Surrogacy for older parents can be a difficult decision. There are age-related challenges and health or fertility factors at play. There are also financial implications, especially the closer you are to retirement. You will need to be financially and emotionally prepared for the complexities of surrogacy. You will need to understand the legal framework of surrogacy and be guided by a qualified assisted-reproduction specializing attorney. All Intended Parents pursuing surrogacy need to have a strong support system in place.
Here are some key things to consider:
If you are looking to use your own gametes, there are age-related challenges, especially for women over the age of 35 (also called “advanced maternal age”). As women age, their ovarian reserve decreases meaning that there are fewer eggs available for retrieval. Every year after age 35 can mean a precipitous drop in egg quantity and quality, so it’s especially important for women over 35 to be evaluated by a fertility specialist. As the quality of eggs decline, the chances of successful fertilization and embryo development decline as well. Older women can have a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities in their eggs.
Male sperm quality can decline with advancing age as well. Sperm parameters such as sperm count, motility, and morphology can be affected with declines starting around the age of 40 for some men. As men age, the DNA within sperm cells can accumulate more mutations which can lead to an increased risk of genetic abnormalities in offspring. Older men may also experience decreased semen volume and lower testosterone levels. While fertility declines gradually in men, the impact of age on fertility outcomes becomes more pronounced in the later reproductive years. It’s important that men considering parenthood at an older age to consult with a qualified Reproductive Endocrinologist to evaluate sperm quality and discuss potential strategies to optimize sperm viability and fertility outcomes.
Raising young children can be challenging for anyone, but it can be particularly demanding for older parents. Parents that are older may have less energy and stamina compared to younger parents. Parenting young children requires an enormous amount of physical energy, as well as time and attention. Additionally, depending on the age and health of the parent(s), older parents may have their own health challenges which can make it harder to meet the demands of raising young children.
Location and legal considerations:
The laws surrounding surrogacy vary greatly from country to country and from state to state within the United States. Surrogacy in one jurisdiction can be a completely different experience from surrogacy in another location. There are ethical implications of surrogacy as well, which is one of the reasons the United States is a top destination for surrogacy globally – American laws in most locations protect the rights of all parties entering into a surrogacy agreement. If you are an International Intended Parent looking for an American surrogate, do note there are travel and visa considerations to address when undergoing a surrogacy journey in the United States.
Surrogacy is an expensive process. You will need to carefully consider the financial costs associated with surrogacy, including legal fees, medical expenses, surrogate compensation, and travel and miscellaneous costs. Before exploring surrogacy, you should assess your financial situation to determine if you have the necessary resources.
What you can expect to pay:
Surrogacy typically involves extensive medical procedures, including: in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos (unless using donor embryos or doing a traditional surrogacy journey), the medical procedure to transfer an embryo to the surrogate’s uterus, and medical and pregnancy care. The medical procedures associated with surrogacy utilize advanced technologies, hormones/medications, and specialized expertise which contribute to the overall high cost.
You will also need to compensate the surrogate for her time, commitment to the process, and the risk to her health that any pregnancy entails. Compensation can vary depending on location, experience of the surrogate, terms of the surrogacy contract, and surrogate personal preference as she will ultimately decide what amount of compensation she’d like to receive in exchange for the arrangement.
Legal fees are not an optional part of the process. Surrogacy involves complex legal contracts to establish the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. Legal fees associated with drafting, reviewing, and finalizing these documents can be costly. There’s also agency fees (if using an agency and not self-matching via a site like SurrogacyPlace.com), psychological evaluations (required for most surrogacy journeys), and criminal/personal background checks. Only agency fees are an optional part of the process, though forgoing those fees can save tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.
All surrogates must complete a medical evaluation given by the Intended Parent(s)’ fertility clinic. Intended Parents will pay for tests designed to ensure that the surrogate is fit for pregnancy and surrogacy. At her medical evaluation, a surrogate will provide a detailed medical history about previous pregnancies, surgeries, medications, and any existing health conditions. A thorough physical is conducted and her uterus and overall health will be examined. She will also undergo an infectious disease screening.
If a surrogate has a health insurance plan that covers surrogacy, that is a huge bonus. If not, the Intended Parent(s) will need to purchase a policy to cover any potential medical complications during pregnancy or delivery. Regardless of insurance, Intended Parents are required to pay all medical expenses during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum recovery.
There are also other expenses including lost wages (for a surrogate and/or her partner/spouse), childcare for her existing children if applicable, travel expenses, maternity clothes, and any other direct expenses that will be incurred as a result of surrogacy.
Here’s a surrogacy cost guide for reference.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy can be an emotionally complex journey, and this can be particularly true when it comes to surrogacy for older parents. You will need to be prepared for the challenges that may arise, including disappointment if the process is unsuccessful or any emotional feelings related to the lack of a direct genetic connection to the child if applicable.
Having a strong support system in place is crucial, especially as an older parent. Consider the availability of family, friends, and other resources that can provide assistance and support throughout your parenting journey.
Assess how your age might impact your ability to provide care and support as your child grows up. In the event your health fails, do you know who might be able to care for your child(ren)? Consider factors such as retirement, potential health issues, and the availability of extended family members.
What are the age-related fertility challenges for older parents considering surrogacy?
As women age, their ovarian reserve decreases, resulting in fewer eggs available for retrieval. The quality of eggs also declines, increasing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities. For men, sperm quality can decline, affecting parameters such as count, motility, and morphology, with additional risks of genetic abnormalities in offspring. Advanced age can also bring physical limitations and potential health concerns for parents raising young children.
What legal considerations should older parents be aware of in surrogacy?
Understanding the legal framework of surrogacy is essential. Laws and regulations vary across jurisdictions. Older parents should consult with an assisted-reproduction specializing attorney to navigate the legal aspects and ensure the protection of all parties involved.
What are the financial implications of surrogacy for older parents?
Surrogacy is an expensive process due to medical procedures, insurance, legal fees, surrogate compensation, and miscellaneous costs. It is important for older parents to carefully assess their financial resources and plan accordingly to cover these expenses. This is especially true if they are close to retirement.
How can I estimate the costs associated with surrogacy?
Surrogacy costs can vary depending on factors such as location, medical procedures involved, surrogate compensation, legal fees, and other expenses. Check out our surrogacy costs guide to better understand the potential costs.
What parenting challenges might older parents face?
Raising young children can be demanding for anyone and older parents may face additional challenges due to reduced energy and stamina. Considerations should be made regarding any anticipated health issues and long-term plans to provide care and support as the child grows up.
How can older parents ensure a strong support system?
Having a reliable support system is vital for older parents. Assess the availability of family, friends, and other resources that can provide assistance and support throughout the parenting journey. It is important to consider backup plans and potential caretakers in case of unforeseen circumstances.
How important are location considerations?
Surrogacy laws vary across countries and even within states or regions. Understanding the legalities and regulations is crucial as it can greatly impact the surrogacy experience. The United States is a popular destination for surrogacy due to legal protections and well-established frameworks.
Remember, each surrogacy journey is unique, and it is essential to consult with professionals such as an assisted-reproduction specializing attorney and a qualified Reproductive Endocrinologist experienced in surrogacy to address your individual circumstances.
Can older adults make great parents?
Yes! With age often comes maturity, wisdom, and emotional stability, which can provide a nurturing and stable environment for children. Older parents may have established careers, financial stability, and a strong support system, providing the necessary resources needed for raising a child. They often possess a greater sense of self-awareness and patience, allowing them to approach parenting with a balanced perspective. Additionally, older parents may have had more time for personal growth and self-reflection, enabling them to better understand their own values and priorities, which they can then pass on to their children. Ultimately, the unique combination of life experiences, emotional maturity, and stability that older adults bring can contribute to their ability to be compassionate, empathetic, and loving parents.