Episode 128: Fertility 101: Surrogacy Laws
Today’s topic focuses on surrogacy and what’s part of this process – especially from the legal slide. Dean Hutchinson from Circle Surrogacy gives insight into the different regulations for each state, the required psychological evaluations for in depth matching, legal parenting rights, and other intricacies that are part of this family building process.
Guest: Dean Hutchinson, Vice President of legal services at Circle Surrogacy
Host: Dan Bulger
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
The Difference Between Surrogacy and Gestational Surrogacy
03:13 – 04:20
Surrogacy is basically a situation where a woman is willing to carry the child of another who can’t carry for their own reasons and want their own either genetic child or help carrying a child. There are two types of surrogacies, traditional and a more kind of up-to-date way now called genetic surrogacy when the surrogate herself is also the egg donor. It’s either done through insemination or creation of embryos, with the carrier being the donor or either genetic source being one of the fathers or the father. Then there’s gestational surrogacy where the carrying mother or the gestational carrier has no genetic link whatsoever to the child. Either both parents’ gametes are used, or they use a sperm or egg donor and their own sperm or egg or double donors. The major difference between the two types is whether the gestational carriers or the carrier itself has a genetic link to the child.
Finding the Right Fit with Your Surrogate
05:23 – 06:35
There’s a substantial, probably four-to-six-week, background check in the sense of criminal and bankruptcy checks, prior medical record reviews and psych social reviews to make sure they’re doing this for the right purposes. If we find a match that we think works based on all the different variables and what both intended parents and surrogate were looking for, we’ll exchange profiles. This allows for each group to get an idea of each other to see if they want to meet. They then need to either Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. After that meeting, each side independently tells us whether they want to move forward. We only do one surrogate at a time, we don’t like to give multiple profiles when someone picks one and then they want to go back and touch someone else because usually that person’s matched already. We like to try and give what we think is the best match one match at a time and then parents can say no or yes, to meet that person.
11:11 – 12:18
Where it gets tricky is usually with our international client base in that a lot of them are going to have very specific needs from a birth certificate and court order. Sometimes you have couples where one is a UK citizen and the other is Italian and they want both citizenships. How do they do it? You may need, three sets of birth certificates all looking different in order to establish each of the citizenships and then parentage. It can be hard, but obviously it gets easier the more experience you have in the field, you know who to talk to, who to reach out to and any of these specific questions, as well as around the country. 15-17 years ago this was a lot harder, because there were a lot less states you could do this and a lot stricter on what was required from an international standpoint. Whereas now it’s getting easier to get established parentage rights.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Dean has been part of the Circle Surrogacy family since 2004. In addition to his role as Circle’s Vice President of Legal Services, Dean is also an Attorney and the Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Richmond and his Law Degree from Suffolk University. Dean has managed thousands of ART matters over the course of his career and has organized and presented on many panels – both US and International – on the legal aspects of surrogacy and egg donation. Dean is also very involved in surrogacy and third party reproductive advocacy, drafting and testifying in support of legislation before the Massachusetts Legislature. In his current role as the Vice President of Legal Services, Dean oversees Circle Surrogacy’s full legal team, and works closely with Intended Parents on their journeys. He enjoys meeting with Intended Parents, whether in Circle’s offices or via Zoom, as well as visiting them in their hometowns throughout the world. Dean is married with 3 beautiful children and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine each year since 2009.
Music From This Episode:
Track: Chill Out Theme