Dispelling Common Myths About Surrogacy
Are You Considering Surrogacy?
If you and your partner are considering surrogacy, you probably have a lot of questions. Surrogacy is a wonderful thing that has helped countless couples grow their families. However, a simple google search turns up an overwhelming amount of information. Furthermore, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about surrogacy, and understanding what is fact and what is fiction can be a hard task.
The decision to work with a surrogate to grow your family is significant, both in a practical and an emotional sense. It is not uncommon for parents and surrogates to feel anxious about the process. Three of the most common questions about surrogacy usually revolve around legal claims to the child, how surrogacy compares to adoption, and the cost of surrogacy.
Below we review three of the most pervasive myths about surrogacy. Keep reading to learn more.
Myth #1: The Surrogate Can Decide to Keep the Baby
No, the surrogate cannot change their mind and decide to keep the baby. This is perhaps one of the most pervasive myths associated with surrogacy and is a common fear parents have while going through the process. This myth exists in part because of inconsistent surrogacy laws across the country. Additionally, sensational news stories about parents in other states having to legally adopt their children born via surrogacy lead to misunderstandings about the parents' rights.
However, because both the parents and the surrogate enter into a legally binding agreement, the surrogate never has the opportunity to keep the baby. The contract the surrogate and the intended parents enter into does protect the rights of the surrogate, but it also protects the rights of the parents. Keeping the baby is not a right that the surrogate has.
Furthermore, most surrogacy pregnancies are what are called gestational surrogacies, which means that the surrogate has no genetic ties to the child. This further distances them from having any legal right to the child they are carrying. Even in cases where the surrogate provides a donor egg, there are legal documents in place to protect the intended parents' rights to their child.
Finally, before a woman is allowed to serve as a surrogate, she is fully screened to ensure that she is physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to go through the process. Most surrogates already have their own children, and they go into the process intending to help the parents grow their own family, and keeping the child themselves is never even a consideration.
Myth #2: Surrogacy Is Easier than Adoption
Comparing surrogacy and adoption is like comparing apples and oranges. Neither process is easier than the other; they are two radically different processes. There are many reasons a couple may choose surrogacy over adoption and vice versa. In fact, many parents investigate both options before settling on the right path for themselves and their families. When making this decision, you will have to consider your priorities and how you can best achieve your goals. Both surrogacy and adoption offer wonderful opportunities to families who cannot have their own biological children.
Myth #3: It's Cheaper to Ask a Friend to Be Your Surrogate
Generally speaking, the cost of surrogacy will be the same, regardless of whether you are working with a friend, family member, or a stranger. In addition to the medical expenses associated with the process (surrogacy is rarely, if ever, covered by insurance), you will also have to cover the healthcare costs related to the surrogate's pregnancy and legal expenses.
While a friend or family member volunteering to be your surrogate can help save you compensation costs, these are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cost. On average, surrogacy can cost a couple $100,000 or more. Because surrogacy is such a significant emotional and financial investment, families and surrogates must go into the process fully aware of how it works and what is expected of both of them.
Typical expenses associated with surrogacy include:
- Agency fees
- Fertility clinic fees
- Egg retrieval costs
- IVF costs
- Medical screening costs
- Labor and delivery fees
- Insurance fees
Remember, just because a friend or family member serves as your surrogate doesn't mean that you work independently of a surrogacy agency and/or some other medical facility, such as a fertility clinic. To ensure that your surrogacy journey goes as smoothly and safely as possible for everyone involved, you will work with a variety of fertility and medical professionals throughout the process.
Do I Really Need an Attorney?
Yes, if you are planning to grow your family with the help of a surrogate, it is vitally important that you have experienced legal representation. Even when working with a friend or family member, both the intended parents and the surrogate should have legal representation, ensuring that their rights are protected and that everyone is on the same page regarding the process. Legal representation is also required by California law.If you are considering surrogacy, reach out to Creative Family Solutions, Cecil Cianci Law, PC. We are well-versed in California's surrogacy laws, and we can help you throughout the process. We love helping our clients realize their dreams to either become parents or help another couple become parents. Our firm has experience assisting both intended parents and surrogates, and we can use our experience to help you and your family today.