Attorney Henry Wang featured on the “Legal Consultation in 30 mins” with Attorney Sabrina Li to discuss the talented surrogate child Alysa Liu and the legal issues surrounding surrogacy.
The surrogate child, a two-time U.S. champion, Alysa Liu is ready to shine at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Even in the 21st century, it is yet unbelievable that a surrogate child can become an Olympian. Behind Liu is her father, Arthur Liu, fifty-four. He is a Sichuan native working as an immigration attorney in Oakland, California. Alysa Liu only has a father and does not have a mother in a legal sense. She was born to an anonymous egg donor and surrogate mother. Arthur Liu is a single father of five children, all of whom were born as surrogates!
Let us share some thoughts regarding egg donation, In Vitro Fertilization(IVF), and surrogacy.
What is gestational surrogacy?
Gestational Surrogacy is a type of third-party assisted reproduction, supported by a legal agreement, whereby a gestational surrogate agrees to undergo an embryo transfer procedure and if the embryo transfer is successful, she will carry and give birth to a child for another person or people, who will become the child’s legal parent(s) after birth. Unlike traditional surrogacy, in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child.
What are the types of donations available to surrogate parents?
Note: An IVF clinic should be chosen prior to the start
The donor and the recipient are known to each other and usually have an existing relationship.
The recipient can purchase frozen sperm or eggs from a sperm or egg bank and they can purchase the desired quantities. However, some intended parents will prefer a fresh egg donation from an anonymous egg donor, which means they would have to find a donor through an egg donation agency to find a desired donor to complete the donation process and the recipient will receive whatever amount of eggs retrieved from the donor.
How do we ensure the quality of donations?
Donors are expected to undergo genetic testing, provide family medical history, and infectious disease screening.
What will be written on the contract established between the donor and the recipient?
How do we maintain anonymity in an anonymous egg or sperm donation?
The parties will not sign the agreement with their full legal name. Rather, they will sign it as “donor” or “recipient”. Their lawyer may know the identity of either party. But he or she will not disclose that information to their client.
What are the costs involved in surrogacy and what is the required budget?
The main costs are the services provided by IVF clinic, agency fees, fees and reimbursement for the surrogate, insurance and medical fees for the pregnancy, and legal fees. Typically, if you go through a surrogacy agency to match you with a surrogate, it will provide an exhaustive cost sheet to prepare you for the overall cost. But you can expect it to cost somewhere between $140,000 or $160,000.
Does U.S. insurance cover surrogacy services?
Insurances do not cover IVF costs or surrogacy costs. So the Intended Parents can expect to pay out of pocket for that cost. IVF costs can range from $20,000 to $40,000. However, intended parents can purchase an insurance policy for the maternity costs of the pregnancy on behalf of the surrogate or use her existing insurance if it's available. However, it's important for an insurance broker to review any existing policy or policy to be purchased to make sure that the policy can be used for surrogacy or if there are additional requirements. Also, the surrogate cannot use public assistance for any of the medical fees associated with the surrogacy journey.
Why does a woman choose to be a surrogate mother?
There are many reasons why a woman chooses to be a surrogate and financial gain isn’t the only reason. Typically, these are women who have successful pregnancies in the past and are done with having children of their own. Many of them are motivated to help other people have a family of their own. Of course, having extra income is definitely a good incentive as well. Many surrogates are employed and some are the main care-giver at home. Some typical examples of surrogate mothers are teachers, nurses, and stay at home moms. Besides having successfully given birth to her children, there are a number of other requirements for surrogates. Surrogates will undergo psychological screening, medical screening, and many agencies conduct background checks. These types of requirements are intended to protect intended parents and the industry.
What are the legal consequences of abandoning a surrogate child in the U.S.?
The intended parents bear legal responsibilities to support and take care of their surrogate children. If they willingly abandon the children, a criminal complaint may be filed against them.
Which state is the best for surrogacy?
There are definitely states that have laws that are friendly to surrogacy and there are some states where surrogacy is illegal, such as Michigan, or surrogacy is very restrictive, such as Louisiana. There should be many considerations when selecting a surrogate from any state and Intended Parents should think about their own unique circumstances. Such as, does this state allow surrogacy for same-sex parents, single parents, unmarried couples, parents with no genetic relationship to the child. The laws and procedures in California are very good to protect the parental rights of the intended parents and protect the safety of the surrogate.
Clients should definitely seek legal consultation or have their agency confirm with an attorney that this match is safe to move forward.
Some homosexual couples will come to the U.S. for surrogacy services. So could there be two fathers or mothers on the birth certificate of a surrogate child? Will this lead to some troubles in bringing the child back to China?
For same sex couples, it’s important to know that the judgment will declare both of them to be parents and they will have equal responsibilities and rights to the child even if one of the parents does not share a genetic relationship with the child. Also, it’s perfectly acceptable for same-sex couples to both appear on the Child’s birth certificate. However, due to the circumstances in China, a lawyer can help to obtain a birth certificate for the child that is only applicable to the genetic parent and once the baby is back in China, the birth certificate can be amended to apply to both parents.
Is an agency required during the surrogacy process?
Agencies are not required in the surrogacy process. However, for international clients looking to do surrogacy here, agency will be necessary. A good agency will not only find you the right match with your surrogate, but they will help you manage the entire process to make sure you have a successful journey. They will help you answer questions about the surrogacy process and facilitate communication between you and your surrogate during her pregnancy.
How should clients choose their agencies?
Are there more Chinese or Chinese Americans choosing surrogacy now? Does the pandemic affect the surrogacy business?
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a general slow down in the industry. There are two main causes:
There are also more and more Chinese Americans doing surrogacy as well. As Chinese Americans are having children later and later because of their careers, the need for IVF and third-party assisted reproduction is also growing.