First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage ~ Nursery Rhyme
Before we can even read and write, we hear that simple rhyme that tells us how life is supposed to unfold (and it certainly doesn’t mention surrogacy.) Then, life doesn’t follow directions. Single women and men are left with the burning desire for the “baby in a baby carriage” even though the love & marriage part never happened.
Suddenly, the idea of turning to science starts to look smart. “It’s 2017!” people might say, “You can be a parent on your own!” they’ll cheer. And the numbers back up the sentiment. The last U.S. Census indicated a dramatic reversal…revealing that the proportion of never-married young adults is greater than those who’ve gotten married. And more singles than ever before are intentionally seeking out solo parenthood, often in their late 30s and well into their 40s and even early 50s. They’re skipping the marriage for the baby carriage.
But it would be naive to pretend there won’t be additional hurdles and difficulties if you decide to have a baby on your own via surrogacy. A partner/co-parent would provide not just emotional support, but a legal and socio-economic support system. So if you’re going solo…you need to create not just a conception plan, but a legal plan to go alongside it.
Who is the Single Intended Parent?
Unlike single parents who may undergo a break-up or widowhood, a single intended parent is someone who consciously and willingly makes the choice to parent alone. And it’s not just women who may feel “the clock ticking” or fear waning fertility. Men are going it alone, too. Single-parent households headed by fathers numbered 300,000 in 1960. Today, it’s 2.7 million.
People are redefining how and when they become parents, especially if they have the financial resources it takes to make collaborative reproductive arrangements. And because surrogacy is a very real, acceptable and viable option today, women are able to become parents despite medical issues or physical limitations that could stand in the way of carrying a child to term. It’s also an attractive option for gay men who are seeking to create their own families in increasing numbers, with or without a partner.
Surrogacy Options for the Single Intended Mother or Father
You’ll hear two terms a lot: Traditional Surrogacy and Gestational Surrogacy. They are not the same thing.
A gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the child she is carrying. The egg and sperm came from the Intended Parent(s) or from an egg and/or sperm donor through In Vitro Fertilization. This option gives the intended parent the opportunity to be genetically tied to the child, assuming the intended parent has a healthy, viable egg or sperm that can be used in the fertility treatment.
A traditional surrogate has actually donated her egg and is biologically tied to the child. This is an option most appealing to single intended fathers who can donate sperm and become biological fathers, or in some cases, for single intended mothers who don’t have eggs healthy enough to go through IVF.
If surrogacy becomes the best choice for a single-intended parent, a family needs an attorney who specializes in reproductive law. Laws vary tremendously from state to state on the issue of surrogacy, some state laws require couples be married, and an experienced lawyer like Leslie Schreiber, P.A. can help you understand where you stand in these complex laws to guide and protect you.
Ms. Schreiber believes your lawyer is your liaison between you and the surrogate or egg donor as well as your point person with the medical team, ensuring the many moving parts in this modern-day arrangement work smoothly and that all agreements are honored. Surrogacy can be expensive, with financial contracts for the egg donor and/or gestational surrogate, medical expense arrangements, agreements that cover what to do in case of a medical emergency, or even how involved the intended parent will be with the surrogate throughout the pregnancy. And because this is a single parent, attorneys like Ms. Schreiber help future parents prepare their estates and plan for their future child’s well-being if something were to happen to the parent.
Attorney Leslie Schreiber, who has long specialized in reproductive law, helps would-be parents from step one through to birth, starting with connections to various potential clinics, evaluating treatment options, even providing guidelines for how to choose a donor… because some donors may provide more genetic information than others, and some donors agree to letting children contact them in the future while others do not. Knowing and thoughtfully considering all your options before “getting pregnant” is critical not only for a successful pregnancy, but for the parenting phase for years to come. Good legal counsel is the equivalent of laying solid groundwork for the road ahead.