I’m sure many of us have heard the term “Surrogacy”. This is a method of conceiving that has become more common in recent years, but despite that, everything that it entails may still be unfamiliar to some folks.
The team at Hawai’i Surrogacy Center took the time to answer some of our questions about Surrogacy, and offer some insight on what the process is actually like! Keep reading to learn more…
Can you tell us about what surrogacy is?
This is a great question! Surrogacy encompasses so many steps, but to break it down as simply as possible...it’s an arrangement between individual(s) desiring to be parent(s), known as intended parents, and a woman that has agreed to carry and give birth to their baby for them. This woman is referred to as a gestational carrier (GC) or surrogate.
Gestational surrogacy is facilitated through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). During this process embryos are created for the intended parent(s). Those embryos are then implanted into the uterus of the GC in order to achieve pregnancy. Once pregnancy is achieved, the GC carries and delivers the baby. A common misconception is that the baby has a genetic tie to the GC, but that’s actually not the case when it comes to gestational surrogacy. Rather, the baby's genetic material comes directly from the intended parent(s) and/or an egg or sperm donor if one was used to create the embryos.
What are some reasons a family may want to consider surrogacy?
There are many reasons why a surrogacy journey may be necessary. Here are some of the most common circumstances:
- An intended parent is infertile because of an issue with their uterus.
- An intended parent can’t be pregnant or give birth due to a serious medical or psychological condition that puts them or the fetus at risk.
- An intended parent doesn't have a uterus or has a uterine malformation.
- An intended parent is biologically incapable of conceiving or bearing a child, such as a single person or a gay male couple.
Can you explain a bit about the process of how a surrogate and a family seeking a surrogate would get started?
At Hawaii Surrogacy Center we work extremely hard to find an ideal match between both parties. We do so by considering a variety of factors that can impact a surrogacy journey, including level of desired communication during and after a journey, views on medical procedures, and other lifestyle factors. Matching is as much an art as it is a structured process.
Intended parents and surrogates thoughtfully create profiles that state their journey preferences and expectations. We offer surrogates a carefully curated set of profiles, and they’ll have the opportunity to review and decide which intended parent(s) they feel they most genuinely align with. We then privately share the surrogate profile with the intended parents. If both parties express interest, one of our case managers will set up a facilitated meeting where everyone can get to know each other. After the meeting, if both parties would like to match, the surrogacy journey can move forward! There is no pressure or limit to the number of meetings. Everyone’s comfort and values are our top priority.
Once both groups have found a potential match, what happens next?
At this point all gestational carriers in our program will have already undergone federal and state criminal background checks, lifestyle screening, credit checks, medical history review, and psychological evaluation.
Once matched, both parties will be assigned to independent (and separate) legal counsel and begin drafting the contract for the surrogacy arrangement. This contract clearly outlines expectations of each party in this process, as well as financial obligations.
Additionally, the surrogate will complete what we call final medical clearance. The intended parent’s fertility clinic will conduct infectious disease checks, blood work, and ultrasounds ensuring that the surrogate may safely and successfully complete a journey.
What types of services does the Hawai’i Surrogacy Center provide?
As the only full-service agency in Hawaii exclusively dedicated to surrogacy, we have nearly 15 years of local experience helping Intended Parents fulfill their lifelong desire to create a family.
At Hawaii Surrogacy, we are involved in every step of this process from:
- Finding and qualifying the perfect surrogate for your needs
- Retaining reputable attorneys that are well versed in the legal complexities of surrogacy
- Scheduling medical appointments and travel
- Putting surrogacy-related insurance policies in place
- Managing your escrow account and associated expenses
- Comprehensive case oversight
- And so much more…
For those considering surrogacy, what is your top piece of advice as they think about taking this step?
Do your research. It is important to ask about the culture and values of a surrogacy agency and know that the right fit is out there for you.
Hawaii Surrogacy focuses on providing friendly, local service that is compassionate, but professional. We don’t view surrogacy as a transactional experience. We have special, lifelong bonds with the families that we support. We have a team of experienced case managers and support staff. Nearly everyone has been surrogates themselves. We are also deeply committed to affordability and access. We realize that we may not have the highest financial compensation rates for gestational carriers in the industry, but our rates are fair, and allow us to keep surrogacy affordable for all families.
What is something you wish everyone knew about the surrogacy journey?
It is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. So many of the families we work with have had years of heartbreak. A surrogate gives them hope and helps make their dreams come true. Yes, the journey is complex and the path isn’t the easiest, but you can confidently take those steps as part of the Hawaii Surrogacy ohana.
We hope that helped answer any questions about Surrogacy you may have had, and shed some light onto what this process is like! Be sure to check out the Hawai’i Surrogacy Center website to learn more if you have any further questions.