You Are Not Alone: The Surrogacy Services You Need

For the majority of couples around the world, deciding to move on to a new phase of life by starting a family is fairly straightforward. The woman in the relationship allows herself to become pregnant, and nine months later, a baby is born. Unfortunately, not every couple can follow this path.

Some couples may have medical considerations that prevent them from safely becoming pregnant or even becoming pregnant at all. Fortunately, these couples don’t have to remain childless or even go with other alternatives like adoption. It’s still possible to start life with a newborn baby, even one that’s a direct genetic descendant, provided that couples do their research and work with a surrogacy agency that provides the right surrogacy services for that couple’s needs.

However, this also means couples should be aware of what kind of services they think they’ll want, such as:

Surrogacy Type

Surrogacy is not just done one way; there are different types of surrogacy available that range from financial categories to specific medical techniques. The kind of surrogacy a couple may want depends on their financial situation, as well as their surrogacy goals so they may choose different types of surrogacy services, such as:

Altruistic Surrogacy

This is the lowest-cost form of surrogacy, but it also often involves the most waiting. Altruistic surrogacy gets its name because the woman who agrees to become a surrogate mother is doing so as an act of altruism. She volunteers for herself with no expectation of financial reward. In some cases, this is because of familial ties, such as when a sister agrees to become pregnant for the sake of a sibling. In other cases, women volunteer themselves to total strangers out of sheer generosity.

Of course, some financial support is still provided in this case. As the pregnancy progresses, the surrogate mother is unable to work, so living expenses are provided so she can feed and take care of herself and the baby. The couple also covers medical expenses.

Compensated Surrogacy

The other type of surrogacy, compensated surrogacy, takes the opposite track. Here, a potential surrogate mother candidate is expecting significant financial recognition for the important role that she plays. Compensated surrogacies still provide both living and medical expenses, the same as altruistic surrogacies. But on top of that, there is now the expected payment the surrogate mother herself receives for her time and effort in the venture.

It’s important to note that the cost of compensated surrogacy depends largely on the country where it takes place. Surrogacies in the United States are some of the most expensive in the world, while surrogacies in other countries are often significantly less.

Traditional Surrogacy

Surrogacy types are also divided by medical techniques used. Traditional surrogacy, for example, is more straightforward and less medically demanding. With traditional surrogacy, a surrogate mother’s egg is used for fertilization. This means only artificial insemination is required as part of the surrogacy process.

Artificial insemination requires fairly simple tools to use, so while it can—and sometimes is—attempted at home by couples, the best results often come with medical oversight and an experienced medical professional administering the process.

Gestational Surrogacy

This type of surrogacy is much more complex and requires an investment in medical resources. With gestational surrogacy, a technique known as in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is used. IVF takes donated eggs and sperm and fertilizes them in a lab. Upon confirmation of fertilization, that egg is then implanted in a surrogate mother.

The IVF technique makes it possible for hopeful parents to have a newborn that is, for all intents and purposes, a “true” genetic descendant of the hopeful parents. As with a conventional pregnancy, the child born from IVF will have 50% of the DNA from the mother and father, making this the preferred surrogacy type for those hopeful parents who want a direct genetic descendant and are willing to pay for it.

Related IVF Services

Couples may require additional services related to IVF. For example, if one or both partners have a family history of a congenital disorder, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD can screen fertilized eggs for these conditions. Any eggs found with the markers for these disorders are not used for implantation.

Another service that may be needed is donor transportation. Sometimes, due to surgery, a man or woman may have had reproductive organs treated such that eggs or sperm may no longer be produced. However, donor samples were removed and placed in cryogenic storage. Specific transportation services are required to bring these samples to the lab for IVF use safely.

Legal Services

Some couples who choose to travel to another country for surrogacy may require legal assistance. This is because without proper legal preparation, a child, upon return to the intended country of residence, is not guaranteed to be granted citizenship at the airport automatically.

Without proper legal help, a couple may find that a country will not allow the child to enter because they are “stateless.”