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What are the Different Types of Surrogacy

What are the Different Types of Surrogacy

The surrogacy process and journey is different and incredibly fulfilling experience, both for intended parents and gestational carriers and there are actually many different types of surrogacy, each of which has different nuances, requirements, and steps you will need to complete. In this article, you will get to learn more about each type of surrogacy options, to help you determine which are right for you.

The different types of surrogacy can be a bit overwhelming when you are first learning about this method of assisted reproduction, but they actually help to make sure that intended parents and surrogates choose the kind of surrogacy that’s perfect for them, as the type of surrogacy you choose can affect your surrogacy experience. One of the biggest factors to consider is the type of surrogacy you want to pursue and there are many forms your surrogacy can take depending on your preference and circumstance.

Remember that no two surrogacies are quite alike, so it’s important to be fully informed and aware of all the options that are available to you. It’s always best you confer with your surrogacy professional, the type of professional you choose will depend largely on the type of surrogacy you are pursuing.

Note:  Surrogacy agencies are the most popular choice of professional for intended parents, mainly because of the wide variety of services they offer.

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The Different Types of Surrogacy Arrangements

It is crucial to understand the different kinds of surrogacy arrangements to save money and have a hassle-free surrogacy experience. The different kinds of surrogacy highlight that surrogacy is not one-size-fits-all and choosing the surrogacy procedure that’s right for you is a big responsibility and a way to make your dreams of parenthood come true. The two main types of surrogacy to consider are traditional and gestational. Traditional surrogacy is also known as genetic surrogacy, partial surrogacy, and gestational surrogacy is also known as host or full surrogacy. Altruistic and independent surrogacy can fall under either type and have their own pros and cons to weigh.

Traditional Surrogacy is an arrangement where the surrogate mother is genetically linked with the baby, before it was the only way to complete a surrogacy throughout most of history. In this type of family building method, the surrogate mother agrees to carry a pregnancy for an intended parent in which the surrogate is genetically related to the baby.

A traditional surrogate is the baby’s biological mother, her egg is combined with the intended father’s or donor’s sperm. The surrogate mother carries the baby, delivers that baby, and then gives that baby to the parents to raise.

Note: There are two kinds of surrogates – traditional surrogate and gestational surrogate/ gestational carrier!

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, refers to the method of family building in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby. About 1400 babies are born yearly through gestational surrogacy and it is the most common type of surrogacy in the United States today. Gestational surrogacy allows many intended mothers to be related to their child.

Gestational surrogacy is more in demand as:

  • It helps eliminate a number of legal and emotional struggle which comes with a surrogate being genetically linked to the baby she is carrying
  • It allows intended parents to maintain a genetic link to their child
  • It is the least legally complicated form of surrogacy because the baby is not related to the gestational carrier
  • It allows infertile couples, single parents, and members of the LGBTQ community to complete their families

Gestational surrogacy is widely used and accepted among the intended parents as it enables both parents of a heterosexual couple to be biologically related to their child. It is the right choice in case the intended parents want to be more in control of the surrogacy pregnancy and when biological parents are cautious of the legalities and emotional aspect of surrogacy.

” The first gestational surrogacy was conducted in 1985. The surrogate carried the biological child of a woman who had a hysterectomy, but had retained her ovaries. “

How Gestational Surrogacy Works?

Embryos are created using the intended parent’s egg and sperm or that of a donor, embryos are created by a doctor in a lab and then are frozen for later use or transferred into the surrogate’s uterus, then the gestational surrogate becomes pregnant and is released to the care of her obstetrician-gynecologist for the rest of the pregnancy. The gestational surrogate gives birth and the baby is released to the intended parents. Gestational surrogacy is less uncertain than other surrogacy options because the surrogate is not a biological parent. Terminating her parental rights, if any, are commonly obtained pre-birth. With gestational surrogacy, it is just the uterus of the surrogate mother that is used for the growth and development of the baby, once the embryo is formed, it is transferred to the surrogate mother, who ends up raising the baby for a full-term pregnancy.

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There are a number of scenarios where someone might opt for gestational surrogacy-If the couple is a same-sex couple or a single man/woman wanting to be a parent if multiple fertility treatments have failed to conceive a child successfully if a woman’s uterus is not optimal for the baby’s development due to certain conditions and if a woman has opted for removal of her uterus and cannot biologically hold a baby.

Gestational Surrogacy cost- is generally more expensive, this is primarily due to differences in the medical process as IUI is less expensive than IVF and tends to involve fewer medical procedures and fertility treatments.

Traditional Surrogacy can be a good option if:

  • You are looking for a usually less expensive treatment plan than gestational surrogacy
  • You cannot find an egg donor you like or don’t want an anonymous donor
  • Intended mothers don’t feel the need to undergo medical procedures because their eggs will not be harvested to create the embryo.

Note: Traditional surrogacy is banned in many states and there are many challenges with this type of surrogacy arrangement, it is up to every intended parent to weigh the risks of traditional surrogacy before deciding to pursue this option.

Most intended parents today choose gestational surrogacy, using donor eggs if necessary, to simplify the process and ensure they have sole parental rights before the baby is born. Intended parents can include all kinds of couples and single people, there is no typical intended parent and, in many cases, they are people who have tried for years to have a biological child. Traditional surrogacy as a trend is slowly losing steam as medical procedures, and legal rulings, advance.

On the basis of finance: Compensated vs. Altruistic

There are two main avenues that can be financially pursued with surrogacy, also depending on what laws govern your home country, only compensated or altruistic surrogacy may be allowed.

When a woman agrees to be a surrogate without being compensated, this is known as altruistic surrogacy. In countries like Canada and Australia, this is the only type of surrogacy that is legal, commercial surrogacy is illegal in all states in Australia, and surrogacy in Canada is legal but restricted in nature. This type of surrogacy refers to those surrogacy agreements where the surrogate does not receive monetary compensation for her services beyond reimbursement for medical costs and other reasonable pregnancy-related expenses. Many of these arrangements are between family members or close friends and are completed as independent surrogacies.

The alternative to altruistic surrogacy is commercial surrogacy, in which the surrogate is reasonably paid for her time and energy, the sacrifices she makes, and the many physical and emotional difficulties she faces during the surrogacy process. For intended parents and surrogates who don’t know each other prior to the matching process, a compensated surrogacy protects both parties’ interests and rights in the surrogacy method. Keep in mind that there is no single commercial surrogacy definition, as each commercial surrogacy is designed around the needs and preferences of the intended parents and surrogate involved. It exists in contrast to the altruistic method of surrogacy, where a woman is not additionally compensated.

When a surrogate is given base payment for carrying the child, this is known as compensated surrogacy, it is generally the preferred method in countries that allow such a thing. The surrogacy process is generally the same for altruistic/uncompensated surrogacy as it is for commercial/ compensated surrogacy.

Surrogacy Laws

There is no global law that regulates surrogacy worldwide, surrogacy laws are determined by each state, and certain states do not allow surrogacy at all. Talking about gestational surrogacy laws, it is often less complex than for other forms of surrogacy. It is important for the intended parents and potential surrogate to work with their own attorney to draft and negotiate a realistic and solid surrogacy contract, a surrogacy contract will outline two legal issues:

  • Finances: The parties’ attorneys will negotiate the surrogate’s base compensation as well as additional payments for items such as maternity clothes. The contract should also determine added compensation in the case of any complications or other possible circumstances, like carrying multiples or going on bed rest.
  • Social Requirements: The contract will also outline the surrogate’s basic responsibilities throughout the pregnancy — abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, for example. Most contracts also include certain social agreements between the intended parents and the surrogate, such as who will be present at key prenatal appointments and at birth.

The legal contract is critical for both intended parents and surrogates, as a successful surrogacy relies on a strong legal foundation. Some states have enacted laws rendering surrogacy contracts unenforceable in whole or in part. Engaging an attorney experienced in assisted reproduction technology and having a properly drafted surrogacy agreement, are essential in several ways. Keep in mind that surrogacy is permitted only in those countries where there is a law that explicitly allows this fertility treatment and it is essential to review the laws of each country, even if it is your home country, before getting started to make sure that you meet all the requirements, and it is done within the legal framework.

Deciding Which Type of Surrogacy Is Right for You It?

Remember that your surrogacy will be tailored to you and your situation and you will need to decide what’s best for you and your family as you move forward. Take into account that no matter what kind of surrogacy you choose, laws are complicated and different forms of surrogacy have unique advantages, disadvantages, and implications for intended parents to consider. Broadly speaking, we can say that anyone entering into a surrogacy agreement should unquestionably rely on well-versed professionals in order to recommend to you those clinics that best fit your needs and surrogacy type.

International Surrogacy

Your fertility clinic will help you guide through legal, health, and supportive matters that the surrogacy process entails, and if you are thinking about international surrogacy, your surrogacy agency will help you understand the process and legalities involved with the international surrogacy process and what to expect before signing any kind of surrogacy contract.

In many countries’ surrogacy is a controversial practice and especially in countries where it is not well regulated, it’s important that you only select countries where surrogacy is legal and safe. Also keep in mind that certain surrogacy restrictions may actually make surrogacy safer than in unrestricted countries, so it’s up to you and your surrogacy professional to determine which choice is best for your individual situation.

What to consider before you start the international surrogacy process

Expect extensive preparation and planning in the form of legal contracts, decisions, and meetings, make sure that you are honest and open about your priorities and personal surrogacy goals, figure out to keep the lines of communication open by trusting your team involved and by understanding what is expected of you throughout the process.

In countries like the USA, surrogacy is mostly legally allowed in many states, but due to high surrogacy costs, many couples are contrived to opt for international surrogacy. International surrogacy can be a good option for those who reside in a nation that restricts or outlaw’s surrogacy and if surrogacy price in a cross-border surrogacy program is much less as compared to their country.

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