Jim and Brenda have been happily married for three years and are planning to have a family. Brenda conceives, and they both are very happy that they will have a family, but alas, a miscarriage happens. Despite trying multiple times, Jim and Brenda are not blessed with a child. In a traumatic state, the couple consults their situation with another friend couple who suggests they visit a fertility clinic and consider Surrogacy options as they faced many miscarriages because of Endometrial Tuberculosis (which causes damage to the female Uterus).
Convinced by their couple friends’ suggestion, Jim and Brenda decide to visit a fertility clinic and consider Surrogacy. So, what is Surrogacy? What are the types? Is it safe? How expensive is it? These are the general questions that come to mind when someone is introduced to Surrogacy. In this article, we will try to cover as much information on Surrogacy that helps you plan your family.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the process that helps a couple begin a family when they otherwise cannot naturally due to many factors, such as age, recurring miscarriages, and medical conditions. Surrogacy is a contract signed between a woman and a couple who want to have their own child. It means to rent a womb, to carry, and to deliver the baby for someone else.
Types of Surrogacies
There are two types of surrogacies, traditional and gestational Surrogacy. Let’s look at the definition of these types quickly.
- Traditional Surrogacy: Traditional surrogacy involves artificially inseminating the woman with the father’s sperm. She then carries and delivers the baby to the parents. In traditional Surrogacy, the surrogate mother is considered to be genetically related to the child as her egg is used in the surrogate process, which is why this process is also called genetic Surrogacy.
- Gestational Surrogacy: In this process, the woman carries and delivers the child to their parents, but she is not considered genetically related to the child. The egg and sperm are taken from the intended parents. It is also seen that donor sperm and donor eggs have been used if required. Gestational Surrogacy is a process where eggs are artificially fertilized by sperm through IVF and later implanted into the Uterus of the Surrogate.
Based on payment done to the surrogate mother, there are two types of surrogacies:
- Commercial/Compensated Surrogacy: In this Surrogacy, the surrogate mother is paid beyond insurance and medical expenses as compensation for carrying the child.
- Altruistic Surrogacy: This type mostly involves a family friend or close friend as a surrogate. No payment apart from medical expenses or insurance is made to the surrogate mother.
India Surrogacy — Culture, Myths, Market, and Regulation
Surrogacy is one of the most debated topics in India as it is often discussed in ethical, social, and legal aspects. Surrogacy is an old concept in India and has seen its first IVF baby and the world’s second in Kolkata in 1971. Indians realized they had acquired the expertise to use technology for reproductive girls. India then saw an increasing growth of IVF clinics involving the reproduction of babies. Though it was highly appreciated and mounted on, no law supported this. According to the Surrogacy Regulation Act 2021, Surrogacy can be defined as the practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intended couple to hand over the child after birth. This law only allows altruistic surrogacy; commercial Surrogacy in India is completely banned.
India has been a popular destination among international intended couples until 2015. In 2015, the Indian government passed a new regulation on the surrogacy process in India. This regulation clearly states that internationally intended couples cannot complete a commercial surrogacy in India and that only Indian-intended couples can only if they are married for five or more years.
USA — The Desired Destination for International Intended Couples Seeking Surrogacy
Altruistic Surrogacy is allowed in countries like Greece, Australia, Canada, Denmark, South Africa, the UK, Belgium, and Ireland. Commercial Surrogacy is allowed in Ukraine, Russia, and Thailand. In the USA, unlike other laws, Surrogacy is legal and governed by state law, not federal. It means that each state will have its own restrictive laws and regulations. There are about ten states in the USA where Surrogacy is legal and socially friendly, namely Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, California, the District of Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and many more.
The surrogacy law in the US can be quite confusing as it is governed by state law rather than federal law. It is always recommended to consult USA surrogacy professionals to understand the surrogacy law of respective state before embarking on your surrogacy journey. The US is a desired destination for international intended couples seeking Surrogacy due to many reasons however the key reasons being the following:
- Lawful Contract: The contracts in the US confirm everyone’s responsibilities and rights. People from across the globe travel to the US, being assured that the birth mother will not fail to give up her parental rights.
- Gestational Surrogacy: Most states in the US that offer legal Surrogacy support Gestational Surrogacy. This helps the intended parents to establish parental rights and get an immediate birth certificate with their names on it.
- Enhance the surrogacy process: Unlike other countries, in the US, you can provide compensation and care throughout your Surrogate’s pregnancy. The fees and payment are discussed and mentioned in the contract to prevent any additional fee requests.
Steps and Process Involved in Surrogacy
- One of the first steps would be for the surrogate mother and intended parents to decide which type of Surrogacy they would like to go for, traditional or gestational.
- A surrogacy attorney and a surrogacy agency are the two professionals that help intended parents to complete their surrogacy journey. You can choose based on who you want to go ahead with.
- Finding the perfect match: One of the most important and exciting steps in this journey is finding the right match. Surrogacy agencies and specialists can help you in the matching process.
- Drafting a Legal Contract: After the Surrogate and intended parents make the decision, a legal contract needs to be drafted. The Surrogate and the intended couple should have their own attorney who will ensure that their legal interests are represented and protected.
- Having signed the contract, one can prepare for a medical procedure that involves embryo transfer by a fertility clinic agreed upon signing the contract.
- The final welcoming moment: The entire process of Surrogacy is long, which is why a baby is born. It is supposed to be a life-changing event and a momentous one. It is often seen that intended parents come to the hospital and join the Surrogate in this momentous experience.
Estimate Cost of Surrogacy in the US
According to reports, the US has the highest charges for Surrogacy compared to other countries in the world owing to its best in the world success rate and protected parental rights for intended parents. As we all know, Surrogacy laws vary across states in the US; however, the average cost for Surrogacy in the US is between $95,000 to $350,000. This cost may vary depending on the surrogacy arrangement made in the contract. The payment goes for the following expenses:
- Surrogate Mother’s Compensation (Average cost is between $60,000 to $120,000)
- Screening costs for the Surrogate (Average cost is between $1500 to $5000)
- IVF and other medical procedures cost (Average cost is said to be $20,000+)
- Legal and attorney fees.
- Insurance coverage.
Parenthood is a gift that every couple desires; however, there are many factors to consider before you embark on this journey. Even though Surrogacy is not accepted in all places, some extraordinary professionals can help you on this journey. The process of Surrogacy is demanding, but the rewards make it more beautiful and recognized among couples unable to conceive or couples who want to expand their family.
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