Fertility science strives to make it possible for every woman to have a successful pregnancy and carry her own child to term. However, for some women (as well as same-sex male couples) being able to carry their own children may simply not be possible.
In these cases, more and more couples are turning to third-party surrogates or gestational carriers to help them grow their families.
What Is Third Party Surrogacy?
Third party surrogacy occurs when a couple contracts another woman to carry a child on their behalf. Usually, the third party undergoes fertility treatments such as IVF to achieve a pregnancy. The third party then carries the pregnancy to term on behalf of the couple.
- In the case where the carrier uses her own egg, this is referred to as surrogacy.
- In the case where the carrier is impregnated using an embryo provided by the couple, or using an embryo created with donated egg and sperm, this is referred to as using a gestational carrier.
The distinction is important because, in cases of third party surrogacy, the carrier may have greater legal standing to claim the child as her own in the event that she changes her mind. For this reason, surrogacy is not legal in many states.
Finding a Surrogate
Finding a third-party surrogate is not a process that should be taken lightly. In most cases, it is highly recommended that couples work with an agency that is aligned with their fertility provider.
This is because agencies are equipped to carefully screen potential surrogates. Usually, requirements for surrogates are that they:
- Already have had a child/children of their own.
- Are healthy medically and emotionally.
- Are not motivated solely by financial
Surrogates are usually required to undergo a physical evaluation and a psychological review. In many cases, a social worker will be assigned to work with the surrogate throughout the IVF process and during her pregnancy.
While third-party surrogacy provides a powerful solution for those who are unable to carry children on their own, it does come with considerable financial costs. While exact figures can vary depending on the nature of the surrogacy, it is not unheard of for the total cost to average around $100,000.
This can include:
- Fees paid to the carrier.
- Fees paid to a surrogacy agency, attorney, and social worker.
- Costs for harvesting the donated egg and sperm as well as IVF.
- Medical and maternity expenses once the pregnancy is achieved.
The decision to have a child using a surrogate is not one to be taken lightly. It requires a significant emotional investment as well as a financial investment. In addition, there are currently no national guidelines for surrogacy which means that the rules that apply in one state may not apply in another. For this reason, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you to navigate these issues.
Talk to an Expert
Whether you’re ready to get pregnant now, or are looking for advice to help you grow your family in the future, the time to talk with a fertility specialist is now. Talking with a specialist can help you plan ahead and learn about options that you may not have known exist.
If you have questions, or if you’d like to learn more about me or my practice, CCRM OC Fertility, schedule your new patient consultation today or call us at (949) 706-2229.