The process of surrogacy in New Hampshire has been a fairly straightforward one for intended parents and surrogates alike since 2014, when the New Hampshire surrogacy laws were restructured to make the process easier, safer and better-regulated. However, New Hampshire surrogacy can still be a little complicated at first glance. This guide will make things clearer.
What You Need to Know to Get Started
It’s becoming more and more common to become parents through surrogacy in New Hampshire, and an equal number of women are stepping up to help these families realize that dream. But before you begin that journey, it’s important that you learn about and carefully consider the legal, emotional and practical implications of surrogacy. Although everyone’s individual process is unique, there are six standards steps to surrogacy in NH:
Step 1: Commit to the NH Surrogacy Process
The process of surrogacy in New Hampshire usually takes about a year, during which time the intended parents and surrogate will need to fully dedicate themselves to that process. For surrogates, this means dedicating your body, time and heart to this approximately year-long journey, and making some sacrifices to your career and family. For intended parents, this means you’ll need to consider how you and your family will be mentally, emotionally and financially affected by the New Hampshire surrogacy process compared to all other family-building methods, and decide if this is truly the right one for you.
You’ll also need to make sure that you meet the requirements established by the state of New Hampshire as well as your surrogacy professional.
What are your motivations for choosing surrogacy in New Hampshire? Understand that the process of surrogacy in New Hampshire is a demanding one for everyone involved, so be sure that you’re choosing it for the right reasons and that you’re fully informed and prepared before you begin.
Step 2: Choose the Type of Surrogacy and Your Professional
If you’ve confirmed that the New Hampshire surrogacy process is the right path for you, you’ll next choose which type of surrogacy you prefer. There are two types of surrogacy in New Hampshire:
- Traditional surrogacy: This is an uncommon type of NH surrogacy, and intended parents would be unable to obtain a pre-birth order to establish parental rights if they choose traditional surrogacy. Here, a traditional surrogate would be the biological mother of the child. Her egg would be combined with sperm from a donor or an intended father using IUI or IVF. Traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in New Hampshire surrogacy legislation, but most surrogacy professionals won’t complete this type of surrogacy due to the increased legal and emotional risks associated with it. So, if you choose to complete a traditional surrogacy in New Hampshire, be prepared to complete the process independently.
- Gestational surrogacy: This is the more common form of surrogacy in New Hampshire, and the gestational surrogacy process in New Hampshire is carefully regulated under state laws. Gestational surrogates, also called gestational carriers, are not biologically related to the baby. Egg and sperm from donors or intended parents are combined to make an embryo using IVF, which is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus in a fertility clinic. New Hampshire permits pre-birth orders for intended parents using gestational surrogacy so that they can establish their legal parental rights easily.
For your safety and for the safety of everyone involved, including the baby, it’s always advised to work with a surrogacy professional. There are two options to complete a gestational surrogacy in New Hampshire:
- A surrogacy agency or program: This type of professional completes most, or all, of the services intended parents and surrogates need throughout the surrogacy process in New Hampshire. This includes searching, screening, matching, counseling, case management and any necessary referrals. For this reason, they’re considered a “one-stop shop.”
- A surrogacy attorney: This professional often exclusively completes the legal stages of the New Hampshire surrogacy process. Although they can’t always provide matching services for intended parents and surrogates, an attorney may be able to refer you to another professional who can help with that, or give you advice on finding a partner.
Step 3: Find Your Surrogacy Match
The main goal is to find a surrogacy partner that’s the ideal fit for you. They can live anywhere. You’re not restricted to matching with someone within the state of New Hampshire. In fact, long-distance intended parent-surrogate relationships are the most common type. You can also have the relationship and communication level that you both prefer. To find the right surrogacy partner to share your journey with, there are several different options:
- Work with someone you already know: Many people are drawn to surrogacy in New Hampshire because they already know someone who has said she’d carry their baby, or they know someone they want to help have a child. In this instance, you wouldn’t need to go through the matching process. You’d simply need to talk to a New Hampshire surrogacy professional to ensure you meet the screening requirements and begin the legal stage before you take any medical action.
- Match through a surrogacy agency: If you don’t already have a partner, a surrogacy agency will help you match with someone by showing you profiles of pre-screened people who are signed on with the agency or program, and who have similar surrogacy goals to your own.
- Search on your own: You would be responsible for screening any possible matches on your own if you independently pursue surrogacy in New Hampshire without the protection of a matching professional. Without careful screening, you’ll be at increased risk of scams, so it’s important to use caution. Searches usually occur online or through personal networking.
Step 4: Complete the Legal Process for Surrogacy in New Hampshire
Once you’ve found the surrogacy partner who is right for you, you’ll both move on to the legal steps of the surrogacy process in New Hampshire. You’ll need to complete this before you take any medical actions.
The surrogate, her spouse (if she’s married), the intended parent(s) and their New Hampshire surrogacy attorneys will create a surrogacy contract. The state of New Hampshire requires that the two parties have separate legal representation. Your surrogacy contract covers a range of important topics, including:
- How everyone feels about things like selective reduction or termination
- How pre-birth parentage orders, post-birth parentage orders or adoptions will be secured to establish parental rights for the intended parents
- Surrogate compensation
- The risks everyone agrees to
- The social roles involved
- The expectations that everyone has throughout the process
- And more
Everyone involved will need to sign off on the final version of the contract and adhere to all additional New Hampshire surrogacy contract requirements before proceeding with the medical process of surrogacy in New Hampshire.
Step 5: Complete the Medical Process of Surrogacy in NH
According to N.H. surrogacy law, surrogates must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have given birth at least once
- Have undergone a medical and mental health evaluation
The same law requires that intended parents complete a mental health evaluation, as well. In addition to these state-mandated requirements, surrogates and intended parents must meet the individual requirements of their surrogacy professional.
The health requirements and screening processes that surrogates must meet and complete are important for confirming that a woman is physically healthy enough to take on the risks of surrogacy and pregnancy. These include the risks associated with fertility injections, synthetic hormones and the necessary medications leading up to the embryo transfer.
The procedure for that embryo transfer will usually occur at the intended parents’ fertility clinic. Embryos are created using IVF in a lab by combining the egg and sperm of intended parents or donors, and the embryo is transferred to the uterus of the gestational surrogate. Additional cycles of embryo transfers may be necessary for a healthy and stable pregnancy to take place. When a doctor has confirmed the surrogate as pregnant, she can see her preferred OB-GYN for routine prenatal healthcare.
At this point, surrogates and intended parents can continue to update each other about their side of the surrogacy journey while the baby continues to grow.
Step 6: Celebrate the Baby’s Arrival
As the baby’s arrival draws near, intended parents will usually try to make travel plans so they can be there with their surrogate for her labor. Experiencing a birth through surrogacy in New Hampshire is life-changing for everyone involved, and it’s the moment that everyone looks forward to the most.
If you’re interested in becoming a parent through surrogacy in New Hampshire, or if you’d like to become a surrogate to help New Hampshire families, contact a surrogacy professional now.
Please note that this guide is not meant to be used as legal or medical advice. While we do our best to keep this page up to date, it’s always strongly recommended to consult a professional due to the still-changing nature of surrogacy processes and surrogacy laws.