The following will give you a better understanding of the basics of the surrogacy process in Missouri and what you can expect as intended parents or a surrogate in this state.
The Missouri Surrogacy Process
While there are no Missouri-specific surrogacy laws, Missouri is known as a very surrogacy-friendly state with a clear, well-established process. For most intended parents and surrogates, there are six standard steps of the surrogacy process in Missouri:
Step 1: Choose Surrogacy
Whether you are a surrogate or hopeful parent, taking the time to learn about the legal, emotional and physical processes of surrogacy in Missouri should be your first action. Committing to surrogacy in Missouri is a major decision for both intended parents and surrogates, so it’s important to be fully educated and prepared before starting the process.
Potential surrogates will want to reflect on how committing your time, body, effort and heart to this process might affect your family, career and life. Intended parents will want to compare the Missouri surrogacy process to other methods of growing their family and consider how they may be affected by the surrogacy process emotionally, financially and mentally.
Step 2: Choose the Type of Surrogacy and Your Surrogacy Professional
If you’ve decided that surrogacy is right for you, then you’ll next need to determine the type of surrogacy that you want to commit to.
There are two different types of surrogacy in Missouri:
- Traditional surrogacy, which is less common, is where the surrogate uses her own egg, which is fertilized via intrauterine insemination using either donated sperm or sperm from an intended father. This makes the surrogate the biological mother of the child, which can lead to legal and emotional complications throughout the surrogacy process.
- Gestational surrogacy, which is the most common method of surrogacy today, is where the surrogate is not biologically related to the child she carries. Rather, an embryo is created through in vitro fertilization with egg and sperm from donors or intended parents, which is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.
It’s recommended that you work with an experienced Missouri surrogacy professional. So next, you may want to choose a surrogacy professional to help you complete your surrogacy journey.
There are two types of surrogacy professionals you can use to help you complete the MO surrogacy process:
- A surrogacy agency, which can provide services like matching, screening, support and counseling, case management, legal representation and more.
- A surrogacy attorney, who is needed to complete the legal steps of surrogacy in MO, but may not be able to provide many other services.
While some surrogates and intended parents choose to complete an independent surrogacy without an agency, a surrogacy attorney will always be necessary to safely and legally complete the process.
Step 3: Choose Who You Want to Match With
Remember, you’re not limited to matching with intended parents or surrogates in Missouri.
If you aren’t already matched with someone for your surrogacy journey, then you may want to consult a professional like a surrogacy agency to help you find the right match. It’s important to use caution if you try to search for a surrogate or intended parents on your own through the internet, advertising or word-of-mouth. A surrogacy agency will screen these potential matches for you, but when you search on your own without the aid of a surrogacy professional, you’re always at risk for fraud, so use your best judgment.
Perhaps you already have an idea of your ideal Missouri surrogacy match. Maybe you’re a potential surrogate looking for intended parents who don’t have any children yet, because you like the idea of being able to carry their first child for them. Or maybe you’re intended parents searching for a surrogate who is willing to share lots of details about her pregnancy with you, because you’re excited to share in that experience with her. Creating a surrogacy plan and corresponding profile can help you to match with intended parents or surrogates who share similar goals.
If you’re unsure of what you’re looking for in a potential surrogacy match, talking with a MO surrogacy professional can help you to narrow down your search.
Step 4: Legal Process for Surrogacy in Missouri
Once a surrogate and intended parent have been matched together, they’ll draft a legal contract. Each party will need to have their own attorney so that everyone’s rights and interests are appropriately protected.
Each of your lawyers will review the contract draft with you and walk you through all the legal steps of the Missouri surrogacy process, including all the potential circumstances that you may need to consider, such as how you would want to proceed if the surrogate became pregnant with multiples, for example. This creates a legal roadmap for your shared surrogacy journey and ensures that there will be no room for miscommunication once the process starts.
After both parties have agreed to the final version of the surrogacy contract, you can proceed with the medical process of surrogacy. When a surrogate has been pregnant for a full trimester, your surrogacy attorneys will then complete any necessary pre-birth orders, which establishes the intended parents as the legal parents of the child.
Step 5: The Medical Process of Surrogacy in MO
In gestational surrogacy, embryos are created in a fertility clinic laboratory using eggs and sperm from either donors or intended parents and are transferred to the surrogate. When a healthy pregnancy is confirmed, surrogates will start receiving base compensation and a monthly allowance, which is legal in Missouri.
At this point, the pregnancy will continue just like any other, with the surrogate attending regular prenatal checkups. As the pregnancy progresses, surrogates and intended parents often turn to one another for emotional support and may continue to communicate to whatever extent both parties feel comfortable with.
Step 6: Surrogacy Birth in Missouri
Even if they don’t live in the same state, intended parents typically travel to be with their surrogate for the birth of their baby. Missouri surrogacy is a unique and amazing experience, and it’s one that you can share together.
Many surrogates and intended parents choose to keep in touch long after everyone has been discharged from the hospital, and they often maintain a special bond for years to come. Your surrogacy professional will be able to help you facilitate your post-surrogacy relationship and offer you any additional support that you may need.
The process of surrogacy in Missouri is an incredible way to create a family, whether you’re helping another family as a surrogate, or you’re growing your own family as an intended parent. To learn more, contract a Missouri surrogacy professional today.