Gestational surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman (the gestational surrogate, or carrier) undergoes an embryo transfer and carries the pregnancy to term for another who is unable to do so for herself. The eggs and sperm come from either the intended parents or from a donor.
In our program we have someone actually go visit the home of the surrogate and see how the children are being kept and how the living environment is, all those things matter in maintaining compliance and good medical care. We also supplement our surrogates with fresh fruits and (…) other nutritional additives that an intended parent may desire.
The way surrogacy works is two fold, one is we have to create the embryos from the egg and sperm provider and then prepare the surrogate using hormones so that we can transfer an embryo to her uterus. Thereafter she is first seen by the fertility doctor and later on her obstetrician who cares for her until the time of delivery.
Surrogates are typically found through a surrogacy agency and they provide the surrogates and help coordinate all he steps involved in surrogacy from embryo transfer to obstetric care to delivery, they help also coordinate the insurance and the legal aspects as well. So that’s one way patients can find the surrogate we also work very closely with an in house surrogacy that we develop, where all the surrogates are screened by my self and other professionals such as high risk obstetricians and psychologist so that our surrogates are ready to go and can be used right away for couples who are seeking surrogacy pregnancy.
California is one of the most progressive and best places for surrogates, that’s why people from all over the world come to California to use surrogates. Our laws are very proactive and protective of both the intended parents and the surrogate. In fact a legal agreement is entered into before the embryo transfer and then when the surrogate is pregnant early in the pregnancy court papers are filed identifying the intended parents as the true parents.
So the legal framework is really well established in California and really does protect the intended parents as the sole guardian of the baby born from the surrogate.
One of the down sides of surrogacy is the cost, it is very expensive. For domestic surrogacy it’s not unusual for a final cost of seventy five to one hundred thousand dollars. Surrogates are compensated for carrying the baby about thirty thousand dollars, their health insurance is covered, if they don’t have health insurance it could be as much as twenty-five thousand dollars for health insurance. There is legal fees and then of course agency fees. So all together it really does add up for domestic surrogacy.
Because of the high domestic cost of American surrogacy other countries have begun surrogacy programs. In fact India and Thailand are among the most popular destinations for international surrogacy. I have had some experience with patients who have gone to those countries and unfortunately have not seen very good results. There is questions about the quality and the standard of care about how the surrogates are treated, (…) how they are treated during the surrogacy, what nutrition they get, what care they are provided and more recently there has been changes in the laws of those countries that preclude foreigners from utilizing surrogates. Those laws can change quickly, so for couples contemplating international surrogates they really have to do their research and be sure that it’s a safe place to have a baby and that the rules and conditions of surrogacy are stable.
One of the most important things with international patients is really a culturally sensitive language focused communication with International clients because this is their baby developing in the womb of another woman in another country so seeking the right medical doctor, the right team, unified team for communication and providing a seamless process through in-vitro fertilization all the way to surrogacy is critical for success for international patients.
We have a great deal of experience with gestational surrogacy and the variety of complex psychological and legal issues involved. We are sensitive to the various needs of all parties and are happy to offer our guidance and support.
If you are interested in gestational surrogacy, please contact us for an initial exam or phone consultation with John K. Jain, M.D. We would be happy to help you in any way we can to achieve your goals of a healthy, happy baby.