Many couples and singles, including members of the LGBTQ community, wanting to start or grow a family may have an important question: how does surrogacy work.
How Does Surrogacy Work?
This article outlines the top five things to know about surrogate pregnancy:
- what is surrogate pregnancy
- the different types of surrogacy
- any requirements for becoming a surrogate
- the legal implications of surrogacy
- how to find a reputable surrogacy agency to help you create the family of your dreams
What is Surrogate Pregnancy?
There are so many misconceptions about surrogate pregnancy that it’s essential to get the facts about how surrogacy works. Surrogacy is a process in which a woman (the surrogate) carries a pregnancy for another person or couple (the intended parent(s)). The body’s inability to become pregnant may result from:
- medical issues
- health issues
- same-sex male partnerships
Traditional surrogacy combines the surrogate’s egg with the intended father’s sperm to conceive a child. In gestational surrogacy, the embryo is created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) using either the intended parents’ eggs and sperm or donor eggs and sperm. The resulting embryo is then implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. Then the surrogate carries the fetus to term and delivers the newborn child through a traditional birth or Cesarean section (C-section). It’s important to note while many surrogate pregnancies are single births, twins are always a possibility.
What Are the Different Types of Surrogacy?
There are two primary types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is also the child’s biological mother, as her egg is used in combination with the intended father’s sperm to conceive the child. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries the embryo created through IVF and has no biological connection to the child.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Surrogate?
The requirements for becoming a surrogate vary depending on the surrogate agency and medical team involved. Generally, those interested in becoming a surrogate should be between 21 and 39 years old, have had at least one successful pregnancy, be in good physical and mental health, and have no history of drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, all potential surrogates must undergo an evaluation process before being approved. Evaluations typically include an interview with a psychologist, a medical examination, and a background check.
What Are the Legal Implications of Surrogacy?
Surrogacy involves both legal and financial implications. The laws governing surrogacy vary from country to country and state to state within the United States. Therefore, it is important to consider international and domestic laws when pursuing surrogacy. It is also important to understand that the intended parent(s) have specific responsibilities throughout the surrogacy process. These may include legal costs associated with drawing up contracts with the surrogate and any other parties involved, as well as health insurance and medical resources and costs associated with prenatal care throughout the pregnancy.
How to Find a Reputable Surrogacy Agency
Finding a reputable surrogacy agency is one of the most important steps. To ensure that you’re working with a qualified and experienced team, research agencies thoroughly to get an understanding of their background and experience. Look for testimonials from previous clients on their website or social media pages, read reviews online, and ask friends who have gone through the process for referrals.
Additionally, it’s vital that you feel comfortable with the agency’s staff—ask questions about their policies and procedures to ensure they meet your expectations before signing any contracts or agreements. Finally, once you’ve done your due diligence in researching potential agencies, set up consultations to learn more about them and determine if they are right for your journey into parenthood.
Everyone Deserves a Loving Family
Surrogacy is an increasingly popular way for people, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender, to start or grow their families. While there are many aspects of how surrogacy works that need to be considered, becoming familiar with the details helps intended parents make an informed decision about whether it is right for them. Partnering with an experienced surrogacy and egg donation agency can help ensure that all considerations are taken care of correctly and that your unborn child receives the best possible care.
About the Writer: Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.