Single-by-choice parents on the rise: surrogacy for single parents
Married couples aren’t the only ones seeking surrogacy services, single individuals have a wide variety of reasons they turn to surrogacy. Some simply don’t want to be partnered, others are single men and women who have never found “the one,” but dream of being a parent. If you’re single and infertile or unable to carry, advancements in assisted reproduction can enable you to be a parent. Surrogacy laws across the United States are generally favorable to unmarried individuals. To see regulations by state, visit SurrogacyPlace.com’s state-by-state hub.
Historically, single moms represented the vast majority of single parents, however, single dads are on the rise, too. Gender stereotypes about raising children are slowly changing. The truth is, there’s no difference in gender in terms of who is the most capable parent. Ideas about children needing both parents to thrive are also evolving. With the right support network, anyone can be a parent regardless of marital status.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Legal Factors
Familiarizing yourself with the legal framework surrounding surrogacy is crucial for anyone considering surrogacy, including single individuals. In most states where commercial surrogacy is practiced, single individuals are treated equally under the law, though there may be specific hurdles when it comes to establishing parentage for single individuals and those not biologically related to their child(ren).
Surrogacy and any restrictions related to its practice are regulated at the state level in the United States. Many states allow surrogacy in the absence of laws that forbid its practice. Other states have important legal precedent or statutes specifically pertaining to surrogacy, while a few have strict restrictions and may even ban commercial surrogacy outright. Everywhere surrogacy is practiced, however, there are strict ethical, medical, and lifestyle guidelines that must be followed. Women who want to be come surrogates must go through rigorous medical, psychological, and lifestyle evaluations.
Many states are considered “surrogacy-friendly” because of the lack of cumbersome restrictions and legal protections for all parties. Intended Parents can generally choose which states they would like to explore surrogacy in, while surrogates are usually limited to their home state.
You cannot proceed with surrogacy without the guidance of an experienced assisted reproduction attorney. Your attorney should have direct experience dealing with surrogacy cases to properly guide you on how best to protect your rights and how to follow all local regulations. Visit our attorney directory if you’re looking for representation.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Financial Factors
Surrogacy is very expensive, especially if you do not have pre-existing embryos since you’ll need to cover the costs of IVF. If you’re a single parent, you might need egg or sperm donors unless you’re using a donated embryo. Egg donors are the most expensive of the two with costs ranging from $5,000 on the low end to over $15,000, while a vial of sperm can run around $1,000. If you can use your own eggs or opt to use a donor embryo, you can reduce or eliminate expensive egg acquisition costs. Traditional surrogacy can also be significantly less costly. You can save the most money simply by not using a surrogacy agency and doing independent surrogacy instead. We have a full rundown of key costs Intended Parents will pay. Surrogacy agency fees, an entirely optional part of surrogacy, can cost Intended Parents anywhere from $10,000-$100,000+.
No one decides to participate in a surrogacy arrangement lightly. There is generally a significant amount of self-reflection involved. A surrogacy journey can be extremely emotional for Intended Parents, especially those without a spouse or partner to lean on for support. In the absence of a co-parent, single moms and dads need to have a strong support system in place. This is especially true for when there are unforeseeable bumps in the road to achieving parenthood via surrogacy. Set backs in surrogacy happen frequently and include broken matches, administrative/legal delays, medical issues, negative pregnancy tests, fetal development abnormalities, and pregnancy complications. Any surrogate or agency that claims “guaranteed baby” is selling a service they cannot provide.
Because of the unpredictable nature of surrogacy, you will need friends/family in your corner during the process. Some single parents join support groups, others have close friends and family they can turn to. Even when things go well, surrogacy can be mentally taxing. Intended Parents should mentally prepare themselves for all contingencies.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Selecting a Sperm or Egg Donor
Single Intended Parents usually begin their surrogacy journeys by selecting an egg, sperm, or embryo donor. Your Reproductive Endocrinologist may have donated gametes or embryos in house. When choosing a donor from a database of available options, there are a wide variety of factors to consider. Although many Intended Parents have certain physical characteristics in mind, they must also consider education level, job history, religion, history with addiction, ethnic group, and talents/lifestyle.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Social Stigma
Single parents can face significant social stigma irrespective of using surrogacy or having children naturally. While there’s growing tolerance of alternative family structures, single women in particular still face scrutiny. Single parents who use surrogacy for family-building may receive unwanted criticism and judgement from strangers and family alike.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Establishing Legal Parentage
Single Intended Parents may face challenges when establishing parentage for their children born through surrogacy though this varies greatly by state/location. The parentage process is made more difficult when the Intended Parents does not share a genetic relationship to their child(ren), as is the case when using donor eggs and sperm or embryos. In states that limit pre-birth parentage orders based on marital status or genetic relationship to the child(ren), single parents may need to undergo an adoption process to establish their parental rights. An attorney can guide you on local laws and the process for establishing parentage for your specific situation.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Matching with a Surrogate
Finding the right surrogate match is a key aspect of any surrogacy journey. During the matching process, you will want to make sure you have similar views on pregnancy, preferred birth plan, thoughts on termination, and general health protocols. In addition to shared pregnancy expectations, you’ll need to make sure your surrogate is comfortable working with a single Intended Parent. While most are, some might feel a single Intended Parent may not have the proper support network for surrogacy and may change their mind about becoming a parent.
Here are some key questions Intended Parents should ask potential surrogates during the matching process.
Surrogacy for Single Parents: Preparing for the Challenges of Parenting
Being a parent is hard work. Couples have each other to share in the responsibilities of raising a child. It’s imperative that single parents have a support network of friends and families to help when needed. All expecting parents should read books, visit websites, and take parenting classes. Single parents often make excellent moms and dads, but they should always be mentally prepared for the day-to-day challenges of raising kids.