Starting Your Surrogacy Journey in Los Angeles

Before taking the first steps of your journey of finding a surrogate in Los Angeles, let’s have a closer look at what surrogacy is, the costs and the law.

Surrogacy Definition

Although the most traditional way in which to have a child is though “natural” conception, not all couples are lucky enough to be able to have a child in this manner. While infertility treatment has come a very long way, a viable option in many cases is surrogacy. Surrogacy is a way for a woman to have a child without actually carrying it in their own womb. Surrogate pregnancies are becoming very commonplace and can be the miracle solution for people who have longed to be parents.

Some History of Surrogacy

Surrogacy is not a new concept. Historically speaking, it goes all the way back to famous books such as the Bible where Abraham’s wife Sara was unable to become pregnant. Since she was barren, her handmaid carried a child for them that was to be raised by both Abraham and Sara as the parents. Although surrogacy was recorded in books, the first legally recorded surrogacy was in Michigan back in 1976. This first case paved the way for other families to use surrogacy as an option and resulted in the opening of the first surrogacy agency in Los Angeles.

Types of Surrogacy

There are two basic kinds of surrogate pregnancies. The first is traditional surrogacy and the second is gestational surrogacy. A traditional surrogate pregnancy occurs when a woman donates her own egg and the “father’s” sperm is the fertilizing factor in this case. Traditional surrogates are related to the child biologically because it is their egg that is used and not the intended mother’s. If the intended father’s sperm is used then the child is biologically his. In some cases however, a sperm donor is necessary and neither intended parent is biologically related to the child.

Gestational surrogate pregnancies are very different. When this type of surrogacy is opted for it is generally because the woman is unable to carry a baby herself but her eggs are viable. In most cases the mother’s egg is matched with the father’s sperm, but it may happen that the fathers has seminal issues and a sperm donor is used in his place. A gestational surrogate allows the intended mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm into her uterus and carries the baby to term for them. The surrogate is in no way biologically related to the child. This is the preferred way to do surrogacy since most parents wish to be biologically related to their child. However, both ways are common as every couple has specific needs and issues to deal with when it comes to conception.

Many people wonder why a woman would offer the use of her body for another person’s child. It is a valid curiosity since many people could not imagine carrying a child and then giving it up after birth; even if it is not their biological baby. There are two basic arrangements for surrogate pregnancies; altruistic and commercial. Which arrangement the intended parents go with is their choice totally.

Some people prefer an altruistic surrogate arrangement. Altruism is the act of doing a kindness with no hope, need or want of gain, financial or otherwise. Altruistic surrogates offer their services out of the kindness of their heart. Some simply enjoy being pregnant and others not only enjoy it, but love helping people live their dream of raising a family. In cases like this, the intended parents will typically seek out a friend or family member to become their surrogate. However, when someone they know cannot be found for surrogacy purposes there are other ways to find an altruistic surrogate. There are people who place ads for surrogacy or go through special agencies. Keep in mind that no matter how a surrogacy situation is decided upon, it is always best to involve an attorney to ensure that things go properly for everyone involved. This is true even if the surrogate is a family member or friend. Remember the old saying; it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it involves something as important as another life.

On the other side of things is the commercial surrogate. Commercial surrogates are compensated for their time and effort, even if they are still doing it because they want to give people the gift of having a child. These types of surrogate mothers are paid for carrying the child. All expenses related to the pregnancy are covered, as is medical care, travel cost, etc. Other perks may be included (maternity clothing, etc.) if all parties agree on it before hand. Before making any concrete arrangements, the intended parents should study their insurance policy to see if they can have the surrogate mother covered on their plan, keeping in mind that all of medical expenses related to the pregnancy must be taken care of for her. These medical necessities may include illnesses not pregnancy related simply because it could end up affecting the baby somehow or another. In general, commercial surrogates and intended parents do not know each other before the search for a surrogate mother has begun. This makes it less personal and is sometimes what people prefer.

Before making the choice of which type of surrogate to use, consider the feelings of all people involved. While many friends and family members are happy to do this wonderful thing for someone they love and care about, everyone must think about the possible feelings of the intended parents and the surrogate. For instance, if a sister carries a child for her brother and his wife, she must be prepared for how she may feel giving up the child she carried for them knowing that she will be part of its life forever. This may be very difficult for some people so it must be deeply considered before hand.

Who are Surrogates?

Surrogate mothers come from all walks of life and ages, although they are typically between the age of twenty one and forty. The majority of them have graduated from high school at the very least and have already had their own children. It is rarer for a woman to choose to offer her body for surrogacy if she has never before had a child. In addition, the majority of surrogate mothers are married and work full time jobs. As stated above, some women do this tremendous act to earn money while others do it for nothing but the gratification that the act of giving life brings them.

How Much Does Surrogacy Cost?

If you are using an altruistic surrogate you may not have to worry about cost. While this type of surrogate does not require payment, the intended parents can choose to pay for certain things. However, if a commercial surrogate is being used then costs must be calculated. The costs will vary in different situations. However, according to the statistics on the national averages for surrogate costs, the typical compensation is between twenty and twenty-seven thousand dollars. Keep in mind that if an egg or sperm is also needed to make surrogacy possible than the cost can rise up by the thousands.

Another cost to surrogacy is the in vitro implantation if the biological mother’s egg is being used along with the biological father’s sperm. If the surrogate is using her own egg there is still the process of fertilization with the biological father’s sperm. This is separate from the commercial surrogate cost. The average cost for these types of procedures ranges between fifteen and thirty thousand dollars. Also consider the fact that not every implantation will end in pregnancy. This means these costs may have to be incurred more than once before conception actually occurs. In the end, the entire process may cost as much as one hundred and twenty thousand dollars. For those who deeply desire a child every penny is worth the cost.

In addition, many people go into counseling before entering into a surrogate commitment at the advice of their medical professionals or by their own accord. The entire process, while a hopeful and happy time, can be very stressful, overwhelming and emotionally trying. Having a solid support system in place is vital to making the experience a good one with a happy ending for all who are involved.

The Surrogacy Process

Becoming involved in a surrogacy situation is not as simple as just picking out a carrier and moving ahead right away. This is a process that takes both time and careful planning. To start with, the parents must go through a consultation with professionals who deal with surrogacy. This consultation will typically include a mental health screening. There will also be an initial consultation with the intended parent’s attorney as well. (The legal aspects of surrogacy will be discussed in the next section in more detail.) During this beginning process the intended parents choose the surrogacy program they would like to go with. After a program is chosen then a carrier is decided upon next.

Each surrogate candidate must go through physical and mental examination. There is a basic physical in addition to testing for sexually transmitted diseases and psychological testing. Each candidate must be in good health, disease free and deemed mentally stable before being allowed to become a surrogate. Once both the intended parents and the surrogate have passed through the consultations and tests then the real process can begin. Both the surrogate and the intended parents have a profile created on them. This way each both sides have a better understanding and knowledge of one another. Both the intended parents and the surrogate must feel good about the people they will be involving in their lives. This is of the utmost importance. Both parties can look over profiles until they find possible matches. All involved are then brought together for a meeting. If all goes well a contract is drawn up and the process of impregnation can begin. This is quite a journey!

Surrogacy and the Law

Anytime you enter into a contract there are legal considerations. This is especially true when it comes to things like adoption, surrogacy and anything else to do with children. Each state views surrogacy differently. This means that each person must study the surrogacy laws in their own respective states. Surrogacy can present some very complex legal issues so it is not something to be entered into lightly.

Although many things can go wrong (or right!) legally speaking, there are two aspects of the law that are ever present; finalizing parental rights and confirming the contractual agreement. If these two things are not gone over in an in depth manner it can come back to bite you later. For those who are considering surrogacy, they are likely aware of at least one horror story connected to the process. For instance, there has been a case where the surrogate mother took back the child when it was 6 months old. The egg that created the child was hers biologically speaking and she took the baby back under the claim that the woman she carried the child for was mentally unstable. Because the state they lived in the law was severely skewed and the courts had to set a precedent. This is just one example of what can go wrong when dealing with surrogacy. The good news is that in most cases, any sort of legal problems can be avoided simply by doing the homework correctly and ensuring that no stone is left unturned.

When it comes to the surrogacy contract, it must first be drafted, than reviewed by all parties involved. Finally, once everything is agreed upon signing can occur and thus begins the relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate mother. Keep in mind that there are a few basic things that make for a good, solid surrogacy contract. First of all, it will have a detailed outline of the responsibilities and rights for all parties involved. It will outline the type of compensation and how much. It will contain the results of all parties’ physical and mental examinations. It will contain information on medical insurance and plans for parental rights. Finally, a solid surrogacy contract will have in it what is known as a selective reduction clause or policy. Many times when fertilization procedures are done it ends in multiple pregnancies. Sometimes carrying multiple fetuses is not an option for the surrogate mother for whatever reason and one or more of the fetuses must be aborted to ensure the safety of the others as well as the surrogate mother. This is something that must be discussed, understood and agreed upon by all parties.

As stated above, each state has its own policies and laws dealing with surrogacy. Some states allow contractual agreements, some only allow contractual agreements if the surrogate is an unpaid party, while others do not view surrogacy contracts enforceable by law. There are all sorts of rules and regulations and this is why it is vital to know your states laws before proceeding. Aside from the overall contract, all parties must understand and agree to the terms when dealing with parental rights. In some states an order of pre-birth must be signed first so that the parents who will be raising the child are able to be listed as the natural parents on the child’s birth certificate. Again, this will all depend on the state laws where the surrogacy will be taking place. Overall, this can be an extremely complex process. Covering all bases before beginning a pregnancy with a surrogate is important. If there are any loopholes make sure they are sewn up tight to avoid problems both before and after the baby or babies are born.

The Gift of Life

Becoming a surrogate parent is something that should not be entered into lightly. It is a great responsibility and can change one’s life. However, it is also the greatest gift one person can give another. The majority of surrogacy relationships go very well and have happy endings, but the entire process is still one that is full of controversy and legal issues. Do not enter into anything blindly and be prepared to take on the stresses of being pregnant. However, in the end, know that being a surrogate is a wonderful thing and can change everything for the better.

How to Become a Surrogate

Surrogacy is a beautiful and life-change experience, and surrogate mothers are truly blessed for shouldering the weight of pregnancy so that others can be parents. Many surrogate mothers say that the true birth of a child is when it is created in the hearts of loving parents. So how to become a surrogate mother ?

Commonly seen motivations for enrolling as a surrogate mother

Here is a look at some of the motivations for becoming a surrogate mother.

The joy of pregnancy and experiencing the miracle of birth
A history of easy and uncomplicated pregnancies
Empathy toward couples struggling with pregnancy/fertility
An opportunity to be part of something special
An understanding of the importance of children in parents’ lives
Financial help for their family


Requirements for enrolling in surrogacy programs

Different clinics and surrogacy agencies have their own requirements, terms, and conditions for enrolling as a surrogate mother.

The law regarding surrogacy can also be different for each country or state. However, there are a few basic requirements that can be found in almost all clinics and agencies. Here are some of them:

Between 21 to 42 years of age
The specific age limits may vary, but surrogate mothers should generally be between their mid to late 20s or early 40s. A mother in her early 20s or below 20 years of age may not fully understand the scope of the procedure and the effect it can have on her, the parents, and the child. On the other hand, a woman in her mid to late 40s is generally not allowed to be a surrogate mother because the medical risks are too high.

The woman must already have a child of her own
Most clinics and agencies have a principle that only those who have gone through pregnancy successfully and experienced birth can truly understand the magnitude of surrogacy. Therefore, they only accept women as surrogate mothers if they have already had a successful pregnancy at least once. Some clinics go further and require the surrogate mothers to be actively raising at least one child.

Financial security
Emotional factors aside, money can be a major motivation for many surrogate mothers. This is especially true in developing countries like India, but it happens all too often in the U.S. as well. Many clinics in the U.S. do not allow women on welfare or any state assistance to enroll as a surrogate mother. If money is your sole or primary motivation to become a surrogate mother, you may have to reassess what it means to be a surrogate.

Matching parents and the surrogate mother

Once you are part of a surrogacy agency or clinic, you will have to wait until you are matched with a prospective couple or parent. Once a match is found, you will receive information about the parents and they will receive information about you. This is done to make sure that both parties get to know and are comfortable with each other.

As a surrogate mother, you may have to meet with the intended parents at the clinic or agency and discuss the process and expectations with them. This very crucial step determines how smoothly the surrogacy will go.

Medical preparations

If the surrogate mother and intended parents are comfortable with each other, a contract for surrogacy will be drawn. Once signed and agreed upon, the surrogate mother will meet with the IVF doctor.

As a surrogate mother, you will have to undergo certain medical tests to assess your condition. The tests taken differ from clinic to clinic, but most clinics conduct the following:

General physical exam
Pap smear test
Vaginal ultrasound, where an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to check for scar tissue, lining thickness, and polyps
Hysteroscopy, where a small camera is inserted into the uterus through the vagina to check the uterine cavity

Gestational or Traditional Surrogacy

There are two types of surrogacy, and you may be selected for either one. As a traditional surrogate, you will be the egg donor and have a genetic link to the baby. The sperm may be from the intended father or a donor. As a gestational surrogate, you will only be a surrogate and the egg and sperm will be from donors or the intended parents. This is the preferred option, since traditional surrogacy can affect the mother emotionally and also cause legal issues.

Conclusion

Surrogacy, while beautiful, can be a confusing and trying process for the surrogate mother and her family. You need the full support of your family, and your children should clearly understand why and what you are doing. Most importantly, you can make sure you do not get emotionally affected in the process of making another couple’s dreams come true. Hope the above article throws some light on how to become a surrogate mother? Being a surrogate mother is a lot to ask from any woman; do not rush the decision.

The Cost of Surrogacy

Thousands of couples, single parents, and LGBT couples fulfill their dreams of parenthood through surrogacy every year. Surrogacy has become more acceptable in the last few years, but the cost of this procedure is still a big obstacle for many hopeful people burdened with infertility.

If you are considering using a surrogate mother, you have to weigh the cost of treatment carefully in different countries before making a decision.

Here is a breakdown of the surrogacy costs (including surrogate mother cost or pay) in four popular countries.

United States of America

The United States offers the best treatment quality and services for surrogacy, but the costs can be very restrictive. For years, surrogacy in the country has been priced way beyond what the middle class can afford. The fees can vary with based on:

  • The clinic you choose,
  • State where you get the procedure done,
  • And, whether the surrogate mother is working through an agency or not.
    However, in general, the process can go over $100,000 with all related costs.

The surrogate’s fee itself can go up to $20,000, and this is just the first part of your investment. The legal and agency costs, if any, will go up to $30,000. The surrogate’s health insurance company may cover some of the medical costs, but insurance coverage on surrogacy is still not clear at this stage. It is common for insurance company to deny or exclude coverage for surrogacy completely.

Apart from surrogate and legal fees, the $100,000 also includes medical costs for the entire pregnancy process. This includes prenatal visits, delivery costs, test charges, and so on. These can go over $10,000 in most cases. If the clinic performs IVF or some other artificial insemination procedure, there is an additional cost of $4,000-$10,000.

Ukraine

The cost of surrogacy in Ukraine is far less than the average cost of programs in the United States, although most clinics only accept married couples.

Once again, the circumstances of the couple and the surrogate mother determine how costly it can be. On average, the total cost of surrogacy can be anywhere from $35,000 to $40,000 if the couple is from the U.S. or U.K. Couples from Europe may have to pay slightly more because of the additional legal assistance required.

India

India is a very popular country for surrogacy. The surrogacy industry in India is valued over $440 million per year, and it is growing at a rapid pace. The cost of surrogacy in the country can start at $12,000, but the price can differ widely with location and clinic. Each clinic has its own fee structure, and payment packages change frequently.

If you plan to visit India for surrogacy, make sure you contact clinics from different regions in the country and compare costs, services, and quality of treatment.

Here is a quick breakup of costs:

In vitro fertilization, including surrogate recruitment and preparation- $7,000
Costs during the pregnancy period, including caretaking, housing, life insurance, and surrogate compensation- $11,500
Medical costs, including antenatal care, antenatal hospital fees, and medicines- $2,000
Delivery and legal costs- $2,500
The total cost of surrogacy can range between $20,000 and $25,000, but remember that the quality of services you get determines the costs. The better the clinic and the surrogacy service, the higher the cost. However, it is rare to see surrogacy cost over $30,000 in India.

Thailand

Surrogacy in Thailand costs the same as that in India, if not more, and many clinics in the country follow high Western medical standards. Each surrogacy cycle requires you to sign a legal contract. You can visit the clinic and meet the surrogate in Bangkok to minimize expenses and begin the process faster.

Once the contract is signed, you are required to make the first payment. The payment schedule varies with each clinic, but some may ask you to pay the fees for egg donor and/or surrogate directly to their personal account at the appropriate stage. If you pay to the clinic or surrogate agency, you may have to pay a little higher to account for tax.

Pregnancy is confirmed after the surrogate’s first scan and the doctor’s confirmation of a gestational sac in the womb. After this, equal monthly payments are due through the pregnancy period. This is different from most Indian surrogacy clinics, where pregnancy is confirmed after a blood test and the adopting parents have to start making monthly payments after that. Here is a breakdown of surrogacy costs in Thailand:

First payment for surrogacy- $21,000 to $38,000 (Surrogate Mother Cost)
In vitro fertilization/ICSI cost- $4,800 to $5,800
Delivery- $3,000
Egg donor- $200 to $600
PGD- $3,000 to $4,000
Microarray- $3,800 to $6,500
Conclusion

With such a huge range of cost and other factors to consider, it is crucial that you do enough research before deciding the country and clinic for your surrogacy. Most importantly, you have to learn the legalities of the country so you know what to expect.

How much does IVF cost?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was a rare and risky during the 1980s and early 1990s, but today it is a well-regulated procedure that is commonly done around the world. Since its introduction in 1981 in the United States, IVF and its related procedures have given thousands of couples and single parents a chance at parenthood.

Even though IVF is a common and much safer procedure today, many prospective parents are unable to bear the cost. The restrictive cost of IVF in the United States has given rise to a booming fertility tourism industry in several countries. Have a look at the four different countries around the world, starting with the U.S. to know how much does ivf cost?

The U.S. is known for its high-quality medical services as well as the high costs for these services. On average, the cost of a basic IVF cycle can range from $12,000 to $15,000. Some clinics offer IVF for as low as $10,000, but the cost seldom goes below that.

These prices include the cost of fertility drugs, patient monitoring and ultrasound costs, blood work, and more. Clinics that offer less than $10,000 tend to exclude the prices of these services and medications. The cost of an IVF cycle can go beyond $15,000 if you add other In Vitro Fertilization procedures like Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). This procedure itself can add up to $1,500 to your total IVF cycle cost. It involves the injection of a single sperm cell directly into the egg for fertilization.

Similarly, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) adds another $3,000 to the total cost of the procedure. PGD involves the genetic testing of embryos for any conditions before they are implanted into the uterus. Freezing the embryos that were not used for one cycle can cost a few hundred dollars or more, depending on how long you plan to keep them.

The cost for an IVF cycle can go even higher if the sperm and/or egg being used are not from the intended parents. With an egg donor, you may have to spend up to $30,000 for just one cycle. A sperm donor, while less expensive, still adds as much as $3,000 to the procedure cost.

Embryo donation and Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) can save you a few hundred or thousand dollars, but couples undergo at least two to three cycles before they have a successful pregnancy. This means that you might have to spend as much as $35,000 to $50,000 or more for In Vitro Fertilization to get successful results.

Ukraine is a popular destination for IVF, thanks to its high quality clinics and an average IVF success rate of 65 percent, which is better than many Western countries, including the United Kingdom. IVF procedures done abroad do not require you to stay at the location for the entire cycle. However, you do need to spend around 5-7 days in the country for it. This means you have to account for flight costs to and from Ukraine and accommodation charges. The cost of the procedure and medical checks vary from clinic to clinic, but here is a breakdown of the costs you can expect:

First IVF Cycle- $1,700 to $2,000
IVF with ICSI- $2,700 to $3,000
ICSI (up to 10 oocytes)- $1,000
ICSI (more than 10 oocytes)- $1,200
IMSI- $500
Egg donor- $4,000

India has a booming fertility tourism industry, generating over half a billion dollars every year in revenue. However, the industry is highly disorganized, which means that the cost of IVF in Indian clinics can range widely. Some clinics offer In Vitro Fertilization for as low as $2,000 to $2,500, but it is rare to find clinics that offer below this range. In general, the cost of IVF in the country is approx. $4,000, but make sure you compare prices with more than a few clinics in India before you make a choice.

Of course, additional procedures like ICSI bring up the cost of an IVF cycle. ICSI can cost anywhere between $700 and $1,000. This means that an IVF cycle with extra procedures can cost up to $5,000. This is almost the same as the cost of an IVF cycle in Ukraine, if not lower.

Low-cost IVF cycles in Thailand can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $5,500, which is higher than the average cost in India. This is mainly because of high quality fertility clinics and Western medical treatment standards. The price can go higher depending on your medical history and the additional procedures. At most, you may have to pay up to $6,000, but even then, it is significantly lower than the $12,000-$20,000 you have to pay in the United States.

An In Vitro Fertilization cycle can be a very stressful and worrying time for the parents, especially the expectant mother. You have to be as patient and calm as possible before and during the treatment. To ensure this, choose your IVF clinic careful after assessing its costs, medical safety, and legal issues. Now you know how much does ivf cost? so to your doctor and lawyer, if required, before making your final decision.