Gestational Surrogacy: Is it Right for You?

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick did it. Chris Daughtry and his wife did it. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban did it. And recently, Elizabeth Banks did it too – expanded their family via gestational surrogacy.

Surrogacy is all the rage these days and as with most Hollywood trends, power couples are jumping on the band wagon. But, why? Are some Hollywood starlets simply too posh to push? Or are they determined to have a baby no matter how old they are? More than likely, the latter.

But, Hollywood trend or not, is gestational surrogacy a viable option for having a family? And if so, are there risks? What about the cost? How long does it take? These are just a few of the questions that should be considered if you are thinking of gestational surrogacy.

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

Gestational surrogacy, also called just surrogacy, or more recently, gestational carrier, is carried out when one woman’s uterus is implanted with a fertilized embryo of another couple. It is most often carried out utilizing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). But, it is sometimes done via intrauterine insemination, also called artificial insemination. In the latter case, the surrogate’s eggs are used.

What is the Process of Gestational Surrogacy?

According to the state of New Jersey Fertility Center which offers gestational surrogacy services, the process is a long one. Surrogacy candidates should first acquire an attorney who will help the couple review insurance requirements for the potential carrier, draw up legal contracts, set up a medical account and obtain a court order to allow the biological parents to be listed on the birth certificate of the child. And that is just the beginning.

After all of the legal documents are drafted and obtained, an IVF clinic must be chosen. The biological parents are screened for any sexually transmitted diseases and a gestational carrier is chosen.

Psychological and medical evaluations are performed on the carrier and her husband if applicable and criminal background checks and home studies are also done. The gestational carrier will also receive separate legal representation to protect her interests as well. Once all of the preliminary steps are completed, the final contract between the biological parents and the gestational carrier is drafted and the medical process begins.

What is the Cost?

As you might expect, gestational surrogacy, like any fertility measures, are not cheap. Unless you have a family member or friend who will carry the child for you, a couple can expect to spend anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 for gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate provides the egg) costs anywhere between $45,000 to $65,000. Again, not cheap, but, when you’re talking about expanding or beginning your family, most would think every dollar spent is well worth it.

What are the Risks?

Outside of the possibility of miscarriage, which is a concern for any pregnancy, the greatest risk with gestational surrogacy is that the surrogate will change her mind once the child is born. Depending on the state in which the arrangement has taken place, there may be legal issues that can make the outcome of this risk uncertain. However, counsel retained at the beginning of the process should have made the laws of that state perfectly clear should this occur.

Needless to say, beginning or expanding your family however it occurs, is always a joy and a blessing. So whether it’s by gestational surrogacy or the good old fashioned way and delivered by the stork, a baby is a baby and should always be celebrated.

Genetics & IVF