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Surrogacy FAQs for Intended Parents

How does the surrogacy arrangement work?

To have a workable surrogacy arrangement, the childless couple need to enter into a surrogacy agreement with the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother and her spouse would be signing a “surrogacy agreement” with the infertile couple wherein she agrees to carry the child of the infertile couple, and shall hand over the child to the childless couple on its birth. The surrogate mother may receive a sum of money for her services. All details of the surrogacy arrangement must be specified in the surrogacy agreement. 

Would the surrogate mother be genetically related to the child?

In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate mother would not be genetically related to the child. The surrogate mother would be impregnated with the embryo of the intending parents, which she shall carry and deliver to the genetic parents of the child. Since the eggs of the surrogate mother are not used, the surrogate mother would not be genetically related to the child.

This would mean that the physical or mental features of the surrogate mother would not be found in the child. The child would not carry any traits or other physical features of the surrogate mother.

What are things I should ensure before I opt for a surrogacy arrangement?

You must first consult your IVF consultant to know if surrogacy arrangements would enhance your chances in achieving parenthood. It is very important to understand the different types of infertility, and how using a surrogate would improve your chances.

Once you have been medically advised to take up surrogacy, then we would recommend that you run a basic research over the Internet over the different types of surrogacy arrangements. Understanding at this stage may be superficial, but it might help you to understand the overall process. Alternatively, you may also attend one of our “Introduction to Surrogacy” counselling sessions wherein we explain the process to you. We would also advise you to make a list of doubts after a comprehensive discussion with your spouse.  We would be able answer each of your concerns when you meet us or over phone or mail.

It is also advised that you make a list of your expectations from your surrogate, including her compensation, accommodation, other arrangements, etc.  We would try to match your criterion with the preferences of the surrogate mother candidate.

 

What is basic criterion for being a surrogate mother applicant with GigtLife?

GiftLife follows strict selection conditions for being a surrogate mother, which are as follows:

  • The woman should be aged between 22 and 35 years.
  • The woman should know to read and write at least one language and preferably should have completed at least her basic school education
  • The woman should be in perfect health and have no diseases or mental illness
  • The woman should be married and should have completed her family
  • The woman should have children of her own
  • Husband of the woman and her family must agree to her being a surrogate mother
  • The woman should be able to travel to the hospital frequently and be able to subject herself to medications
  • Women who have completed tubectomy would still be eligible to be surrogate mothers
  • Woman should not be forced into being a surrogate and must be coming forward with freewill.
  • Candidate must be accompanied by her spouse for the interview, legal counselling and for completing the application form. No single woman would be allowed to complete her application.

Unless the above selection criteria are fulfilled, application from a surrogate mother would be rejected.  GiftLife has a very high rejection rate due to this reason.

 

What is a candidate profile?

The candidate profile contains all non-identifying information about the candidate surrogate mother such as her physical features, education, personality, habits, character sketch, RH factor etc. Every candidate profile would contain the ID number of the particular candidate. All references to the surrogate mother candidate would be made with reference the donor ID number only. The candidate profiles are available online and can be accessed by the recipients themselves.

In the process of coding, all contact information shall be removed from the application. Each application shall then have a profile with a code number for reference. The profile shall not contain any contact information of the applicant to maintain the confidentiality of the applicant. The profile would contain only the non-identifying information such as height, weight, skin colour, education, medical history etc.

 

Can I access the candidate profiles?

The candidates’ profiles are found in the website Giftlife.in and is viewable even without registration. However, as stated earlier, the candidate profiles would not contain any contact information of the candidate. 

I have gone through your website and I am interested in knowing more about few candidates.  What should I do?

Please register yourself with us, if you have not registered yourself already and get is touch with your case manager.  The Case Manager would guide you whether the candidate would be suitable for your requirements.  If the candidate is suitable for your requirements, then the candidate would be contacted to know if she is interested in the proposal.

When and how is the medical screening done?

Giftlife has few candidates who have been medically screened and validated.  If not, the medical screening would be done after you have expressed interest in any particular profile. However, once you express interest in a profile, the candidate could be contacted and medical screening could be fixed at the medical service provider of your choice.  It is mostly recommended that the surrogate mother is medically screened by you Gynaecologist/IVF consultant you plan to work with.

Who bears the cost for medical screening?

The cost of medical screening has to be borne by you as it would be done only at the medical centre of your choice. The GiftLife professional fee does not include the cost of medical screening. 

What happens if the candidate fails in the medical screening?

If your Gynaecologist does not medically approve the selected candidate, you are eligible to choose a different candidate from the database. 

When can I meet my surrogate?

You can meet your surrogate after the surrogate mother candidate has been medically screened and validated by your IVF consultant.

What would be discussed at the time of meet of the surrogate?

The first meeting with the surrogate mother would be a semi-casual meeting, wherein the surrogate mother’s family and your family would be looking at the suitability of each other for the process. You would be required to discuss the issues pertaining to her compensation, maintenance and stay etc.

If you like to house the surrogate mother in an accommodation provided by you, you may be required to discuss those aspects as well. All the discussions would be noted by your case manager to be included in the surrogacy agreement. In case you are unable to communicate in the local language of the surrogate mother, you would be having a surrogate mother for the said purpose.

If after meeting the candidate and her family, I do not find the candidate suitable for my requirements or expectations?

If you do not find the candidate suitable for your requirements, you may request your case manager to find an alternative candidate. 

What is the next step after the meeting with the candidate?

If you and the surrogate mother are happy to work with each other, then a mutually convenient date would be fixed for signing of the surrogacy agreement.

What is a surrogacy agreement?

“Surrogacy Agreement” is an agreement between the intended parent and the Surrogate, which expresses their necessity and fully volitional desire to opt for Assisted Reproductive Technique of Surrogacy, whereby the surrogate shall bear and gestate the embryo of the Intended Parents.

“Agreements” generally means the meeting of minds i.e. the parties to an agreement understanding each other’s intention at the point of entering into the agreement and there is a total synchronization of thought and action.

Since there is no specific law with regard to Surrogacy or Assisted Reproductive Technique in India, ‘Surrogacy agreement’ is the only foundation, which governs the parties to Surrogacy. Therefore the Intended Parents are required to devote attention to have a perfect agreement in place, so that the surrogacy agreement is not held void or voidable in the court of law. As in every agreement, each party to a surrogacy agreement should express his/her purpose and situations, the need for surrogacy, free will of the surrogate, details about the surrogate and the terms on which the surrogate agrees to gestate the child etc. The terms chosen to be used in the agreement play an important role in determining the meaning accrued according to the context. Surrogacy agreement is a serious medico-legal subject and should be drafted by a well-experienced hand in the field. Since this agreement is a document, which validates the birth of a child, it should be made sure that the agreement is be able to meet the worst twist of situations.

What should be included into the surrogacy agreement?

GiftLife recommends that the following details are included in the surrogacy agreement. 

  • Name and details of the parties to the agreement
  • Why does the party to the agreement propose surrogacy
  • Details about the surrogate Mother
  • What is the exact intention between the parties at time of entering into the agreement
  • What is type of surrogacy? Gestational, traditional, altruistic, commercial?
  • Is the question of motherhood resolved?
  • What is the mentioning in the agreement about the paternity?
  • Is the agreement as a whole and each clause individually valid as per the eyes of the Indian Law?
  • Is the agreement a proper representation of your intentions?
  • How is the compensation clause drafted?
  • Does the agreement indicate clearly details with regard to the compensation in times of unexpected mis-happenings to the surrogate?
  • Child no lien for dispute over the compensation
  • Child’s custody with the Intended parents alone is legal custody
  • How does the agreement strategise your paternity as there is no law recognising surrogacy in India?
  • What is the jurisdiction for the disputes arising out of the agreement? 

Will my surrogate know my identity?

Your surrogate candidate would not have access to any information about you until the time you meet your surrogate, prior to the signing of the surrogacy agreement. Your information (that would be disclosed at the time of signing of the surrogacy agreement) would be known to the surrogate mother.

Your information shall be kept secured in our files and no material shall be revealed to any party except under due process of law.

Do you have a facility to accommodate the surrogate mother candidate during the process of the surrogacy arrangement?

GIFTLIFE does not have any facility to accommodate the surrogate mother during the term of surrogacy.  However, you are free to ask your surrogate’s willingness to stay with you during the term of the surrogacy.

 

The surrogate mother identified through GIFTLIFE, during the course of the surrogacy arrangement, has violated some terms in the surrogacy agreement.  Would GIFTLIFE be liable?

GIFTLIFE is not a party to the surrogacy agreement between the surrogate mother and yourself.  GIFTLIFE has no control over the activities of the surrogate mother or her family.  GIFTLIFE is not responsible for any acts of third parties, including the surrogate mother or yourself.

 

Would GiftLife be responsible for medical accidents?

No. GiftLife is merely an ART Bank rendering no medical services. We would not be liable for any medical accidents.

 

Candidate Profile Information

The information provided by the Applicant Surrogate Mother candidate is to the best of her knowledge and the donor would be making a declaration to that effect at the time of completing the application. GiftLife does not have any direct knowledge of the knowledge, except those provided by the donor through the application and the documents. GiftLife would not be responsible for any false information provided by the donor candidate.

GiftLife is only an ART Bank and bears no responsibility towards any medical risks and accidents for the surrogate.

 

How long would it take to identify a surrogate of my choice?

GIFTLIFE maintains a large database of willing surrogate mother candidates.  However, it is important to ensure that she would be able to satisfy your criteria and expectations.  Also, the surrogate must be able to completely satisfy the medical requirements.

In normal circumstances, identifying a surrogate mother would take about a month or two excluding the time lost in medical screening.  The period may extend depending on your criteria.

 

Is GIFTLIFE associated with any particular medical service provider?

No.  GIFTLIFE is an independent Egg Bank and can work with any hospital of your choice.  However, GIFTLIFE Egg Bank would not recommend the surrogate mother to take up medical services of any ART Clinic not registered in National ART Clinic Register.

 

How is the compensation to the surrogate mother paid?

The terms of payment to the surrogate mother has to be decided by yourself and the surrogate, at the time of your meeting with the surrogate. However, GIFTLIFE does not recommend the payment to be made in one lump sum to surrogate mother. The payment to the surrogate mother could be made in the following stages if acceptable to both parties:

(a)  At the time of signing of surrogacy agreement.

(b)  At the time of implantation

(c)  On completion of first trimester

(d)  On completion of second trimester.

(e)  On successful live birth of the child.

You may also agree to pay a sum as monthly maintenance for the surrogate mother, based on mutual understanding between yourself and the surrogate. 

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