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If you are exploring having someone help you by carrying your child to term, you probably have a lot of questions. This form of assisted reproduction is generally called surrogacy. It is a path that should not to be taken lightly. First of all this process is costly. Second, the woman who chooses to act as a surrogate is agreeing to involve her family with yours as well as putting her life on hold for the next year or so.

What is a Surrogate?

A surrogate is a generous woman who is willing to be impregnated using InVitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedures and then carry the resulting baby for the Intended Parents so they can complete their family.

There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Traditional Surrogacy is where the Surrogate uses her own eggs AND carries the child for her Intended Parents. This procedure is done in a doctor's office through IUI. This type of surrogacy obviously includes a genetic connection between the surrogate and the child. Legally speaking, the Surrogate will have to disclaim any interest in the child to complete the transfer to the Intended Parents.

A gestational surrogacy occurs when the Intended Mother's or a donor egg is fertilized outside the body and then the embryos are transferred into the uterus. The woman who carries the child is often referred to as a Gestational Carrier. The legal steps to confirm parentage with the Intended Parents are generally easier than in a traditional because there is no genetic connection between child and Carrier.

[edit] Surrogate Mothers Probable Medical Responsibilities

Surrogate Mothers Probable Medical Responsibilities

A surrogate mother (SM) has the ultimate decision making ability about any and all medical treatments done to her and the unborn child. However, a surrogate pregnancy is very different from a personal pregnancy as most Intended Parents (IP) expect to be involved as well. Below is a list of requirements that will be expected of a surrogate mother. Some may not apply depending on the circumstances. This is just for your information before you make the ultimate decision of becoming a surrogate.

SM agrees to complete all physical tests and screenings as required by the doctor/clinic.

SM must sign a release of all medical records.

SM agrees to have FSH/LH blood levels drawn to establish fertility.

SM agrees to have HSG test and or ultrasounds to test the viability of her tubes, ovaries and uterus.

SM agrees to complete 3 cycles of In Vitro fertilization or 6 cycles if artificial insemination.

SM agrees to take fertility drugs and drugs to support the pregnancy as required by the doctor. These drugs may be in the form of SHOTS, PILLS, PATCHES, or VAGINAL SUPPOSITORIES.

SM agrees to follow doctor ordered restrictions after transfer, which may include abstaining from sexual relations from one week before time of transfer until a confirmed pregnancy via ultrasound, and restricted from lifting any weight above 20 lbs. Please make sure that this will not affect your job if you work in an environment that requires any lifting.

SM will agree to follow Doctor ordered restrictions which will include abstaining from sexual relationships with an untested partner between the time she has agreed to work with her IP's and the birth of the surrogate child. ALL partners MUST be tested for HIV, all STD's and completed medicals will be submitted to the clinic of the IP's choice for record.

SM will agree to have normal course of OB care, including ultrasounds as required by her physician. This will take place with in 6 to 10 weeks of gestation.

SM will utilize the services of a high risk OB if pregnant with multiples or if doctor recommends.

SM will inform her IP's of her doctors of choice including phone numbers and address. She will also sign a release of information so the IP's and SCF can obtain pregnancy records from the OB.

SM will have ultrasounds done as requested by her physician. The IP's will incur the cost of any requested ultrasounds.

SM will have an alpha fetal protein test or any other screening test as requested by the medical professionals.

SM will consent to having an amniocentesis done as previously arranged or under doctor's orders.

SM will consent to completing In Vitro procedure with either the eggs of the client wife or an egg donor or an adopted embryo chosen by the client family.

SM will do everything in her power to maintain a pregnancy, even if it is difficult, unless instructed by a physician that it is necessary or advisable for her to terminate the pregnancy.

SM will have drug and HIV screenings at the request of the clinic during her attempts.

SM will complete genetic screening as requested by physician.

SM will allow paternity and or maternity testing to be done. This may involve providing a blood sample from herself and the child.

SM agrees to participate in all individual and group counseling sessions as requested by IP's or the agency she is working with.

SM agrees to complete all psychological testing.

SM and her partner/husband agree to cooperate with her agency or attorney in obtaining a child abuse and criminal background checks.

SM and her partner agree to abstain from all sexual intercourse or activity that could result in pregnancy during their involvement in the surrogacy plan, as defined in the contract between the SM and IP's and the RE/clinic.

SM agrees to engage in open, positive communication with the IP's and the clinic. She agrees to take whatever reasonable action that is deemed necessary to promote a health, positive surrogacy relationship with IP's.

Please note: It is extremely likely that an insurance company will state that they will not pay for a pregnancy that is a result of a surrogacy. This decision by the insurance company would probably be considered illegal and not upheld by the courts, unless it is written in the policy. It is our preference that you read your policy provisions and call your company to make sure that you are covered.

This list of responsibilities is for your information. The clinic may have other suggestions. Please be prepared to follow all medical doctor ordered protocols in order for you to have a safe and successful surrogacy pregnancy.