A woman who allows the usage of her womb for the gestation of an embryo for another couple is called a surrogate. When you hire a surrogate, the woman enters into an agreement called a gestational agreement with this couple that states she is allowing the use of her womb for the couple’s child for compensation.
Due to the laws surrounding surrogacy, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced adoption attorney in Austin, Texas so you know what you’re getting into.
Texas Surrogacy Laws
There are laws for surrogacy in Texas in place that give the intended parents of the child their legal parental rights to their child when they hire a surrogate.
There are two specific parts to the gestational carrier laws that should be familiarized prior to entering into the agreement.
1. The parents of the embryo that is being implanted in the womb of the surrogate have the right to have a written agreement with the surrogate and have the court authenticate that agreement.
2. The agreement can and should state, that the parents of said embryo are the legal parents of the child being born with the help of a surrogate.
The state of Texas also requires insurance companies to provide coverage that helps with the costs of the in vitro fertilization procedures. This is different for every insurance carrier. You will have to check with them on their required procedures to go about using the coverage.
To ensure that the law is on your side when using a surrogate, make sure that you contact an experienced adoption lawyer in Texas. Adoption lawyers are educated in the area of surrogacy and help you with drafting your legal gestational documents.
Cost Breakdown to Hire a Surrogate
Putting it in simple terms, surrogacy is not cheap. The total cost of surrogacy in Texas can run anywhere from $100,000 to $125,000. This includes the fees for the agency who matched the couple with the surrogate, the surrogate’s psychological evaluation, legal consultation fees for the surrogate, management fee for the escrow, and the surrogate’s actual compensation package.
This price does not include the portion of the costs for the in vitro fertilization or the egg recovery process that fall onto the intended parents.
The compensation package for the surrogate starts out at $40,000 for a first-time surrogate plus the additional $350 per month allotment for miscellaneous expenses. For frequent surrogates, the base compensation can be up to $50,000 plus the additional $350 per month allotment for miscellaneous expenses.
Steps of the Surrogacy Process
Research- This is a crucial step in the entire surrogacy plan. Intended parents need to make sure that they know the process of surrogacy and what to look for when acquiring a surrogacy agency.
Applying and Interviewing- Once intended parents have done their research and feel like they have made an adequate decision, they need to fill out an application for surrogacy. Once the application has been reviewed, they will be called in for an interview and the beginning of the background process.
Agency Contract and Escrow- After the background checks have come back and the contract between the agency and the intended parents has been completed. The intended parents will need to open an escrow account for funding the surrogacy.
Surrogate Matching-This is the part of the timeline that is the most flexible due to all of the different variables. During this time the agency will give the intended parents profiles of various surrogates that fit their predetermined criteria. It is important that the intended parents and the surrogate are a good match for the process to go smoothly.
Psychological Evaluation- Intended parents must meet with a licensed therapist to make sure that they understand the entire process of surrogacy and what it is going to entail. This psychological evaluation must be completed prior to being matched with potential surrogates. The first meeting with a matched surrogate will take place in a setting run by a mental health professional.
Surrogate Medical Clearance- Once the surrogate has been chosen, they will be required to see the fertility doctor of the intended parents. This will involve a thorough medical evaluation and the review of previous medical records for the surrogate.
Legal Counsel- The intended parents and the surrogate must draw up legally binding contracts regarding the child. Both parties are responsible for acquiring their own legal counsel.
Beginning Medical Preparation- When the contracts have been finalized between both of the parties, the surrogate can begin the treatment to get her body ready to take on the embryo.
Implantation- Once the 30 day period has passed and the surrogate’s body is ready for the transfer and implantation of the embryo, the fertility doctor will perform the in vitro fertilization procedure. A blood test will be performed about 10 days after the implantation to see if it took.
Establishing Parentage- Around the 16-18 week mark, the intended parents will need to establish their parentage of the fetus legally.
Establish Legal Counsel Before You Hire a Surrogate
It is important for all of the documents in a surrogacy to be free of error. Hiring an adoption attorney in Texas who knows the ins and outs of surrogacy will help you create a legally binding contract to help you create your family.