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Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of Surrogacy

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Mom and Dad with Child
Surrogacy: Understanding the Risks and the Benefits
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 6.9 million women received some type of infertility treatment between the years 2011 and 2013. That number is expected to be higher in more recent years, so it's not surprising that there is also a high demand for surrogacy services. However, since there is no federal oversight for surrogacy, there is no regulation. When high demand for a service is mixed with a lack of laws governing the process, dishonest businesses or individuals try to cash in.

Surrogacy has a high success rate; however, those who are considering this option should evaluate surrogacy risks and benefits before leaping into the process. Professional agencies like the Center for Surrogate Parenting have 36 years of experience, and can be easily recognized as a legitimate provider of surrogacy services.

Here are some additional areas to research and consider when choosing surrogacy as an option.

Independent Surrogacy

For those who are matched with a family member or friend to serve as a surrogate, the independent surrogacy approach may work well. However, most surrogacy experts do not suggest the independent approach for the inexperienced or as a way to cut back on the costs. A wide range of problems can arise for those who aren't aware of all the aspects required to plan a successful surrogacy. An agency protects the interests of both the surrogate and the intended parent or parents. In an independent surrogacy, there is no safety net should the surrogate change her mind or if the parents back out of the arrangement. Additionally, there are multiple media stories detailing elaborate scams targeting both surrogate mothers and intended parents. These cases are often hard to prove in the legal system.

Two Dads with a Baby

Online Agencies

If you conduct an online search for ?surrogate mothers,? you'll find thousands of results. Some are legitimate agencies, but many are not. For those who desperately want to become a parent, risking their life savings seems to be a small price to pay to finally hold their own baby in their arms. Sadly, some of these people have been financially ruined and emotionally traumatized following a scam or poorly executed surrogacy agreement that has gone awry. A potential agency should be able to answer questions regarding costs, screenings, surrogacy requirements, and legalities, and be an established business with ties to their community. All legal and financial arrangements should be noted in a legally binding contract that is signed by all parties. At CSP, we welcome questions about surrogacy, our screening process, and other pertinent information needed to make an educated decision about the process.

Finding a Match

A surrogate mother should have the option of choosing the intended parents or parent, and intended parents must feel secure in the knowledge that the surrogate mother will care for their child during the pregnancy. Prescreening potential parents is important so there is no question that they intend to honor their legal and emotional obligations toward the surrogacy, and are emotionally stable and ready to take on all that comes with being a parent. The surrogate mother should have the opportunity to meet with the intended parent or parents and be allowed to ask personal questions. Being comfortable and feeling a connection is an important part of the matching process. In many cases, the bonds formed during the surrogacy process become long term relationships. Please read some of our letters.

Couple smiling with Baby

Laws

Surrogacy is uncharted territory when it comes to laws governing the industry. Before entering an agreement with an agency, all parties should be clear on any state laws and all stipulations of the contract before signing.

  • Since there are no federal laws that can be used to guide surrogacy arrangements, state surrogacy laws prevail. The laws applied to the surrogacy arrangement fall under the statutes of the state the surrogate resides in. Some states have no laws, and a few states forbid surrogacy arrangements. But some states, such as California, are seen as ?surrogate friendly? and make the process easier.

  • Legal representation is important for both the surrogate and the intended parents to oversee and address issues concerning insurance coverage, financial compensation for the surrogate, and other legalities.

  • Additionally, contracts should have stipulations addressing any medical or developmental complications discovered in the unborn child, multiple fetuses as a result of in-vitro fertilization practices, or divorce of the intended parents. In some cases, there are stipulations in the contract calling for an end to the pregnancy under specific situations.

  • Under the Assisted Human Reproductive Act in Canada it is illegal to pay a surrogate or advertise to arrange for services of a surrogate. Furthermore, there are a number of European nations who have similar, strict surrogacy laws, so couples outside of the U.S. may choose to enter a surrogacy arrangement here. A child born in America is a U.S. citizen. Agencies like CSP, are experienced in handling adoptions between American surrogate mothers and international intended parents, will guide them through the process of obtaining the birth certificate and passports allowing the intended parents to return to their home country after the birth of their child.

  • The surrogacy process includes all aspects of the pregnancy, birth, and legal rights of both the surrogate mother and the intended parents. Every surrogacy experience is different, so the chance of unique situation arising is possible as well. Our experience over three decades and thousands of happy new families has provided us the expertise to successfully guide parents through the surrogacy process. Contact us to learn more from CSP about the miracle and the joy of surrogate parenting.
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