How does surrogacy work?
“Congratulations, you are now parents”. This announcement was made millions of times around the world in the past year. These millions of smiling and crying babies have made the dreams of men and women come true. Millions of new and exciting lives, destined to change the world. However, there are still so many people who dream of starting a family: heterosexual couples with fertility problems, same-sex male couples, single men and women, all who’s only remaining hope at becoming parents is via surrogacy.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an arrangement, supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant, carry the pregnancy to due term, and give birth to a child or children, all of this for another person or persons, who are or will ultimately become the parent of the child or children. There is Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy.
Gestational Surrogacy takes place when an embryo created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology is implanted in to a surrogate, sometimes referred to as a gestational carrier. Gestational Surrogacy may take a number of forms, but in each form the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate:
- The embryo is created using the intended father’s sperm and the intended mother’s eggs. The resulting child is genetically related to both intended parents.
- The embryo is created using the intended father’s sperm and a donor egg where the donor is not the surrogate. The resulting child is genetically related to the intended father.
- The embryo is created using the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm. The resulting child is genetically related to the intended mother.
- A donor embryo is implanted in a surrogate. Such an embryo may be available when others undergoing IVF have embryos left over, which they donate to others. The resulting child is genetically unrelated to the intended parent(s).
Gestational surrogacy is allowed in various countries including the USA, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, UK and Greece.
Traditional Surrogacy involves natural or artificial insemination of a surrogate. If the intended father’s sperm is used in the insemination, then the resulting child is genetically related to the intended father and genetically related to the surrogate. If donor sperm is used, the resulting child is not genetically related to either intended parent but is genetically related to the surrogate.
The various stages of a surrogacy journey.
The average surrogacy journey is approximately 18 months. In the case of an unsuccessful embryo transfer or miscarriage, the process can naturally take longer.
1. Preparations by Intended Parents:
The Intended Parents may undergo genetic tests if they wish to. Sperm deposits will be done at a local clinic or one of our international partner clinics, depending on the plan you have selected.
2. Choosing an egg donor (if needed):
The Intended Parents can select from a range of donors, all who have passed a meticulous psychological and medical screening process that includes blood tests, a lengthy interview and genetic tests. The donors are mostly anonymous; however, the donor profile will always include regularly updated current photographs.
3. Surrogate matching:
At this stage, the Intended Parents will have the opportunity to meet their surrogate for the first time, either face to face or via a Skype/WhatsApp scheduled video meeting. All surrogates undergo a meticulous psychological and medical screening process. We will always match you with the most suitable surrogate, based on your personal needs and requests. Whilst waiting times for surrogates do vary from country to country, we anticipate you being matched with a surrogate within 3 months.
4. The medical procedure:
There are various medical procedures performed at different stages of a surrogacy journey that all correspond to the needs of the Intended Parents. Some Intended parents will require donor eggs and/or donor sperm, whilst others may use their own frozen embryos. In any case the IVF procedure involves sperm fertilizing an egg to create an embryo. The fertilized egg is developed over 5 days (blastocyst) and then either transferred in to the surrogate or frozen to be used at a later date. It is also possible to perform a Pre-Genetic Screening (PGS) test on the embryo. PGS is recommended as it can detect Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs and many other diseases and defects. Once an embryo has been tested it will be graded and according to the parents’ wishes and the surrogate’s approval, one or two of the highest quality embryos will be transferred to the surrogate. It is important to note that in recent years, fertility specialists recommend transferring only one embryo at a time as there are many risks associated with twin pregnancies.
5. Tracking the pregnancy:
The surrogate shall undergo the standard pregnancy tests in accordance with the protocol commonly used in the country she resides in. Today, there are few differences between pregnancy protocols in the USA Vs Ukraine Vs Georgia Vs Albania. In the USA, Intended Parents will be updated on the progress of the pregnancy directly by their surrogate, whereas in Albania, Georgia and Ukraine the pregnancy test results and any other updates shall be issued to the Intended Parents by a Tammuz representative. The baby is born in either a private or a public hospital.
6. Birth certificate:
The registration of names on the birth certificate varies from country to country. In the USA and Ukraine, both parents’ names are registered on the birth certificate. In Albania, only the biological father’s name is registered, together with the surrogate.
7. Legal process and naturalization:
The legal processes will also vary from country to country. In the USA and Albania, the baby will be entitled to a U.S./Albanian Passport, which then allows the baby to travel home with their parents on a tourist visa. Intended Parents will usually have 90 days to then apply for citizenship by descent in their home country, which in some cases will require a DNA test to be performed. Babies born in Ukraine are not entitled to a Ukranian passport. Therefore, the process of getting out of the country and safely back home can be much longer. Intended Parents are required to apply for citizenship and a passport whilst in Ukraine. This can take up to 8 weeks.
Commercial surrogacy can be a very expensive undertaking and the costs will vary from country to country. We offer Guarantee Plans that cost between USD$115,000 to USD$135,000 in the USA, a range of plans in Ukraine and Georgia ranging from USD$46,500 to USD$61,000 and a plan in Albania that costs 69,000 Euros.