In covering some of the different types of assisted reproductive technology (ART) available to couples and individuals in Pennsylvania looking to grow their family, surrogacy is an important area to explore. For those who may be confused as to what surrogacy entails this post will cover the very broad basics of surrogacy.
At its most basic surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman agrees to become pregnant and to carry a child for the intended parents or parent. The woman who will be carrying the child is referred to as the surrogate (and she is not the intended parent of the child). For some people surrogacy is the only way they can have a child- for example, because they are a same-sex couple, or perhaps they have experienced fertility problems.
There are two types of surrogacy in Pennsylvania, a traditional surrogacy and a gestational surrogacy.
In a traditional surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate is the biological Mother of the child that she will be carrying. This is because the surrogate under a traditional surrogacy arrangement is also the egg donor. It is the surrogate’s own egg that will be fertilized as opposed to a preexisting fertilized egg (embryo) that is not the surrogate’s being implanted into the surrogate’s uterus.
This type of arrangement is often seen where the intended Mother’s egg is unable to be used, or where the intended parents of the child are both men.
In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate’s eggs are not used. The child the surrogate gives birth to will not be biologically related to the surrogate. In this type of arrangement the embryo (fertilized egg) that will be implanted is usually created using the intended father’s sperm and the intended mother’s egg. This allows the child to be genetically related to both of the intended parents and the egg is fertilized outside the womb and is accomplished through a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Today gestational surrogacy is the most popular arrangement. No matter which of the above surrogacy arrangements are right for you and your family it is vital that you enter into a surrogacy agreement with your would-be surrogate before beginning the process of conception. Surrogacy contracts are designed to protect yourself, your child, and the surrogate so that the arrangement can be completed without any major legal or financial hurdles. Contact our office of experienced family law attorneys to set up a consultation to speak to an attorney about surrogacy law in Pennsylvania or to draft a surrogacy agreement.