My Wife the Stork Presents Top 10 Things Intended Parents Should Know About Surrogacy: a guest post by the intended parents from our journey, Patrick and Damien!
#1 – What’s the best way to start the surrogacy journey?
Read, research, and reach out.
The best way to start a surrogacy journey is to prepare yourself for a major change in your life. The journey is long, so learn and understand as many steps along the way that you may encounter. Read about other intended parents’ experiences.
Research the step-by-step procedures that most quality surrogacy agencies and IVF clinics provide readily on their websites and brochures. Reach out to support groups and forums that focus on intended parents needs and questions.
There are many resources to educate yourself on surrogacy. Reading this blog is a good first step.
#2 – Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Surrogacy
The two primary types of surrogacy are traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate either undergoes artificial insemination or IVF with sperm from the male or from a sperm donor. The surrogate herself provides the eggs and is therefore genetically related to the child.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is a woman who carries a child conceived through IVF procedures utilizing the egg and sperm of either the intended parents and/or an egg donor or a sperm donor. In this case, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child.
#3 – How do I find the best Surrogacy Agency?
There are many factors to consider in choosing the right surrogacy agency for your journey. Research each potential agency thoroughly.
The location of the agency is not an important factor, except for the legal climate in the particular state or country that the agency is operating (if you decide to use an agency outside of the United States). Check the laws on surrogacy and make sure your agency is in a state or country that allows surrogacy agreements and grants pre-birth orders or post-birth orders in some cases.
Ask around for referrals; good sources are people you know who have gone through surrogacy, your fertility doctor, and support groups that focus on intended parents needs.
Additionally, you’ll find many rating boards on surrogacy agencies on various resource websites. Interview a few agencies before you commit to one.
#4 – How do I find the best IVF clinic?
As with surrogacy agencies, there are many factors to consider in choosing the right IVF clinic for your journey. Review outcome ratings and clinic details from sources like the CDC’s ART Success Rates and SART.org to help broaden your understanding of IVF procedures and the highly-rated clinics in the United States. Ask around for referrals, and interview a few clinics before you commit to one.
#5 – How much does a typical surrogacy journey cost?
Although there are many factors involved in becoming intended parents through surrogacy, together with the costs of the fertility procedures, a typical journey in the United States will cost between $100,000 and $140,000 per child, depending on each individual situation. Discuss the cost details with both your IVF clinic and your surrogacy agency; the quality organizations will provide you with very detailed cost outlines to help you plan your budget for the journey.
#6 – International Surrogacy vs. Domestic Surrogacy
If you’re thinking about international surrogacy, there are some important factors you should consider before making this commitment. Just as you would with the domestic surrogacy process, it’s important that you completely understand the process and legalities involved, the risks and liabilities and what to expect before signing any kind of contract for an international surrogacy.
You should speak in depth to an international surrogacy agency if you’re interested in this process. They can give you the most accurate information for their particular process, any requirements you have to meet and any other useful information you need.
#7 – Can I choose the sex of the baby?
Yes and no.
In an IVF situation, intended parents may be blessed with a handful of quality and viable embryos, and in all cases, you will know the sex of each embryo. And, yes, you can choose which of the embryos you want your surrogate to carry to term, consequently allowing you to choose the sex of your baby.
However, you may not have much control over the genetics of your final handful of viable embryos; therefore, if all of your viable embryos are one sex or the other, you won’t have a choice for the sex of your baby. Mother nature will win in all cases.
#8 – Do we transfer more than one embryo or just one embryo?
In general, IVF technology has advanced to a point that transferring one embryo is the better bet for intended parents. The uterus was built to hold one baby, so to reduce the risk involved with multiple births, it’s often recommended by fertility experts that only one embryo be transferred. Please consult with your doctor for your individual situation, as with many aspects of this journey, there are many factors to consider in making this decision.
#9 – What are the top legal issues I need to know about?
Three important legal items to have during this journey are:
1) the contract with your surrogate and/or the egg donor,
2) the court order for the adoption of your baby,
3) and the intended parents’ wills.
Your surrogate agency will guide you through the legal procedures by assigning a lawyer who is an expert in surrogacy law in your state. Be inquisitive about the legal process and make sure you understand all the terms in the contracts.
#10 – What kind of relationship will we have with the surrogate after the baby is born?
Intended parents and the surrogate should have a common understanding and expectation of if and how they will relate to each other after the baby is born and if and how their baby will relate to the surrogate and her family going forward. This understanding and expectation should be discussed up front as a key topic in building a collaborative journey between the surrogate and the intended parents.
There are really only two options: you’ll continue to have a connection or you’ll part ways. If you decide to maintain a connection, be open to discussing the extent of this connection, so everyone has a good understanding of what to expect.
Some intended parents choose to build a friendship with their surrogate and her family organically and decide not to impose strict requirements or expectations; this allows everyone on the journey to learn about each other and develop their relationship along the way.
Bottom line, do what’s comfortable for you and the surrogate and maintain open communications throughout your journey and beyond.
Want to know more about what it is like being a surrogate? See my Top 6 Questions people ask about being a gestational Surrogate post.