The Surrogacy Process in Maine
Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Do you have questions about the surrogacy process in Maine? Here is an overview of what intended parents in Maine should expect.
Maine is one of the most well-regulated states in which to pursue surrogacy as a means for growing your family. The passing of the Maine Parentage Act in 2016 made surrogacy legal in Maine. The Maine Parentage Act also established requirements for gestational carrier agreements and surrogacy arrangements. In Maine, the surrogacy process is a lengthy one. From finding a surrogate or gestational carrier to the birth of your child(ren) usually takes 1-2 years. This timeframe is dependent on the success of assisted reproduction procedures. Since the process is as costly as it is lengthy, be sure to plan how to finance your surrogacy journey as early as possible.
Step 1: Match with a Traditional Surrogate or Gestational Carrier
First, you must decide if you will proceed with a traditional surrogate or a gestational carrier.
A traditional surrogate is a woman who donates her own eggs and is the gestational carrier for a pregnancy resulting from the fertilization of her eggs either through an assisted reproduction procedure or insemination. In Maine, a surrogate must be a family member of an intended parent she enters into a surrogacy agreement with. This path to growing your family requires a formal adoption process in District Court in accordance with Maine's adoption laws.
A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy with a legal agreement stating she will give the offspring to the intended parent(s). The embryos she carries may originate from the intended parent(s) and/or third parties. This is the most common surrogacy arrangement in Maine.
After you have decided whether to proceed with a traditional surrogate or gestational carrier, you need to match with the right person. Ask yourself whether proximity to Maine is important to you. Maine laws do not require your surrogate be a resident of Maine. In the search to find your surrogate you may choose to enlist the services of an agency, or to match independently. There are a number of surrogacy agencies that serve Maine including:
If you are matching with a surrogate independently, you can choose to employ your networking and advertising skills, use social networking sites, search surrogate finder websites, or work directly with an attorney or fertility clinic in Maine.
Criteria to be a surrogate in Maine:
- At least 21 years old
- Given birth to at least one child
- Completed medical evaluation
- Completed psychological evaluation
Criteria to be an Intended Parent in Maine:
- Completed medical evaulation
- Completed psychological evaluation
Step 2: Medical & Psychological Screenings
Before moving forward with any medical procedures, Maine surrogacy law requires that all surrogates and intended parents receive medical and psychological evaluations. The purpose of these evaluations is to determine whether a potential surrogate is physically and psychologically healthy enough to carry a child/children for someone else, and that the intended parents are physically and psychologically healthy enough to parent a child/children. The ultimate goal of these evaluations is to have the best possible pregnancy, delivery, and outcome for all parties involved.
Mental Health Professionals in Maine:
Marcie K. Lister, LICSW
Anne Brennan Belden, MS, PCC
Carla Contarino, PhD
Dr. Karen Harman
Elizabeth Murphy-Lewis LCSW, LADC
Step 3: Review Health Insurance Coverage
A surrogate's medical insurance coverage will drive the terms of the surrogacy arrangement in many ways, potentially requiring the intended parents purchase additional health insurance coverage or agree to pay uncovered medical expenses as they arise. Some insurance companies provide full coverage for surrogacy arrangements, lessening the overall cost of surrogacy in Maine. Every health insurance plan is different and should be carefully reviewed before deciding whether to continue with a potential surrogate.
Step 4: Contract Drafting and Negotiation
In Maine, each side of the surrogacy arrangement must have independent legal representation. The surrogate must have legal representation of her own choosing, paid for by the intended parent(s) regarding the terms of the gestational carrier/surrogacy agreement. The surrogate must be advised of the legal consequences of the agreement by independent legal counsel.
The Maine Parentage Act provides that a legally enforceable surrogacy agreement in Maine must include provisions stating:
The prospective gestational carrier agrees to pregnancy by means of assisted reproduction;
The prospective gestational carrier and her spouse, if she is married, have no rights and duties as the parents of a child conceived through assisted reproduction; and
The intended parent or parents will be the parents of any resulting child.
Surrogacy agreements should also include provisions addressing compensation, life insurance, selective reduction, miscarriage, travel, and other potential issues. It is important to speak openly with your attorney about your concerns and desires so she can best represent your interests when drafting and negotiating the surrogacy contract.
Once the terms are agreed to and the agreement is executed, you can proceed to the medical stage of the Maine surrogacy process.
An important decision in the drafting of a surrogacy agreement in Maine is whether or not to enlist the services of an escrow agency or ask your lawyer to hold escrow. Escrow provides peace of mind for the surrogate who will receive monthly statements of the escrow account to show the money is readily available to be dispensed according to the terms of the surrogacy agreement. Escrow also allows the intended parents to focus on preparing for their future child(ren) and worry less about making payments in a timely manner. It allows the relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents to develop naturally without the awkward handling of checks.
Step 5: Injectible Medications Begin
After the surrogacy contract is signed, the parties will meet with physicians at the agreed upon fertility clinic where the gestational carrier will begin a regimen of hormones and fertility medications leading up to the embryo transfer. There are two fertility clinics in Maine:
Maine law requires that the surrogate not undergo any medical procedures, including taking injectable fertility medications, prior to the execution of the surrogacy agreement.
Step 6: Embryo Transfer
The next step in the medical process of surrogacy in Maine is the embryo transfer, which usually occurs at the fertility clinic. Sometimes a few fertility cycles are necessary to achieve a healthy pregnancy. Your surrogacy agreement should address how many cycles the surrogate agrees to attempt in order to achieve pregnancy.
Step 7: Confirmation of Pregnancy
Approximately ten days after the embryo transfer, the surrogate will take a blood test to confirm the pregnancy. If this pregnancy test is positive, the surrogate will take a second blood test at a date set by the attending physician. If this second blood test is positive, the pregnancy will be confirmed by ultrasound approximately three to four weeks after the embryo transfer.
Once a physician has confirmed the pregnancy, the surrogate can see her preferred obstetrician for prenatal care throughout the pregnancy. Maine has a number of experienced, compassionate obstetricians with privileges to deliver babies at hospitals throughout the state including but not limited to:
The Family Birth Center at Maine Medical Center (Portland)
The Birthplace at Mercy: Northern Light (Portland)
Maternity & Pediatrics Center at the Alfond Center for Health (Augusta)
The Family Birthing Center at Central Maine Medical Center (Lewiston)
The Family Birthing Center at St. Mary's (Lewiston)
Miracles Family Birth Center at York Hospital
Midcoast Hospital Maternity Care Center (Brunswick)
Why have your baby in Maine?
See CompareMaine.org for a breakdown of the cost of care for a vaginal delivery or cesarean section in hospitals throughout Maine.
See State of Babies Yearbook 2020 for data on babies delivered in Maine.
Step 8: Pregnancy & Communication According to Contract Terms
Throughout the pregnancy the parties should consult with the terms of their surrogacy agreement for direction and guidance. The parties can meet and communicate as much or as little as they mutually agree upon.
Step 9: Parentage Proceedings to Obtain Judgment of Parentage & Hospital Letter
Maine law allows for Pre-Birth Parentage Orders regardless of gender, marital status, or genetic relationship to the baby provided all Maine surrogacy laws have been met. This step requires the attorney for the intended parent(s) file a petition for pre-birth determination of parentage along with a list of requirements. The Pre-Birth Parentage Order is an important step as it simplifies the issuing of the child(ren)'s birth certificate and the finalization of the child(ren)'s legal parentage after birth.
About three to four weeks prior to delivery of the baby, the delivery hospital should be contacted to inform the case management staff of the surrogacy arrangement. The attorney for the intended parents provides the hospital with an outline of the delivery and post-delivery plan.
"Every child has the same rights under law as any other child without regard to the marital status or gender of the parents or the circumstances of the child's birth."
Step 10: The Birth of Your Baby!
Congratulations! Your long-awaited baby is here! Be sure to celebrate this once/twice/thrice in a lifetime moment!
If a Pre-Birth Order is in place, the only remaining step is to finalize legal parentage of the intended parents. This is the surrogate's acknowledgement that she is not the legal mother of the baby. It can only be signed after the baby is born.
Before your baby is born be sure to have a support system in place, whether that be family, friends, or a network of similarly situated couples or individuals. Reach out to mental health professionals in Maine as needed. Use every resource at your disposal from your surrogacy arrangement and request additional resources if you so desire. Surrogacy is a beautiful and emotional process, and each individual experience is different.
This post contains general information about assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy in Maine. Neither this website nor its contents should be construed as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by viewing this article, nor by sending communication through this website to Oleaga Law, LLC. Janene Oleaga and Oleaga Law, LLC expressly disclaim all liability arising from actions or inactions based on the content of this article.