For many people who wish to become parents, gestational surrogacy may be one of the best options for starting a family. In order to decide if the process is right for you, it’s important to consider all the ways surrogacy will affect you. First, make sure you know the basics.
Surrogacy Legal Issues
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm, carries the pregnancy to term, and is biologically related to the child. Because of this, traditional surrogacy poses more legal complications and most states don’t enforce traditional surrogacy agreements.
In gestational surrogacy, the egg is removed from the intended mother or donor, fertilized by the father’s sperm, and implanted in the uterus of the surrogate. Gestational surrogacy is more popular than its traditional counterpart because the intended parents (or donor), not the surrogate, are biologically related to the child.
There is no federal law on surrogacy; state laws vary and reproductive law is evolving. In most states, including New Jersey, surrogate laws are only enforceable for gestational surrogacy agreements. Read about New Jersey’s gestational surrogacy laws.
You will need a reproductive attorney to craft a formal agreement to guarantee your parental rights and detail how the gestational surrogacy will be handled. Make sure you and your surrogate agree on medical care, presence in the birth room, and coping with higher-risk pregnancies such as twins or triplets.
Surrogacy Medical Issues
According to a 2016 study from the CDC, 2% of all assisted reproductive technology cycles used a gestational carrier. Between 1999 and 2013, 18,400 births were due to gestational surrogacy. Of that number, 54% were multiples: twins, triplets, or more.
Gestational surrogates have higher odds of multiple and pre-term births. These pregnancies carry with them medical issues for both the surrogate and the child. Your surrogacy agreement must specify how potential complications will be handled. It’s also important to consider how long-term health problems would affect the child, and also your ability – both financial and emotional — to care for him.
Surrogacy Financial Issues
Surrogacy can be costly, generally costing upwards of $100,000. In addition to the costs of searching for and hiring a gestational carrier, you will also encounter medical costs, legal fees, and possibly the costs of seeing a mental health professional as needed. Make sure you take a sober look at your long-term financial goals. Do you have enough cash, or will you be incurring debt to fund the process? Can a payment plan be arranged? How will surrogacy affect retirement planning or saving money for your child’s college tuition?
Surrogacy Emotional Issues
If you don’t know anyone who started a family through surrogacy, you may feel isolated. For emotional support, speak with a fertility counselor and/or a therapist who specializes in fertility issues. Joining a surrogacy support group can also help you navigate the surrogacy process.
Considering surrogacy and want to understand your legal rights and fulfill your legal requirements for representation? Come in a for a free consultation. Our highly qualified family law attorneys can provide you with the legal guidance you need to create a strong agreement, whether you are the intended parents or gestational carrier.
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