Surrogacy provides a wonderful opportunity for intended parents to have a biological child of their own and for surrogates to help another family in an incredible way. Surrogacy is a method of Third Party Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), in which a woman carries a pregnancy for another person or couple. It is a journey for intended parents to help start or grow their family and a selfless act for surrogates to bring the joys of parenthood to another.
There are two main types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. In a traditional surrogacy, a woman is artificially inseminated with the sperm of an intended parent or donor. The surrogate’s egg is fertilized during this process, so she has a biological relation to the child.
Gestational surrogates are not biologically related to the child they carry. An embryo is created using the egg and sperm of the intended parents or donors through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the embryo is then transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus. She then carries the pregnancy on behalf of the intended parent(s). Due to the emotional and legal complexities involved with traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacies make up most of today’s surrogacy arrangements. All Families Surrogacy only works with gestational surrogacy arrangements.
Being a gestational carrier or deciding to start your family through surrogacy is a life-changing decision. Here’s what you need to know:
- There is a very thorough and detailed screening process. Surrogates and intended parents must meet certain criteria before being accepted into a surrogacy program. This includes passing a comprehensive background check, as well as medical and psychological screenings. For example, gestational carriers must be within a certain age range and healthy body weight, have the support of her spouse/partner and live in a surrogacy-friendly state. Once surrogates and intended parents make their way through all the checkpoints, they are approved to begin with the matching process.
- Surrogates are responsible for much more than just the pregnancy. Surrogates are responsible for taking care of the their health to ensure a healthy surrogacy journey, starting with medical evaluations and fertility treatments leading up to a pregnancy. Of course, carrying a healthy pregnancy is also a critical part of the surrogacy process. They must also have a supportive network of friends and family to assist during the journey. The surrogate, her support network, the agency and the intended parents all form a cohesive team to ensure a healthy journey.
- Surrogates have had a baby before. In addition to the general physical and psychological requirements to become a surrogate, the ideal gestational carrier has already given birth to and is raising at least one child of her own. This ensures that the surrogate has a proven medical history of healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, and that she emotionally understands all that is involved in being pregnant and giving birth.
- Each state has its own surrogacy laws. Although the U.S. is a surrogacy-friendly country, surrogacy is not legal in all 50 states. There are no uniform federal laws regulating the process. Each state has created their own surrogacy laws and some are friendlier than others, making it a complicated process. In some states, additional post-birth legal procedures may be required, or there are potential legal hurdles. All Families Surrogacy only works with surrogates in states where the laws/statutes are legally favorable for all involved. Working with an agency or having them recommend a lawyer will protect the rights of everyone involved.
- Working with an agency will save time and money. Most people arranging a gestational surrogacy use an agency. Surrogacy professionals help coordinate information, provide counseling, understand the legality of the process and manage services to match surrogates and intended parents. Choosing the right surrogacy professional is key to having a positive surrogacy journey that meets your goals. The Founder and Director of All Families Surrogacy, Carey Flamer-Powell, is not only an experienced gestational carrier, she is also the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Oregon Surrogacy Professionals Association and the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee for the Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy.
There’s a lot to learn about the surrogacy process and we’re here to answer your questions! If you’re ready to embark on your surrogacy journey, we have a group of passionate professionals who will be there every step of the way.