Parenting Prerogatives: Is Surrogacy For You?
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
So what if Angelina Jolie seems to have set the stage for making pregnancy options (such as adoption) “trendy”. Does that automatically mean that couples who can’t conceive (or at least are having difficulty with trying to conceive) should pack their bags and book their flight to Kenya or Dubai? And, what other options do couples have? Well, surrogacy is one of them.
Otherwise know as hiring a gestational carrier, this alternative in an emotionally packed and legally complex option that involves another women carrying and delivering your child for you. And, you should know, that while it’s only officially recognized in a small number of states and remains illegal in others. Plus, it can take a great deal of time, money, patience and understanding.
1. Selecting Surrogacy: Choosing to have someone else carry and deliver YOUR child, carriers with it many emotional “issues” some of which you or the surrogate mom may not for see. However, if you are opposed to adoption and raising someone ELSE’S child, it offers you a means of having your OWN baby, especially if you are unable to conceive or because your uterus is irregular or missing or if other fertility treatments have failed.
2. Expectant (Couple) Expectations: In most cases you and your mate will go through a, what is known as, assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure like in vitro fertilization (IVF) to generate and embryo that is biologically yours. If however, due to medical problems or conditions this is not possible, you can also choose donated eggs, sperm or embryo. The embryo is then placed inside the uterus of the surrogate or gestational carrier whose “job” it is to take good care of herself (and the baby) and carry the child to term. Once the child is delivered, the gestational carrier releases him or her to the custody of the parents (you) and signs away her parental rights.
Gestational carrier arrangements are typically treated and conducted as independent adoptions (in states where such procedures are deemed legal) or more commonly treated as contracts set up by agencies. Some doctors and/or medical facilities specialize in surrogacy and can help you make the necessary arrangements. And, they’ll see to it that you are (as you should be) deeply involved in the pregnancy, including paying the carrier’s (pregnancy) expenses including doctor visits, housing, and legal and agency fees.
3. Timely Dynamics: Finding and choosing the right gestational carrier can take just as much time as trying to conceive. And, it requires a lot of effort, energy, and above all patience, as you and your partner screen candidates, go through agencies, examine friends and relatives or peruse the Internet for options. Once you’ve made your choice, it’s likely you and the surrogate will undergo several months of in vitro fertilization (usually three or four months) after which experts suggest it’s not such a good idea to keep trying since success rates significantly drop.
4. Cogency Considerations: Using a surrogate means taking a chance, so measuring the effectiveness or the success of your choice is difficult to do. You may find a qualified carrier willing to carry the baby (which depends on a multitude of factors such as sperm count, egg quality, and the success of IVF); you’ll already have accomplished what many couples don’t. But, again, there are not guarantees.
5. Advantages: This method allows couples that are (completely) unable to conceive a means of having their OWN bay created from THEIR egg and sperm. And, if you arrange for an open arrangement you can be intimately involved with all the specifics and details revolving around your child’s “growth”, development and progress, as well as in the carrier’s nutrition and healthcare throughout the pregnancy.
6. Disadvantages: Hiring a gestational carrier puts you at risk for complications such as those surrounding procedures such as IVF. Furthermore, surrogates are expensive and you may have to deal with legal snags and the possibility of your carrier changing her mind. You may also experience difficulty agreeing on things such as genetic testing or how to handle the pregnancy; labor, delivery, and how the surrogate will cope with letting the baby go, especially if she is expected to give up all claims and rights.
7. Fees: The cost of choosing a surrogate is known to vary (especially in states where the practice is illegal and couples make arrangements on their own). However, an independent adoption may range from $15,000 with nearly $12,000 going to the carrier and the rest allocated for legal and agency fees. A contract arranged by or through an agency can run well above $35,000 with $10,000 to $12,000 reserved fro the carrier, $15,000 or more for legal fees and about $10,000 in agency fees. And, experts note that you should keep in mind that neither total accounts for additional costs such as the carrier’s prenatal care and delivery in not covered by her insurance.
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Parenting Prerogatives: Is Surrogacy For You?