If you’re a single parent looking to build a family, you’ve no doubt been researching your options. Gestational surrogacy with third party reproduction – utilizing a gamete donor – and adoption are both solid paths to take, but it’s important to understand the nuances and potential roadblocks so that the experience is as smooth as possible.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is if you will pursue adoption or surrogacy to create your family. There are technically two types of surrogacy – traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate uses her own eggs, and gestational surrogacy, where the intended parents’ or a donors’ egg and sperm are implanted into her uterus via In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The gestational carrier, as she is also called, is not genetically related to the child; this lessens legal and emotional risks. Gestational surrogacy is the most commonly practiced form of surrogacy today, and the only kind ConceiveAbilities and most fertility clinics will facilitate.
While adoption does not provide a genetic link to the parents as surrogacy does, it gives a home to a child who needs a loving parent. There are also two types of adoption: open adoption, which allows for contact and identifying information to be shared between the biological and adoptive parents, and closed adoption, which keeps those details private.
Adoption can be less expensive than surrogacy, though the total costs will vary. Depending on whether you search domestically or internationally or work with a non-profit adoption agency or a private attorney, you can expect a cost anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000.
How much does it cost to use a surrogate mother? This can also vary widely, but an intended parent should be prepared for a minimum of $100,000 for one round of IVF. A single man will also need to factor in the time and cost of an egg donor. Fortunately, there are some discount and refund programs available, including some geared specifically toward military personnel.
More and more states also have insurance programs that mandate infertility benefits, which means costs may be covered to some degree. Those states currently include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia. If you live outside of one of those states, surrogacy is still attainable – it will just require a bit more planning and financing to lessen the monetary burden.
The fact is that because surrogacy is not federally mandated, the legalities vary from state to state – sometimes county to county. Meg Ledebuhr, Director of Legal Services at ConceiveAbilities, is responsible for finding the most talented and experienced attorneys in each state to represent intended parents and surrogates. This ensures that all parties are protected by following the letter of the law wherever they live and where their baby will be born.
Depending on the state, a pre- or post-birth order will be required in addition to the standard legal contract. Some states don’t require a birth order – by operation of the law, if an intended parent has a biological relationship to the baby, all parties have had independent legal counsel, and all statutes are met in the contract, he or she is already considered the legal parent by law.
California and Nevada, for example, require no genetic connection to the child born via gestational carrier. However, if the surrogacy arrangement takes place in a state that automatically triggers an adoption due to the use of donor gamete, a post-birth order will be issued. The Office of Vital Records is often simply looking for hard data, or “the facts of the birth”, so if a single man utilizes an egg donor and gestational carrier, birth records will place the gestational carrier in the data and the post-birth order will change that to reflect the correct parentage.
It is very possible to have a child through surrogacy if you are a single parent – it just may require some additional research and support. At ConceiveAbilities, our careful consideration of your individual needs ensures that the process will go as seamlessly as possible. If you’re ready to learn more about how surrogacy works for a single parent, contact our team for details.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.