Surrogacy 101: Everything You Need to Know About Surrogacy
Updated: Mar 15
Surrogacy is a process that allows intended parents who cannot conceive or carry a pregnancy to have a child through a surrogate mother. This family-building method has become increasingly popular as more people turn to surrogacy as a viable option for starting or expanding their families. In this blog post, we dive into the world of surrogacy and answer critical questions about the process, types, legal parameters, risks and costs associated with surrogacy.
What is Surrogacy, and What Does it Mean?
Surrogacy is a form of assisted reproduction where a woman (the surrogate) carries a child for another person or couple (the intended parents). The surrogate can be genetically related to the child or not, depending on the type of surrogacy chosen. Surrogacy is often sought by couples or individuals who cannot conceive naturally or for whom pregnancy poses a health risk. Surrogacy offers a chance for people to have a biological child, even if they cannot carry the pregnancy themselves.
How Does Surrogacy Work?
Surrogacy involves multiple steps, including finding a surrogate mother, creating a legal agreement, medical procedures and post-birth processes. The first step is finding a surrogate. Intended parents can find a surrogate through an agency, fertility clinic or personal networks. Once a surrogate is found, the parties will enter into a legal agreement that outlines each party's expectations, rights and obligations.
The medical procedures involved in surrogacy can include in-vitro fertilization (IVF), where the intended mother or a donor provides eggs, which are fertilized with the intended father's sperm. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the surrogate's uterus. Alternatively, the surrogate can undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI), where sperm is inserted directly into the uterus, and conception occurs naturally. Once the surrogate becomes pregnant, she will carry the pregnancy to term and give birth to the child.
What Types of Surrogacy Are There?
Medically speaking, there are two main types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Traditional surrogacy involves using the surrogate's eggs, making her the child's biological mother. By contrast, in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child. The eggs that are used to make the embryos are from the intended parents or are donated, which are then transferred to the surrogate's uterus. This surrogacy ensures that the surrogate is not biologically related to the child.
What are the Legal Parameters and Risks Associated with Surrogacy?
The legal parameters and risks of surrogacy vary by state and country. Some states have laws that explicitly allow or prohibit surrogacy, while others have no specific regulations regarding surrogacy. Therefore, consulting with an attorney specializing in surrogacy is essential to navigate the legal landscape and ensure that all parties' rights are protected. Some risks associated with surrogacy include medical complications, emotional and psychological challenges and legal disputes. Surrogacy can be emotionally challenging for all parties involved, and it is crucial to have open and honest communication throughout the process.
What Do People Need to Know?
It is essential to do extensive research before embarking on the surrogacy journey. Prospective parents should research the different types of surrogacy, legal and medical requirements, and costs associated with surrogacy. They should also work with reputable agencies and fertility clinics to ensure they have the support they need throughout the process.
Other surrogacy terms to be aware of:
Compensated surrogacy: The surrogate receives payment for carrying the child in addition to medical and legal expenses.
Altruistic surrogacy: The surrogate receives no compensation except for medical and legal expenses.
Domestic surrogacy: The surrogate and the intended parents live in the same country.
International surrogacy: The surrogate and the intended parents live in different countries.
Agency surrogacy: The surrogate and the intended parents work with a professional agency that matches them and provides screening, counseling, legal support, etc.
Independent surrogacy: The surrogate and the intended parents find each other independently or through personal networks and handle most arrangements.
How Much Does Surrogacy Cost in the United States in 2023?
The cost of surrogacy in the United States can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of surrogacy chosen, the state or region where the surrogacy takes place, and the agency or clinic chosen. On average, surrogacy in the United States can cost between $100,000 to $150,000, including all medical expenses, legal fees and compensation for the surrogate mother. Intended parents should also consider additional costs such as travel expenses, insurance and unforeseen medical complications. Working with a reputable agency or fertility clinic and carefully reviewing all costs and fees associated with surrogacy before beginning the process is essential.
What companies in the United States provide surrogacy matching?
Several companies and agencies in the United States provide surrogacy matching services to intended parents. Here are some examples:
If you need help or have questions, please get in touch with a reputable agency or company when seeking surrogacy services. Prospective parents should consider factors such as experience, success rates and personalized care when selecting a surrogacy agency or company. In addition, if you have questions about your family-building journey, reach out!