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Becoming a Surrogate

Omega Family Global is possibly the most experienced firm in managing the legal aspects of surrogate use. In 2013 alone, Omega Family Global worked with over 200 intended parents and their surrogates. Our Surrogate Liaison is a four time surrogate herself and has managed over 1500 surrogate mothers.  Why not give the gift of family to those wanting that, but cannot without your help?

California is the globally preferred location for using a surrogate for family completion due to its laws. However, you can be a surrogate even if you do not live in California. Why not contact Omega Family Global and find out if you can help Intended Parents by being a surrogate? Please contact us for more information about being a surrogate. As a courtesy, we provide information on surrogate use in this section of our site. If you want to help Intended Parents and be a surrogate, please read this section and contact us.


Omega Family Global Practices and Principles

  1. Observe and monitor all government (FDA CDC) guidelines.
  2. Follow and observe American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM.org) best practices.
  3. Follow and observe Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART.org) and the National Coalition for Oversight of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (NCOART) best practices.
  4. Monitor and observe the United States Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (http://www.bioethics.gov/).
  5. Guide and shape the United States surrogacy industry by being first in class and on the forefront of establishing best industry practices.
  6. Treat all intended parents with the highest level of integrity, dignity, and respect, regardless of religion or sexual preference.
  7. Absolute honesty in guiding clients through the process. Always being straightforward about costs and best options using the clients needs as the guideline.
  8. Absolute transparency with all clients regarding all steps of the new family creation process.
  9. Only work with FDA monitored and reporting IVF clinics.
  10. Not compromise on deliverables due to cost and deliver only best in class service.
  11. Practice absolute confidentiality with clients.
  12. Operate completely within the laws of California and intended parent jurisdictions.

Surrogate Use: Rationale, Type, and Success Rates

Surrogacy is defined as an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry (gestate) a baby for a couple (Intended Parents) or individual.

Monetary compensation may or may not be involved in surrogacy arrangements. If the surrogate receives compensation beyond the reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses, the arrangement is called commercial surrogacy; otherwise, it is often referred to as altruistic surrogacy.

The legality and costs of surrogacy vary widely between states and countries. However, because California has clear laws in this area, it is the world’s most popular place for surrogacy.


Rationale

In many cases of infertility in male/female couples, the use of a surrogate is the last step on the road to a family after simpler options have been tried. Often the woman has uterine or ovarian health issues, or is past the age of fertility. Intended parents (male/female couple in this case) usually have been through of number of fertility treatments and tests, and have learned, in the end, the woman is not able to gestate a child.

In the case of homosexual males starting a family, a surrogate is obviously needed. In the case of lesbian couples, one can carry a child after artificial insemination, but she is technically not a surrogate because she is one of the intended parents. However, lesbian couples might choose to use a surrogate if needed or desired.

There are two types of surrogates. Each of these will be described along with the rationale for their use.

Gestational or Host Surrogate

The most common type of surrogate normally involves egg donation, in vitro fertilization (combining egg and sperm outside the body), and placement of the fertilized egg intro the surrogate mother. This medical practice falls under the category of assisted reproductive technology (ART) because both sperm and eggs are handled  outside the body (in vitro). The other type of surrogacy is not technically under the umbrella of procedures termed assisted reproductive technology and is addressed later in this section.

A gestational surrogate carries the baby of another couple. Her eggs (genetic material) are not used and she is not related to the newborn.

In these cases of gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with an embryo (fertilized egg which can come about through a number of techniques described in other sections). She carries the baby to term and gives birth. When the egg and sperm are not from this gestational surrogate, the baby’s birth certificate will bear the name of the intended parents and not the surrogate. The laws in California are clear on the matter of the name on the birth certificate. This is just one aspect Omega Family Global (OFG) will manage for the intended parents. The details are described in the legal section under Surrogacy Agreement.

Any Intended Parent couple can use this surrogate option (gestational). In fact, it is by far the most common type of surrogacy. For many reasons, including legal issues, OFG encourages this type of surrogacy. Nonetheless, there are cases where the second type of surrogacy might be a good option (described below).

Description and Procurement of Gestational Surrogates

A typical woman serving as a surrogate is between the ages of 21 and 37, has two children, and more than a high school degree. The majority (over 70%) of these woman are married, and many are employed full time. Agencies that tipically screen and catalog surrogates do not allow women to serve as surrogates for strictly financial gain.

Many of the prime motivators for being a surrogate are listed below:

  1. enjoys being pregnant but does not want a child of her own presently
  2. has a history of easy, uncomplicated pregnancies
  3. has empathy for childless couples and wants to help others
  4. feels having children, theirs of those of others, is important in life
  5. desires an opportunity to make a unique contribution
  6. seeks financial gain for her family

Most gestational surrogates are women who have had their own families and want to help others have children primarily for altruistic reasons and less so for monetary reasons. These women are medically and psychologically screened for their ability to successfully carry a child. They are not people who are economically desperate and have no other means to make money. In fact, women of this profile would not be used. If you are interesed in helping intended parents and being a surrogate, please contact us at info@omegafamilyglobal.com or Dr. Kramer directly at drkramer@omegafamilyglobal.com

Omega Family Global does not provide surrogates, but partners with agencies that are experienced with sourcing surrogates. Because the legal climate is favorable for contracted surrogacy, there are many agencies in California providing pre-screened woman willing to be surrogates. The challenge for intended parents is not finding a surrogate agency, but choosing the correct one. OFG only works with well-established agencies. We assist our client’s with all aspects of selecting a surrogacy agency, managing the legal aspects, and the financial expenses of the gestation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gestational Surrogacy

The primary advantage of gestational surrogacy is that it poses fewer ethical issues and legal problems than a traditional surrogate who has donated the egg and may not want to give the child up at birth because she is genetically related. The primary disadvantage of gestational surrogacy is strictly price.

Success Rate of Gestational Surrogacy

The success rate of gestational surrogacy as a stand-alone medical practice is difficult to measure as it always involves assisted reproductive technology techniques. In general, success rates have been climbing over the past few decades. Nonetheless, some factors known to contribute to the success are listed below:

  • the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant, which is why surrogacy agencies prefer women who have had children
  • the age of the egg donor (if involved); younger women are preferred
  • the success of medical procedures sush as IVF, which varies clinic by clinic
  • the quality of gamete (fertilized egg or embryo) provided by the intended parents (if used)

The most recent data available, published in Fertility and Sterility [Fertil Steril. (link is external) 2007 Jun; 87(6):1253-66.] suggest that following assisted reproductive technology, gestational surrogacy is about 38.7% successful on a single cycle. Data from 385 clinics were collected electronically using the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) Clinic Outcome Reporting System software and were submited to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine/SART Registry. Data reported were all from procedures preformed in 2001. Comparing later reports to earlier ones shows increasing frequency of use of both assisted reproductive and surrogacy, and increased success rates over the years.

Monitoring of Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Success Rates

All assisted reproductive technology cycles performed in United States fertility clinics are reported to Centers for Disease Control (CDC: www.cdc.gov). Partners of the CDC include the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (link is external) (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (link is external) (SART), who are involved in framing the surveillance and research questions and in collecting and reporting data from member clinics. Other important partners who represent consumers of ART and infertility services include RESOLVE (link is external), the American Fertility Association (link is external), and most recently, Fertile Hope. These organizations provide ongoing advice about assisted reproductive technology reporting and its use for public health communications and education.

The CDC posts on their website ART success rates per year for all reporting clinics combined. Simply click on the tab on the upper left to access year. The information can be found here:

http://nccd.cdc.gov/DRH_ART/Apps/NationalSummaryReport.aspx (link is external)

Data on 443 individual fertility clinics in the United States that report treatment results can be downloaded clicking here.

Traditional Surrogacy

In traditional surrogacy, the woman who carries the baby has donated her egg and is biologically related to the child. In these cases sperm can be from a number of sources, which could include one of the intended parents or a donor. In most cases sperm is anonymously donated, from the male of a male/female couple, or from a member of a gay couple. In the case of a lesbian couple a banked sperm might be used, or that of a relative or chosen friend.

A traditional surrogate relinquishes the baby at birth, giving up her parental rights in favor of the intended parents. Because she is genetically related to the child, mothers who are traditional surrogates are often friends or relatives of the parents. This is not a common practice. In fact, under most circumstances, it is discouraged due to legal complications.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy has an advantage of lower costs because third party egg donation is not involved. Technically speaking, traditional surrogacy is not ART because eggs are not handled. Artificial insemination is commonly the only fertility procedure used in this process.

The disanvantage is that the surrogate has donated her egg and may have stronger emotional connections to the newborn because she is genetically related. Legal implications in this type of surrogacy are more complex and a very small percentage (<1%) of women in this example do not want to give up the baby at birth. However, over 99% follow the contractual obligations. The resultant baby will not bear the name of the intended parents and an adoption will be needed to transfer custody of the newborn to the intended parents.

If you are interested in being a surrogate, please contact us.