curly hair woman holding surrogate pregnant belly

6 Considerations for Gestational Surrogacy Talks

Hatch Fertility

When reviewing your options for IVF, oftentimes surrogacy makes its way into the conversation at some point in the journey. What is required of me to have this option available to me? Is it something I need to even consider? Is it something I or others around me can accept as an option? Matters like legal issues, financial issues, health issues, ethical issues, emotional issues, and societal issues should be taken into account on whether or not gestational surrogacy is right for you.

Let’s review the 6 most common considerations that may be relevant when discussing your surrogacy journey.

1. Legal Implications Surrounding Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy arrangements can involve complex legal issues, including questions surrounding parentage and custody. It is important to carefully consider the legal implications of surrogacy and to retain a lawyer who specializes in reproductive law to assist with all legal contracts. Surrogacy contracts should clearly state the intentions and responsibilities of each party and should emphasize that the gestational surrogate does not have parental rights to the baby.

The surrogacy contract should also carefully outline who will be responsible for the medical expenses and how many contacts the surrogate will have with the family and the child. Surrogacy contracts also specify any additional fees and potential risks that could occur during pregnancy.  

It is also important to seek a surrogate in surrogacy-friendly states. There are three states in the United States that currently do not recognize gestational surrogacy. Women cannot apply to be a surrogate if they live in Nebraska, Michigan, and Louisiana. However, if you are an intended parent, you can become a parent no matter where you live.  

Your surrogacy agency and the expert attorney you work with should cover all of the legal requirements and details of your journey, so this aspect should be stress-free once you begin exploring your legal options.

2. Financial Costs of Surrogacy

Surrogacy often involves significant financial considerations, including costs related to medical expenses, legal fees, and other expenses like potential travel and hotel stays. It is important to carefully consider these costs and to ensure that all parties agree on how they will be handled.  

The cost of gestational surrogacy can vary depending on all parties’ needs and decisions.  As intended parents, you will need to pay for the IVF cycle to create your embryos for use in the transfer to your surrogate. Some of the other fees commonly include:

  •       Agency fees
  •       Legal fees
  •       Escrow fees
  •       Surrogate’s insurance
  •       Surrogate base compensation
  •       Medical out-of-pocket fees
  •       Additional surrogate fees such as lost wages
  •       Medical travel fees
  •       Monthly allowance fees

At Hatch, we offer different financial packages that are suitable for different scenarios. We aim to have a viable option for every intended parent out there. We are also the only agency in the United States to offer a truly all-inclusive package, covering both medical and non-medical expenses, with no surprises. Our Baby Guarantee Package covers unlimited services for egg donation, surrogacy, and IVF, until a live birth is achieved.

3. Surrogacy Pregnancy Risks

As with any pregnancy, surrogacy can pose certain health risks for the surrogate, including physical risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth. It is important to carefully consider these risks and to ensure that the surrogate has access to medical care throughout the entire process as needed.

For a gestational surrogate to be pregnant, she will need to go through the embryo transfer procedure. As with any medical procedure, this can cause side effects such as nausea, fatigue, cramping, and possible side effects from the medications themselves. During the pregnancy, the surrogate can experience symptoms such as sickness, discomfort, and swelling.

Some more severe risks can arise such as gestational diabetes, damage to reproductive organs, hypertension, and even miscarriage. These are the same health risks that could occur with any pregnancy. When it comes to surrogacy pregnancy risks, you can lower the risk of health issues by following the orders of your doctor and maintaining open communication with the fertility clinic. The fertility clinic will have the surrogates undergo a comprehensive medical screening which ensures that the surrogates are healthy candidates for the surrogacy process prior to beginning their journey with you. Working with a good fertility clinic and a trustworthy surrogacy agency can provide the full support you need to minimize these risks.

4. Ethical Issues in Gestational Surrogacy

Some people may have ethical concerns about surrogacy, including issues related to the exploitation of women or the commodification of reproduction. Never is it acceptable for a woman to feel as though they are pressured into a major decision such as being a surrogate, whether it be for financial hardship, to ‘help a friend in need’, or any other reason. A woman’s body is her own to choose what she wishes to do with it, and some wish to help others by bringing life into this world with them. But these blessings should always be done with the best interests of the surrogate and their health in mind. This is why it is also required that each surrogate goes through a medical and psychological assessment to ensure their risks are at a minimum. Without doing so, their well-being could be put in jeopardy, which could then lead to ethically questionable intent.

The surrogacy process allows intended parents to achieve their dream of having a family, regardless of any medical or other factors that would otherwise prevent them from being able to do so. Many surrogates that enter our program do so to bring joy and happiness to other families that may otherwise not be able to have children of their own.

5. Emotional Impact of Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy is much more than just a medical process. It can be an emotional, personal journey for all parties involved, including the surrogate, intended parents, and any children born through the arrangement. It is important to carefully consider the potential emotional impact of surrogacy and to seek support if necessary. Surrogates may experience difficult and confusing feelings, and challenges of communication with intended parents, or even with their own family. 

We have experienced staff who have gone through multiple surrogacy journeys themselves. We can provide surrogates and intended parents with mental support and full guidance before, during, and after the surrogacy journey. Our matching specialists take a more personalized approach to matching surrogates with intended parents, ensuring that the match is right for everyone and there will be an opportunity for a personal relationship to develop.

6. Cultural and Societal Views on Surrogacy

Surrogacy may be viewed differently in different cultures and societies, and it is important to consider these differences when discussing surrogacy. While many countries are generally accepting of the concept of surrogacy, others may have a more limited or conservative view of it, and some may outright oppose it as an option altogether. For example, some countries in Asia consider surrogacy acceptable while others prohibit it entirely and frown upon the subject.

While all points of view and opinions should be respected, it is important to also consider your own needs in your individual scenario. Naturally, if you are from a culture or environment that is not supportive of your decision to use or become a surrogate, whether it be your fellow colleagues, friends, or family, it is important to consider their opinions as well as your needs in this situation.

With that in mind, it can become a difficult process to navigate both socially and emotionally. Fortunately, your agency should be able to help you with finding appropriate ways to communicate your situation with others that may be sensitive to the subject. Our experienced team has not only helped guide others through situations like this, but some have experienced it first-hand as surrogates themselves.

Choosing the Right Surrogacy Agency

The surrogacy process can be lengthy and complicated. It is important to select a reputable surrogacy agency to protect yourself and your surrogate throughout this process and provide more peace of mind. With the right agency, you can focus more on the important things, like preparing for your journey and the joys it will soon bring to your family and others.

At Hatch, we can work with you through any obstacles to help you achieve your dream of building a family. Reach out to our team today to learn more.

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