A gestational carrier offers her body to a couple that is otherwise unable to have a child. Sometimes, gestational carriers are referred to as surrogates. These programs are heavily regulated and in some states are outlawed. Below is an explanation of gestational carrier programs.
General Program Overview
Gestational carrier programs involve at least two women, and either of their husbands, if any. Of the two women, one donates or provides an egg and has it fertilized with her husbands or other sperm. The fertilized egg is then placed into the uterus of the other woman, and that woman carries the baby through the gestation period. This transfer and carrying is why the program is called a gestational carrier program.
How Programs Are Operated
Gestational programs are often operated by companies dedicated to the practice. These companies have established contracts that conform to legal guidelines of the state in which they operate. These companies often have an established list of carriers that contain vital information about the women, such as age, health problems and why they wish to be carriers. The expectant parents will choose the carriers they are interested in, interview the women and then, if they find one that is desirable, choose one to work with.
Carrier companies often also act as intermediaries between the involved parties. They prepare and execute the legal documents required for the agreement and typically provide access to an attorney experienced in these types of transactions. Additionally, the company will keep a watchful eye on the carrier’s progress throughout the pregnancy. For their services, they are often paid a fee in addition to the fees paid to the carrier.
Carrier Program Specifics
In a gestational program, the woman acting as the carrier is paid for her services. These payments are set out and agreed upon in advance and can either be made at intervals or at the final delivery of the child. In states where surrogacy programs are illegal, the carrier may not receive payment until after the child is delivered to the expectant parents. Carrier payments are typically around $10,000 or higher.
The expectant parents are the individuals that donate the egg and sperm, but do not carry the child. These people must adopt the child at the end of the pregnancy.
Legal Aspects of Carrier Programs
Because of the complications presented by which adult has legal rights to the child, many states have outlawed carrier programs. Because of this, throughout the pregnancy, the gestational carrier is considered by most states to be the legal parent of the child, regardless of the fact that the egg is not the carriers. The donors of the egg and sperm likewise have no legal rights over the child. A contract that states otherwise may be disregarded in court.
After the child is born, the gestational carrier must give the child up for adoption and the expectant parents must adopt the child. Without this legal transaction, the expectant parents have no rights to the child. If brought to court, chances are good that the child would be declared the lawful child of the gestational carrier.