Surrogacy is expensive – incredibly expensive and it’s also complicated. That’s why it’s important to employ a professional surrogacy agency, a great IVF clinic and an excellent reproductive lawyer to help navigate through uncharted waters. However, it’s important to remember that during our quest to become parents we can feel extremely vulnerable, overwhelmed and sometimes downright desperate.
Here are a few tips of what not to do if you are going to create a gestational surrogacy arrangement on your own.
• Don’t ever enter into a surrogacy arrangement without a legal contract. That also means do not under any circumstance download a contract from the internet. Even if you are a lawyer yourself have someone else draft the contract.
• Don’t ever work with a potential gestational surrogate who’s never given birth to a child of her own. It’s important the GS have a child of her own, knows what it means to parent, and what pregnancy is like.
• In the same breath don’t work with a woman under 21. This is a big deal and a huge responsibility and many IVF clinics will tell you that they require any gestational surrogate to be at least 21 years of age.
• If you are a single mother by choice – make sure you obtain sperm from a trusted source like a sperm bank. This isn’t a time to make nice with a former spouse, boyfriend or partner. It’s going to cause many headaches in the future and again regardless of who you obtain sperm from two words: LEGAL CONTRACT.
• Make sure the gestational surrogate you work with lives in a state where surrogacy is not only legal but lives in a state where commercial surrogacy contracts are enforceable.
• For goodness sake please don’t ever do home inseminations with a turkey baster. Have all of your treatment conducted at a fertility clinic.
• You both need to undergo a visit with a reproductive psychologist. You to talk about any grief issues that you might not have addressed and how you are feeling about relying on another to carry your baby. And even more importantly your gestational surrogate needs to undergo a psychological evaluation which will consist of a test administered by a therapist and then the psychological interview. Listen to your therapist’s outcome.
• Regarding paying bills – pay them ALL ON TIME and always use an escrow service. Don’t pay them yourself.
• Spell it all out in your legal contract – from A to Z. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to hire a lawyer.
• Many say don’t ever have your gestational surrogate come live with you for more than ten days at a time.
From my point of view braving it on your own and creating your own surrogacy arrangement is crazy. This isn’t like buying a house, car or a boat. This is about becoming a parent using third party assisted reproduction, and there’s lots that goes into that and it can be really complicated. That’s why it’s important to hire professionals along the way to create a team for you, and to set you all up for success with a great outcome.