“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.