Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive method that provides an option for individuals or couples who are unable to conceive or carry a child. There have been advances in reproductive methods including in vitro fertilization (IVF) provides alternatives for the creation and implantation of an embryo for pregnancy. A surrogate agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of giving the child to another individual or couple (the “intended parent(s)” or “IPs”). Parties to a surrogate arrangement typically enter into a surrogacy contract (or surrogacy agreement) which details the terms of the process including costs. It’s important to retain a surrogacy attorney to help work through the intricacies of the surrogacy process. Call 317-536-2559 to speak with a surrogacy attorney today.
Types of Surrogacy
There are different types of surrogacy, not all of which may be available for your situation depending upon specific medical and legal factors. In many instances, surrogacy is misunderstood and is actually illegal in several states. Fortunately, surrogacy is not illegal in Indiana, but the state law does indicate that the terms of a surrogacy contract are not enforceable in the event of a dispute and courts may not use a surrogacy contract as a basis for determining custody. This is the importance of a family attorney. Surrogacy comes with both financial and legal risks, and before determining whether surrogacy over adoption is the best option for you, speak with surrogacy attorneys that we have on staff to discuss all of the risks in detail and to give you the best type of guidance available as you enter into a surrogacy agreement.
When it comes to the medical process involved, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. The main difference between these two surrogacy processes is how the embryo is created and, whose egg is being used.
In traditional surrogacy, the embryo is created with the surrogate’s own egg, usually through intrauterine insemination (IUI). After carrying and giving birth to the baby, the surrogate will have to go through an additional process to terminate her parental rights, as she will be the biological mother of the child. Because of the emotional and legal complexities involved in traditional surrogacy, it is the less commonly used method of surrogacy today.
Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is the new norm for intended parents and surrogates. In this type of surrogacy, a surrogate does not use her own egg and, therefore, is not biologically related to the child she’s carrying. Typically, an embryo will be created by the intended parents (using donated sperm or egg, if necessary) through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and will then be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. If you work with American Surrogacy and most other surrogacy professionals, you will usually complete a gestational surrogacy.
In addition to deciding between the two types of surrogacy, you will also need to decide what kind of compensation, if any, will be included in your surrogacy contract. When you get ready to begin your surrogacy journey, there are two paths to take: compensated/commercial surrogacy or altruistic/non-compensated surrogacy.
Compensated surrogacy is just what it sounds like; in addition to the coverage of all pregnancy-related costs, a surrogate will receive a base compensation for carrying the intended parents’ child. This kind of commercial surrogacy can be a complicated legal and ethical matter, as some state laws do not allow for compensated surrogacy of any kind.
Some intended parents and surrogates choose to do an altruistic surrogacy instead, where a surrogate does not receive any additional compensation beyond the coverage of pregnancy-related costs. Typically, this kind of surrogacy is completed when intended parents and surrogates previously know each other — for example, if they are close friends or family members — situations which can also be called “identified surrogacy.”
First, it is important to consider the financial obligations and risks of entering into such a relationship. The typical Surrogate receives a one-time initial fee, plus monthly fees, as well as a fee upon the birth of the child. While this fee is to be determined mutually by the parties, the initial fee typically ranges from $12,000 to $20,000. Some of the expenses associated with pregnancy and birth are also included, for example:
- Medical fees
- Maternity clothes
- Prenatal vitamins
- Nutritional food
You may also be responsible for psychological, medical, and drug testing for the Surrogate. Additional costs include legal fees for the Surrogate to retain her own surrogacy attorney. Further, you will be responsible for obtaining all necessary criminal, abuse and neglect, and credit background checks for both yourselves and the Surrogate. Possible additional fees incurred with the surrogacy relationship depend on your particular situation. Such variances include life insurance premiums and travel costs.
Evaluate the Medical and Emotional Risks
It is also important to evaluate the medical and emotional risks associated with entering into a surrogacy relationship. The pregnancy could result in a caesarian section, which may subsequently cause a long, painful recovery for the Surrogate. Potentially, an additional fee may be incurred to compensate the Surrogate for her pain and suffering and increased medical expenses. There is also a risk of premature birth, fetal death, or death of the Surrogate. Further, a variety of other medical expenses may be incurred whereby the Surrogate may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. An example of such an additional expense would be amniocentesis, which may cause the Surrogate significant discomfort.
Other Surrogacy Contract Considerations
Pursuant to the Surrogacy Contract the Intended Parents (“IPs”) and the Surrogate will have responsibilities associated with the surrogacy relationship. The Surrogate will be responsible for attending medical appointments and providing medical releases to the IPs. In turn, the IPs will be responsible for prompt payment of expenses as set forth in the contract. Further, the Surrogate may be prohibited from engaging in certain activities; for instance, the Surrogate will be prohibited from using drugs, alcohol or tobacco, and may be prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse for a specified time during pregnancy. Throughout this process it is essential to maintain open communication with the Surrogate; however, this may become difficult at various stages of the surrogacy relationship.
The Importance of a Surrogacy Lawyer
Take the time to consider this information prior to entering into a surrogacy relationship. Take the necessary time to reflect on things that may be of particular concern to you and create a plan for how you might deal with those situations. We hope the information is helpful as you consider options to add to your family. Call a surrogacy attorney at 317-536-2559 to speak with an expert surrogacy lawyer today!