At this very moment, childless or infertile couples and single people from all across the United States, who have made the choice of surrogacy, are happily counting down the days to an event they thought they would never see: the birth of their own child.
The largely unreported truth is that compared to most adoption options available today, surrogacy offers greater security, fewer complications, potentially faster results, and a higher rate of success.
At our offices, our experience, when the surrogate becomes pregnant, is 100 percent of the intended parents, couples or singles, gay or straight, have become parents. While past performance does not guarantee future results, our record of success is your assurance that we offer the knowledge and expertise to make surrogacy work for you.
Why does surrogacy have a higher success rate than adoption?
Intended parents and surrogates enter surrogacy relationships for different reasons and from different legal positions than people in adoption situations. Surrogacy is essentially a contract for the services of a woman to carry a baby to term. She might be artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, or have the embryo, of the intended father’s sperm and the intended mother’s or an egg donor’s egg or a donated embryo(s) transferred to the uterus of the surrogate. Then the surrogate will give birth to a baby who is genetically linked or belonging to the happy intended parents. The surrogate’s reasons for becoming pregnant are to help the intended parent or intended parents actually become parents. She also wants to help her own family and herself with the compensation she earns for her services.
The genetic link that makes surrogacy desirable for many people, gay or straight, also provides them legal advantages not available in adoption. In surrogacy, the baby is born as the child of at least the intended father, or both intended parents. The genetic link gives them enforceable legal parental rights.
What kind of women become surrogates?
They are caring women who want to help people like you experience the joy of parenthood. The typical surrogate is a woman in her 20s to early 30s, working, married or single, and the mother of her own children. She often is a woman who enjoys being pregnant. In return for her services of working for you, she expects to receive the agreed upon compensation, which she will use for her family’s needs.
What do we offer intended parents in terms of surrogacy agency and law firm services?
We can help you with surrogacy from start to finish, or any point(s) in between. Working as your surrogacy agency and your lawyer, we will present candidates and help you select and then contract with an acceptable surrogate.
Then we coordinate the artificial insemination or embryo transfer process with qualified physicians and we monitor the surrogate’s progress throughout her pregnancy. After the baby is born, or in some cases before the baby is born, we will assist you with the court process to obtain a new birth certificate with your name(s) on the birth certificate as the child’s legal parent(s).
Surrogacy Or Adoption?
You are not alone in making decisions regarding whether to pursue a surrogacy or an adoption. People look at some concerns that they may have about surrogacy, and then think that maybe they should consider adoption instead. That's fine. We do adoption also.
Surrogacy is very different from adoption. You don't have to prove anything or justify or defend anything. You are the employer and the surrogate is the employee. It is you that needs to evaluate candidates for the position of your surrogate - not the other way around.
But, if you are interested in our advice for this important project, we need to have open frank discussions about realities. This is my advice to our clients - DO THE SURROGACY. Here's why:
The cost of surrogacy is generally more certain in fixing the budget estimate range than it is in a domestic adoption. Domestic adoptions could be very different than surrogacy depending on the State, the other lawyer for the birth mother/birth father, living expenses for the birth mother, medical expenses for her pregnancy and delivery, etc. All surrogate candidates have medical coverage for their pregnancy and delivery. Also, no home study is required like in an adoption.
Domestic adoption is much more risky of an emotional and financial investment than is surrogacy. At the beginning, in the middle, or at the end - the birth mother could change her mind, disappear, go with somebody else, not tell the birth father and he comes back and wants the baby, etc. Whatever you have laid out in money 10, 15, 20, 25 thousands of dollars are gone and you have no recourse.
With surrogacy some of the same bad things could conceivably happen...but it is less likely. In our history of doing surrogacy, it has never happened when the surrogate achieves a pregnancy. She is invested in this job. Yes, there may be more cost in a surrogacy, but your money is more secure. Domestic adoption is like investing your money at a casino, surrogacy is like investing your money in U.S. Treasury bonds. Also, in a domestic adoption you are paying out money throughout the birth mother's pregnancy, on a wing and a prayer. With surrogacy the surrogate's compensation sits in our trust account until 30 days after you have your baby.
With surrogacy you are the boss, the employer. You have more control than in an adoption. You set the terms of her employment and most of the money stays put until her job is done.
With surrogacy you likely have a genetic link to the child and are automatically vested with legal parental rights. With adoption, you have no genetic link and no legal parental rights. With surrogacy, you are holding at least half of the legal parental rights cards. She does not have a unilateral legal right to change her mind.
While it is difficult to generalize, birth mothers are sometimes drug involved, homeless, unemployed women who have poor coping skills and poor relationships. That is why they can't care for this child and find themselves in the position of having to place their child for adoption. Surrogate mothers are generally more stable, with their own children, their employment, their husbands or significant others.
Birth mothers are sometimes unsuccessful in life, at least at this pregnancy point. Nevertheless, they are not necessarily liberal in their thinking. They have many eager couples competing for their attention. Birth mothers are in high demand and are a scarce commodity. She is likely to want the perfect all American Kellogg's Corn Flakes 30 year old couple. It's possible for adoption to work for you; but longer and more expense in searching for her - than in contracting with a surrogate.
Adoption involves all kinds of clearances regarding your background and home inspections and visits with social workers, etc. A home study costs well over a thousand dollars and you need to endure the social worker's “investigation” and judgment about your suitability to be a parent. You have little control and are subjecting yourself to the judgment of others. In the surrogacy context, you are the employer and you have would-be employees trying to gain your approval; and you are in the position of making judgments about them.
Surrogacy is always successful for whoever pursues it, if the surrogate achieves a pregnancy. Adoption is a high financial and emotional risk.
What Can I Expect In Terms Of A Budget To Accomplish A Gestational Or Artificial Insemination Surrogacy?
The first step in trying to get a fix on a budget estimate to complete a surrogacy is to determine with which type of surrogacy you want to proceed. You may choose to do an artificial insemination (“traditional”) surrogacy, or a gestational (embryo transfer) surrogacy. The second step is to become familiar with the different budget components of your chosen surrogacy.
Let’s look at artificial insemination first.
If you are choosing an artificial insemination surrogacy with your sperm, the egg is already inside of the surrogate. You don't need to pay compensation to a surrogate and an egg donor, as well as all the very involved and delicate medical procedures characteristic of an embryo transfer.
The total cost would be approximately $45, 000 - 49,000 from start to finish. Let’s break that down into budget components.
- The first component is the cost of the surrogate - compensation and related expenses - between $19,500.00 and $22,000.00 as an estimated range. Some time there are factors such as her experience as a surrogate previously or other reasons that she appeals to you, which may mean an increase of $1,000.00 to $3,000.00. If she has a c-section delivery or gives birth to twins, the surrogacy agreement will likely include additional compensation for such circumstances.
- The second component is the cost of getting her pregnant by artificial insemination. Each attempt is approximately $280-325. Ovulation predictor test kits, communicable disease testing, sonograms, insemination attempts, etc. will cost between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on how many attempts it takes to get her pregnant or what is needed in connection with the attempts themselves. You will also need to be tested for communicable diseases and may decide to freeze, store, and ship your semen for inseminations depending on where the surrogate lives. Other factors here are her transportation costs to the doctor, child care for her kids while she is at an appointment, etc.
- The third component is the costs of her being pregnant. Again, factors here are her transportation costs to the doctor, child care for her kids while at an appointment, maternity clothing, etc. She will have her own health insurance coverage to pay for her prenatal and hospital care. But there may be co-pays for which you would reimburse her. Let's say approximately $5,000 give or take $1,000.
- The fourth component is the surrogacy agency and legal costs for working on surrogate identification and selection process for you, preparing a surrogacy contract, facilitating the progress of the case and proceeding with your follow up Court process so that we can get the surrogate’s name off the birth certificate and only yours on it, or if you have a spouse or partner we would proceed to make that individual an equal legal parent . That should be approximately a total of $17,500.00 give or take $1,000 depending on what happens in the case, what the judge wants, where the hospital is located, where the court is located all of which factors into attorney travel.
There are hidden costs that you need to figure too.
The hidden costs are the costs for your travel, food, and lodging at the time of the inseminations, doctor appointments you may want to attend, picking up your baby at the hospital time, and the final court hearing.
Gestational surrogacy and an egg donor, if necessary.
Gestational surrogacy is about the same cost as an artificial insemination surrogacy, EXCEPT that the medical cost of getting the surrogate pregnant by embryo transfer is substantially more than the medical cost of artificial insemination. To get a budget estimate for gestational add approximately $35,000.00 to $75,000.00 to the total cost for an artificial insemination surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy with a donor egg is a more expensive undertaking. The only practical reason to do a gestational surrogacy is because of the egg. It makes sense if the egg is from a spouse or a close female relative, a close female friend, or an egg donor that you have chosen because she has some special characteristic that you want to try to pass on to your child.
Gestational surrogacy is more costly because, in addition to paying compensation to a surrogate, you need to pay for all of the very involved and delicate medical procedures characteristic of an embryo transfer. Then, when you add the cost of an egg donor, we are for sure up to the higher range and moving upwards. The medical component of testing all of the participants, retrieving eggs from the egg donor, making and freezing the embryos, psychologicals on the participants, mock cycles, preparation of the surrogate’s uterine lining and the medical therapy to accomplish that, the thawing and transfer of the embryo(s) to the surrogate’s uterus, increases the medical budget component. Your health insurance may cover some of these costs. This medical component to get the surrogate pregnant is the primary difference in the budgets between artificial insemination surrogacy and gestational surrogacy, along with the extra procedures and compensation for the egg donor.
We are ready to go when you are.
We have a number of surrogate candidates in the gestational surrogacy pool. We have candidates in the artificial insemination surrogacy pool. Surrogate candidates come and go. We also have Egg Donor candidates and often people who want to donate their cryopreserved embryos to a family rather than to science because they can’t use the embryos but they want to give the embryos a chance at life. You can begin to review pictures and profiles as soon as you are ready. We're ready to go when you are.. We have two objectives - to help you get a baby through surrogacy and to do so in the most cost efficient manner possible.
Our surrogacy program is unique in that we are a surrogacy agency and a law firm all wrapped into one.
We can take you all the way from start to finish, or do any piece or pieces in between. We have established relationships with several medical practices and fertility centers, or you may use yours and we will get the surrogate to you. We have no specific or rigid set of policies for handling all surrogacy cases. Each case is handled by our office on an individual basis.
We would be pleased and honored to work with you, and I am certain that, together, we can accomplish your objective. We have helped hundreds of of people, gay and straight, couples and singles, over the past 30 years, build their families through surrogacy and adoption. If you have any further questions, just give us a call, or drop us an e-mail or send a fax. Surrogacy is what we do all day long every work day. I'm sure we can give you an answer to almost any question and some advice on your next step too.
What If You Live In A Surrogacy “Unfriendly” State?
Different states have different laws.
Surrogacy, like many family legal matters, is what is known as a "jurisdiction sensitive" matter. That means that there might be very different laws about surrogacy in different states or jurisdictions. Within the United States, there is no legal consistency among states on the matter of surrogacy - it is legal in some states, but not legal in others. The legal world is one thing and the real world is another. In the real world, surrogacy is quickly becoming as popular as adoption, if not more so.
So what are your options if you want to try surrogacy, but you live in state where it is illegal?
Thanks to our United States Constitution, one may travel to any state in the United States and do anything that is legal in that state. This is true, even if the activity is illegal where you live. For example, gambling casinos may be illegal in your state; but you may travel to a state where gambling casinos are legal and gamble all you want. This constitutional rule is the same for surrogacy.
You need to arrange the surrogacy in a state where it is legal.
A "gestational" surrogacy is one in which your embryo, made from an egg from the female spouse or a donor and sperm from the male spouse or donor or embryos from a donor. That embryo is then transferred to the uterus of a surrogate who carries the resulting fetus to term.
A "traditional" or "artificial insemination" surrogacy is one in which a specimen of the intended father’s semen is obtained and artificially inseminated by a doctor into the surrogate, and she conceives with that sperm and her egg, and carries the resulting fetus to term.
After the baby is born, the intended parents proceed with an adoption or parental proceeding, they may even be able to obtain a court order declaring the parentage of the baby before the baby is born. You likely cannot proceed with an adoption in your home state because the underlying activity is a surrogacy, which is not legal or is very difficult in your state.
There are different legal approaches for different surrogacies.
There are more than one approach to legally accomplish your objective which ever type of surrogacy you choose to do. Perhaps the simplest approach is to select a surrogate who resides in the state where you will later proceed with your (if you are single) or your spouse or partner’s (if you are a couple) court process to become the legal parent(s) of this child.
If you are doing a gestational surrogacy, the law where the child is born is the law which will govern the court process (to adopt or declare parentage) regardless of where you or the surrogate resides. If you are doing an artificial insemination surrogacy, the surrogate should reside in the state where you will file the court process. The laws of the state where the court process takes place will be the laws governing your case. Your state's "unfriendly" laws don't even enter the picture regardless of the type of surrogacy you do.
In either case, it is best to proceed where non-residents can use that state’s court. You also need a state in which the laws are surrogacy friendly, if yours are not. Finally, if you are gay, you will want a state that is gay friendly, if yours is not. For example, Maryland allows non-residents to use its courts in these matters, is surrogacy friendly, and is gay friendly. In Maryland, you could complete the legal process for either gestational surrogacy or an artificial insemination surrogacy.
You can legally engage in a surrogacy arrangement even if you reside in a state that is not surrogacy "friendly."
This information is difficult to present in a detailed fashion in the space of a single page. We are trying to convey broad legal concepts rather than a complete analysis of any individual’s case. If you have a question pertaining to your specific situation, you could contact our office or speak with a family attorney in your state.