Surrogacy in California.
California has been referred to as one of the best States in the USA for surrogacy. There are no restrictions on the sexuality or marital status of Intended Parents and the surrogate is permitted to be compensated provided there is a properly executed Gestational Carrier Agreement. As a consequence it is also the most expensive jurisdiction for surrogacy.
About Surrogacy in California.
We work with several surrogacy agencies for introducing you to surrogates and egg donors. In California, a surrogate is often described as a Gestational Carrier which distinguishes her from a “traditional surrogate” which is not permitted. All women applying to be a gestational carrier are rigorously screened to assess their psychological, uterine and basic overall health. The agencies we work with have worked extensively with San Diego Fertility Center (“SDFC”) our preferred clinic in California.
IPs will complete a profile and biography and a FaceTime or Skype video conference will be held with representatives of each of the clinic, surrogacy agency and attorneys before they are matched with a surrogate. A client liaison officer / nurse from the agency and clinic will be assigned to your case for the duration of your journey.
Throughout your journey all communication with the clinic, agency, lawyers or other service providers in California will be copied to us. If you have a medical issue then you will direct your email to the relevant clinic staff but copy us. If you have a question concerning administration, travel, legal issues or financial matters then you will address your email to us and we will engage with the relevant service provider as appropriate. We will be the project managers for your journey.
When a payment instalment falls due the service provider will send an invoice to us for your attention. We will first validate that the instalment is payable under the contract and if so pass it on to you for payment. You will make the payment by international bank transfer and send a copy of the remittance advice to us and the service provider.
At around week 16 we will also assist you in obtaining the pre-birth State Court order of parentage and a direction that the birth certificate will show ONLY the IP or IPs name(s).
At around month 7 of the pregnancy we will start talking to you about your travel plans and we will prepare your citizenship and passport applications and prepare the first draft of the surrogate mother’s affidavit. We will send the draft affidavit to the clinic and lawyer so they can provide it to the surrogate mother for her review.
Immediately after the birth of your child we will assist you in obtaining your birth certificate and will lodge your citizenship application, application for DNA testing and forward the completed passport application to you for your lodgement. You will be given detailed and complete instructions on how to prepare all documentation and the steps you must take. The Australian Embassy in Washington is responsible for all citizenship applications made for children born in USA and in our experience the applications are taking about 5 weeks to finalise. It will be quicker for you to apply for a US passport and then we will obtain an electronic tourist visa for you child so that you can return to Australia about 3 weeks after their birth. We and the Californian lawyers will assist you with the documentation to obtain the US Passport.
Upon your return to Australia we will meet with you to ensure everything has been completed and then guide or refer you to lawyers to complete the Family Court application for parenting orders.
Benefits of Surrogacy in California.
Since 2013, fully compensated surrogacy is permitted in California.
Married and un-married couples of any sexuality and single men and women can all enter gestational carrier agreements in California. California has been referred to as the most surrogacy friendly State in USA.
PRE-BIRTH COURT ORDERS
Intended parents can obtain pre-birth court orders generally without the need for a hearing. The IPs having no biological link to the child is no bar to parentage under Californian law.
Children born through a surrogacy arrangement will automatically be US citizens and entitled to obtain a US passport. A US passport is normally available within 3 weeks of birth.
Provided IPs’ country of origin allows dual citizenship and citizenship by descent the child should also acquire the citizenship of the Intended Parents.
The child’s birth certificate should issue within days of birth and can record both IPs as parents, regardless of sex, or indeed just a dad or just a mum.
The practical step-by-step process of surrogacy in California is as follows:
IPs complete a profile and bio and undertake blood tests and sperm analysis (as applicable)
IPs provide identity documents and Police check
IPs sign agreements with all the service providers
IPs review surrogate mother profiles and are introduced to a potential surrogate
IPs and surrogate continue communicating until all are happy to proceed
Surrogate completes medical screening and given the go ahead
IPs take out appropriate health insurance policies Gestational Carrier Agreement negotiated (with our guidance and advice) and signed
If applicable egg/sperm donor selected and agreement signed
IPs provide their sperm or eggs to clinic
IPs provide clear instructions to the clinic on embryo transfer protocols
Surrogate mother receives medical preparation and medication
Coordination of egg donor and surrogate for a Fresh Embryo Transfer
Throughout the pregnancy we are on call to discuss any issues of any nature that may arise
US lawyers prepare and submit your application for Pre-birth orders
In the final month of pregnancy the doctor will advise a tentative delivery date
We assist you with your travel planning and preparation At birth the court order is presented to obtain the birth certificate
Practical and legal updates to surrogacy in California will be published here
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Our Recommended Partner in California
The San Diego Fertility Center (“SDFC”) has three clinics in Southern California. Dr. Kettel and Dr. Daneshmand have greatly contributed to the San Diego Fertility Center`s success, exceeding the national average. In addition to its exceptional success rates, as published by the CDC, the Clinic specialises in complex IVF cases and IVF using donor eggs and gestational carriers.
SDFC is a world leading IVF clinic with a research pedigree that has been helping create thousands of families since 1989. Doctors Kettel and Daneshmand have pioneered ground-breaking research resulting in ever increasing success rates and an international reputation for excellence. Their expertise has made them some of the most sought after physicians in their field and they are often called upon by their colleagues to treat complex patients or those with previously unsuccessful cycles.
The Cost of Surrogacy in California
We have worked with the team of professionals in the USA to come up with some very competitively priced packages for surrogacy in California. At Global Surrogacy we will discuss your particular circumstances with you and then provide you with a total package price set out in a spreadsheet that includes a payment schedule. The total price includes all fees payable to the surrogate, egg donors, lawyers, agencies and the Clinic and our fees.
The approximate total price for surrogacy with an egg donor using SDFC in California and a surrogate is USD $140,000. There is a price list for optional additional services (eg: PGS) and contingencies (eg: twins). This basic package price includes unlimited embryo transfers (within 12 months) using the embryos obtained from one cycle. A separate “guaranteed live birth” package (to approved applicants on meeting medical criteria) provides unlimited embryo transfers with a refund for approximately USD $153,000.
THE TOTAL PRICE INCLUDES
Our payment schedule sets out the instalments by which each service provider is paid over the duration of your journey, it’s features are as follows:
Transparent and set out in a payment schedule.
Schedule offers for additional services and contingency costs.
Packages available for greater certainty of total costs..
Cost effective health insurance.
An overview of Surrogacy Laws in California
The laws in respect of surrogacy in California are very supportive of surrogacy arrangements and were only revised in 2013 to fully permit compensated surrogacy. In 2013, the California Assembly Bill 1217 amended section 7960 of the California Family Code relating to surrogacy agreements. The Bill 1217 is very progressive and ensures a non-discriminatory approach to surrogacy agreements. The new article 7960 defines intended parents as “an individual, married or unmarried, who manifests the intent to be legally bound as the parent of a child resulting from assisted reproduction.” This shows that all prospective parent(s), gay, straight, married or unmarried, are equal in the eyes of the law. The intent to be legally bound as the parent of the child is the main criteria. The notion of intent has taken a prominent place in Californian surrogacy law. In the Re Marriage of Buzzanca case, regarding a couple who had no biological link to their child born through surrogacy, the Californian Court of Appeal ruled that the intent of the parents to bring a child into the world outweigh the absence of any genetic link to the child. Without the parents’ intention and efforts, the child would not have been born. It is therefore not required for intended parents to prove a genetic link to the infant in order to establish their parental right.
In regard to Gestational Surrogacy Agreements, article 7962, c of the amended Family code requires the surrogacy agreements to be notarized. The surrogate mother and the intended parents need to be “represented by different independent licensed attorneys” as is set out in art. 7962, b. Furthermore, art. 7962, e states that “both parties to the agreement have to attest, under penalty of perjury as to their compliance with the provision”.
In relation to the establishment of parental rights, the new bill declares that the intended parents are allowed to establish parentage before the child’s birth (art. 7962, 2). These, however, become effective on the moment of birth. The parentage action may be filed in four possible counties. Firstly, in the county where the child is anticipated to be born. Secondly, in the county where the surrogate or intended parents reside. Thirdly, in the county where the agreement was executed. Fourthly, in the county where the medical procedures were performed. A copy of the gestational surrogacy agreement will have to be lodged with the court as part of the parentage action (art. 7962, e). Provided pre-birth order is obtained from the Courts prior to the birth of the child then a birth certificate reflecting the IPs names will be available within a week of the birth of the child. The laws surrounding assisted reproductive technology are continuously evolving, it is extremely important for Intended Parents to seek advice from a US lawyer experienced in this area to guide them through the legal process..
Heterosexual and homosexual couples can legally enter into a Gestational Carrier Agreement using their own gametes or totally donated gametes.
A Court in any County in the State of California can make an order confirming the validity of the Gestational Carrier Agreement and directing the manner in which the birth certificate is to record the parents.
California law is clear in providing that the gestational carrier has no parental rights over the child and there is no ability for her to change her mind.
The birth certificates can list the names of one or both intended parents, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The certificate is normally issued within a week of the child’s birth.
The child will be a US Citizen and obtain a US passport. It is strongly recommended that the child depart USA on its US passport.