Yes. Florida is a surrogacy friendly state and has specific statutory law that sets forth legal authorization for a gestational surrogate to become pregnant with the intended parents’ child and to deliver the child to the intended parents upon birth without acquiring any parental responsibility or rights with regard to the child. Under Florida law, the most common type of surrogacy -- gestational surrogacy -- is one in which the surrogate does not provide the egg (ovum) and at least one of the intended parents, or both intended parents, provide the genetic material to form the child. Therefore, the child is formed from either the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm, or the intended father’s sperm and donor egg, or the egg and sperm of both intended parents. The parties are required to enter into a written gestational surrogacy agreement, outlining the rights and responsibilities of the parties, prior to the initiation of the pregnancy. Once pregnancy occurs, none of the parties is permitted to change his or her mind and decline to proceed with the surrogacy arrangement, regardless of the health of the child or any changes in life circumstances.
Gestational Surrogates are typically women between the ages of 21 to 40 years old, who have one or two children of their own through uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries, are in good health with a proportionate height/weight ratio (BMI), are non-smokers, have no criminal or mental illness history, are financially sound and are living in a stable environment. Most are married. Other preferred attributes are having a good support system (spouse, if married, or family members), reliable transportation, and health insurance. A gestational surrogate candidate can have a number of reasons for wanting to become a gestational surrogate, but a common thread all gestational surrogates share is a desire to help couples have the biological children they dream of having.
Absolutely. Several levels of screening take place. Heart of Surrogacy, LLC completes a pre-screening of all gestational surrogate applicants to determine whether they meet our initial criteria for consideration. Once intended parents have authorized further screening of a particular candidate, we conduct a more in-depth screening including criminal background checks, references, interviews, medical documentation, potential medical exams, in-home visit, home evaluation, and a personal interview of the surrogate. Finally, psychological screening will take place by a licensed clinical social worker or mental health counselor experienced in gestational surrogacy as well as medical screening by the fertility physician’s office to assure that the parties are a medical match.