If you can't become pregnant after breast cancer treatment and you wish to have a child, surrogacy may be an option for you. There are several ways surrogacy can work:
- Your partner's sperm fertilizes a donor egg and then an unrelated woman (the surrogate) carries the pregnancy to term.
- One of your frozen embryos is implanted into the surrogate, who carries it to term.
- One of your frozen eggs is fertilized by your partner's sperm and then carried to term by the surrogate.
- One of your frozen eggs is fertilized by donor sperm and then carried to term by the surrogate.
There are two ways to find a surrogate:
- You can work with a surrogacy program. Some surrogacy programs are independent and some are affiliated with major medical centers -- Yale University, for example.
- You also can find the surrogate yourself by asking your friends and family or through a surrogacy network such as Surrogate Mothers Online.
While many women have found surrogates on their own, experts recommend using an established, reputable in vitro fertilization center for the protection and reliability it offers. This is because surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state. In some states, surrogacy contracts are not recognized as legally binding. So if there is a dispute in the process, the women or parents who've contracted with the surrogate may have no legal options.
Make sure you know what the regulations are in the state where you're contracting with a surrogate. No matter how you find your surrogate, both you and the surrogate will need an attorney to draw up the contract and represent your interests.
It's important to know that surrogacy is expensive. Most surrogacy agencies estimate costs to be from $70,000 to $100,000. This includes compensation for the surrogate, medical costs and other expenses for the surrogate, attorney fees, psychological testing fees, and other costs.
It's unlikely your insurance company will cover medical costs for the surrogate. And don't assume the surrogate's insurance company will cover her pregnancy. Either you or the surrogate should contact the company before the process begins and get written confirmation that the surrogacy pregnancy will be covered. If the surrogacy pregnancy isn't covered, you'll probably need to buy a plan that does cover surrogate pregnancy, which can be very expensive (one estimate is $30,000).