What Does ‘Gestational Surrogacy’ Mean?
What is gestational surrogacy, how does it work and how much does it cost?
Gestational surrogacy is the most common surrogacy type, mainly because it involves less emotional and legal complexities than other forms of surrogacy, and it’s becoming increasingly common every year.
What is gestational surrogacy
In gestational surrogacy, the egg used to create the pregnancy is either an egg donor’s or the intended mother’s, which means the surrogate is not biologically related to the child she is carrying.
The embryo is created through IVF (in vitro fertilization) and then transferred to the surrogate.
Although, usually, at least one intended parent is biologically related to the child, in some cases the egg and sperm used come from donors.
Because the surrogate has no genetic link to the child she is carrying, gestational surrogacy is legally simpler than other surrogacy types, such as traditional surrogacy, as it does not require processes like second parent adoption or termination of the surrogate’s parental rights.
Gestational vs. traditional
Here are the key difference regarding traditional vs. gestational surrogacy:
- Traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate’s egg, while gestational surrogacy uses a donor or the intended mother’s egg.
- The medical procedures used in traditional surrogacy are simpler than gestational surrogacy.
- Gestational surrogacy is more expensive than traditional surrogacy, mainly due to the difference in medical procedures.
- Traditional surrogacy is much more legally and emotionally complex than gestational surrogacy.
How does it work
The complex gestational surrogacy process generally includes 5 main milestones:
- Intended parents match with a surrogate.
- Intended parents or parent and surrogate each work with an attorney to prepare the legal contracts and define the surrogate’s compensation.
- Once the contracts are completed and signed, a fertility clinic handles the IVF procedure and the embryo transfer.
- As soon as a pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate carries it to term.
- When the baby is born, the intended parents or parent have full legal custody. No legal procedures necessary.
Gestational surrogacy laws in the US
In the US, surrogacy legislation varies from state to state, so it’s recommended that intended parents first consult with a legal expert who can guide them through their rights and the process.
Most US states are considered surrogacy friendly, meaning they permit surrogacy. Those states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.
In three states gestational surrogacy is not recognized and gestational surrogacy contracts are illegal: Nebraska, Michigan and Louisiana.
The legislation of all other US states offers varying levels of protection for surrogates and intended parents.
Costs of gestational surrogacy
There are a few factors involved in the cost of gestational surrogacy: the US state in which the surrogacy is carried out (for example, in California surrogate compensation is usually higher); surrogate compensation (a base fee of $35,000-$42,000 for first time surrogates); screening costs (starting from $1,500); medical procedures (starting from $20,000); insurance costs (averages between $10,000 and $25,000); legal fees (starting from $7,500); carrier reimbursements (maternity clothing, lost wages reimbursement which is salary-based, travel expenses and monthly allowance for miscellaneous expenses); and agency fees, if you choose to work with an agency (a standard agency fee runs between $20,000 and $35,000)
Normally, the total cost of surrogacy can range between $100,000 and $150,000.