A recent story involving a California surrogate is getting its happy ending, but it’s making headline news for other reasons. At its start, a single man decided to go forward with his dream of becoming a father, even though it meant going through the process alone. He contacted what news outlets are referring to as a “surrogacy broker” and began making plans for his lifelong wish to come true. The broker paired him with one donor who was gracious enough to supply her eggs, as well as a second woman who was a seasoned California surrogate, having completed the process just a couple years before for someone else.

1) You Must Work with a Reputable California Surrogate Agency

It sounds like a match made in heaven, but the broker clearly lacked several safeguards we have here at SPS. First, the gestational surrogate was 47-years-old. At SPS, we do not accept surrogates over 40, simply because of the risks involved with a woman of advanced maternal age. Sadly, because the broker in this story did not have a similar policy in place, health concerns became an issue after the pregnancy progressed.

As fate would have it, three embryos were implanted and all three became viable. However, the gestational surrogate’s age made carrying three babies very risky. The attending physicians recommended reduction, rather than risking the lives of all four. The woman then chose to go against medical advice and refused the procedure. These are scenarios that a reputable agency will discuss with candidates before pairing them. The organization that matched them together should have known that this could be a sticking point between them, and never should have matched them together in the first place. At SPS, we take great care to speak with our clients at length before matching, in order to avoid conflicts and to create a smooth experience for all parties involved.

2) A California Surrogate Has No Rights to Any Children Born

Despite the woman’s blatant disregard for medical advice, all four thankfully survived, but the woman then went on to attempt to fight for custody of the children. Laws vary by state, but here in California, gestational surrogates do not have any parental rights. Although custody is a common concern amongst those who create their families through surrogacy, this case is a reminder that California stands by its laws. After delivery, the hospital and local officials worked together to ensure the babies were safe and parenting rights were assigned to the intended father. Going forward, there is no doubt that the courts will continue to honor the laws as they’ve been written.

3) Multiples are Always a Possibility

Because a single embryo may divide and result in identical twins, multiples are always a possibility. There are many factors that go into the decision of how many should be implanted, including medical advice and the personal feelings of all parties involved, but there should be a group consensus, prior to beginning any medical procedures. Equally, all parties must agree on what to do if there’s a concern for the health of the gestational surrogate or any of the babies after implantation. Unfortunately, the broker fell short in this department as well.

While our hearts certainly go out to everyone involved in this story, it should not have happened this way. This is exactly why we have policies in place at SPS, specifically designed to protect intended parents and gestational surrogates. From carefully vetting each California surrogate, to ensuring psychological and medical evaluations are performed, matching pairs based on ideals, verifying legal aspects are handled properly, and educating our clients, we stand beside them every step of the way. Ultimately, this story does have a happy ending, but there are lessons we can all take away from the experience. If you’re interested in becoming a California surrogate or would like to complete your family with the help of a reputable and experienced surrogacy agency, contact us for help.