The Benefits of Professional Support During Surrogacy

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by Simple Surrogacy No Comments


Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most unique and complex experiences a woman can undergo in her lifetime. Bearing this in mind, we are committed to ensuring our surrogates are surrounded by those that can provide them with the empathy and understanding they need to comfortably accommodate the physical and psychological changes in their bodies. In fact, Simple Surrogacy is spearheaded by a number of women who have undergone the surrogacy process themselves and can claim an intimate familiarity with what our current and prospective surrogates are experiencing.

The old saying stressing the need to “walk a mile” in someone’s shoes before you can gain a true understanding of their experiences is one we are committed to transitioning from theory to practice. Each of our surrogates enjoys the 24-hour support of a coordinator that was also once a surrogate. We understand pregnancy brings with it a myriad of emotions, some of which can be overwhelming or even downright negative. In fact, women can experience anything ranging from a sense of anxiety and fatigue, to feelings of joy and excitement.

For these reasons, the need for emotional support during the pregnancy period is crucial. Intended parents can certainly provide a large degree of support, as their relationship with the surrogate mother should involve open and consistent communication. With success, the surrogate mother will feel as if the intended parents are sharing the experience with her every step of the way—from helping her through the rough patches to providing companionship during doctor’s visits.

However, this ideal model of the relationship between surrogate mothers and intended parents, while strongly encouraged, may not always pan out as expected. Hence, the presence of a dedicated coordinator with an intimate understanding of all the ups, downs, and in-betweens surrogate mothers may find themselves facing may be essential for the mental and, by extension, physical well-being of the surrogate mother in question. The benefit that comes with finding a sympathetic ear that is both willing to listen to your trials, and capable of lending a few words of wisdom born of experience when needed is undeniable.

With pregnancy, the ups and downs will always come with the territory regardless of circumstance. With Simple Surrogacy, surrogate mothers and intended parents can both rest assured knowing they will have the support they’ll need every step of the way.

Visit us today to learn more about how our professional coordinators can support you throughout your surrogacy journey.

European Gay Men – Second Annual Conference on Parenting Options

Posted on: July 29th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

european gay men parenting options

Simple Surrogacy is proud to announce we will be traveling to Brussels on September 24th and 25th with Men Having Babies for the Second Annual Conference on Parenting Options for European Gay Men.

Across the majority of Europe, gay men who want to become fathers face serious legal, cultural, and financial obstacles. Nonprofit organization Man Having Babies is dedicating itself to helping gay men become parents. Helping more than 4500 future and current gay parents worldwide, the organization has begun hosting conferences to help applicants from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and the UK become part of the Gay Parenting Assistance Program.

Since 2005, Men Having Babies’ monthly workshops and annual NY Men Having Babies seminar has provided hundreds of gay men an overview of surrogacy by experts. Since 2012, Men Having Babies has taken this initiative worldwide in conjunction with LGBT parenting associations to Barcelona, Paris, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas. More than 1000 intended parents have participated in events worldwide. It is the mecca for unbiased information across a wide range of providers, connecting and creating soon-to-be-families.

The 2016 Brussels conference will be offering advice from surrogates and gay surrogacy parents to for those looking to find a wealth of information. Simple Surrogacy has been invited to this conference, and we are proud to offer our experiences with all those who have questions.

Brussels is set to be the most comprehensive conference dedicated to gay men who want to have children, and Simple Surrogacy is ecstatic to help. We will be among a wide range of relevant service providers.

The venue will be larger, and the conference longer since demand last year was so high. The event is expected to bring together community activists, medical and legal experts, parents, surrogate mothers, and soon-to-be-parents.  Several workshops and panels will be provided, giving peer advice regarding surrogacy and adoption of children from the USA, finding and picking professionals to help in the process, and information about financial assistance. 

Gay families will learn about the ethical and societal implications of the parenting options gay men face, hear personal stories, and will receive an overview of surrogacy and adoption options in the USA. The conference will help attendees plan their parenting journey, starting with picking providers and budgets, and understand financial assistance options that are available.

Conference attendees will be eligible for 25-40% discount on accommodations at the Hilton Brussels Grand Place, and will be able to book private consultations with clinics and agencies coming to the conference. Although this conference is organized by gay parenting organizations, non-gay prospective parents are welcome and may also highly benefit from the information at this event.

Zika Virus Explained

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

zika virus explained

Zika Virus has, understandably, become a growing concern for families worldwide. The Olympic Games happening in Rio this summer is bringing a lot of attention to the frightening virus, with news outlets reporting fears for athletes, reporters, and tourists alike to the potential exposure they face traveling to Brazil.

The virus quickly migrated to other parts of the world, causing families to worry for the potential issues that may develop facing the disease. The virus is found in some parts of the United States and has become endemic worldwide.  The World Health Organization (WHO) declared issues surrounding the virus as a global public health emergency—bringing light to the problem and assuring the world that developments in science toward the prevention and vaccination of this disease are underway.

There is a lot of information people aren’t aware of when it comes to the mosquito-borne illness; and while even more that is unknown about the infection itself, but we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of facts regarding the virus, and what you can do to keep you and your family safe.

  1. What is Zika? Why is it so serious?

The Zika Virus derives from the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, dengue and chikungunya. Unlike those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.

The reason the virus is demanding attention is because of its alarming connection to microcephaly, a neurological disorder that affects babies being born, causing abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains, resulting in severe developmental issues and sometimes death. The virus, previously unseen in the Western hemisphere, is unwanted and has health professionals concerned.

  1. Where is the Zika Virus now? How is it spread?

The virus spread throughout much, if not all, of the Americas save for Canada and Chile, where the temperatures are too cold for the mosquitoes carrying the virus to survive.

This does mean the virus has traveled to the United States, and while the mosquitoes carrying the disease are able to survive in the hot weather, some concerns may be relieved when winter comes around and the temperatures drop below what the mosquitoes need to survive.

Zika is spread through mosquito bites: a mosquito may bite an infected person, and spread the infection to the next person they bite. The mosquitoes carrying the Zika Virus prefer daytime over dusk-to-dawn, so be cautious of when you are outside to prevent bites.

The virus can stay in your blood for about a week and generally leaves the body within two. This means someone, even if they don’t show symptoms, may spread the virus. It’s best, especially if you’ve traveled and don’t know if you have the virus or not, to avoid mosquitoes by taking necessary precautions.

While mosquitoes carrying the virus are a concern, there is equal potential of transmitting the infections through sexual intercourse.  Pregnant women should not travel to any area with Zika, and women trying to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before traveling, or before their male partner travels. Those traveling to areas with Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

  1. What can I do to protect myself against Zika?

You can protect yourself from Zika the way you would from any other mosquito bite: wear long pants, long sleeve shirts thick enough to prevent mosquito bites, stay indoors, use air conditioning when possible, use screen doors or netting to keep mosquitoes away, clear any standing bodies of water or empty items that hold water like flower pots, bird baths or buckets, and use mosquito repellent.

When using mosquito repellent, make sure it is EPA-approved, and worn over sunscreen. Consumer Report’s top picks for mosquito repellent are:

  • Sawyer Picaridin 
  • Ben’s 30% DEET Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula 
  • Repel Lemon Eucalyptus 

If you’re using mosquito repellent on children, make sure DEET is its main active ingredient, as ingredients like lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin are not suitable for children under 3. Do not use repellent on children younger than 2 months, instead opting for covering them in light clothing, and surrounding their carrier with netting. Be sure to follow product instructions, and re-apply repellent every hour.

In terms of protection during sexual activity: Be active in your prevention. Zika can be transferred during sex with a male partner before his symptoms start, while he has symptoms, and after his symptoms end. It is unknown how long Zika can staying the infected semen of men or for how long it can be transferred to partners. It can be passed from a man to a woman in all forms of sex, oral included, but it is unknown if an infected woman can pass it to a man.

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly, so be sure to use a condom from start to finish of all sexual activity, oral sex included, or abstain from sex during your pregnancy.  

  1. What is being done to stop Zika?

CDC and private companies are all working to develop tests that accurately detect Zika virus, medication to treat symptoms, and a vaccine to prevent infection altogether. Finding answers in dealing with Zika is a priority and development is progressing as quickly as standards will allow. Learning about Zika, its effects, and how to fight it are of huge importance and it is taking precedence due to its quickly growing status.

  1. I think I may have Zika. What should I do?

Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Symptoms are usually mild and last several days to a week. Symptoms are often not severe enough for people experiencing symptoms to go to the hospital. For this reason, many people may not realize they have been infected.

Zika can stay in the blood of an infected person for about a week. See your doctor or healthcare provider if you develop symptoms and you live or have recently traveled to an area with Zika. Your doctor may order blood tests. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or who are planning on becoming pregnant.

– – –

To help ease your mind, think of it this way: you’ll prevent contracting Zika in the same way you’d prevent contracting West Nile in Wyoming – stay active in preventing your exposure to mosquito bites and see your doctor if you have any concerns about having contracted the virus.

It is important to know that once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. Keep your awareness on staying safe and continue enjoying the warm weather as you otherwise would.



Restrictions on Surrogacy Often Leave Hopeful Parents Looking Towards International Surrogacy

Posted on: July 21st, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

Legal restrictions on surrogacy often leave hopeful parents looking towards international surrogacy.

As young adults, many people look forward to having children of their own, and all the joy that comes with a new baby. For some, however, this is not an option. Some couples cannot conceive their own children because of medical issues, while others may not be able to have their own children because of sexual orientation. Whatever the case may be, many couples still dream of having children.  

Being able to raise a child of your own can bring great happiness and joy into your life, a joy which every person who desires it, should be able to obtain.

Many couples who cannot have children of their own often turn to surrogacy. Surrogacy, however, is banned in many countries, like Australia, France, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and others.

Unfortunately, many developing countries are at the top of the list for hopeful parents, because of the reduced costs.  Developing countries may not be able to offer your surrogate and your baby the best healthcare, or the country may work against you in obtaining parental rights to your child. An article about surrogacy in Cambodia suggested some surrogate mothers in developing nations could be part of human trafficking.

India used to be the top choice for low cost surrogacy, and has now banned foreign surrogacy. Mexico, Thailand and Nepal have all been at the top of the list at some point or another. Subsequently, each of these countries have now banned foreign surrogacy.

At Simple Surrogacy, the process of international surrogacy has been made much easier, and safer. Based in the United States, with many states that support gestational surrogacy, Simple Surrogacy can ensure that intended parents will not have any problems attaining the parental rights to their child.

We work with many clinics around the country, and can offer discounted rates. With a list of doctors and clinics on hand, we can assure your surrogate and baby will receive the best care possible.

Surrogacy is also more openly supported in the United States, opposed to developing nations—meaning your surrogate will be supported and safe within her community.

With Simple Surrogacy, you get to be a part of your baby’s life right from the beginning. You will need to come to the United States for your initial screening, meeting your surrogate, the 20-week ultrasound and of course, the birth of your baby. Simple Surrogacy will work with you to get your baby’s birth certificate and U.S. passport for international travel.

Simple Surrogacy will allow you peace of mind, knowing your surrogate and baby are in the best of care.

restrictions on surrogacy

Two of our Dads speak about Gay Surrogacy at MHB Dallas

Posted on: June 24th, 2016 by Simple Surrogacy No Comments

We were proud to attend Men Having Babies Dallas this past weekend, where two different sets of our Fathers were asked to speak about their experiences. Here are Michael and Shawn Weston, who had twins through our program three years ago.

DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

Michael Wetson and his husband Shawn had been together 10 years before they had their children.

“We waited until it was safe and reasonable,” Wetson said.

They considered adopting, but they were in their 40s and didn’t want to possibly spend years taking in fosters — and then losing them — until a child was available to adopt. So they found an agency in Dallas that connected them with an anonymous egg donor and a surrogate to carry the fetuses.

They thought of having one of their sisters as the egg donor, but Wetson said they were too old. They considered other possibilities before choosing an anonymous donor.

Once the two men decided which of them would be the biological father, they looked for a complimentary egg donor — someone with physical attributes and interests similar to those of the non-biological father. They chose a younger donor, a college student, because that increases the chances of viability on an earlier try.

*They Chose Dallas Texas Based Simple Surrogacy as their Agency*

Two fertilized eggs were implanted and the Wetsons had twins — a boy and a girl.

“One looks like one of us and one looks like the other,” Wetson said. “It’s just the way it happened.

Before the children were born, the couple decided to change their name. Michael’s was Wetter and his husband’s was Thompson. They combined them to form Wetson. Michael Wetson said changing their names so that they’d have one family name was a harder decision than whether to have children.

Although their children were born before marriage equality came to Texas, the Wetsons went to court in Dallas County and received a second-parent pre-birth order — the first issued in Dallas and possibly the first in Texas.

“We went to the hospital with a legal document saying we were the legal parents before they were born,” Michael Wetson said.

They did a DNA test ahead of the birth to prove which of them was the biological father and to prove that the surrogate mother was not related to the children.

The original birth certificate only listed the biological dad, but after the marriage equality ruling last year, the Wetsons added the second father to the document.

“Surrogacy laws are very good in Texas for married couples,” Michael Wetson said.

Michael Wetson said his children are amazing and that parenthood has “given me great appreciation for my parents.” He said he expected surrogacy to be expensive, but what’s shocked him is the cost of daycare.

He and his husband have been surprised less by an increase in expenses and more by a shift in spending. Rather than spending money on going out to dinner, they spend money on diapers and formula.

They haven’t encountered any discrimination as two dads raising twins in the suburbs, but they’ve also avoided potential problems. One pediatrician they interviewed might not be as welcoming of children with two dads so they chose another, and their list of possible preschools didn’t include any religious schools.

They’ve heard people say, “Oh, it must be mom’s day off,” when they’ve seen the men out with their children.

Michael Wetson will be featured on a panel during an all-day conference on Sunday, June 19 organized by Men Having Babies. A.J. Edge, with Men Having Babies, said the conference is designed for all men thinking of starting a family. In addition to men who have started their families through surrogacy, informational resources from 25 providers will be on hand to discuss the process and answer questions.

Among the issues they’ll explore is whether to use a known or anonymous egg donor and the advantages of each.

Cost can be the prohibitive factor for male couples who want to become fathers, but Edge said Men Having Babies encourages cost-saving best practices. There’s even an assistance program, discounts, pro bono services and cash grants available.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.

Surrogacy Benefits: What Can It Do for Your Family?

Posted on: June 13th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

Medical advancements over the course of the last three decades have been significant, with the successful completion of the first gestational surrogacy in 1985 representing one of many commendable accomplishments. In the United States alone, an estimated average of nine children per state are born through surrogacy each year. Surrogacy benefits are endless, ranging from its ability to provide an alternative for modern families to its notably high success rate.

Surrogacy provides gay and lesbian families with an alternative avenue which they can experience their dreams of parenthood. In fact, more same-sex couples are turning to gay surrogacy as the ultimate solution.  Those who choose Simple Surrogacy will find that our gay surrogacy process is extremely similar to our heterosexual process. In this sense, we ensure gay and lesbian families can enjoy the benefits of surrogacy just as much as their heterosexual counterparts. However, despite our commitment to providing every client with the same standard of quality service, Simple Surrogacy is equally committed to ensuring each of them is provided with an experience which is tailored to their individual needs. Hence, gay and lesbian families can expect an environment that is warm, welcoming, and cognizant of the LGBT community’s parenting needs.

surrogacy benefits

In addition to gay and lesbian couples, aspiring mothers and fathers of heterosexual relationships can easily enjoy the benefits of surrogacy as well. Various medical conditions including hormone imbalances, ovarian tumors or cysts, damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus and many more can lead to female infertility. Likewise, conditions that cause deficiencies in the semen can lead to infertility among men. In fact, infertility is a condition affecting approximately one in six couples. With a success rate that leaves most intended parents with a child of their own, surrogacy provides a viable option for couples who may suffer from infertility.

With affordable pricing and our commitment to providing consistent, quality service, surrogacy benefits are magnified with Simple Surrogacy. The Texas Advantage,  which is a direct result of operating in a state which is void of state income tax, allows us to provide clients with services they need at a relatively low cost. Furthermore, clients need not fear that lower pricing will come at the expense of experiencing quality service, as our dedicated coordinators are committed to addressing any questions or concerns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Simple Surrogacy is proud to have helped many intended parents realize the benefits of surrogacy. Call us today, and let us guide you through your journey of parenthood!


Becoming a Surrogate: The Physical Requirements

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

Becoming a surrogate is a decision which should be considered with the utmost care. The benefits are substantial, ranging from the joy that comes with the knowledge you have helped another couple and/or individual fulfill their familial dreams to the generous compensation packages Simple Surrogacy provides. However, it is important to remain cognizant of the responsibility which comes with harboring human life. In order to ensure the safety of both the surrogate and the child, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has laid out a number of physical requirements all surrogates must meet. While certain exceptions may be made depending on the circumstances, the guidelines provide a clear blueprint for all aspiring surrogates.

Though this may not qualify as a health requirement in the narrowest sense, all surrogates must have given birth to a child of their own without any dire complications surrounding the pregnancy and/or delivery process. The reasoning behind this requirement largely stems from the need to ensure that surrogates are familiar with the medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the emotional issues that may arise when bonding with a newborn baby.

becoming a surrogate

All surrogates must be between the ages of 21-40 (though Traditional Surrogates must be under 35), with a Body Mass Index below 33—in attempt to reduce the risk of potential complications. Additionally, as is the case with all pregnancies, surrogates must abstain from habits that are harmful to both their physical well-being and that of the child. Such habits include the consumption of alcohol and smoking (even secondhand) throughout the medical process and pregnancy period, as well as the use of illegal drugs. Surrogates must also be free of any sexually transmitted diseases that would subject either the surrogate or the child they are carrying to any physical harm.

In the interest of uncovering any issues that may arise when it is time to give the newborn child to the intended parents, aspiring surrogates must also undergo a psychological evaluation by a mental health professional to ensure that they do not have any psychiatric illnesses and/or are not currently taking any related medications. Hence, surrogates can rest assured knowing that their mental well being is afforded the same care as their physical well being.

Overall, the physical requirements for surrogates do not drastically differ from those any woman wishing to successfully complete a pregnancy should meet. While the physical guidelines indicated above provide a general outline pertaining to the main requirements aspiring surrogates must meet, they are certainly not exhaustive. Furthermore, there are a number of non-physical requirements that surrogates must consider, including their United States residency status and the successful completion of a background check. Therefore, aspiring surrogates should familiarize themselves with all legal qualifications before proceeding.

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate, Simple Surrogacy can help you determine whether or not it’s the right decision for you. Furthermore, should you wish to continue your journey with us, you will find that our warm and welcoming coordinators (each of which were previous surrogates) are capable of providing you with the necessary support and empathy you need.

Contact us today, and let us guide you through your unique and fulfilling journey!


What to Expect as a Single Father

Posted on: June 8th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

Being a parent is nothing less than a full-time job. Being a single parent is even more demanding, and it can be difficult raising a child without the support of a partner. It’s common to hear about single moms and their journeys in raising their children. It’s even more rare to hear of single fathers and the challenges they face every day. Not only do single fathers face the trials of single parenting, but they also experience a social stigma of incompetence; “Can he do it alone?”.

Single fathers can be made from circumstance such as divorce, and some are made by choice, such as through surrogacy. The latter is becoming more popular as men are taking the initiative to fulfill the need of raising an offspring without having to wait for the ideal partner to come along. It’s important to understand the desire to become a father is important, and the investment in this journey continues well past the process and price of adoption or surrogacy.

single father

Single father households are on the rise, and while it is becoming more common to encounter fathers raising children on their own, there are still challenges single fathers experience. There are books upon books, and even movies like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” offering advice to new parents, but far fewer address the growing phenomenon of single fatherhood.

There are many milestones parents reach with their children as they’re growing and plenty of references of how to deal with new circumstances. Fatherhood is an increasingly realistic and enticing option, and with its progressive accessibility there are many things you can expect when raising a child as a single father.

You Will Feel Overwhelmed

No, not “may”. Will. And that’s totally okay. It’s 100 percent understandable to feel like you can’t balance work and social life. It will take practice, but more importantly, trial and error. Having a supportive community around can help you deal with the various stresses that accompany parenthood. You’ll want to provide your child with everything he or she desires, but it’s not possible. It’s okay to realize there are things not within your capabilities, but that does not make you a bad parent.

There will be an overpowering feeling that you can’t handle everything a child brings. Parents experience this for a period of time, even those in parent-duos. This feeling will subside with time when you create a routine, allowing you to achieve your full parenting capabilities, optimizing your time with your child and other responsibilities.

You May Worry You’re Not Doing a Good Job

Don’t. You are doing an amazing job. Every parenting circumstance is different and you are doing everything you can to provide a comfortable life for your child. You should be proud of everything you are doing to make your child’s life amazing and you should be proud of yourself.

Single parents often worry that they aren’t able to provide everything a two-parent household provides children. Well-raised children have come from varying households with varying circumstances. Your experience is not any less important or fulfilling as any other.

If you feel you’re not giving your child the best life experiences he or she could have, don’t be afraid to ask for reinforcement, support, or encouragement from your support system. You’ll hear tons of tips and tricks that worked for others that you can apply to yourself to feel as best you can.

You May Face Judgement or Criticism

Being a single father can sometimes come with judgement or criticism about the methods you are using to raise your child. Your process of becoming a father has been especially thought through. There is nothing spontaneous about you having become a single father and since there has been so much time invested in the opportunity, don’t let the judgement or criticism of others affect your learning experiences during fatherhood.

In a worst-case scenario, your parenthood may even be questioned by parents unfamiliar with single-fathers. Prejudices may be placed on you because of your circumstances. It will be up to you to be a modern-day Rosa Parks, paving the way for the acceptance of future single fathers.

Don’t let any critiques, parenting or personal, impair your parenting style, especially if the methods you’re using are working for you. Many parents, especially new parents, will often hear opposing opinions about different techniques while raising a child. Face naysayers with a proud demeanor. Continue with what works for you, your child, and your lifestyle. There is no proven method to raising a good person, so do what’s best according to what you’ve learned.

You’ll Be the “Everything Parent”

There is no “good cop, bad cop” scenario when you’re a single parent. You’ll have to deal with all the ups and downs on your own. You’ll have to deal with the tantrums, tears, smiles, and hugs. You’ll be frying the bacon, braiding the hair, ironing the clothes, cheering on at games, and offering sympathy at a failed test.

You will be the disciplinarian and the easy-going, let’s-have-fun parent. You will wear every single hat that parents are required to wear and your child will both love you with the full adoration a child can offer, and hate you with all the might they can muster. It will be exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. You will need to offer your child balance and in the process, you’ll learn what works best for you and your child.

It is the Hardest Job You Will Ever Love Doing

It will be challenging and lonely, but it will also be incredibly rewarding. You will establish a bond few parents experience. You will be your child’s everything and she will be your’s. You will be their superhero. You will be, always, number one.

Raising a child is one of the most difficult tasks any person can take on, and you’ve chosen to do it on your own. We commend your enthusiasm and continued success in raising your child. It is with one hundred percent certainty that your son or daughter will appreciate everything you have gone through providing them with the best life you’re capable of giving.

Being a parent will exceed your expectations. Fatherhood will come more naturally than you expect, and you will forever love hearing your child utter the word “Daddy.”

International Surrogacy – Your Dwindling Options

Posted on: June 7th, 2016 by Simple Surrogacy No Comments

International Surrogacy- The dwindling options for surrogacy abroad

Gordon Lake and Manuel Valero battled a local Thai surrogate for custody over their infant daughter. (Getty)

As developing nations clamp down on the practice, hopeful parents are struggling to find women to carry their children.

By Danielle Preiss and Pragati Shahi

For the Australian couple Stephen and Michael, having kids involved people from five different countries. Australian law forbids anyone from contracting surrogates or paying women to have children for them, but Stephen and Michael knew other gay couples who’d found a workaround: In developing nations, laxer rules and bigger loopholes would allow them to hire a surrogate abroad. (Because the actions the fathers took are now considered illegal, the fathers’ names have been changed to protect their and their children’s identities.)

They’d heard that Nepal was a “safe and easy” option, and a place where surrogacy agencies from western countries with equally strict surrogacy laws had recently set up shop. So Stephen found Tammuz, an Israeli agency, which would help the couple have a child for US$35,000. The sum would cover all expenses: the agent’s fee, the cost of the medical procedures like in-vitro fertilisation, the surrogate’s medical expenses, and her take-home pay, which the Australians were told was US$10,000.

The woman who would carry their child had been working as a maid in India, according to Stephen. Like he and Michael, she and her husband, a gardener, had turned to surrogacy to improve their young family: They hoped she could earn enough to send their teenage son to engineering school.

On January 10, 2015, she came to Nepal to be impregnated with an embryo from Stephen’s sperm and a South African donor’s egg (a preference for racial similarity to parents means most eggs come from outside the region). “I was elated,” Stephen says of the moment, on August 29, when he became a father to twins, a boy and a girl. He and Michael had flown to Nepal two days earlier in preparation. But their bliss was short-lived.

Twin surrogacy babies

The Australian couple’s twins were born in Nepal on August 29, 2015, four days before the country placed a temporary ban on surrogacy. (Courtesy of the couple)

Unbeknownst to the new parents, four days before the birth, Nepal’s Supreme Court had placed a temporary ban on surrogacy. By September 2015, as Stephen and Michael were preparing their newborns for the journey home, the government decided to outlaw the practice altogether.

The government’s decision left the newborns in a legal black hole. Their parentage wasn’t in question: DNA tests (required for exit permits to leave the country) proved Stephen was the biological father, and the babies already had their Australian citizenship and passports. But the hastily written decision to ban surrogacy didn’t include any mention of what to do about babies already born or on the way. Because the babies’ births were now considered illegal, the Department of Immigration couldn’t issue them exit permits to leave Nepal. Nobody knew what to do with them—or with the dozens of other foreign babies born into the same situation.

*    *    *

Thirty years after the first surrogate baby was born, courts across the world still struggle to work out the morality of childbirth transactions. In the U.S. today, surrogacy laws vary widely by state: Just a few, like California and Connecticut, allow commercial surrogacy, in which surrogates are paid to carry a child. States like Arkansas and Florida allow such arrangements, but not for same-sex couples. Other states, like New York and Washington, only allow altruistic surrogacy, meaning the surrogate can only be compensated for medical expenses. Washington, D.C., and Michigan forbid any type of surrogacy arrangements.

In Australia, paying someone to carry your child can carry a jail sentence of up to three years.

Laws are similarly non-uniform around the globe, though very few countries allow commercial surrogacy. Ukraine and Georgia do, but only for heterosexual married couples. Greek law allows only altruistic surrogacy, but permits compensation for costs and lost wages. In Israel, only heterosexual couples unable to have children can engage in surrogacy, but the surrogate must be unmarried, already have a child of her own, and practice the same religion as the parents (among other restrictions). In Australia, which does permit altruistic surrogacy, paying someone to carry your child can carry a jail sentence of up to three years.

These restrictions, plus the prohibitively enormous cost of surrogacy in the U.S. (between US$50,000 and US$100,000), push many of the world’s hopeful parents down Stephen and Michael’s path to developing countries with less defined laws. Thailand used to serve a large portion of the international market, but the Thai government criminalised surrogacy by foreigners and same-sex couples in 2014, prompted by incidents of surrogate parents behaving badly. The most notable of those cases was that of Baby Gammy, a twin born with Down syndrome and left behind by the Australians who contracted his birth (his sister, who wasn’t born with the disorder, was taken home). It didn’t help that Gammy’s biological father was also a convicted sex offender.

India was the other legal surrogacy behemoth, where gestational dormitories housed groups of pregnant Indian women as their bellies swelled. But the industry lost a chunk of its market when the country banned surrogacyfor gay couples and single parents in 2013 (around the same time India recriminalised gay sex). Recent revisions to the law have effectively banned foreigners altogether.

As India’s laws tightened, clinics there quietly began sending the Indian mothers to Nepal to give birth; many eventually shifted their entire operations over. The two countries share an open border, allowing citizens of either country to cross without registration. No laws existed on surrogacy in Nepal, so there were seemingly none to break.

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Nepal’s underground surrogacy operations came to international light after the earthquake last April, whennews reports detailed the evacuation of western babies born to surrogates. El Al flights swooped in to save Israeli babies, and got a lot of flak for leaving the surrogate mothers behind. But Nepali officials had known about the growing market since the previous November. After police began questioning groups of Indian women outside a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, a nearby clinic where many of the surrogacy procedures were also taking place convinced an official at the Ministry of Health and Population to write a letter supporting surrogacy and Nepal’s prospects for medical tourism.

The average daily wage in Nepal hovers around $2. A surrogate typically makes around US$3,500.

The letter, which stipulated that only foreign women be surrogates, was legally meaningless, but it was enough for clinics to assure hopeful parents that Nepal was the new surrogacy destination. It also spurred the Nepali Cabinet to start seriously considering what to do. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the Ministry worried Nepal was too overwhelmed trying to handle its own citizens’ basic healthcare to provide medical tourism. By September 2015, surrogacy was outlawed and all earlier services were considered illegal, including the birth of Stephen and Michael’s twins.

Two months after their birth, Nepal finally made a provision to allow the twins (and any other surrogate baby conceived before the practice was outlawed) to go home.

Sam Everingham, the executive director of the Australian advocacy group Families Through Surrogacy, calls parents like Stephen and Michael “reproductive refugees,” boxed out of reproductive rights in their own countries, and chasing them through others. “Already we’ve seen a lot of those agencies that are in Nepal shift over to Cambodia,” Everingham said in October. With similarly murky legislation, Cambodian officials say they remain undecided on whether surrogacy constitutes human trafficking. Everingham believes it’s only a matter of time before Cambodia officially outlaws the practice for foreigners. “It’s a constant chase,” he says.

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Critics of surrogacy point to exploitation of poor people and the commodification of women’s bodies, issues that are magnified when couples from wealthy nations can order babies from some of the poorest places on the planet. The average daily wage in Nepal hovers around $2. A surrogate typically makes around US$3,500, and an additional US$1,500 if she has to have a C-section. She might get around US$1,000 in tips from the intended parents too. It’s not a huge sum, but it goes far in Nepal or India.

Hannah Giunta, a bioethicist in perinatal and neonatal medicine at Michigan State University, worries transnational arrangements allow people to view surrogacy as payment for a service or product. Giunta points to the lack of a relationship between many surrogates and families as a key concern. “People get hung up on the genetics,” she says,  “but the truth is the person who carries your child for nine months, you should have more than a passing interest in them.”

Gay Surrogacy – Simple Surrogacy

Posted on: April 24th, 2016 by Robin Corral No Comments

In today’s day and age, many more gay and lesbian couples are deciding to have children through surrogacy and egg donation, making gay surrogacy one of the more often-used options offered by Simple Surrogacy.

At Simple Surrogacy, our mission is to create families for those who need some help in making their familial dreams come true and for those choosing gay surrogacy, they will be pleased to know that it is very similar to the process for heterosexual families.

Simple Surrogacy’s program for gay surrogacy maintains the highest standards and practices in the industry while still providing top-notch personalized attention for each and every case.

The United States is the only global destination which allows same-sex couples to participate in commercial surrogacy. Although there are still some US states that explicitly ban surrogacy contracts, most states are “surrogacy-friendly”, supporting said contracts and automatically name the signers as the legal parents. Yet, while North America and Europe have become increasingly progressive on the subject, there are still cultures in the world who are not tolerant of same-sex relationships and, for that matter, gay surrogacy. In India, for example, guidelines have been issued that have made it impossible for same-sex parents to perform surrogacy. Regardless of the situation, though, you can be sure that you will be in good hands with Simple Surrogacy.

As members of RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association) and the American Fertility Association, we at Simple Surrogacy follow all guidelines of the Surrogacy and Reproductive Medicine community. Whether you have questions, concerns or simply need someone to lean on, our team of dedicated coordinators are available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which includes a direct number to your coordinator. But in the event that your coordinator is unavailable, whether on vacation, an emergency or sickness, we will promptly provide you with alternate contact information.

Our staff are experienced in the creation of families through gay surrogacy and egg donation. We have turned countless happy couples into thrilled, proud parents and can do the same for you. So, contact us today and let us make your dreams of starting a family come true.

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