Few things are as devastating as discovering you and your partner cannot have a child through traditional pregnancy. But surrogacy presents an attractive option for many people by growing their family through assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Like traditional pregnancy, having a child using ART can be an emotional process; unlike traditional pregnancy, it can also be a very lengthy and expensive process. Unfortunately, many couples who have difficulty conceiving a child on their own often disregard surrogacy without knowing enough about the process. In this post, we’ll tackle some of the basics.
Terms you should know
It is crucial to seek advice from an assisted reproductive law lawyer who understands how to draft sound surrogacy agreements in Minnesota. Here are a few basic terms to understand:
- Surrogate: The woman who agrees to carry a child for the intended parents.
- Gestational surrogacy: As the most common method used in the U.S., eggs from the intended parent or a donor create embryos, so there is no biological relationship between the child and the surrogate.
- Traditional surrogacy: The surrogate uses her own eggs, meaning she is biologically related to the child.
- Compassionate surrogacy: Also called “altruistic surrogacy,” the surrogate agrees to carry the child without compensation, other than being reimbursed for costs related to the surrogacy.
- Compensated surrogacy: Sometimes referred to as “commercial surrogacy,” the carrier receives a negotiated fee and other compensation for carrying the child in addition to all surrogacy-related expenses.
Who else will be involved?
In addition to the surrogate and intended parents, successful arrangements typically involve these professionals:
- A surrogacy agency to find a surrogate for you in the event you cannot find a woman to carry your pregnancy in your circle of friends or family.
- Reproductive law attorneys who understand the nuances of state laws governing surrogacy matters
- Reproductive medical specialists who do screenings, create embryos and help surrogates become pregnant
- Insurance experts who work with you and your surrogate’s insurance carriers to determine what procedures and medications are covered
- Mental health professionals who help all parties deal with the many complex feelings and issues that generally arise before, during and after the pregnancy
While your team may have a different makeup, it’s important to understand that you are not alone on this journey.
Deciding whether to use a surrogacy agency
Some people choose an independent surrogacy because they find their surrogate within their circle of friends or family. Sometimes they find their surrogate from strangers online. This means they must deal directly with every aspect of the process, including screening their surrogate’s qualifications, verifying maternity insurance coverage and coordination issues, and dealing with medical scheduling and other issues. They mainly do this because they believe they can avoid agency fees, which can run about $25,000 or more for a full service agency.
However, experts warn that intended parents may actually end up paying more in the long run, even if no complications arise. Experienced and trusted surrogacy agencies understand the issues that can arise and have a list of pre-screened qualified surrogates for the intended parents to consider. Agencies help coordinate every step of your surrogacy journey, making it as stress-free as possible. For many, the additional expense of using an agency is worth the reliability and certainty of the process and the knowledge that no important details of this complicated process will be missed.
Develop a legal plan of action for surrogacy
Minnesota and many other states have no laws specifically addressing the resulting parentage in a surrogacy proceeding. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer is crucial so your parental rights are not jeopardized. Attorneys who specialize in assisted reproductive law years understand how to craft these legal contracts to protect surrogates and intended parents and insure the intended parentage outcome so you can focus on the joy of growing your family. Whether you choose to use an agency or not, it is imperative to use the services of an experienced attorney.