surrogate and counseling for intended parents and surrogate and her husband.
- Complete the legal agreement with your attorney.
- More Pre-IVF screening for surrogate (hysterosalpinogram and trial embryo transfer)
- Get started!
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