Welcome to Coastal Surrogacy!
Thank you for your interest in our Surrogacy Program. Each year, approximately fifty percent of our clientele are from countries outside the US. To date, we have helped numerous clients from Asia, Australia, Canada, seven different European Countries, Mexico and South America in successfully achieving their dream of becoming a parent through surrogacy. We understand the challenges and concerns you face when choosing the option of surrogate parenting abroad. The process can be difficult to navigate, often intimidating and very costly. Where do you begin, who do you trust, how do you know you are working with reputable professionals? If you have asked these questions, you are not alone.
We offer an individualized approach to international clients seeking to become parents through surrogacy. We realize our clients living abroad have very different needs and requirements than our US based clientele. Sensitivity to culturally diverse backgrounds, communication assistance due to language differences, and the difficulty to fully participate in the surrogacy arrangement due to distance, are just some of the reasons why it is important to customize a plan that appropriately addresses your specific needs. We provide our clients with on-going support from pre-conception to departure home with your child through our highly experienced company staff as well as the distinguished professionals in the medical, legal, and psychological communities, whom we have worked with for many years and fully trust to look out for our clients’ best interest. A successful surrogacy arrangement is truly a team effort. We are committed to providing you all the services you will need to ensure a wonderful experience.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy involves the act of one woman carrying a child for another. There are other terms or variations for different types of surrogacy. Generally, there are two types: “gestational” (the surrogate has no biological relationship to the child and is only acting as the “host womb”) and “traditional” (the surrogate’s own egg/ovum is being utilized to create the child, thus introducing a direct biological relationship with the woman carrying the baby).
With “commercial surrogacy,” the surrogate mother is introduced to the intended parents through a third party: an agency, attorney, medical office, etc. The surrogate does not know the couple or individual and is most likely to be compensated for her participation in the surrogacy process.
In an “independent surrogacy” arrangement, the specific contractual terms and obligations are made directly between the intended parents and the surrogate without the involvement of a third-party representative. In many of these cases, the people find each other on surrogacy websites or through other means of advertisement.
In a “known surrogacy” or “directed surrogacy” arrangement, the surrogate is a friend or relative - someone known by the intended parents. This type of arrangement may be referred to as an “altruistic surrogacy” arrangement if no financial contribution is involved.
Why does someone choose to become a Surrogate Mother?
A woman who chooses to become a surrogate mother has had successful and uncomplicated pregnancies of her own and may have known someone - perhaps a close friend or family member - who has struggled with infertility. Above all, she feels strongly about helping others experience the joy of having a family of their own. Her intention is usually unselfish and not motivated by money.
The surrogate candidate should possess several requirements: an excellent health record, successful pregnancy and birth history, and no record of criminal activity or drug use. She should have a genuine compassion and empathy for the intended parents’ situation. She also should be free of psychological issues (determined via screening by a mental health professional) and be financially secure - not using any financial compensation for day-to-day expenses or receiving any state or federal aid (welfare). A good support system from the surrogate’s husband, family and friends will provide her with emotional well-being, and be a resource to help her should she need assistance with her own children or other complications arise.
What is involved?
The keys to a successful result include a well-thought-out plan, education about relevant surrogacy laws and the assistance of knowledgeable professionals in the fertility industry. Many people are involved whose expertise will be needed through every step of the way: a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist), surrogacy agency and/or egg donor agency, mental health professionals (psychologist/therapists), attorneys, obstetricians and hospital staff - each of whom plays a vital role in the outcome of your surrogacy arrangement.
We recognize frequent travel to Californiafor your surrogacy arrangement is unrealistic. We will extend every accommodation to you to limit the number of trips to California, quite often our client’s only need to travel to California twice. We work hard to accomplish as much as possible before your arrival through email, phone communication and Skype communication so that when you arrive we will maximize your time in California to accommodate all the necessary meetings with our office, selected surrogate candidates, meeting with the reproductive physician, mental health professional and attorney. Most of this can be accomplished in a three-five day trip. We have developed and practice a successful protocol to meet the needs of both our international parents and their surrogates so that everyone feels fulfilled in their surrogacy journey despite the distance.
Is Surrogacy right for you?
Here’s a typical case: The Intended Mother has exhausted all efforts to conceive a child or is unable to carry one to term. She may have a uterine health condition, such as fibroids or uterine scarring. She may have undergone a hysterectomy or cancer treatment. Or, she may suffer from any number of other conditions wherein pregnancy is considered dangerous to her health or not possible. It is also an ideal option for same-sex couples, single intended fathers or when a woman is no longer of child-bearing age. In these cases, surrogacy can be a viable choice.
For some, adoption is either not an option or the adoption process is too daunting or has been unsuccessful. Although adoption is a more commonly considered route, prospective parents often don’t know the birth mother or birth father’s past or their family medical or hereditary history. With a surrogate birth, medical screening and care begins prior to the pregnancy, and everyone is on far more solid footing from the very beginning because you are working together with your surrogate as a team to create this child.
The costs involved in an overseas commercial surrogacy arrangement can widely vary by each Country where surrogacy is legally recognized (United States, South Africa, Thailand, India and the Ukraine) and/ or by individual arrangement. Exploring your options, and understanding the industry standards for expected costs such as agency fees, compensation for surrogates, legal fees, psychological testing and medical procedure related fees will help you to determine if this is financially possible for you. In the US, the average cost for a surrogacy arrangement will run between $75,000-$125,000 USD. It is imperative if you are considering several potential countries for your surrogacy arrangement to do your research and consult with reputable professionals regarding what you will need to plan for financially. An experienced, trustworthy surrogacy agency/professional will help you financially prepare for both the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Become familiar with not only the anticipated fees but also the possibility for complications, medical expenses related to the child (here in the US there are very limited insurance options available to foreign clients), extensive delays and travel expenses including the costs for an extended stay for either the necessary medical procedures involved or the birth of your child. We also advise you to watch the changes to the exchange rate in your countries’ currency and take advantage of the market while conditions are good. You may be able to establish a US bank account to transfer funds to while the exchange rate is optimal which could afford you the ability to stretch your dollar further.
It is important that anyone considering surrogate parenting be emotionally prepared for the process. Honesty, trust and communication are top priorities for a successful surrogacy arrangement. You should know from the onset what your expectations are of this process. This is important to communicate to your surrogate upfront and understand what expectations she has of you and what you are able and/or willing to commit to. There is always potential for situations to arise that are beyond anyone’s control, such as the timing of the process or multiple IVF cycles or pregnancy complications etc. Just as you may have fears or concerns about this process, surrogates naturally do too. If you are a prospective mother, are you at peace with the idea of another woman carrying a child for you? If you are not fully ready for these possible scenarios, this could pose serious emotional consequences to you, your surrogate and the child. The assistance of a therapist or psychologist experienced with counseling those dealing with infertility and surrogacy can be a valuable asset. You may be prepared for the emotional aspects, but a mental health professional specializing in this field can also help you deal with unforeseen stressors. Most fertility offices and surrogacy agencies require the Intended Parents to undergo psychological counseling before beginning the process.
Will the Surrogate keep my baby? In general, this is not typical and has rarely occurred in California’s surrogacy history. In the United States, only a small number of cases have been reported where the surrogate desires to keep the baby and these cases are often in States where surrogacy is not legally recognized providing the Intended Parents very little legal standing. Surrogates often have similar fears or concerns of the Intended Parents, such as the Parents changing their mind and/or not returning to the US to take their baby home or not upholding their financial responsibilities. This process must be based on mutual trust and understanding.
Surrogate Mothers are being exploited? Speaking from personal experience based on over fifteen years in this industry, I can attest that no surrogate mother I have ever been in involved with has been exploited or mistreated. Women in California or other areas of the United States who decide to become a surrogate mother have given great thought and researched surrogacy often for many years before making their decision to help someone in this capacity. Their desire to help a couple achieve a family of their own is a means for these Surrogate Mothers to give back to society in their own unique way. It is a very selfless act which, these women partake in freely and voluntarily. Unlike other countries which offer commercial surrogacy overseas, US based surrogate mothers are required to be financially stable, emotionally supported by their family and peers and undergo extensive background and psychological screening and counseling. Because, there is very little social stigma associated with this process, Surrogate mothers are proud to be a part of something very special and society generally views them as extraordinary human beings.
Why choose California?
California has a reputation for having the most technologically superior medical care for assisted reproductive/fertility related treatment in the world. Available fertility treatment options include cutting edge genetic testing, gender selection options and the highest pregnancy success rates. As a “surrogate friendly” state, California also provides a strong legal and social setting very positive for this process. We know in many countries, legally or socially, surrogacy presents significant challenges making this option not possible for most. California is one of the most desirable states in the US and worldwide to pursue surrogacy. Most international clients find their surrogacy experience in California to be very welcoming and supportive.
California Law and Surrogacy
Although surrogacy remains unregulated in the United States, California provides one of the most favorable legal climates in the U.S. for surrogacy. California is accepting of surrogacy arrangements which include married and unmarried heterosexual couples, gay couples, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples and individuals, single parents (women and men) and international individuals and couples (no residency restrictions). While California has no statute directly addressing surrogacy, California’s courts have utilized the state’s Uniform Parentage Act to interpret cases concerning surrogacy agreements. One of the most significant surrogacy cases in California history and the United States is Supreme Court decision, Johnson v. Calvert. To this day, California Court rulings such as Johnson v. Calvert and In re Marriage of Buzzanca have continued to set the legal precedent in recognizing the establishment of parental rights in surrogacy cases and confirming the validity of surrogacy contracts in the state. Through California case law and when the intent (“who created this child”) is clearly indicated, Intended Parents have prevailed.