Answers to 51 of the most common surrogacy FAQs
What is surrogacy?
Short Answer: Surrogacy is a process where a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for another individual or couple.
Why do people choose surrogacy?
What are the types of surrogacy?
Is surrogacy legal?
Short Answer: Laws vary widely, but it is generally legal and well regulated in the United States. Outside of the US, it depends on the country and jurisdiction.
How does gestational surrogacy work?
What is the role of a surrogate?
Short Answer: The surrogate carries the pregnancy and gives birth to a child on behalf of Intended Parents. In gestational surrogacy, she is not biologically related to the child(ren) she carries.
How do Intended Parents find a surrogate?
Short Answer: They can use matching sites like SurrogacyPlace.com, network within their own communities, or pay tens of thousands of dollars to use a surrogacy agency.
Is surrogacy emotionally challenging for surrogates?
Short Answer: It can be, but most surrogates find the process to be joyous and find tremendous fulfillment in undergoing a surrogacy journey. All prospective surrogates should pass a psych evaluation given by a qualified mental health professional to make sure surrogacy is appropriate for them.
What’s the average cost of surrogacy?
Short Answer: Costs vary widely depending on location, whether using an agency or not, and other factors, but it can range from $75,000 to $150,000 or more. Using an agency is an optional cost and forgoing one can save Intended Parents a significant amount of money.
Are there age requirements for surrogates?
Short Answer: Most fertility clinics have age limits based on ASRM guidelines, usually between 21 and 42. This can vary by fertility clinic and relationship between surrogacy and Intended Parent(s). Some states also have specific laws regarding surrogate age.
Do surrogates have legal rights to the baby?
Short Answer: In most places where commercial surrogacy is legal and regulated, surrogates must relinquish parental claims via an official surrogacy contract. Traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate’s eggs are used) have stronger parental claims and traditional surrogacy arrangements are inherently more complicated than gestational surrogacy arrangements. For this reason, almost all surrogacy journeys are gestational.
Can same-sex couples use surrogacy to have children?
Short Answer: Yes, surrogacy is a great option for same-sex couples to have a biological connection to their child(ren).
Is medical testing required for surrogates?
Short Answer: Yes, surrogates usually undergo medical and psychological assessments to make sure they are healthy enough to carry a surrogacy pregnancy.
What is a surrogate agreement/contract?
Short Answer: A surrogacy agreement is a legal document outlining the terms of the surrogacy arrangement.
Can a surrogate keep the baby?
Can surrogates usually want to keep the baby?
Short Answer: This is extremely rare and is why surrogates must have completed their own family first and pass a thorough psych evaluation to determine their motivations for surrogacy.
What’s the difference between altruistic and commercial surrogacy?
Short Answer: Altruistic surrogacy involves no financial compensation for the surrogate, while commercial surrogacy involves a surrogate being compensated for her time, commitment, risk to her health, and physical discomfort.
Are there any health risks for surrogates?
Short Answer: Pregnancy-related risks apply to surrogates, as in any pregnancy.
Can a surrogate mother have a relationship with the child after birth?
Short Answer: It depends on the agreement between the parties involved.
What’s the legal process for establishing parentage in surrogacy?
Short Answer: This process varies by jurisdiction, involving court orders or legal agreements. Some states allow pre-birth orders, other states mandate a post-birth adoption process. For a state-by-state comparison, please see our surrogacy-by-state hub.
Can embryos be screened before implantation in surrogacy?
Short Answer: Yes, pre-implantation genetic testing is routinely done.
Is surrogacy allowed in all countries?
Short Answer: No, laws and regulations differ significantly around the world.
How long does the surrogacy process typically take?
Short Answer: It can range from one to two years, depending on various factors.
Can a single person pursue surrogacy?
Short Answer: Yes, single individuals can pursue surrogacy.
What’s the role of the egg donor in surrogacy?
Short Answer: When needed, an egg donor provides the eggs used in gestational surrogacy.
Short Answer: IVF is a technique used to create embryos, while surrogacy involves the carrying of the pregnancy by a person other than the Intended Parents.
Is surrogacy covered by insurance?
Can a surrogate change her mind during pregnancy?
Short Answer: In places where surrogacy agreements are enforceable, generally no.
Can international couples pursue surrogacy in the US?
Short Answer: Yes, the US is a common destination for international surrogacy.
Are there cultural or religious considerations in surrogacy?
Short Answer: Yes, cultural and religious beliefs can influence decisions around surrogacy. Religious affliction can be a matching point between Intended Parents and surrogates.
What happens if the surrogate miscarries?
Short Answer: The legal agreements typically outline the course of action in such cases. Following a miscarriage, surrogates and Intended Parents decide if they’d like to make another attempt or move on.
Can a surrogate be a friend or family member?
Short Answer: Yes, surrogacy arrangements between friends and family members are done all the time, though no steps should be skipped, including legal contracts.
Can a surrogate choose the intended parents?
Short Answer: Surrogates should choose Intended Parents and vice versa. The match should be mutually agreed upon.
What’s the role of a fertility clinic in surrogacy?
Do surrogacy laws differ between states in the US?
Short Answer: Yes, surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state as there are no federal laws regarding surrogacy.
Can a surrogate be compensated for her services?
Short Answer: Compensation is common in commercial surrogacy arrangements. The amount of compensation depends on a surrogate’s experience and desired compensation level.
Is surrogacy more common for celebrities?
Short Answer: Surrogacy is used by people from various backgrounds, including celebrities. We hear about celebrities and surrogacy more because celebrities are in the public eye. Most Intended Parents are not celebrities.
Can Intended Parents attend prenatal appointments with the surrogate?
Short Answer: Yes, if desired, this should be discussed when matching.
What happens if the surrogate develops complications during pregnancy?
Short Answer: Medical decisions that directly affect a surrogate’s health are made by her in consultation with healthcare professionals.
Can surrogacy lead to legal disputes?
Short Answer: Yes, disagreements over terms or parentage can result in legal disputes. This is fortunately rare, however.
Is surrogacy only for heterosexual couples?
Short Answer: No, surrogacy is an option for all types of couples and individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.
Are there risks associated with multiple births in surrogacy?
Short Answer: Yes, multiple embryo transfers can lead to a higher chance of twins or more, which may pose health risks. This is why single embryo transfer (SET) is the most common form of pregnancy as it carries significantly less risks of multiples.
Can a surrogate choose to terminate the pregnancy?
Short Answer: This is very rarely done on an elective basis. If the fetus is not viable or has substantial developmental issues, this may depend on the US state the surrogate is in. Consult a qualified attorney to discuss termination rights during the legal phase of surrogacy.
Are surrogates compensated for pregnancy-related expenses?
Short Answer: Yes, in addition to compensation (where commercial surrogacy is allowed), surrogates are typically reimbursed for reasonable pregnancy-related expenses including medical care, travel, maternity clothes, and more.
Can a surrogate choose to have a vaginal birth or a cesarean section? Hospital or home birth?
Short Answer: Birth plans are often discussed and agreed upon between the surrogate and Intended Parents.
What happens if the Intended Parents split up/divorce during the surrogacy process?
Short Answer: This situation should be addressed in the surrogacy agreement to clarify the Intended Parents’ wishes in the case of divorce or break up.
Is the use of a sperm donor common in surrogacy?
Short Answer: Yes, sperm donors are commonly used in cases where an Intended Father’s sperm is not viable or available.
Can surrogates have a job during the pregnancy?
Short Answer: Yes! Surrogates with dangerous jobs or jobs where they are exposed to toxic chemicals, however, may not be good candidates for surrogacy.
What are the key components of a surrogacy contract?
Short Answer: A surrogacy contract typically covers compensation, medical procedures, expectations, and the legal rights and responsibilities of all parties.
Are there restrictions on the surrogate’s lifestyle during pregnancy?
Short Answer: Surrogates are often advised to follow healthy habits, and specific lifestyle restrictions may be included in the surrogacy agreement. Travel restrictions past certain weeks gestational are also very common.
What happens if the intended parents change their minds about the surrogacy?
Short Answer: A thorough vetting process as well as legal agreement helps prevent such situations, and both parties should communicate openly to avoid misunderstandings.