Complete Surrogacy Checklist for cross-border surrogacy arrangement.

Complete Surrogacy Checklist for cross-border surrogacy arrangement.

by Neelam Chhagani

Surrogacy Checklist for Intended Parents

It goes without saying that Surrogacy is a complex, sometimes stressful, and financially draining process of achieving parenthood. Still, end the end it is most rewarding experience as well.  Nothing beats the experience of holding baby/babies for the first time.  And then, all those efforts seem worthwhile.

In a surrogacy journey, many people are involved- Intended Parents, Surrogate Mother, Egg Donor, IVF Clinic, Surrogacy agency, and surrogacy lawyer. At the end of the journey, every party involved should feel satisfied and happy with the outcome.  So, it is good to make an informed decision.

If you are thinking of becoming a parent via surrogacy arrangement, it does not hurt to be prepared as much as possible.  It will make your life much easier and your surrogacy journey will be a hassle free and enriching experience.

It is good to consider and follow a quick checklist, especially you are embarking cross-border surrogacy path.

Personal consideration

  1. Do you really need a surrogacy route to achieve parenthood? For gay couples, it is obvious as they do not have many options.  However, if you are heterosexual couples, it is good to consult a fertility specialist to make sure surrogacy is the only option for you.
  2. Do you have emotional/family support around you to depend upon? Caring for a newborn is one of the demanding jobs, not to forget initial sleepless nights!
  3. Will you be open to telling your child(ren) how they got conceived? Meeting surrogate mother/egg donor can be on your agenda, whenever it happens. Have you discussed this with your gestational carrier /donor agency?
  4. Many IPs wish to use their own eggs, or their friend or family person instead of an anonymous egg donor. Do consider this option. If you wish to use your own egg donor, make sure to sign an agreement or discuss in advance about the legal aspect.
  5. Have you fully understood the most likely financial costs? If you are using a surrogacy agency, ask for complete surrogacy cost with a breakdown of each fee. What is added fee, if an egg donor is needed?  It is good to know the cost for –  legal advice, surrogate matching, travel, transport & storage of genetic material, surrogate compensation, surrogate medical expenses, IVF – including embryo transfers, surrogate health insurance.
  6. Sometimes it takes one embryos transfer to be successful, but not always. So, make sure if first embryos transfer not successful, what is an additional  Be prepared to have at least 1-3 attempts.
  7. While doing surrogacy arrangement, keep 10% of total cost aside, to cover unseen incidental costs like Twins pregnancy, premature delivery etc. Always ask for a price list with a clear breakdown of cost and what all is included and at what stages you need to pay and for what.

 Legal Consideration

  1. Do the laws in your country allow you to engage in surrogacy at home and/or abroad?
  2. Have you engaged with other successful parents who already have completed their parenthood journey via surrogacy? It is good to consider the first-hand experience of those who already traveled the path you are considering.
  3. In your/your partner’s country of citizenship, is there an established process for granting citizenship to any child born through surrogacy? It goes not hurt to contact your country embassy, they provide an unbiased
  4. If considering overseas surrogacy option, do you understand the amount of time you will need to be away from home/ work for travel, documentation, infant care and exit processes?

Medical Consideration

  1. Do ask for a success rate of embryo transfer in a surrogate mother with/without egg donor?
  2. If you need PGD- this facility is available in IVF Clinic and what is added cost.
  3. Is there any law for a number of embryos can be transferred in a lady? In case you wish to have twins, how they can maximize this?
  4. Have you understood potential health risks of twin pregnancies for any children that result?
  5. What is IVF clinic consideration when choosing a surrogate mother? It is good to choose someone who has at least one baby of their own and psychologically prepared to give baby without any emotional baggage.
  6. Ask for a brief overview of pre-natal care for the surrogate How frequently you will receive an update about her process, scans, important marker tests or her pics of growing belly.
  7. Discuss your surrogate baby delivery options- Which hospital and how much it going to cost.

Surrogacy Agency Consideration

  1. How long have they been in business? It is wise to choose an agency which has at least 5 years of experience as they already have successful baby birth and exit so already know the level of complication involved and how to handle the unseen
  2. How many cases they have done- especially for your country citizen as it will help you to understand how efficient they are with baby exit process for your specific case.
  3. What type of medical/emotional/ psychosocial checks and support is given to surrogate before, during and after the surrogacy program?
  4. How do they take payments and what stages?
  5. If using a gestational carrier from your own country/another country, have you had sufficient discussion to ensure you are ‘on the same page’ in regards the arrangement and what level of contact she wants during/after the pregnancy?
  6. How smoothly surrogacy agency and IVF Clinic coordinate with each other as they should work like an integral team.
  7. Do you have 24- hour emergency support? How readily are they available to you?
  8. With their communication try to understand, if they are gladly assisting and taking time and effort to getting back to you. Are they quick and transparent with communication? Are you feeling connected with them and intuitively feel their genuineness?  It is going to be a yearlong process, you will be having a lot of conversations and become an integral part of each other life.  Develop trust and compassion for each other.

No matter how much we are prepared, there will be always something new and unique in each case.  That is why it is good to use our own instinct as we get familiar with this road.  They key is to do our best with a fair share of optimism and hoping for very best.

I am Neelam Chhagani, CEO and International Patient Follow-up Manager, representing IVF Conceptions. I work as a surrogacy consultant and assist and guide the Intended Parents to become parents via surrogacy, globally. It will be my great pleasure to assist you.

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