What to Consider Before Opting for a Gestational Surrogacy?
There are some women that just can’t get pregnant no matter what they try to do so they opt for a surrogate mother. In other cases, there are mothers that are willing to be a surrogate mother for a family member, a good friend or a complete stranger. Some women enjoy the chance to do something good and become a gestational carrier for another woman.
If you are one of the millions of women that are considering becoming a gestational carrier, there are many things to think about before you go through the surrogacy process. Chances are your eggs are not going to be used and you won’t be able to bond with this child. These are some hard decisions to make if you love children.
Going through a surrogate pregnancy is not an easy task, especially if you know you will never see this child again or get to know the child. Some families have same-sex marriages and choose a surrogate mother based on many options to carry their child. This is a very hard and selfless decision on the surrogate mother’s part when it comes to being a gestational carrier.
There’s always been some kind of controversy since gestational surgery has entered into the 20th century. People wonder it’s ethical to use a surrogate mother to conceive a child for them or if it is allowed in the church they attend. This is a tricky process using gestational surgery because the laws differ in every state. Granted, there are going to be problems, but if your one of the many women that suffer from fertility problems, finding a surrogate is still an option for both you and your significant other. Read on and decide if this is for you!
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
When it comes to a gestational carrier, there are 2 kinds and one is called the traditional surrogate and the other one is called the gestational surrogate.
Traditional Surrogate is a woman who has opted to become inseminated artificially with the father’s sperm. The woman will then go through the entire 40 weeks of pregnancy and will deliver the child to the parents. The issue here is the traditional surrogate is always going to be referred to as the biological mother. The reason being is because this was the surrogate’s mother’s own egg fertilized by dad’s sperm. Parents can also choose to use donor sperm.
Gestational Surrogates is more like “in vitro fertilization” or (IVF). Eggs are taken from the mom and fertilized by the father’s sperm. The embryo will be put in the uterus of the person who is called the gestational surrogate.
The surrogate carries the baby for 40 weeks until the child is born. A gestational carrier doesn’t have any biological connection to the child she carries because it was the biological mother’s egg and the biological father’s sperm that created the child. However, the gestational surrogate still carries the title “birth mother”. The biological mother is the one whose eggs were fertilized by the father.
The problem with gestational surrogacy in the United States is this is a very intricate legal case. The reason is that all parents involved still have a legal claim to the kid. This is the reason, gestational surrogacy has been more popular than traditional surrogacy. The 750 babies that are born every year are coming from gestational surrogates.
Why are Surrogates Used?
Women have many reasons for using surrogates and here are some reasons that moms consider using them. Some women suffer from problems with their uterus, some women have had a hysterectomy at a very young age, or had their uterus removed. In addition, there are women that suffer from medical conditions that cause the pregnancy to be almost impossible, risky, or the mom could also be high risk for heart disease.
You might want to think about surrogacy if you have tried other techniques and couldn’t get pregnant. The main one is the assistance of In vitro fertilization.
Surrogates are also known for making parenthood possible for those that can’t adopt a child, because of certain conditions. When men that are gay plan to use a surrogate, one of the gay men will use his sperm to fertilize the surrogate mother’s eggs with something called artificial insemination. This is how surrogate carries the child for 40 weeks and gives birth.
The gay couple could also decide to pick an egg donor, then fertilize the egg that was donated, and have the embryo implanted in the gestational surrogate mother who them carries the child for 40 weeks or until birth.
How to Find a Surrogate?
There are many ways to find a surrogate. You could ask family or friends or even a relative to be a surrogate for you and your significant other. The problem is this could raise eyebrows in your family because the cost of surrogacy is extremely expensive, along with the legal issues that are associated with gestational surrogacy.
There are also questions about who really has the rights as the parents, and these kinds of family relationships can be difficult to manage. Surrogacy is definitely discouraged when it comes to family members using their eggs and sperm. The reason is this is similar to incest and could cause problems for the family and the child involved.
The majority of people use one agency to choose a gestational surrogate. There are around 100 of these agencies that are available in the United States. These surrogacy agencies are the mediators. These agencies will assist you in finding a surrogate and handle all the money between the surrogates and the parents. The parents are responsible for the medical fees so the agencies make sure these medical fees are all paid for.
Choosing the Surrogate
Currently, they do not have any regulations about who can be a surrogate mother, however, there are some ways that are suggested on selecting the right surrogate mother for you. The surrogate is supposed to be at least twenty one years old, already had one child that was healthy at birth, be able to understand the risks of childbirth and pregnancy and the emotional stress she will face when she chooses how to bond or not to bond with the child.
She also has to pass psychological tests, in case she has underlying problems about giving the child up after the child is born. In addition, she has to sign a document that concerns her responsibilities and role during pregnancy. This means she has to be on top of her prenatal care and be in agreement to hand the child over to the parents after birth.
The Use of a Surrogate
There are issues concerning using a surrogate and the woman chosen has to get a medical exam to make sure that she is capable of carrying a healthy child. She also has to be checked for infectious diseases like gonorrhea, tuberculosis, HIV, cytomegalovirus, syphilis, chlamydia, cytomegalovirus, and hep C and B.
Surrogate should also be tested to see if they are immune to rubella and measles which are German Measles, and chickenpox. Some parents require a test that maps the uterus, so the doctor can determine if she can carry a full-term pregnancy. All surrogate mothers should use their own doctors that they are comfortable with during this pregnancy and not your doctor.
This procedure costs from $80-120,000.00. This includes many items in the cost, like does the surrogate have medical insurance, or whether she requires a surrogacy-medical insurance policy from the primary parents for this woman.
A surrogate mother isn’t always promised her parental rights after delivery. Laws keep changing as new technology and the nuclear family in name changes. Every word has a definition and so does the word parent as that definition changes as well.
This happens after the surrogate pregnancy is completed. Then there are other states where the couples are going to parent the surrogate child, declare themselves the parents before the child is born so they don’t have the cost of adoption. This also saves the state some money because some states pay out an adoption fee to parents for a number of months because the child was adopted and now has a home.
Parents that are interested or going through the surrogate parent pregnancy rules have to find ways to protect their own rights. In addition, they have to protect the rights of the child that they plan to raise until the child is a legal adult. The best thing to do is to find a lawyer that specializes in reproductive law in the state you reside.
Take your time until you find a lawyer that both of you are comfortable with because this is going to be a long and sensitive process. The lawyer’s job is to compose a contract dictating the facts of every role each person has in the surrogate birth of the child.
A contract is actually a good point in case suddenly, the couple or surrogate mother finds themselves wrapped in legal tape for years to come. If you have this contract, make sure the main facts and points are in agreement with all parties considering every possible scenario that could arise. One good challenge would be the case of multiple births and how would this be handled?
The Case of Multiple Births
In the case of gestational surrogacy, there is always a chance if the mother decides to use the IVF method. If a woman decides to become a surrogate mom, the chances for having a child for another couple is higher with IVF. The chances are increased by implanting multiple embryos so at least one can survive in the uterine lining and therefore produce a successful pregnancy.
Some couples want to try for multiple births or at least twins and some end up being surprised. Currently, the transfer of more than one embryo is not taken lightly unless there are medical reasons for the transfer of more than one. The issue is more risk and cost if multiple births are involved with a surrogate pregnancy.
Risks of Multiple Births
One of the main risks of multiple births is about an 80 percent chance of premature delivery. This means the babies are most likely going to be placed in (NICU) or the Neonatal ICU as it’s called. There are more costs than money involved, including emotional and private.
This is worse with parents that are from overseas. The costs for multiple births such as twins can be as much as four times the amount as a single birth. The costs are twelve times more for triplets than for a single birth.
Then take into account the traveling expenses if the parents to be are from overseas and have to stay in the United States for months sometimes. Your whole life is compromised because your life and job are not in the United States, you are familiar with the laws from your own country. The medical bills keep getting larger and so does the cost to raise more than one baby.
Think about the number of clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. that need to be bought for more than one baby. This all could turn into a major financial disaster on your life and the life of your family.
There are always going to be complications because of the risk of low birth weight, neurological issues, hearing, vision, and other issues. There could be a Caesarean section, preeclampsia, and a possibility of gestational diabetes where women can gain as much as 100 pounds in water weight. All pregnancies have some risks but the risks are much lower with single births.
In the case of multiple births, parents could have life-long costs associated with twins, triplets, etc, due to developmental delays. Here again, the costs are more than just money, it’s again emotional and private costs.
A surrogate mother could find out that she has multiple fetuses and choose to have a procedure done by her doctor that would selectively reduce the number to one or possibly two fetuses to give the fetus a chance to grow healthy and be born healthy. Some women have issues with this procedure because this too can be quite the emotional decision for the parents and the gestational surrogate. This whole issue can be solved by just transferring one embryo and hope it takes.
If parents are choosing surrogacy as a way to have a child, the parents that decide on just working with a single embryo are matched quicker with a gestational surrogate. The majority of gestational surrogates only want to have one embryo transplanted into their uterine lining. These women are also well educated on this type of birth and definitely understand the enormous risks with multiple births.
In addition, if there are a few gestational surrogates that decide to carry twins, there is an approval process by their physician. The problem with this is not all of the gestational surrogates that choose to carry multiple embryos are approved by their doctor. The surrogate has to be in great health and fertile so when the two eggs are implanted, there is a larger percentage of a chance of multiple births.
Avoiding Multiple Births
The answer is completely clear here and the only way to avoid multiple births using a gestational surrogate is to plant one embryo in the uterine lining at a time. This is a good way to avoid the costs, the emotional pain, physical pain and developmental delays in the children that are a result of the birthing process. The surrogate mother has to listen and do her homework in order to stay well informed with this process.
There is still more education that is needed for both the parents and the surrogates. The main attention should focus on the outcome of using IVF and expecting a single birth. If women are considering the option of becoming a surrogate, do your homework.
There are websites, videos, newsletters, articles and facts available all over the web. In addition, talk to a reproduction specialist if you would like to be private about your decision and gather all the information that you can if you have made the decision to help out families that can’t have their own children.
Science and technology have improved greatly since the first test-tube baby was created in the ’70s. The percentage of implantation has improved, along with the consideration of implanting and transferring multiple embryos to gestational surrogates. A reproduction specialist is also looking at the age of the woman who is providing the eggs, and the age of the people receiving the eggs.
The best thing any couple can do is to make sure they fully understand the reproduction cycle and the risks of choosing a surrogate both legally and emotionally. In addition, all those that are involved should understand the concepts, facts, and risks of single and multiple embryo transfers. This might not be in the best interest of the gestational surrogate.
Talk about all of this with your own health professional, then make sure you both are making the right decision. The main goal is for all to have a healthy and happy family.
Finding the Right Surrogate
The scenario is that a friend or a family member offers to be a surrogate for you because you are down about not being able to conceive. This might be something to consider before the process because the cost will be greatly reduced if you choose someone who is close to you. Face it, it’s hard locating a woman who is willing to be a surrogate, so many people have to hunt for them and this isn’t an inexpensive adventure.
Sure there are many agencies out there or firms that look for the match that you want but if you have a close friend or family member, and you both are serious then consider this. Then if you decide to go with an agency, you both have to find one that you feel comfortable with and research the BBB (Better Business Bureau) on this agency. Ask questions about the costs and where they come from.
In addition, you might want to know how the firm chooses the surrogate and the importance behind their decision. If you can, find some of the clients of this firm that have used it before and ask them about their experience. Here are some good questions to ask the agency if you are interested in choosing a surrogate.
Do you react in a prompt manner in regards to using emails and returning calls? How many people work for your agency that can answer all our questions? Do you all work as teammates? How do you screen these possible surrogates and what questions do you ask them?
Does the agency or firm actually meet the surrogate? Do they check out her living arrangements in regards to stability and cleanliness? Do they check references? Do they ask their surrogates for a criminal background check?
Do they talk to the surrogates about other pregnancies they have had, and what kind of parents are they to their own children? Were their pregnancies normal or high risk? These are just a few questions you might want to ask the agency.
What about Qualifications?
People should find out how these agencies handle the surrogate mom’s qualifications. What necessary guidelines do these women have to meet? They have to be in great physical shape, they have to have had at least one healthy child. All their pregnancies had to be free from any and all complications and all full-term pregnancies. They have to be under 43 years old and live in a stable environment. They are not allowed to smoke or drink.
There certainly is a lot to consider for couples and a surrogate mother in this case of carrying a child. The main issue is to find out the state laws of the state you reside in about being a gestational carrier. Every state has different rules and if your eggs are not used and you still carried the child full term, there still is an emotional connection with a surrogate pregnancy. The surrogacy process could be risky if you are not well informed so make sure you do your research.