The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy

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Gurnee, IL 60031



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Letter To Prospective Surrogate Mothers


Dear Prospective Surrogate Mother:

Thank you for contacting OPTS. We are a national, all-volunteer, educational, networking and referral organization that supports surrogate parenting as an option for building families. Our members include parents, prospective parents, surrogate mothers, professionals in the field of infertility and surrogacy and supporters of reproductive choice around the country. If you do decide to become a surrogate, we hope you'll join OPTS and become a 'voice for choice' in your home state.

There have been approximately 10,000 births via surrogate mothers in this country since the mid 1970's. With infertility on the rise, more couples than ever are facing the prospect of a future without children. For some of these couples, surrogacy may be the only option for a biologically-related child.

Most couples who choose surrogacy have been married a number of years, have had extensive infertility treatment and do not already have children at home.

Most surrogate mothers are married, have children and a job or other means of support. The average surrogate is 25-35 yrs. of age.

If you are thinking about becoming a surrogate, start by talking it over with close family members and friends. It is important that you have support from those close to you.

Decide whether you are interested in pursuing an independent arrangement (possibly with a family member or friend) or would prefer to find the parents through a surrogacy program.

Also consider whether you would be comfortable with Traditional Surrogacy via artificial insemination or Gestational Surrogacy via an embryo transfer. The first option involves using your own egg and the intended father's sperm. With Gestational Surrogacy, one or more embryos will be transferred to you at an IVF lab. These will be created using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or one of the parents and a donated gamete. With this option, more medical preparation is needed for all parties. There is also an increased chance of multiple births.

Consider also whether you would like to meet the intended parents and have an on-going relationship. If so, try to learn all you can about them. Make sure you like them and can see a baby in their home. Don't hesitate to say no if you feel the prospective parents are not right for you to work with.

Before going ahead with any agreements or procedures, talk to everyone you can to find out what would be involved for you. For your protection, make sure all parties obtain legal advice and representation, psychological counseling and medical screening - including full disease-testing - prior to any inseminations or embryo transfers. You'll want to find out how much experience the provider has with the option you are interested in and what their success rates are. You'll also want to consider what your wishes would be about procedures like amniocentesis, embryo reduction or abortion, if medically indicated. Make sure you and the prospective parents are in full agreement about these. And you'll want to be in agreement, also, as to how much contact the parties will have before, during and after the pregnancy. This can be worked into your contract, so everyone is clear what was agreed to. And please make sure that rights of guardianship have been covered in the event that the prospective parents divorce or pass away before the birth.

Also, consider if you would be able to travel for medical appointments and/or to deliver the baby. And if you would be able to appear in court with the parents, if necessary, to help them obtain recognition as the baby's parents.

You'll also want expert legal guidance about contracts and/or compensation. You'll need to know how the laws of your state will affect any agreement you wish to make. This is where an attorney with experience in surrogacy agreements can be particularly helpful. Please be aware also that most IVF clinics require a signed contract between parties, whether or not it would be enforceable.

You will also want to read as much about surrogacy as possible. Two excellent books: Between Strangers by Lori B. Andrews (at the library) and Beyond Infertility-The New Paths to Parenthood by Susan Cooper and Ellen Glazer (at your bookstore).

We would like to wish you all success in helping to build a new family through surrogacy.




2007 OPTS - The Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy