in the US
Surrogacy laws are administered at a State level in USA and there are wide variations in what types of surrogacy are allowed in various states. Approximately 19 US states have laws or statutes recognising commercial surrogacy .
Some of these (including California, Nevada, Oregon, Minnesota, Connecticut) have long experience of surrogacy arrangements. This experience, along with strict surrogate screening practices, high quality IVF and supportive laws, makes US surrogacy the safest and most reliable option for intended parents considering their options globally.
A further 10 states have laws recognising uncompensated (altruistic) surrogacy (see next section) within various surrogacy agencies in United States. Such laws tend to facilitate transfer of parentage to the intended parent (via a change to the birth certificate) as well as legal parentage under the laws of that state.
Non-US citizens can access surrogacy in the US also while getting in touch with surrogacy agencies. All children born via surrogacy in the US are eligible for a US passport, regardless of the citizenship of their intended parents.
Surrogacy Costs in USA
An average plan for surrogacy in US costs $120,000 to $160, 000, depending upon the arrangement that a couple has agreed with the surrogacy agency. So, a person who is looking for surrogacy must negotiate with the surrogacy agency for the best available package or plan.
There are a large number of small and large surrogacy agencies across at least 13 US states, who specialise in surrogate recruitment, matching and management. Some of these best surrogacy agencies in United States also offer egg or sperm donors. There are also a number of amateur surrogate forums which allow intended parents to reach out privately to potential surrogates and surrogacy clinics. Warning: such sites do not offer matching or psychological screening to ensure they are appropriate carriers.
Reach out to us to know more about more affordable US surrogacy options.
A surrogacy agency tends to encourage and facilitate high levels of contact during the pregnancy between surrogate and intended parent(s).
High-Profile Americans who have used surrogacy to create a family include Robert de Niro, Ricky Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Neil Patrick Harris & Celine Dion.
WORKING WITH A SURROGATE
Finding a US surrogate can take anywhere from 1 month to 12 months (or longer). Surrogates can come from the state in which you are based, the state in which your agency is located, or another state, depending on their law.
Women who choose to be surrogates are screened from a health and psychology perspective. The emphasis here is on giving the intending parent(s) and surrogates the opportunity to get to know each other, and agree to work together. This may mean that your match will take longer.
It is important to consider a few things before deciding on a US surrogate:
Have you agreed with your surrogate on whether she prefers a natural birth or an induced birth?
If you and your surrogate decide on an induced labor there are many things to consider.
It is vital that all parties have open communication and are in agreement in advance. Even with
the best laid plans complications can occur.
If using a surrogacy agency, you will generally be guided by a case worker prior to your match meeting and they will help you develop a series of questions to ask during the meeting. The meetings may be mediated by your case worker, however usually if things go well, the intended parents and the surrogate will continue talking after the meeting in a cafe or the like. This is a good idea as it gives both parties a further opportunity to get to know each other.
Some intended parents conduct their match meeting over the phone instead of face to face.
Communication During Pregnancy
You are encouraged to communicate regularly with your surrogate by email or phone. It is recommended that you discuss the sort of level of communication you will have early on to make sure your relationship with your surrogate thrives.
For the intended parents, managing the pregnancy can be difficult, given you are not present for the day to day life of your surrogate. Come to an understanding early on about how regularly your surrogate will visit her doctor.
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OUT OF STATE ARRANGEMENTS
In some US surrogate arrangements you may need to plan for an out of state birth. Usually this is due to unfavorable surrogacy laws in the surrogate’s state regarding who appears on the birth certificate and/or transfer of parentage.
If a natural birth, then being in the state where the delivery occurs ahead of time is key. Consider your surrogate’s past delivery history and obtain feedback from your surrogate’s obstetrician.
Consider the safety issues when deliberating these options.
Complications with Delivery
Planning an out of state delivery can be overwhelming and stressful. It is important that all these issues are addressed prior to committing to a match where an out of state delivery may be required.
CITIZENSHIP & PASSPORTS
All babies born through surrogacy in the United States are entitled to US citizenship themselves. They will have an American birth certificate (certificate of live birth) and unless separate adoption procedures or court orders overrule this, will show the surrogate as the ‘mother’ on the birth certificate, and (usually) the intended father who provided the sperm as the ‘father’.
In some cases dependant on the relative US State laws, it may be necessary for a pre-birth judgement to be obtained regarding the actually paternity, especially when the surrogate is married. This is because some relevant state laws dictate that the husband of the woman giving birth should automatically be recognised as the ‘father’. Another way to establish paternity is a post-birth judgement. It is important to explore which option is correct for your situation by seeking local legal advice well before delivery.
Obtaining a US Passport
Once you’ve obtained the preliminary paperwork from the relevant local authority, you can then head along the way of obtaining a US passport.
To obtain a US passport for your child, you must first have obtained the relevant paperwork from the birth hospital, which they prepare for the ultimate issuance of your child’s formal birth certificate. This paperwork is sent to either the relevant local authority or State capital (once they have the paternity orders if relevant) and it is paramount that you work with the hospital in advance, so that they speed up this process as soon as your child is born so that everything happens within days, not the usual weeks.
You will need a photograph of your child with their eyes open (not so easy), facing directly at the camera with a white background (oh and whilst not wearing either a hat or sunglasses either). A digital shot is best as it can be resized appropriately by a developer to further fit within the guidelines, and more than one copy of the same image can be produced quickly at the same time. Depending on your timing you may try to stand over your baby who is lying on a white-sheet bed in the hospital, or head to a post office where you’d hope they’d appreciate the difficulty of it all and take a few goes of getting that perfect snapshot.
If you are an overseas based intended parent and planning to leave the USA before 6 weeks post-birth, you may need to utilise an Expediting service. These services will turn successful applications around within a week. These companies’ are usually in major cities such as Washington, Dallas, San Francisco, etc. and you will need to have the relevant paperwork approved by a local postal office (usually) before couriering the completed application over to the regional office.
Usually, both parents from the birth certificate are needed to be present at the authorised accepting office (post office) to prove that both consent to the application of the child’s passport. Check out the conditions of the expediting service. You can provide written authority from the other parent (usually the surrogate) at times, especially when she may still be in hospital recovering from the birth.
Expediting services include: http://www.americanpassport.com ; and http://www.visa4you.net/child-passport-1.htm. You will find very detailed instructions on the website.
In some of the US processes, you will need paperwork witnessed by the US equivalent of a Justice of the Peace, called a Notary Public, and they are useful for having documents authenticated such as when the surrogate gives permission for the application for a passport, baby to travel etc. In California at least, they can be found in US Post Offices, or the sub-outlets of these (usually privately owned).
TRANSFER OF PARENTAGE
You will need a lawyer to attend to the surrogate relinquishing her parental rights in your favour. In some US states that can be arranged in advance of the birth (or, in California for example, you can get a pre-birth judgment placing both dads on the birth certificate.) Surrogacy agencies will normally provide a referral if required.
You should seek legal advice before entering a surrogacy arrangement, as the laws vary widely between different US states as to prohibitions on compensated and uncompensated surrogacy.
In some starts, courts will enforce gestational surrogacy contracts, in others they will not.
Some states have laws protecting surrogacy, others rely on statues or published cases to guide legal practice.
In some states parental birth orders are routinely granted in the absence of specific law or statues. In others this is unpredictable.
Surrogacy & Egg Donation is a complex area and you deserve to know everything involved. Too often intended parents engage without full awareness of the risks and how best to minimise the chance of problems. To book in for a Surrogacy Advice Consultation with Growing Families Director Sam Everingham see our Fill our consultation form.
Expert providers and parents who have completed their family via this destination frequently talk at Growing Families Events. To attend an event to learn more about this destination and other options see our Event Schedule.