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Gestational surrogacy was once a scarce thing in the United States. Back in 1999, only 727 completed gestational carrier cycles. By 2013, the number jumped to 3,432.
Why are so many people choosing the surrogate route? For those who wait until later in life to have children, it can become the only path to having a biological child. Statistics show that the intended parents tend to be over 35 while their surrogates are under that age.
Are considering using a gestational surrogate to expand your family? Here’s what you need to know.
In This Post:
1. Gestational Surrogacy Isn’t Always Legal
The U.S. government doesn’t play a role in surrogacy laws. It’s up to the states.
California, Florida, and Texas all allow gestational surrogacy statewide. Arizona, New York, and New Jersy, however, do not allow the practice.
In some states, counties may ban the practice even when the state allows it.
Even if your state bans gestational surrogacy, you can still participate. Services may connect you to a surrogate mother in another state.
2. Gestational Surrogates Use Your DNA
By definition, a gestational surrogate is one who does not have genetic ties to the baby.
The surrogate gets pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF), which includes the mother’s eggs and the father’s sperm.
However, if you or your partner are infertile, then you may use a donor egg or donor sperm to complete the process.
In some cases, the intended parents elect to use both donor eggs and donor sperm. When this happens, neither the surrogate nor the intended parent(s) is related to the child.
3. The Surrogate May Be a Stranger – or Not
Gestational surrogacy can take place two ways.
The most common way is to use a surrogacy agency and work with a surrogate that the intended couple has no prior relationship with.
However, some choose to turn to a friend or family member to be their surrogate mother. Whether the couple can use a friend or family member depends on the state or county law.
No matter who you choose, the process is a legally complex one. Becoming involved in a surrogacy with someone you’re close to can also come with complex emotions that challenge your relationship.
Whether they’re a stranger or a sibling, you should always have a legal contract in place.
4. “Free” Makes Surrogacy Complicated
Some women become a surrogate simply to help out someone they love. When this happens, it may seem strange to accept compensation.
However, having a baby costs money – even if you are not the intended parent. Medical costs, legal costs, and lost income can all add up, even when your intentions come from a place of helpfulness.
Agencies charge fees to pay to surrogate mothers to protect them from the costs and risks of completing a gestational term as well as to compensate them for their time.
It’s something to think about even if you are hoping to complete the surrogacy for free.
Is Surrogacy Right for You?
Gestational surrogacy offers a renewed chance at having or expanding your family.
It is both legally and emotionally involved, so it is best to work with experts to help you make the experience as positive as possible.
Are you exploring your family planning options? Don’t miss our article on what to do when you can’t conceive.