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If you are considering expanding your family through surrogacy, you probably have a lot of questions. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics so you can take the next steps with confidence!
Do Your Homework
First, whether you intend to use a gestational carrier, where both the sperm and egg are either genetically related to the prospective parents or they utilize a sperm or egg donor, or a true surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate donates her own egg, it’s important to do some research and due diligence before entering into an agreement. Ask for references and conduct background checks. This is true whether you are entering into an arrangement with an acquaintance or with a complete stranger.
If you’re using an agency, they should handle background checks, including medical and psychological screenings, for you. However, it’s also important to do your homework before selecting an agency too. Ideally, look for an agency with an established track record (10+ years), research online reviews and look for open and honest communication from them. And, request an appointment to learn more about them and their history.
Decide What You Want in a Surrogate
People are extremely different and it’s important to find a surrogate that you can feel comfortable with- this is a unique experience for both of you. For instance, do you want a surrogate that texts you multiple times a day with updates and becomes a close friend? Or would you prefer to keep a little more distance? Ask them what they would like as well so you both know what to expect during this journey.
Understand the Cost
You probably know by now that surrogacy is not inexpensive. On average, people considering adding to their families through surrogacy should expect to spend between $100,000 and $150,000. That total can include IVF fees, medication, attorneys’ fees, surrogate fees, medical care for the surrogate and child, as well as any extras such as maternity clothes, vitamins, and additional expenses such as disability insurance. Even if you can work with a family member or friend, the cost can still be high, so just be prepared going into the process.
Know That It Is a Long Process
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. While it’s not uncommon for the first surrogacy transfer to be successful, it can take years to add to your family via surrogacy. There are many factors that go into this process, so Just remember that it can take time and everyone’s journey happens at a different pace.
Protect Yourself With a Surrogacy Agreement
It’s critical to enter into an agreement that explains your wishes and goals, and that protects both you and your gestational carrier or surrogate. If it’s important to you that your carrier see a nutritionist and exercises regularly, for example, you should outline these wishes in the contract.
Know There May be Surprises Along the Way
Understand that there are risks associated with any pregnancy and childbirth that you cannot completely avoid. You can mitigate those risks through careful screening and clearly defining the relationship contractually. For example, if your surrogate lives in another state, be sure to find out information on their insurance coverage. If something were to happen and they were unable to work for an extended period of time (i.e. bedrest)- will you have to cover that time lost or will their insurance?
Surrogacy is an amazing thing, but it is important to go into it with both eyes open. For more tips and personal experience stories from Stephanie Caballero, founder of The Surrogacy Law Center, check out her recent Facebook Live video here. Or, if you’d like to start your surrogacy conversation, contact us today!