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Surrogacy Frequently Asked Questions

Gestational surrogacy allows for the creation and expansion of so many wonderful families each year. It’s a truly exciting journey for intended parents to embark on, especially if they have been trying to conceive for a long time or if they are an LGBTQ+ couple eager to become parents. And for surrogates who want to make that dream come true. Before you begin your surrogacy journey as intended parents or a gestational surrogate, you probably have some questions on your mind about the process. Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma encourages you to reach out to us if you are considering surrogacy, so you get the answers you seek. We are providing this list of frequently asked questions about surrogacy in Oklahoma to provide you with some of these answers and help you get started thinking about what other questions you might want to ask. 

 

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an agreement between a woman (surrogate) and couple or individual (intended parents) in which the surrogate chooses to become pregnant through an embryo transfer (IVF) and carry the resulting pregnancy for the intended parents.

It is recommended that professionals be involved to guide both parties through the medical, legal, and emotional processes of surrogacy.

There are a few different types of surrogacy: gestational vs. traditional, compensated or altruistic, and independent or agency-assisted.

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

Gestational Surrogacy – the family planning option that allows intended parents to have a child who shares a genetic connection to them, and surrogates to help intended parents have a family they couldn’t otherwise have.

 

Gestational Surrogacy vs. Traditional Surrogacy
  • Gestational Surrogacy – See GESTATIONAL SURROGACY definition above
  • Traditional Surrogacy – the family planning option where a surrogate combines her egg with an intended father’s sperm. This establishes the surrogate as the child’s biological mother. Because this, in turn, creates emotional and legal issues, traditional surrogacy has been banned across the US and is no longer recognized as a form of surrogacy.

 

Altruistic Surrogacy vs. Compensated Surrogacy
  • Altruistic Surrogacy – refers to those gestational surrogates who carry for intended parents without any monetary compensation. Oftentimes, the surrogate that is found in an altruistic surrogacy is close to the intended parents they carry for (family member, close friend, etc.)
  • Compensated Surrogacy – also known as “commercial surrogacy,” is generally applied to a surrogate who receives compensation for her services, to some degree, further than medical expenses that occur throughout the pregnancy.
Independent Surrogacy vs. Agency-Assisted Surrogacy
  • Independent Surrogacy is when the intended parents find a surrogate and go through the process of surrogacy without the help of a surrogacy agency.
  • Agency-Assistedis when the intended parents find a surrogate and go through the process of surrogacy with the help of a surrogacy agency.

 

Is surrogacy legal in Oklahoma?

Surrogacy is legal in Oklahoma and the intended parents are permitted to compensate the surrogate for her time and expenses.

Surrogacy is expressly permitted by the new Oklahoma surrogacy legislation enacted in 2019. Pursuant to the new laws, Oklahoma now has standardized processes, procedures and protections in place for those who wish to engage in a surrogacy arrangement.

The Oklahoma Gestational Carrier Act legalized gestational surrogacy and established the framework for such contracts’ enforceability and the conditions in which pre-birth parentage orders are to be granted.

 

Who is a Surrogate?

Surrogate/Surrogate Mother – the woman who carries the baby of the intended parents. Other names she is known by are: gestational surrogate and gestational carrier.

 

Surrogate | Gestational Carrier | Gestational Surrogate

Surrogate or Surrogate Mother – the woman who carries the baby of the intended parents. Other names she is known by are: gestational surrogate and gestational carrier – these terms are often used interchangeably.

A gestational carrier is different from a traditional surrogate. A traditional surrogate is the child’s biological mother, but a gestational surrogate has no relation to the child.

 

How does the surrogate become pregnant?

The surrogate becomes pregnant through the IVF Process – the process in which the surrogate is inseminated with the intended parents’ lab-fertilized embryo, and becomes pregnant with their child. 

FAQs about the IVF Process in Oklahoma

What is an Egg Donor?

If the intended mother can’t provide her own eggs for the IVF, she can use a donor’s eggs. An intended mother may decide to use donated eggs if her own eggs are unhealthy. Gay or single men may also use egg donors, since they can’t provide the eggs themselves.

The egg donor and the surrogate mother are two separate people. The surrogate can’t provide her own eggs, so the intended parents would have to acquire the eggs from elsewhere.

Sperm banks and sperm donors are also available for intended parents who can’t provide sperm for the IVF.

What is an Egg Retrieval?

It’s easy to collect sperm for the IVF, but it takes time to collect the eggs. The intended mother or egg donor will have to undergo surgery to retrieve said eggs.

What is Embryo Transfer?

Following IVF, the embryos are placed inside the surrogate mother in the hopes that at least one will stick. After the transfer is complete, the surrogate will be monitored. Once it is confirmed that she is pregnant, she’ll have to see an obstetrician regularly.

How much are surrogates paid?

Each surrogacy journey is unique and involves many factors that can impact the overall compensation. The average amount of compensation, including expenses, can range from $50,000 to $80,000 depending on experience and the individual arrangements.

What are the requirements to be a surrogate?

Surrogates must live in the U.S. and be U.S. citizens, be between ages 21 and 39, not use drugs, have had one successful pregnancy, and more. Please find all of Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma surrogate requirements here.

Who are Intended Parents?

Intended Parent – the couple or individual seeking to create a family through gestational surrogacy. Intended parents can be: single, married, heterosexual, LGBT, transracial, etc. The intended parents are the child’s (or children’s) biological parents. They are the people the surrogate mother is working for.

 

What is Surrogacy Matching?

Surrogacy agencies, like Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma, interview both the surrogate and the intended parents before introducing them to each other. They match surrogates with intended parents based on their desires and preferences. For example, if a surrogate mother is passionate about helping members of the LGBT community, she may be paired with an LGBT couple or individual.

What are the requirements to be intended parents?

Intended parents must complete a background check, have the financial means to support a surrogacy journey, have a clean criminal history, and more. Please visit here for a full list of requirements with Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma.

Can a surrogate mother decide to keep the baby?

No. While it is true that surrogates have rights, the right to choose to keep the baby is not one of them. The surrogate cannot claim to be the legal mother once legal parenthood has been established. Surrogacy laws can change and vary by state. 

Documents that establish the intended parents are typically signed early in the pregnancy to protect the parents and protect the surrogate from legal or medical responsibilities regarding the child. However, since the surrogate can technically change her mind at any point before those documents are signed, it is in everyone’s best interest to do it as soon as possible.

 

Has a surrogate ever decided she wants custody of the baby?

Although very rare, there are cases where a surrogate wanted to take custody of the baby. However, in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother has no parental rights of the baby. The legalities of parental rights are made clear before the surrogacy pregnancy even begins. 

 

What disqualifies me from being a surrogate?

If you’re working with a surrogate agency, each one will have its list of guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Here is a list of a few things that could disqualify you from becoming a surrogate in Oklahoma. 

  • If you are a smoker or live in a household with someone that smokes
  • Have any sexually transmitted diseases
  • Have a history of or on medication for mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, etc. This includes problems with postpartum depression.
  • Have substance abuse issues with drugs or alcohol
  • If you are receiving public assistance like Food Stamps or Medicaid.
  • Have never had at least one healthy pregnancy
  • If you have gotten a piercing, tattoo, or had a blood transfusion within 12 months before the application

There are other requirements and disqualifiers, such as age, body mass index (BM), citizenship, and others that your agencies can discuss with you at the time of application. 

 

What is the success rate of surrogacy?

According to the CDC, surrogacy success rates in IVF clinics in the United States are around 75%. The success rate for a healthy birth is as high as 95% once the surrogate is pregnant.

 

Does a surrogate mother share blood with the baby?

Although unlikely, according to new research, cells can now cross the placental barrier and introduce the surrogate’s DNA to the baby. However, there isn’t enough DNA passing through the placenta to affect the child. 

When it comes to literal blood sharing, oxygen, nutrients, and blood are passed through the umbilical cord, so technically, yes, the mother and baby share blood. 

 

What are the risks of surrogacy?

As with any medical procedure, becoming a surrogate can have risks and side effects. In general, the risks of surrogacy are the same as with any pregnancy: gestational diabetes, hypertension, damage to organs or muscles, and miscarriages. 

 

Does the location of the surrogacy agency matter?

In short, no. It would be helpful to be close to the location of the surrogacy agency for convenience reasons, getting better local assistance, etc., but it’s not a requirement. 

 

Can my husband's sister be our surrogate?

While surrogacy laws differ by state, you can usually pursue gestational surrogacy for a family member or a friend as long as they meet the requirements for surrogacy.

 

Can my husband's mom be our surrogate?

Possible age disqualification aside, some agencies will not allow married women to become surrogates without certain hoops to jump through. For example, the husband will most likely have to go through a psych evaluation and give written consent. Ask your agency what their requirements are for surrogates and if age or marital status would hinder them.

 

Can my sister be our surrogate?

As long as she meets all of the requirements for surrogacy by the agency, then yes. Any family member within the guidelines can become a surrogate.

 

Can My Mother be Our Surrogate in Oklahoma?

When you work with Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma, we require surrogates to be between the ages of 21 and 39. In that case, you would likely not be able to rely on your mother to act as a surrogate. The purpose of this requirement is to minimize any pregnancy risks that come with age.  

 

Do Babies Look Like the Surrogate Mother?

When you pursue gestational surrogacy, you can expect the baby to not look like the surrogate. This is because the gestational surrogate does not provide any of her own eggs for fertilization and implantation. However, in traditional surrogacy, the baby would resemble the surrogate since traditional surrogacy involves the surrogate using her egg for fertilization. In that case, she would be the biological mother of the child. Due to the various legal issues that traditional surrogacy gives rise to, it is largely banned in the United States. 

 

Does a Surrogate Mother Share DNA with the Baby?

A gestational surrogate does not share any DNA with the baby since her egg was not used to create an embryo. Rather, the intended parents use their sperm and eggs to create embryos for transfer into the surrogate’s uterus. In some cases, one or more intended parents may not be able to provide sperm or eggs for fertilization, and they will have to rely on a sperm or egg donor.

 

Is It Cheaper to Adopt or Have a Surrogate in Oklahoma?

In general, adoption is more affordable than surrogacy, although both options can be expensive. Surrogacy can cost well above $100,000, whereas adoption can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to around $50,000. Surrogacy expenses are generally much higher because they cover various medical procedures and treatments, legal and professional fees, and financial compensation for surrogates. With adoption, the adoptive parents may help cover a birth mother’s medical expenses or other living expenses under certain circumstances. There are cases in which a surrogate opts for altruistic surrogacy, which entails the surrogate not receiving any monetary compensation. 

Cost isn’t the only factor you should consider when deciding between surrogacy and adoption. You should also think about how important it is for you to weigh the pros and cons of each option. For some people, it’s very important them to have a biological child. This is perfectly valid. 

 

Should I Buy My Surrogate a Gift?

It is entirely up to you whether you give your surrogate a gift. Many surrogates develop a strong relationship with the intended parents, so gift-giving is common. Perhaps you want to make something for her if you’re creatively inclined. Maybe you give her something to commemorate your surrogacy journey, such as a photo album. Or perhaps you give her something that will make her recovery process go more smoothly. In any case, giving your surrogate a gift is a wonderful gesture to let her know how grateful you are for her selfless commitment.

 

How Many Times Can a Woman be a Surrogate?

It’s completely possible to be a gestational surrogate multiple times. Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma does not define the maximum number of surrogate pregnancies a woman may have in our list of surrogate requirements. The only pregnancy requirements that we have for gestational surrogates are that they have had at least one healthy pregnancy and delivery and that no previous pregnancies or deliveries had any complications. 

 

What Medications Will I Have to Take as a Gestational Surrogate?

The specific medications you will take as a gestational surrogate will ultimately depend on what the fertility requires. Generally, you can expect to take some form of birth control or other hormonal medications containing progesterone and estrogen to regulate your cycle and prepare your body for implantation. You will also likely go on prenatal vitamins to maximize your health prior to implantation. The medications may be taken orally or via injection, depending on what the fertility clinic offers and what works best for your body. 

 

Can I Use My Previous OB/GYN for My Surrogacy Pregnancy?

It is possible to use your previous OB/GYN for your surrogacy pregnancy if they are covered under the medical insurance plan. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, it’s typical for the surrogate to receive care from the OB/GYN she used during her previous pregnancies. The surrogacy contract that you sign will likely address whether you will be able to use your routine OB/GYN during your pregnancy.

 

How Will We Become the Legal Parents of Our Child?

When you pursue gestational surrogacy, the surrogate understands that she will not have any parental rights to the child. Even though she is carrying the child, she is not a biological parent, so you don’t have to worry that she will want to keep the baby after she gives birth. If she was a traditional surrogate, she would be the biological mother, making the legal situation more complicated. Because of this, Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma only offer services for gestational surrogacy. 

 

Why is BMI Important When Becoming a Surrogate?

While BMI does not provide a full picture of someone’s health, it can be a useful tool in conjunction with other methods of evaluating overall health. At Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma, we want to minimize a surrogate’s risk for developing any health complications during her pregnancy so that she and the baby are safe and healthy. If a woman is overweight according to her BMI, the surrogate is at increased risk for issues such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, and blood clots. 

 

What Other Questions Do You Have about Surrogacy in Oklahoma?

The more questions you ask before pursuing surrogacy, the more information you will receive and the better prepared you will be for the surrogacy process. For both intended parents and prospective surrogates, being fully informed is key to a successful surrogacy journey. If you are ready to begin your surrogacy journey, reach out to Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma today so we can answer all your questions and ensure that you get the most out of your experience. 

 

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