For couples that have medical circumstances to consider, surrogacy is one more path to fulfilling the dream of starting a new family with a newborn baby of their very own. Surrogacy is the time-honored practice of another medically evaluated woman agreeing to become pregnant on behalf of an intended couple. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, she takes care of herself and the growing baby for nine months, and when the baby is born, that infant is then united with the intended parents, who can now start a new life together as a family.
However, some couples choosing to go the surrogate route may also need to look at surrogacy options in other countries. This might be for more options, such as wanting a.compensated surrogacy when your own country doesn’t legally permit that, or it may be for cost reasons, such as wanting to stretch an American dollar further.
Regardless of the reason, here are the things you should expect if you’re looking for a quality surrogacy experience abroad.
Finding The Right Agency
The first thing you should expect is a search to find the surrogacy agency or clinic that will meet your needs. In some cases, a clinic may have all the medical requirements you’re seeking and even have pricing in line with your budget, but you may not be legally allowed to engage their services.
Georgia, for example, is open to traditional heterosexual couples seeking surrogacy. However, same-sex couples, or men or women seeking to become single parents, are legally excluded from the country’s list of clientele they can service. In this case, even if Georgia is a country that is in all other ways ideal for surrogacy, a same-sex couple will have to look elsewhere.
In some cases, couples in a country may approach a surrogacy agency or clinic in their country of residence with partnerships or alliances with agencies abroad. If this is the case, then much of the surrogacy process of researching and vetting a reliable clinic will already have been taken care of.
Working With The Clinic
Once you have found a suitable clinic, it’s time to start establishing the partnership. If you’re working with a larger, more experienced, and established surrogacy agency or clinic, then they will already be well-versed in dealing with international couples, and will typically have staff that can communicate with the couple in their preferred language, often English, though obviously other major languages like Spanish or Mandarin are usually offered, even if that is not the native language of the chosen country.
In ideal circumstances, travel to the country of the agency or clinic will take place. This may occur during the selection process of a suitable surrogacy candidate and is also a good opportunity to meet and work with the various staff and medical personnel handling the surrogacy. In other instances, travel may only occur after selecting a surrogate. Regardless, however, it is important to, at some point, meet with the surrogate mother face to face, as she plays a vital role in the process. None of it is possible without her, and it is a sign of common courtesy and respect to meet with her and establish a working relationship. It’s also usually at this juncture that finances and payments will be worked out. The surrogate mother may require compensation, for example, and there is the matter of commissioning the clinic’s services for any procedures that may be necessary, as well as ongoing medical support for the surrogate mother.
Depending on the couple’s needs, the surrogate mother may use her own egg for fertilization. If there’s a preference for using the egg and sperm of the intended couple, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is used instead. This is an additional cost for using a medical lab to fertilize the egg, or more than one, and, if required, conduct a preimplantation genetic diagnosis to scan for hereditary disorders such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, should there be a risk of a chronic family condition passed on by one of the donors.
In some cases, even before this phase is conducted, there may be a need to facilitate transporting eggs or sperm stored in another facility. Women or men who have surgery that renders them infertile sometimes take the option of storing the remaining egg and sperm for future implantation. This requires highly specialized transportation to ensure they arrive at a chosen medical lab in a viable state.
Once the pregnancy has been confirmed, the ideal situation is for the intended parents to periodically travel back to the country of the clinic or agency to check on the surrogate mother’s progress. When the time comes, the couple often tries to time a final visit to the country to coincide with when the surrogate mother gives birth.
Once this is done, the new parents meet their child and finish any final legal proceedings that may be required for the baby’s citizenship and return to the country of residence.