OPTS - Mission Statement
OPTS is a national,
not-for-profit, all volunteer organization with some international members. We
provide information, support, networking and advocacy for families built through
surrogate parenting. Our members include parents, prospective parents, surrogate
mothers, fertility centers and supporters of reproductive choice in 48 U.S.
states and 5 foreign countries. Established in 1988, OPTS is a well-respected
support and advocacy group...supported by many agencies, clinics, physicians,
attorneys, psychologists and other professionals in the field. We are a
community "voice for choice" on behalf of the one in every six infertile couples
who may need assistance from a surrogate mother to build a family.
OPTS is an independent organization, supported by dues and donations, and is not
run by any particular surrogacy service or practitioner. We offer our support
services to all parents of surrogate-born children regardless of whether they
have gone independently or through an agency.
OPTS functions as a community resource, receiving referral calls from other
organizations and providing speakers for various boards, commissions and groups.
OPTS volunteers receive calls every day from infertile couples and surrogate
mothers seeking information, connection and support.
OPTS publishes an annual newsletter in addition to having a website at
www.opts.com. We also have regional meetings around the country.
OPTS seeks to keep options for the infertile open by advocating and supporting
all alternative birth technologies when used in an ethical manner. However, OPTS
does not function as a Better Business Bureau or licensing or oversight board
and cannot guarantee satisfaction with any particular surrogacy business,
agency, fertility center or internet resource.
There shall be no barrier to membership based on race, religion, sex, ethnic
origin or ancestry.
INFERTILITY AND ADOPTION
It is estimated that one out of every six infertile couples of childbearing age
has suffered the heartbreak of infertility.
Infertility is finally being recognized as a legitimate medical condition. A
number of states now have mandated coverage for infertility treatment.
Adoption can't even begin to fill the needs of the infertile couples who want to
have families. Fifty or more couples wait for every available child.
Surrogacy opponents often wonder why infertile couples don't open their hearts
and homes to "special needs" children waiting for adoption. The fact is that
these children need to be placed in families that have extraordinary resources
(emotionally and financially) to deal with their special needs.
It is unrealistic to attempt to place the burden of care for special needs
children on couples who have already been traumatized by their own "special
ABOUT SURROGATE PARENTING
99% of all surrogate parenting arrangements have been successful. The surrogate
mother feels her life has been enriched by helping an infertile couple, the
couple has a much-wanted child and the child not only has life, but will grow in
the knowledge that he or she was very much wanted, created through loving
Unfortunately, the 1% of problem cases have resulted in some negative
legislation impacting on the right of infertile couples and surrogate mothers to
choose the option.
Some opponents consider surrogacy to be "baby-selling." The facts are that a
genetic father cannot buy his own child. Surrogate mothers are compensated for
their time, work and inconvenience before, during and after the pregnancy. A
child would not exist and the surrogate mother would not conceive the child but
for the desire of the infertile couple to build their family.
There are several types of surrogacy arrangements: Classic (AI) Surrogacy where
the surrogate conceives using her own ovum, Gestational (IVF) Surrogacy where
the ovum comes from the intended mother or Donor Surrogacy, where the egg is
donated by a third party.
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Surrogate parenting is a viable and successful option for infertile couples to
build their family.
Legislation should regulate (not prohibit) surrogacy arrangements, with the
welfare and safety of all involved parties in mind.
Banning surrogacy would stigmatize the thousands of children already in
Banning surrogacy contracts will not stop these arrangements from taking place.
They would continue to occur "underground" without the precautions and
protections afforded by proper professional guidance. This would open the door
to abuse of the parties involved.
Surrogacy arrangements have had an extremely low failure rate (less than 1%) as
compared to adoption (15% failure rate), foster care (25% failure rate) and
marriage (50% failure rate). Yet we do not ban these other arrangements based on
their failure rate.
Infertile couples have a constitutional right to procreate, as all Americans do,
and perhaps even more importantly also have the right to privacy.
Surrogate parenting is a unique and special relationship based on mutual trust
and respect. Infertile couples have no desire to gain their much longed for
family at the expense of another person's well being.
OPTS hopes you'll join us in supporting surrogate parenting. We welcome your
participation and your membership.