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New York Surrogacy Laws Are Drawing Couples to Philly

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Any parent will tell you that having kids is far from being easy. However, having kids gets even more complicated if you’re a same-sex couple living in New York and need a surrogate.

In the state of New York, surrogacy parenting contracts – the legal agreements needed to legitimize a gestational surrogacy – are considered contrary to public policy. According to Article 8 of New York Domestic Relation Law, all surrogacy agreements made in the state of New York are void and subject to thousands of dollars in fines. If a couple wanted to establish a surrogate relationship with a gestational carrier, the carrier would need to live and complete the surrogacy in another state where it is legal like for example, Pennsylvania.

As a result of these controversial laws, Pennsylvania has become a popular destination for New York couples seeking fertility treatments and surrogacy arrangements. Not to mention, Philadelphia is a convenient location – about 90 miles from New York City or a 60-minute train ride on Acela. Additionally, depending on the fertility center a couple chooses, they may not even have to make that commute very often.

Main Line Fertility, a local fertility center that welcomes both in and out of state families with open arms only requires the intended families to visit the fertility center twice during the entire process.

According to Dr. Michael Glassner at Main Line Fertility, they do their best to keep a potentially complicated situation as simple as possible. He says first, Main Line Fertility connects a person or couple with a recommended surrogacy agency. The surrogate could also be a friend or a relative of the intended parent(s).

When choosing a surrogate, Dr. Glassner says families need to find a carrier they feel comfortable making decisions with. The number one thing families and their carriers need to agree on is the number of embryos to transfer, says Dr. Glassner. One embryo is usually fine but some parents will want two or three. Multiple embryos can result in twins so it’s important to find a surrogate willing to carry twins if that’s what parents want. The gestational carrier also needs to feel comfortable fulfilling the intended parents’ wishes for the pregnancy – this could be anything from deciding on her diet and exercise to choosing medications and procedures. Families also need somebody who is reliable and who understands the gravity of what they’re doing.

Once the intended parent(s) chooses their carrier, Main Line Fertility approves the surrogate and predicts her reproductive potential. “Our goal is to make sure we are giving the embryos the best chance possible so we vet the carrier to make sure that carrier is a good choice,” Dr. Glassner says.

From there, an embryo is created and transferred to the gestational carrier through in vitro fertilization. To clarify, the carrier does not contribute eggs to the embryo. This means the carrier is not genetically related to the child. If the intended parent(s) requires an egg donor – for example, a same-sex male couple would need an egg donor – Main Line Fertility has more than 1,000 eggs from more than 150 screened donors for couples in their egg bank to choose from. “It gives couples a lot of options and that allows them to pick a donor who they know they feel comfortable with,” Dr. John Orris from Main Line Fertility says.

Main Line Fertility provides the eggs, expert embryologists, and a state of the art lab. However, they also act as agents for the couple – the intended parents – and help make sure the chosen carrier is a good carrier from the health and reproductive standpoint.

“It’s interesting when you talk to these carriers. They’re really great people and while they’re being compensated financially, they’re really doing this for the right reasons,” Dr. Glassner adds. He says they always understand it’s not their child. Instead, they’re simply providing the opportunity for this family to have that child. “It’s almost always a very clean process. After the child is born, the carrier doesn’t have a relationship after that. Obviously friendships might occur, but usually, that’s not the case.”

Dr. Glassner says he can’t think of a field that’s more rewarding.

“I get to deal with people who are hoping for the best gift possible. I get to be involved with some of the most emotionally-charged, intimate parts of helping couples or helping individuals have a family,” he says. “I have six children so I understand how precious a life is and I understand how significant one embryo can be. And I have a staff around me that feel the same way.”
Interested in finding a gestational surrogate in Pennsylvania? Visit Main Line Fertility for more information.