The question of location is an interesting one. It may be easier for you in the short run to find a local IVF doctor and a local surrogate mother. It may be more convenient for you when your baby is born too. For example, you and your infant could skip the airport altogether and opt for a cushy ride home in the family vehicle after your hospitalization. However, the law is more conducive to your overall needs in the state of Calfornia, than anywhere else in the United States. And Southern California, San Diego in particular, is the greatest hotbed of surrogacy all over the world.
The law in Calfornia permits you to have rights to your baby, technically your fetus, while it is still in the surrogate mother’s womb! This fact calms many a nervous heart, be it yours or those belonging to members of your proverbial peanut gallery. The sheer fact that others felt more comfortable with my process given the fact that the surrogate mother essentially could not change her mind at the last minute, was extremely valuable to me. It meant I wasted very little time convincing people that I was safe and babies waiting to be born were safe from the possibility of my surrogate mother changing her mind. Simple couldn’t happen. I had not only an iron clad agreement, but also one the was signed and sealed by a judge.
There are many contracts out there in the world, but the ones that have been signed off on by a judge in a court of law are the ones I feel confident would hold up in a similar court of law, if a dispute were to occur.
In my case, my twin fetuses were quite literally mine in my surrogate’s womb, 5 months before they were due and 3 months before they were born. My lawyers in California filed these documents for me and represented me through this leg of the journey, while I remained in Ohio. It was a relief once these proceedings were taken care of. Again, I never really worried about my surrogate mother changing her mind, bit this made it virtually impossible for her to do so!
Finding a surrogate who lives in San Diego makes your life a whole lot easier. The doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel are actually quite used to surrogacy arrangements there and consequently deal with them effectively and professionally. When you show up at the hospital they understand that you are the legal parent and have all the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent. They also have experience taking care of the needs of the surrogate mother before and after the birth. Finally, they understand the needs of your baby, who will transition from the surrogate mother to you during their hospital stay.
In the same vein, the staff at the hospital are comfortable following the law and putting your name on the baby’s birth certificate, so there is no need to adopt your own baby after the fact. In many cities, this is quite literally what you have to do. Having to adopt your own baby simply confuses the issue and is another legal step which hardly seems necessary.
Last but not least, in San Diego, at the Social Security Office, staff are accustomed to creating social security cards for children born through surrogacy arrangements. This makes your life much easier! Imagine approaching someone who has never encountered such a situation and can’t seem to figure out how to complete the forms for your child. This could be rather frustrating. In San Diego, this problem is alleviated merely by the fact that this situation is routine.
Laws, medical practices and social conventions change overtime. The state of the art of surrogacy puts southern California squarely ahead of the rest of the pack at this juncture. Choose wisely when you are making your plans. Location matters!
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio