As I defined in an earlier post a gestational carrier is a surrogate who carries a pregnancy and delivers a child that is created from the egg and the sperm of the intended parents. The gestational surrogate is not genetically related to the child and acts only as a gcarrier for the pregnancy (That is what I am). A traditional surrogate either undergoes artificial insemination or IVF with sperm from the male. The surrogate herself provides the eggs and is therefore genetically related to the child.
One of the most frustrating things about this process is how unclear the path is that you need to take. First of all, from state to state it varies in what is allowed and what is needed to be done. For example in New Jersey surrogacy is illegal (Baby M Case), however being a gestational carrier is not. In DC any form of surrogacy is void under law which makes it criminal to enter in or assist in forming a surrogacy contract. In 2012 New Jersey had a chance to relax its surrogacy laws, but Governor Christie shot the bill down saying, “While some all applaud the freedom to explore these new, and sometimes necessary, arranged births, others will note the profound change in the traditional beginnings of the family that this bill will enact. I am not satisfied that these questions have been sufficiently studied by the Legislature at this time.” (I am having a hard time not pointing out the fact that the Governor was not opposed to untraditional methods to losing weight.) This bill would have eliminated the three-day waiting period for parents of children born to surrogates to be listed on their birth certificates. It also would have required the “gestational carrier” to surrender custody of the child immediately upon the child’s birth.
To add to all of this even though gestational carrying and surrogacy has been going on since the 80’s, it has only been in recent years something that people talk about. This once taboo subject finally is acceptable for public discussion. I have learned the general public knows very little about it and therefore does not know what options may be available to them.
I could not help but think through the first few hurdles we had to cross we were up to random luck if this would work. After many discussions with the intended parents it was obvious that you need to know more than any of the professionals and in some cases have to teach them what they need to do. Still there was this constant gnawing feeling of what the next landmine would be that we would have to navigate through. I only hoped we didn’t step on a mine that would detonate the whole thing.
Some insurance companies have no idea what their protocol is for surrogacy and other insurance companies have very specific exclusions of what is and isn’t allowed. I had to call my insurance three times to get a clear answer and I still think the last woman I stoke to was guessing. The intended parents that I am doing this for are very fortunate and have an insurance that not only covered the process leading up to the transfer of the embryos, but will also cover me for the next nine (9) months for pregnancy related issues.
Then there are the doctors themselves. It is very important that you use a doctor that has done this before. One error in insurance coding and it could cost you thousands of dollars and years of clearing it up. On the same note in New Jersey you need to have a surrogacy contract to move forward having a transfer done. However, not all family law attorneys practice in surrogacy law. It is never a good sign when you ask an attorney how much they charge for a pre-birth order and the reply is, “What’s that?” A veteran attorney in this field is a must. Although it is costly it is not only necessary by state law, but it will help clear up any confusion of what the intended parents and surrogate’s roles and responsibilities are.
Well it is time for me sign off for now, but before I do last Friday I was officially 5 weeks pregnant.