In the modern age of assisted reproduction, families can be made in many ways. For intended parents who cannot carry a child to term themselves (whether due to infertility or a male same-sex relationship or as a single male), surrogacy provides an opportunity to have a biologically related child.

But, how does surrogacy work? Medicine continues to advance quickly, so the gestational surrogacy process may be slightly different for each couple. In general, however, a gestational pregnancy will proceed in a similar manner for intended parents and prospective surrogates.

Because gestational surrogacy is an ever-changing area of medicine, lawmakers often cannot keep up with the changes — which can make the gestational surrogacy process in Arizona a bit complicated. Therefore, it’s important you contact an experienced surrogacy attorney before moving forward with your gestational pregnancy.

MyersStrickland is committed to keeping up-to-date with current surrogacy laws in Arizona. By contacting us at 520-327-6041, we’ll inform you of the legalities you need to know when it comes to how surrogacy works in Arizona.

How Surrogacy Works in Arizona

Putting aside the laws involved (which will vary based on your situation), here’s a typical gestational surrogacy process, step-by-step:

Step 1: Decide that Surrogacy is Right for You.

Deciding to become parents through gestational surrogacy is a huge commitment — not only in the amount of time and money you’ll spend through the process but also the emotional journey you’ll take. Becoming a gestational carrier, while free to you, will also require a great deal of time and effort.

That’s why it’s so important that you do diligent research before deciding to pursue the gestational surrogacy process in Arizona. One of the first things you can do is contact an experienced surrogacy lawyer like MyersStrickland to learn about how surrogacy works in Arizona and what your family-building journey may look like. We also recommend you discuss your decision with close friends and family, consider the pros and cons and speak to several fertility clinics or assisted reproduction professionals to determine what path is right for you.

Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about becoming a gestational carrier or becoming parents through gestational surrogacy:

Prospective Carriers:

  • How your pregnancy will affect your family: By becoming a gestational carrier in Arizona, you will commit a year or more of your life to helping someone else become parents. While it’s a noble decision to make, you should consider whether you are comfortable taking time you usually spend with your family and putting it toward doctor’s appointments and other surrogacy matters.
  • How your pregnancy will affect your career: A pregnancy can make maintaining your usual work schedule difficult, especially as you approach your due date. Will your work allow you to take time off for a pregnancy, even if it’s not your child? Can you still complete your duties successfully while devoting time to medical and psychological evaluations and procedures?
  • How your pregnancy will affect you: Finally, you’ll need to think about what it will be like carrying a child for another family. Many gestational carriers embrace this opportunity and find it empowering, but you’ll need to consider whether you’re emotionally and mentally ready to give birth to another person’s baby. Keep in mind that not all journeys are successful on the first try, either. However, becoming a gestational carrier can provide life-changing financial benefits and create long-lasting relationships with the family you helped create.

Intended Parents:

  • The financial commitment: It’s no secret that the gestational surrogacy process is expensive. Not only will you need to pay for all the medical aspects of the gestational surrogacy procedure, but you will likely need to provide your carrier with financial compensation. Costs can be very expensive with fertility treatments, especially if it takes multiple attempts to secure a gestational pregnancy.
  • The time commitment: The surrogacy process is long — from deciding whether it’s right for you, to matching with the perfect carrier, to the medical transfer procedures to the final birth of your child. If you’re interested in becoming parents more quickly, you might want to explore your other options, like private domestic infant adoption or foster care adoption.
  • The emotional commitment: Because gestational pregnancies may not succeed right away, the gestational surrogacy process can be emotionally draining. You’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for these risks and are able to handle any disappointments that come along the way. A solid support system of family and friends is critical to remaining strong throughout the gestational surrogacy process.

Step 2: Complete Background Screening.

Whether you’re an intended parent or prospective carrier, you will need to undergo extensive background clearances and screenings to ensure you’re ready for the process of surrogacy. This can include:

  • Fertility testing and IVF treatment for intended parents
  • Medical preparation for embryo transfer for carriers
  • Federal and state background checks
  • Home assessments for intended parents
  • Medical and psychological screenings and evaluations
  • And more

Step 3: Match with Intended Parents or a Carrier.

Gestational surrogacy is a two-party process involving intended parents and the woman who will carry their child. Therefore, an important part of how surrogacy works is finding your match.

When you work with a professional, they will likely find the perfect match for you based on your preferences, which can include everything from a carrier’s desired compensation, to intended parents’ qualities to medical history of either party.

This professional will likely create a profile of you (whether you’re an intended parent or prospective carrier), which will then be shown to intended parents or carriers to help them find the perfect match for their situation. If you both show interest in the match, that professional will connect you, and you may get the chance to know each other better through phone calls, emails or in-person meetings. After the match is finalized, the drafting of the legal surrogacy agreement will begin.

If you have already found a match for your gestational pregnancy, you may only need to work with an experienced attorney to complete your surrogacy journey. Contact MyersStrickland today to find out what you need to consider moving forward.

Step 4: Create an Agreement.

Because the law regarding surrogacy agreements can be complicated, you will need to contact an experienced legal professional for this step. A professional can help navigate the complexities of surrogacy laws and protect you from any legal repercussions that could emerge as you draft your surrogacy agreement.

Step 5: Begin the Medical Process of Surrogacy.

There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. While both are technically a viable option for intended parents and prospective surrogates, it’s far more common for people to choose the gestational surrogacy process today.

So, how does gestational surrogacy work? In this process, intended parents will create their own embryo (either with their own gametes or with a combination of donated egg or sperm). This embryo will then be transferred to the carrier’s uterus — she will have no biological relation to the child she is carrying.

In traditional surrogacy, however, the carrier uses her own egg to create an embryo with the intended parents’ sperm. This is rarely done today because of the complicated legalities and emotions involved when a carrier is biologically related to the child she is carrying.

When you move forward with the gestational surrogacy process, both the intended parents and the carrier will have to take fertility medication at some point — to create the embryo or to prepare for the embryo transfer. This can be a complicated medical process that may not be immediately successful. However, once the embryo successfully implants, the hardest parts of the gestational surrogacy process will have been completed.

Step 6: Welcome the Baby.

After the medical process has been completed, it will be a waiting game until the baby is born nine months later. Providing support to all involved in the gestational surrogacy birth is crucial to creating a lasting relationship during the pregnancy and beyond.

When the baby is born, it will be a life-changing experience for both the intended parents and the carrier. Usually, both parties will be present at the birth of the child. Once the carrier and baby are discharged, both the new family and the carrier can return home, as long as the proper parentage orders have been completed by the appropriate legal professional. Whether or not you choose to continue your relationship after the baby is born will be up to you but, in many cases, your surrogacy professional may help facilitate this relationship, if necessary.

While the gestational surrogacy process can be long and complicated, the rewards can outweigh any challenges involved. However, because the legalities of the surrogacy procedure are complex, we encourage you to reach out to MyersStrickland. We can tell you more about what your journey may look like and the steps you’ll need to take to complete it efficiently and legally. Please call us any time at 520-327-6041.

Please note: The information in this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact MyersStrickland for personalized legal guidance.