Getting pregnant is much harder than you expected it to be, and you’ve been through a lot of anxiety and heartbreak. Stay strong, I’ve been in your shoes and there’s still hope for starting or expanding your family! If you’re seriously considering gestational surrogacy, here’s a checklist to help you get started.
1. Confirm That Gestational Surrogacy Is Right for You.
Before you put a check mark next to this statement, think about it carefully. Have you done thorough research into the surrogacy process and all of the steps and people involved? Is your partner or spouse on board with the decision to find a surrogate? In your heart, do you believe that this is the right move for your family? If so, then you can check off #1.
2. Find a Lawyer.
This is the step that too many intended parents overlook, until something goes wrong. Find a lawyer in Maryland with experience in assisted reproduction and the laws that relate to it. You’ll need a good reproductive attorney as part of your support team for reviewing clinic forms, drafting the surrogacy agreement or preparing a birth order.
3. Get In Touch with a Surrogacy Agency and Fertility Clinic.
Now it’s time to take the next step and contact a local surrogacy agency or IVF clinic. You can search online to find out which clinics or agencies operate in your area. You may also find some helpful ratings and reviews from intended parents who have used those agencies and facilities in the past. Of course, you’re eager to get started, but make sure that you contact and consider more than one agency rather than simply going with the first search result that you see.
4. Make a Financial Plan.
At this point, you may need to pause and evaluate the state of your finances. Your surrogacy lawyer or fertility clinic may be able to help you identify some ways to fund the surrogacy arrangement, or you may need to consult with a financial advisor about your options for covering the costs.
5. Tell Your Story.
Once you have funding in place and you’re ready to move forward, your agency may ask you to write a letter or create a profile of yourself and your partner. Tell your story, explain your situation and your desire for a child, and include any expectations you have for a surrogate and for your surrogacy journey. This profile information helps the agency match you with a surrogate.
6. Keep Learning.
You have probably done a lot of research and listened to a lot of facts at this point, but don’t get burned out. Keep researching and learning more about gestational surrogacy. That knowledge will help you feel more confident and secure as you move ahead.
7. Meet the Surrogate.
Not everyone wants to meet the surrogate who will carry their child, but it’s a good idea to have a face-to-face meeting to help determine if you all are compatible. Discuss any expectations and concerns you have. Whether you are working with an agency or locating a surrogate independently, make sure that you include an in-person meeting as part of the process.
8. Draft a Surrogacy Agreement.
With the help of a lawyer who practices reproductive law, design a surrogacy agreement that covers every part of the surrogacy journey, from surrogate tests and IVF to pregnancy and birth. Having a written agreement not only protects your rights but also protects the gestational surrogate. It is important that the agreement is detailed and spells out the rights, obligations and expectations of each party. Some issues to consider include the purpose of the surrogacy arrangement, where the child will be born, dietary concerns, selective reduction, expectations after the birth of the child, fees and expenses, who is responsible for paying fees and expenses, life insurance, health insurance, and court procedures for placing the intended parents’ names on the birth certificate. Your attorney will be able to help you structure a fair and reasonable agreement that protects your rights.
Now you have the financial plan, the lawyer, the agency, and the surrogate all lined up. Remember to keep your reproductive lawyer informed of key developments in the process and obtain his or her expert advice for any additional agreements and paperwork. With successful IVF treatments, your baby should be on the way soon!
About Attorney Nicole K. White
As a mother by gestational surrogacy and as a surrogacy lawyer, my goal is to help you experience the joy and fulfillment of starting or growing a family of your own through third party reproduction. Because I am a mother by gestational surrogacy, I know firsthand what you will need – answers to your questions, support and guidance – and what you will go through when starting your family. My experience as a surrogacy lawyer helps me guide you through the financial, emotional and legal aspects of surrogacy. I can say with confidence that few (if any) attorneys deliver the unique insight I can bring to your surrogacy journey.