Se­lect­ing sur­ro­gacy

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

“Why can’t the egg donor carry the baby? … You can’t do that from a le­gal per­spec­tive,” Mes­sick said. “That is what we used to re­fer to as tra­di­tional sur­ro­gacy, and that is no longer le­gal in most states, or ad­vis­able in most states.”

That’s due in part to the case of Baby M. In the late 1980s, a cou­ple opted for tra­di­tional sur­ro­gacy. They found a woman to do­nate her eggs and carry the preg­nancy. Half­way through, the sur­ro­gate bonded with the de­vel­op­ing fe­tus and de­cided to keep the baby when it was born. Be­cause it was her egg that fer­til­ized the fe­tus, she had parental

April 28, 2017

LGBT cou­ples that can­not con­ceive nat­u­rally have a va­ri­ety of med­i­cally as­sisted op­tions avail­able to be­come par­ents. (Photo via iStock) rights al­low­ing her to make that de­ci­sion.

“She won cus­tody of the baby,” Mes­sick said. “The provider of the eggs and the host uterus can­not be the same per­son, be­cause it’s too dif­fi­cult legally to de­ter­mine parent­age.”

Now, par­ents-to-be don’t have to worry about that hap­pen­ing to them, though, she as­sured Ge­or­gia Voice, but they do have to go through a lot of pa­per­work be­fore pur­su­ing sur­ro­gacy, en­sur­ing both part­ners es­tab­lish parenting rights. Mes­sick said her clinic won’t move for­ward with med­i­cal pro­ceed­ings un­til all the Ts are crossed and Is dotted. She said many sur­ro­gates also have con­tracts par­ents must sign.

“Of­ten­times, the [par­ents-to-be] pay for all of the ex­penses re­lated to this process, and it’s not just med­i­cal ex­penses dur­ing IVF. It’s med­i­cal ex­penses through­out the preg­nancy, and child­care and food and there’s a lot of as­pects to that ges­ta­tional car­rier re­la­tion­ship with the in­tended par­ent,” Mes­sick said. “It can be very ex­pen­sive and in­surance in any state does not,

De­pend­ing on the in­surance provider, Mes­sick said IVF pro­ce­dures and oc­ca­sion­ally the cost of the egg donor will be cov­ered for fam­i­lies pur­su­ing sur­ro­gacy.

“There are nine or 10 states in the US that have what’s called ‘man­dated cov­er­age,’ where every­body has at least a ba­sic IVF cov­er­age in their in­surance plan. Ge­or­gia’s not one of those. In Ge­or­gia, it’s up to the em­ployer group to pur­chase or pro­vide to their em­ploy­ees what we call an in­fer­til­ity rider,” she said. “It’s an add-on to a ba­sic pack­age to make it more rich at the cost of the em­ployer.”

Mes­sick said cou­ples should con­tact their in­surance car­ri­ers and ask specif­i­cally about in­fer­til­ity ben­e­fits.

“Some health plans are very spe­cific, very clear and very trans­par­ent and they will say the most lit­eral, we cover IVF for same-sex cou­ples. It will come out and say it. Then some health plans will not come out and say it. You have to read be­tween the lines, or you have to fol­low their re­stric­tions,” she said.

For ex­am­ple, health in­surance may cover IVF if a doc­tor di­ag­noses in­fer­til­ity, which means a woman is un­able to achieve a suc­cess­ful preg­nancy in a spec­i­fied time frame. Other in­surance providers may of­fer cov­er­age for pa­tients who are ex­posed to sperm on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and do not be­come preg­nant. And for male same-sex cou­ples, they won’t have cov­er­age for IVF with donor eggs un­less their pol­icy specif­i­cally states so — some­thing Mes­sick said may change if enough cou­ples come to their em­ployer and in­surance provider ask­ing for it.

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