Here are a number of Tips you should consider if you are considering surrogacy. Reach out to one of our attorneys so that we can guide you through the various contracts and the legal part of the process.
1. Find a Lawyer Who Can Navigate You Through The Various Contracts.
The legal world associated with surrogacy is complex and there are numerous legal agreements that must be drafted. To name a few, here are a list of agreements:
- Agreement with Agency
- Contract between parents & Carrier
- Contract between egg-donor and parents
- Agreement between egg-donor agency and parents
- Agreements with insurance companies
In addition to heightened emotional levels, the world of surrogacy has its share of legal complications. In some States & Countries surrogacy is banned and in others it is highly regulated. With surrogates, egg donors, intended parents and clinics all often in different States, you need someone on your side that is intimately familiar with the surrogacy laws in various States. Moreover, the legal work surrounding the custody or adoption of the new-born child is not without its challenges. Let Scott Legal, P.C. guide you through all of the hurdles. We can assist you from the start of your journey until the birth of your child and who better to guide you through the process than our company where our staff has actually been through the process.
2. Find A Carrier/Surrogate Who Has Been Through The Surrogacy Process Before.
It is a great idea to get a carrier who has gone through the surrogacy process before.
While this will cost more money than a carrier who has not been through the process before, the premium is worth every penny. You should of course never consider a carrier that has not had a child before. Their own child though is not “experience” in the surrogacy sense as the surrogacy journey generates a very different set of emotional and physical challenges. For example, you may not be aware but the carrier must inject herself with large needles for a period of approximately 10 weeks during the process.
Do not underestimate the significance and importance of experience and maturity. Not only will an experienced carrier know what to expect, she will not be nearly as stressed and she will even be able to explain things to you. Keep in mind that your relationship with the carrier will last for a minimum of one year so you want someone who is calm and understands what the process is going to be like.
3. Find A Carrier You Really Click With
Your relationship with your carrier may extend a lifetime and at the end of the day her health and well being is your child’s health and wellbeing. If intended parents and carriers do not get along the animosity and stress is clearly not going to be beneficial for your child. While an extensive review is required, also go with your gut. Also, do not feel pressured by the agency to pick someone quickly. Take the time you need to make your decision as it is one of the most important decisions you will make in the whole process. Our staff had an amazing relationship with their carrier and this made the process one million times easier.
4. Ensure that you select a carrier with her own insurance
If you (intended parents) have insurance, it will not cover the carrier’s medical expenses or the birth. As such, you will be required to arrange insurance for the carrier and the birth. There are generally two options to ensure coverage.
First, you can buy insurance. This is an unbelievably expensive option as there are only a few insurance companies that offer surrogacy insurance. In addition to the premium (from $6,000 – $17,000) you will also be required to fully fund a deductible of between $25,000 & $50,000. What this means is that you will pay the premium and then hand over more than $25,000 to the insurance company when the pregnancy is confirmed to pay for any birth or medical expenses. If the medical expenses are under $25,000 you will get that portion back. In addition, you will be required to get insurance for the baby while he/she is in the hospital. If you already have insurance through your employer or your own insurance, your plan should accommodate this but to be clear, it will not cover the birth expenses or any complications of the carrier. Insurance is very tricky so you should check with your insurance carrier and consult a lawyer to understand your options.
The second option is to find a carrier with her own insurance. A few things here. First, you should get a lawyer to review her insurance plan to make sure that it does not have an exclusion for surrogacy. Second, you may want to consider back-up insurance just in case the insurance company decides to deny coverage. (you could fight any denial but back up insurance is not very expensive and the insurance companies may refund almost all of your premium if you do not use it). This second option of a surrogate with her own insurance is significantly cheaper than the first option of purchasing your own insurance and this alone will save you between $10,000-$25,000. While an insured carrier is more expensive than an uninsured carrier, you will see that in the end it is well worth it. If you sign with an agency, insist that you will be given an insured carrier and make sure and get this in writing. You will definitely have to wait longer for an insured carrier but the potential cost savings could be worth it.
5. What Is The Order I Should Select my Carrier, IVF Clinic & Egg Donor?
When you start the surrogacy process, you are confronted with a plethora of information and it is tough to assess what to do first. Three big choices among these are the selection of the carrier, the egg donor and the IVF clinic. You can save money if you select in this order.
First pick your carrier. This is by far the most time consuming and difficult decision as you must be comfortable with the person that you are going to spend the next year or so of your life with. Second, select your IVF clinic and pick one in the same state as your surrogate. There are many good IVF clinics and you should be able to find an excellent one in the same State as your carrier. (or at least a State close by) If you cannot, you will have to pay to fly the carrier back and forth on multiple occasions. For example, if your IVF clinic is in Los Angeles and your surrogate lives on the East Coast, your surrogate will have to visit California at least twice and one of the visits will be for a 6-7 day period.
You will also pay for flight, accommodations, car rental, stipend, etc. and all of these expenses can be eliminated if the carrier and clinic are in the same State. In addition, many IVF clinics include the cost of medical monitoring of the carrier and egg donor at their facility in their fee but this only applies if the surrogate lives in the State. If she does not, she will have to go to a monitoring clinic in her State and this can cost upwards of $3,000. Third, select your egg donor and pick one in the same state as your surrogate. Again, every State will have an abundance of good egg donors and you can avoid significant travel and clinic monitoring costs if you select an egg donor in the same State as the IVF clinic.
6. Take Time Selecting an Agency
The best way to find an agency is to speak to people who have gone through the process and you should definitely comparison shop. You can also conduct Internet searches where information is compiled where agencies are rated. Here is one such information source : http://www.menhavingbabies.org/surrogacy-resources/directory/agencyratings/ You should keep in mind that surrogacy is a very lucrative business and like anything else, many agencies will give you the impression that they are the best thing since sliced bread. Regrettably though based on the reviews in the above link you will see that this royal treatment at times ends once you have sent in your deposit and signed the contract. As such, you should take the time to really explore which agency you want to go with and do not be afraid to ask tough questions.
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