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Surrogacy in a nut shell

July 23, 2015

Up until about a decade ago, surrogacy was only an option for very few people – straight couples who didn’t manage to have babies, who had gone through IVF treatments that failed. These couples would have an assessment done, and if they ‘got approved’, they had the privilege of having a surrogate mother who will carry their baby for them.

 

In the last decade, the option of surrogacy has become available for many: couples, as well as singles who can’t have children in any other way. First of all, the awareness among fertility doctors and couples facing fertility problems has massively risen, and many couples who have been trying to have babies with the help of IVF treatments for a long period of time, years sometimes, are no longer taking such a long time to consider the option of surrogacy.

The awareness and the growing number of couples wanting to use surrogacy as means of having children resulted in a tricky situation – it was hard to find a surrogate mother in Israel since there were not as many surrogate mothers available. Many couples had to pay a very large amount of money and yet to ‘compromise’ on a surrogate mother, one they didn’t bond with or trusted.

The outcome was that the couples began to look for alternatives overseas. This crowd was joined by gay couples and singles who legally couldn’t apply for surrogacy in Israel, and who had no option of having children without the help of the surrogacy process.

The law in Israel allows only married couples – who tried, but can’t have children – to go through the surrogacy process. These couples are expected to go through IVF treatments, when that fails they are being evaluated, and if accepted they get on a long waitlist in order to get matched with a surrogate mother that suits them. In most cases, the waiting period lasts approximately 2 years, however, in some cases it may differ.

In the last few years, the countries that provided surrogacy as a solution to couples interested in the process changed every few years depending on the local legislation. For example India, that was the main destination for singles and gay couples, closed its gates to them in 2013. A year and a half later Thailand also shut the doors to people who were not Thai citizens.

Today the leading destinations are Nepal, Ukraine, Mexico, Georgia and the US, however there are additional countries where surrogacy is legal. In most of these countries the procedure isn’t performed in accordance with an established law, but it relays on the fact that no law in that country forbids surrogacy.

Some of the States in the US are very much ‘in favor’ in regards to legislating laws in the field of surrogacy. For example in California the rights of all sides are defined in the law of the State and the process is very well planned and exectuted.

The legal complexity serves as a crucial consideration in choosing in which country to have the procedure. Doing something that is not legal can put the couple and the baby at risk.

Why do couples choose surrogacy? Usually one of the two reasons below:

  1. Couples that have low chances to have a baby via IVF treatments will choose surrogacy in order to lessen their distress
  2. Couples that can’t have children due to an illness, or if there is no woman in the equation (gay couples or singles)

The process usually starts with an approach to a local agency that escorts the couple throughout the process – selecting a surrogate mother, choosing the destination where the surrogacy takes place, picking an egg donor, support during and after the pregnancy. In the first meeting with the agency the couple receives a lot of information that needs to be processed. Their options are communicated to them, the cost of each alternative in accordance with the destination and package they choose.

Gal Sava: From my personal experience with my partner, bringing a child via surrogacy process, without the assistance of the agencies that were operating at the time, was nearly impossible. There are so many details, arrangements, coordination, bureaucracy, decisions, things to take into considerations etc. that many times the personal involvement, after various trials, will damage the ability to make decisions in a rational, logic manner. A professional factor will be able to navigate between all the options, to advise, solve problems and assist in making the best decision.

The alternatives differ in the quality of the medical treatment, intended parents’ level of involvement in the process, cost and so on.

The main things to take into consideration when choosing a destination for surrogacy are the following:

  1. Quality of clinic that is carrying out the IVF treatment; the clinic success rates
  2. Quality of the medical care, the treatment of the surrogate mother throughout the pregnancy and during birth
  3. The credibility of the agency escorting the couple
  4. Level of communication and interaction between the surrogate mother and the intended parents (if interested in a having a relationship).
  5. Cost
  6. Distance of the intended parents from the destination where the surrogacy is held
  7. Law / policy in the country where surrogacy is held and the method of registering the baby (birth certificate)
  8. How long it takes to exit the country with the baby
  9. The couples’ country of preference to be staying at until they receive visa permits to leave with the baby

 

Written by:   Gal Sava, Founder & CEO of Viva Family, a father of 2 children (who were brought via surrogacy)

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