For women who cannot or do not want to carry and deliver their own children, surrogacy offers another option for having a baby. Many couples choose surrogacy because it can be faster than adoption and because surrogates can produce a biologically related child. Naturally, finding the right surrogate is just as an important decision as deciding to become parents. There are some important factors to consider before entering into a surrogacy agreement to make sure both parties clearly fulfill their obligations.
Read about the surrogacy laws in your state. The laws in each state differ, but they will regulate what expenses you can pay, your rights to the child once it is born and the surrogate’s rights during and after her pregnancy. The more you know, the less likely you’ll be to run into legal complications.
Determine if you want a gestational or a genetic surrogate. You can have a genetic link to your baby by using your egg, your partner’s sperm or both. You can also chose to adopt a child your surrogate already conceived.
Hire an attorney who specializes in surrogacy or register with a surrogacy matching agency. Agencies and attorneys can be costly but often have important contacts and in-depth knowledge of your rights under the law.
Put the word out that you’re looking for a surrogate if you’re not using an agency or attorney. Post listings on surrogacy, adoption, parenting and fertility websites, as well as in newspapers. Talk to friends who may have used surrogates or ask your gynecologist for referrals. Register for online surrogacy matching sites.
Interview prospective surrogates. Determine their childbirth and surrogacy history. Talk about your expectations and be very clear. Ask potential surrogates of their expectations. Meet with as many women as possible to find the right match.
Choose a surrogate. Draw up a contract, or have your agency or attorney draw one up, that gets everything in writing, down to the smallest detail. Even if you’re using a close friend as a surrogate, get a contract anyway to ensure both parties have a very clear understanding of the entire process. Have your contract notarized. The contract may not hold up in a court of law, depending on the laws of your state, but it will outline the intent of both parties at the time of agreement.
Schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist to begin the process of screening you and your intended surrogate for genetic abnormalities and inseminating your surrogate or implanting embryos in her womb if you choose gestational surrogacy. Your specialist will outline a detailed treatment plan.
Continue with the pregnancy as set forth in your initial agreement.