Taking the first steps into the process of surrogacy in Arkansas might be the hardest. But the following guide breaks down the Arkansas surrogacy process so you can better understand what it’s like, how to begin and if surrogacy is right for you.
Although everyone’s A.R. surrogacy journey will vary somewhat, you’ll likely go through these six steps:
Step 1: Decide if the Arkansas Surrogacy Process is Right for You
Surrogacy isn’t going to be the right path for everyone. Is it right for you?
Remember that there are important legal, emotional and practical considerations, and while the Arkansas surrogacy process is a wonderful experience for many people, it may not be the right fit for you.
Intended parents and surrogates must fully commit to the process of surrogacy in Arkansas for about one year, sometimes longer. Surrogates will make sacrifices to their time, emotions, body, family and career. Intended parents will need to honestly and carefully compare surrogacy to all other available family-building paths before making any choice. It’s important for both parties to educate and prepare themselves before they make a commitment.
You should also keep in mind that there are eligibility requirements that intended parents and surrogates must meet through their surrogacy professional. These are important for everyone’s safety.
One last consideration: why do you want to choose surrogacy? It’s important that you’re choosing to pursue surrogacy in Arkansas for the right reasons and that you go into the process ready for what comes next.
Step 2: Choose Your Surrogacy Path
If you’re ready to commit to the Arkansas surrogacy process, the next step is to learn about the two types of surrogacy in AR:
- Traditional surrogacy: A traditional surrogate uses her own egg to create the embryo, so she would be the biological mother of the child she would carry. Because of this, there are increased legal and emotional risks, so very few surrogacy professionals will complete this type of surrogacy in Arkansas, or in any state. Although traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in Arkansas, surrogacy laws in the state may not favor intended parents in traditional surrogacy situations, as the surrogate is the biological mother.
- Gestational surrogacy: A gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the baby she carries for the intended parents. Instead, an embryo is created in a fertility clinic through IVF using sperm and egg from donors or intended parents, and is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus to carry. This type of surrogacy is permitted in Arkansas and is the more common method. Intended parents that are not biologically related to their child may still need to take post-birth legal measures to secure their legal rights to their child, so consult with a surrogacy attorney to learn what steps may be required in your individual situation.
Next, you’ll need to decide what type of surrogacy professional you want to work with. It’s important that you complete the Arkansas surrogacy process with an experienced professional to protect yourself and everyone involved. Your options are:
- A surrogacy agency or program: This type of professional takes care of everything on behalf of the intended parents and gestational surrogate, including searching, screening, matching, counseling, case management and any necessary referrals to attorneys and fertility clinics. They serve as a single point of contact and as a “one-stop shop.”
- A surrogacy attorney: These professionals handle the legal steps needed to complete your surrogacy in AR. While they’re not always able to provide matching services, they can often refer you to a professional that offers more services.
Step 3: Match with Your AR Surrogacy Partner
Your surrogacy partner doesn’t need to live in the same state as you do, so you’re not necessarily limited to finding a surrogate or intended parent in Arkansas. Because the priority is matching with someone who shares your surrogacy goals over location, long-distance matches are more common than not. There are three different ways you can match with an Arkansas surrogacy partner:
- Work with someone you already know: One of the reasons why some people choose surrogacy in Arkansas is because they know their surrogacy partner — either a surrogate or an intended parent. If you’ve already matched with someone, you’ll need to contact a surrogacy professional to verify that you’re both eligible, and then you’ll complete the legal process before moving on to the medical stage.
- Match through a surrogacy agency: If you don’t already have a partner in mind, a surrogacy agency or matching program can connect you with someone who’s a good fit for you. They provide you with profiles of pre-screened candidates who are signed on with the agency and who have similar surrogacy preferences to your own.
- Search for yourself: Without the protection of a professional, pursuing the Arkansas surrogacy process independently can be risky. You would need to screen potential matches yourself. Searches are often conducted online or through word-of-mouth.
Step 4: Complete the Legal Process of Surrogacy in Arkansas
If you’ve been matched with your surrogacy partner, you’ll next need to complete the legal process of surrogacy in AR together before you can take any medical actions.
Arkansas surrogacy attorneys will represent the surrogate and the intended parents individually to ensure equal advocacy as you create your surrogacy contract. This contract covers topics like how the legal parental rights will be secured for the intended parents, compensation for the surrogate, the risks and roles that everyone agrees to, what everyone would want to do in the event of circumstances like pregnancy complications and more.
Your attorneys will guide you through the surrogacy laws in Arkansas based on your individual situation, and will also adhere to any relevant out-of-state laws if you have a long-distance surrogacy partnership.
Step 5: Complete the Medical Process of Surrogacy in AR
After you’ve finalized your surrogacy contract, you’ll next begin the medical process of surrogacy in Arkansas. To reach that stage, surrogates will need to have met the health requirements and medical screenings of their surrogacy professional. If they’ve been cleared as physically healthy enough to proceed, they’ll take fertility medications and injections that lead up to an embryo transfer.
The embryo transfers will usually happen at the intended parents’ fertility clinic. An embryo is created through IVF using the egg and sperm of donors or intended parents, and is then transferred to the gestational surrogate’s uterus. When a doctor has confirmed that the surrogate is stably pregnant, she can go to her preferred OB-GYN for regular prenatal care.
For the remainder of the pregnancy, intended parents and surrogates often like to keep in touch, sharing updates about the baby and planning for the baby’s entrance into the world.
Step 6: The Baby’s Arrival
Long-distance surrogacy partnerships are common, so intended parents will often make travel plans to be present for their surrogate’s labor fairly early in the Arkansas surrogacy process. Experiencing a surrogacy birth is exciting for everyone involved, so it’s something that people often like to share with one another.
Want to learn more about how to become a parent through surrogacy in Arkansas, or about becoming a surrogate in Arkansas? Contact a surrogacy professional today, and they’ll help you get started with the Arkansas surrogacy process.