Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technology which provides an option for individuals or couples who are unable to conceive or carry a child. Advances in reproductive methods including in vitro fertilization (IVF) provide alternatives for creation and implantation of an embryo for pregnancy. A surrogate agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of giving the child to another individual or couple (the "intended parent(s)" or "IPs"). Parties to a surrogate arrangement typically enter into a surrogacy contract (or surrogacy agreement) which details the terms of the process including costs.
There are different types of surrogacy, not all of which may be available for your situation depending upon specific medical and legal factors. Surrogacy is still often misunderstood and is actually illegal in several states. In Indiana, surrogacy is not illegal, but the statute does indicate that the terms of a surrogacy contract are not enforceable in the event of a dispute and courts may not use a surrogacy contract as a basis for determining custody. Surrogacy, like adoption, does have financial and legal risks, and before determining whether it is the right option for you, you should consider a legal consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss these risks in more detail and better understand the legal process.
There are many issues to consider when entering into a surrogacy relationship. The topics below are by no means exhaustive, as every surrogacy relationship is different. Your needs as well as the needs of the Surrogate may change during the course of the surrogacy.
First, it is important to consider the financial obligations and risks of entering into such a relationship. Typically, the Surrogate receives a one-time initial fee, plus monthly fees, as well as a fee upon the birth of the child. While this fee is to be determined mutually by the parties, the initial fee typically ranges from $14,000 to $18,000. There will also be expenses associated with pregnancy and birth, such as medical fees (this amount will depend on Surrogate's insurance), maternity clothes, prenatal vitamins, and nutritional food. You may also be responsible for psychological, medical, and drug testing for the Surrogate. Additional costs include legal fees for the Surrogate to retain her own attorney. Further, you will be responsible for obtaining all necessary criminal, abuse and neglect, and credit background checks for both yourselves and the Surrogate. Possible additional fees incurred with the surrogacy relationship depend on your particular situation. Such variances include life insurance premiums, and travel costs.
It is also important to evaluate the medical and emotional risks associated with entering into a surrogacy relationship. The pregnancy could result in a caesarian section, which may subsequently cause a long, painful recovery for the Surrogate. Potentially, an additional fee may be incurred to compensate the Surrogate for her pain and suffering and increased medical expenses. There is also a risk of premature birth, fetal death or death of the Surrogate. Further, a variety of other medical expenses may be incurred whereby the Surrogate may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. An example of such an additional expense would be an invasive procedure such as amniocentesis, which may cause the Surrogate significant discomfort.
Pursuant to the Surrogacy Contract the Intended Parents ("IP's") and the Surrogate will have responsibilities associated with the surrogacy relationship. The Surrogate will be responsible for attending medical appointments and providing medical releases to the IP's. In turn, the IP's will be responsible for prompt payment of expenses as set forth in the contract. Further, the Surrogate may be prohibited from engaging in certain activities; for instance, the Surrogate will be prohibited from using drugs, alcohol or tobacco, and may be prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse for a specified time during pregnancy. Throughout this process it is essential to maintain open communication with the Surrogate; however, this may become difficult at various stages of the surrogacy relationship.
Again, this information is provided for you to consider prior to entering into a surrogacy relationship. Take time to reflect on things that may be of particular concern to you and create a plan for how you might deal with those situations. We hope the information is helpful as you consider options to add to your family. We appreciate your interest in Harden Jackson and look forward to assisting you.