Before you choose to pursue the surrogacy process, you will need to determine what kind of surrogacy you want to complete. In order to so, you will have to learn a bit more about the different types of surrogacy that are possible today.
As medical practices of surrogacy and state surrogacy laws continue to advance, the types of surrogacy that are available to you in North Carolina (or any other state) may change. As always, it’s important to speak with a local surrogacy professional to be aware of which surrogacy options you can choose from and which are best for your family.
Our surrogacy attorneys at the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC can always explain the legal aspects of various different surrogacy types to you. You can contact our law firm anytime at 919-821-1860.
In the meantime, below you’ll find basic descriptions of a few different types of surrogacy available to you in North Carolina today.
Gestational vs. Traditional Surrogacy
When it comes to genetic relationship between the surrogate and the baby she carries, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.
Today, almost all intended parents and surrogates choose a gestational surrogacy, or one in which the surrogate is not related to the baby that she is carrying. Instead, an embryo is created at a fertility clinic with the intended parents’ sperm and egg (or with a donor gamete) and is then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. Therefore, a surrogate’s lack of genetic relationship ensures she has no parental rights to take custody of a child after they are born.
A traditional surrogacy, on the other hand, involves a surrogate who is genetically related to the child she is carrying. She either has her eggs harvested for the IVF process or is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm. When the baby is born, she will likely need to sign her consent to have her parental rights terminated. There are very few surrogacy professionals who will work with a traditional surrogacy.
For almost all intended parents and surrogates, a gestational surrogacy is the safer process to pursue, both from a legal prospective and the medical prospective. A traditional surrogacy involves potential risks and complications because of the surrogate’s genetic relationship, like her retaining her rights or becoming emotionally attached to the baby. In some states, traditional surrogacies are subject to the same laws as adoptions.
There are a few instances where traditional surrogacy may be best for a family: if the surrogate is related to the intended parents (therefore, providing a genetic link), or the intended parents cannot find an egg donor. Keep in mind: Most surrogacy professionals in North Carolina will not provide services for those completing traditional surrogacies.
Compensated vs. Altruistic Surrogacy
There are also two types of surrogacy when it comes to whether a surrogate is paid for her services: compensated or altruistic.
If a woman receives compensation beyond her living and medical expenses as a surrogate, she is completing a compensated surrogacy, also known as a “commercial surrogacy.” In North Carolina, there are no laws regulating surrogate compensation, which means a surrogate and her intended parents can negotiate a compensation package they are both comfortable with.
Most professionals will recommend that intended parents and surrogates complete a commercial surrogacy. The extra compensation paid to a surrogate helps prevent feelings of indebtedness or being taken advantage of. Even if a surrogate believes she does not wish to receive additional compensation, she may find out that the surrogacy process is more intensive than she originally thought — and the extra base compensation can help her from feeling regret. Many surrogates and their family use this base compensation as a step toward a financial goal like a down payment on a house or paying off student loans.
On the other hand, some intended parents and surrogates are comfortable completing an altruistic surrogacy. In this process, a surrogate is only provided financial assistance for her pregnancy and medical expenses. This kind of surrogacy will not cost her any money, but she will also receive no additional compensation. Often relatives are recruited to provide surrogacy services for those in their family who cannot conceive or carry a baby to term.
Some states require this surrogacy process, as they outlaw any surrogate compensation. However, an altruistic surrogacy is more common in cases of identified surrogacy, in which intended parents know the surrogate carrying their baby — usually a close friend or family member.
Deciding between these two types of surrogacy is a very important decision, as it will indicate how the rest of your surrogacy process will continue. Your choice will also need to be detailed in your surrogacy contract to ensure proper finances are addressed.
Agency vs. Independent Surrogacy
There are also different types of surrogacy in regards to which professionals you choose to use in your surrogacy journey. While a surrogacy attorney and a fertility clinic are necessary to complete a surrogacy in North Carolina, you will have the option of choosing to work with a surrogacy agency or not.
A surrogacy agency is essentially a “one-stop shop” for surrogacy, as these professionals can provide almost every service needed to complete a surrogacy. This includes preliminary screening, matching, contact mediation, case management and more. Intended parents and surrogates who are unfamiliar with the surrogacy process often choose to work with a surrogacy agency so they can focus on establishing a relationship with their surrogacy partner rather than the minute details of finding a surrogate, screening the surrogate and getting the legal work done.
However, those who have already found an intended parent or surrogate, and are comfortable with handling the details of their surrogacy on their own, may choose an independent surrogacy instead. In an independent surrogacy, intended parents and surrogates are responsible for their own coordination of services between their attorneys and fertility clinic. They may save money in not having to pay an agency, but they do take on a great deal of personal responsibility for the success of their surrogacy journey.
The Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC, works with clients who are completing either an agency-assisted or independent surrogacy. To learn more about how the legal process works when you’re completing a surrogacy independently, you can contact our professionals at 919-821-1860.
Determining Which Surrogacy Types are Right for You
Because there are several different types of surrogacy available to intended parents and prospective surrogates today, it’s important that you fully research all of your options before deciding which is right for your family. As you pursue your surrogacy journey, we encourage you to speak with surrogacy professionals like our attorneys and other specialists at surrogacy agencies.
Every surrogacy is unique, and deciding which types of surrogacy are right for you is the first step to creating a surrogacy journey that meets your personal goals and needs. When you are ready to begin the legal process of your surrogacy, please contact the Parker Herring Law Group PLLC.