Although the process of surrogacy in Rhode Island can seem intimidating at first, the step-by-step guide below will help break down the Rhode Island surrogacy process so you can understand how to get started on your surrogacy journey.
Everyone’s individual R.I. surrogacy journey is going to be different, but will likely follow these six steps:
Step 1: Decide if You’re Ready to Commit to Surrogacy
You’ll first need to determine if surrogacy is really the right family-building method for you.
There are legal, emotional and practical implications to surrogacy that you may not have considered yet, and although the Rhode Island surrogacy process is a wonderful way to create a family, you need to thoroughly educate yourself about the pros and cons of this option compared to all other options.
Surrogacy requires intended parents and surrogates to fully commit themselves to the process for about a year, if not longer. Surrogates will need to understand the sacrifices that they’ll be making of their time, body, emotions, career and family. Intended parents will need to carefully compare the process of surrogacy in Rhode Island to all other available family-building options to be certain that this is the right path for them. At this stage in the Rhode Island surrogacy process, ask yourself:
- Are you eligible for surrogacy? Intended parents and surrogates will both need to meet the requirements established by their surrogacy professional, so contact them to be sure.
- Why are you choosing surrogacy? Rhode Island surrogacy is a demanding process, although a worthwhile one. However, surrogates and intended parents must be sure that they’re choosing surrogacy for the right reasons, and that they’re prepared for what’s ahead.
Step 2: Choose Which Type of Surrogacy to Pursue and Contact a Professional
If you’ve decided that surrogacy is the right path for you and you’re ready to go down that path, you’ll next need to learn about the two types of surrogacy in Rhode Island:
- Traditional surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own egg is used in the creation of the embryo, meaning she is genetically related to the child she carries for intended parents. This option may or may not be available to you in Rhode Island. Additionally, very few surrogacy professionals will complete a traditional surrogacy because of the increased legal and emotional risks associated with it. In Rhode Island, traditional surrogacy is usually legally treated as an adoption. In these circumstances, a traditional surrogate would need to wait 15 days after the birth of her biological child before she could offer her legal consent to the intended parent adopting the baby.
- Gestational surrogacy: There are currently no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island, and all cases are heard by the Chief Judge of Family Court in Providence. However, gestational surrogacy is more consistently approved by the Rhode Island judge, and surrogacy professionals are easily able to complete gestational surrogacies with Rhode Island residents. The gestational carrier would not be the biological mother of the baby, so no adoption would be required.
There are generally two options for what type of surrogacy professional you may work with. Remember that it’s always recommended that you complete the Rhode Island surrogacy process through a professional for the safety of everyone involved. The two professionals are:
- A surrogacy agency or program: These professionals can usually handle everything you’ll need to complete the gestational surrogacy process in Rhode Island, including searching, screening, matching, counseling, case management and any necessary referrals. They act as your single point of contact and manage everything on behalf of you and your surrogacy partner.
- A surrogacy attorney: These professionals complete the legal processes required for surrogacy in R.I. Although they don’t always offer matching services, attorneys may be able to refer you to a professional that can provide you with the other services you need.
Step 3: Match with Your R.I. Surrogacy Partner
You can match with a surrogacy partner who lives anywhere. It’s not a requirement that you both live in the same area or that you both live in Rhode Island. Long-distance surrogacy matches are actually the most common type, because the priority in a match is that you share the same surrogacy goals and preferences.
There are three different ways you can find a partner for your Rhode Island surrogacy journey:
- Work with someone you already know: A common reason for choosing surrogacy in Rhode Island is a ready-made match. Perhaps you already know someone who has offered to carry your baby, or you’re becoming a surrogate for someone you’re close with. In this situation, you’d just need to contact a surrogacy professional to make sure you’re both eligible and to complete the legal process before you take medical steps.
- Match through a surrogacy agency: If you don’t already have a partner, a surrogacy agency can help you find the right match. You’ll view profiles of pre-screened people who are already signed on with that agency and whose surrogacy preferences are similar to your own, and you could choose to partner with one of those people.
- Search for yourself: Independently seeking out surrogacy in Rhode Island without a professional to protect you should be attempted with caution. You would be responsible for screening potential matches yourself, and if you fail to do so correctly, you could be at risk of scams or fraud. Searching is often done online or via word of mouth.
Step 4: Complete the Legal Process of Surrogacy in Rhode Island
Once you’ve found your surrogacy partner, you’ll next complete the legal process of surrogacy in Rhode Island together. This must be done before you take any medical steps.
Surrogates and intended parents are individually represented by Rhode Island surrogacy attorneys. This is to ensure fair and equal representation throughout the creation of your surrogacy contract. That contract will talk about important topics like pre-birth orders, the legal parental rights of the intended parents, compensation for the surrogate, how everyone feels about things like selective reduction or termination, the risks that everyone agrees to, the expectations everyone has and more.
Rhode Island doesn’t have any surrogacy laws, and is unusual in that each individual surrogacy case is reviewed by one judge. Despite these uniquely Rhode Island legal processes, your surrogacy attorney will be there to guide you through those important steps, as they’re well-versed in your state’s procedures.
Step 5: Complete the Medical Process of Surrogacy in RI
When your surrogacy contract is finalized and signed, you’ll be able to proceed to the medical process of surrogacy in Rhode Island. Surrogates will need to meet a series of health requirements and medical screening processes through their surrogacy professional. If they complete the necessary prerequisites, they’ll take fertility injections, medications and hormones that lead up to an embryo transfer.
Embryo transfers usually occur at the intended parents’ fertility clinic. Embryos are created using IVF from the egg and sperm of donors or intended parents, and are then transferred to the uterus of the gestational surrogate. When a doctor is able to confirm a healthy and stable pregnancy following embryo transfer, the surrogate can receive routine prenatal care from her own OB-GYN.
Throughout the rest of the pregnancy, intended parents and surrogates will often stay in touch about the growth of the baby and make plans together for the baby’s arrival.
Step 6: The Baby’s Arrival
Because long-distance surrogacy matches are so common, intended parents usually start planning how they’ll travel to be with their surrogate for her labor long before it even happens so that they can be there to welcome their baby and support their surrogate. The birth of a child through Rhode Island surrogacy is incredibly exciting, and it changes the lives of everyone involved!
Have some questions about how to become a parent through surrogacy in Rhode Island? Interested in becoming a surrogate in Rhode Island? Contact a surrogacy professional, and they’ll help you begin the Rhode Island surrogacy process today.