Changes in Michigan’s Surrogacy Laws: Podcast Episode #241

Kristin Revere and Jessie Jaskulsky of Surrogacy Simplified discuss the changes in Michigan’s Surrogacy laws on the latest episode of Ask the Doulas.  Jessie also provides helpful tips to our listeners considering surrogacy as an option to grow their families.

Hello!  This is Kristin Revere with Ask the Doulas, and I am excited to chat with Jessie Jaskulsky.  Jessie has been on the podcast before, and she is the founder of Surrogacy Simplified.  She is a surrogacy consultant and concierge.  Welcome back, Jessie!

Thanks for having me again!  Great to be back!

Yes!  I didn’t think I’d have you back quite so soon, but in the prior episode, we were chatting a bit about legislation in Michigan and changes in surrogacy.  And luckily, those changes happened a lot quicker than both of us thought, and surrogacy is now legal in Michigan.  So I wanted to have you back on to chat a bit about the impact of this and help our listeners and our doula clients in Michigan understand the impact of this change.

Absolutely.  I would say so many great things are going to come as a result of this.  One of the biggest things is that it’s going to significantly reduce the cost for pursuing surrogacy in Michigan, for a variety of reasons, one of them being that prior to this, if they wanted to pursue surrogacy, they would have had to find somebody out of state and then also ship embryos, and when you start doing those things, it does end up, unfortunately – some people just can’t rise to all of those costs and they don’t pursue the process, so I think it’s going to make it a little more accessible to many intended parents.

Absolutely.  And it’s always been a dream of mine as a doula to support a surrogate and work with the family, and so hopefully, that will happen now that it’s legal in Michigan!  I’ve had doula friends fly to other states to support those as birth doulas and postpartum doulas.

I would say that’s another really great thing that we’re going to see happen as a result of this is more surrogates that reside in Michigan that previously were not able to come forward and pursue the surrogacy process.  So now it’s so empowering to them to be able to have this control over their body if that’s something that they want to do to help somebody complete their family.  And then it helps the intended parents because there might be more surrogates becoming available right now.  Generally speaking, it’s pretty difficult to find surrogates.

Exactly.  And certainly, there are more benefits surrounding fertility and adoption and surrogacy, so that’s also exciting to families in Michigan.

Yeah, absolutely.

So for those of our listeners who don’t understand the surrogacy process, can you walk us through what that looks like?  With your personal story, you had shared about having some secondary infertility and a lot of the challenges in navigating your options.  Feel free to elaborate!

Walking through the process – and I’m going to give the very high level overview just because it can get a little complicated, but I would say one of the first parts would be creation of your embryos, so going to the fertility clinic.  For some people, they may have already been trying on themselves for a while and now turned to surrogacy, or others may have had to go ahead and create embryos knowing that this was always going to be their path.  And then from there, deciding what type of journey do you want to have.  Do you want to use an agency to help you match with a surrogate?  Do you want to go a more independent route where you have a family member or a friend or maybe use social media to find a surrogate?  Or sort of a hybrid like myself where you might have somebody come forward to carry for you but then you have me guide you, or a consultant in general, to do all of that end coordination.

So once you kind of figure out the type of journey you want to have, after that, it’s really matching with the surrogate, through whatever method you’re going to use.

Excellent.  And so you mentioned working with an agency or the option of working with a consultant or a concierge like yourself.  What would you do as a concierge for families in Michigan who are looking for this support?

I think for them, especially because Michigan hasn’t really been doing much surrogacy before previously, you could do an altruistic or an uncompensated arrangement.  So maybe the fertility clinics have had some experience, but really, I think it’s going to be so much education for the intended parents because surrogacy hasn’t really happened before.  They may not have friends that have gone through the process.  And really breaking the process down for them and helping them feel less overwhelmed, whether that’s during an initial consult, just giving them a high level overview of all the different steps involved, helping them understand their choices in terms of the type of journey, the costs associated with different things, and just really helping the parents feel empowered to make these types of choices while they’re on their surrogacy journey and feel like they have somebody there that really understands it and can take them through the process as hopefully stress-free as possible.

And Jessie, how would you be working with doulas, or if other doulas outside of Gold Coast are interested in connecting clients who are, say, struggling with secondary infertility and interested in their options?  I would be curious about your role in relation to birth doulas or bed rest doulas or certainly the postpartum, the day and overnight newborn care that we offer.

Absolutely.  So there’s a couple different ways.  I would love – part of what I do is having this rich network to refer to my clients, and a lot of intended parents do want that doula support for their gestational carrier.  So I would say to absolutely reach out.  And thinking about making sure that the surrogate feels really supported during her journey.  Oftentimes, that is making sure that I have that coordinated for the delivery, that we have the doula ready to go.  And then following the delivery, whether the surrogate needs some care and needs that extra support with the help of a doula or the intended parents want somebody at the home to kind of support them in this transition to parenthood.

Yes.  And I know sometimes surrogates do end up on bedrest in those final days or weeks, and it can be helpful if they have other children at home to bring in an antepartum doula to help feed the kids, get them snacks, help make the couple who is supporting the surrogate feel like they are able to make a difference and an impact as well.

For us, on my first journey, having a doula would have been really amazing because our surrogate developed preeclampsia and she went on hospital bedrest.  And had we had that support at the hospital with a doula, I think that would have been really great.  My husband and I helped care for her so her husband could focus on the children, but I think that that additional layer of support would have been really, really incredible.  Our daughter came seven weeks early, so we sort of were scrambling to get all the resources together, but I think knowing what I know now, I would guide other intended parents to know about making sure that if they want to have a doula or the surrogate wants a doula, that they have all that perhaps lined up in the second trimester so that if something were to happen at the end – baby’s coming early, or the surrogate’s on hospital bedrest – all of the supports are already lined up and in place.

Exactly.  And that’s certainly something to factor in, and we do support bedrest clients, both in the hospital and the home bedrest option.  And then some doulas do not make themselves available until 38 weeks, but at Gold Coast we’re on call from the moment a contract is signed, so for those families in Michigan, as you begin to build your business here, we’re able to support if things happen, like preeclampsia, that are not expected, and deliveries earlier than anticipated.

Oh, that’s incredible.

I see so many ways that we can work together!  I love that these changes have happened early on.  I know you’ve kept up to date on a lot of pending legislation in other states.  Are you seeing with this change in Michigan that things may happen elsewhere?

It’s hard to say.  I’m hopeful, but I think we’re going to have to keep staying in tune yet in terms of the other two.  We have Nebraska and Louisiana still, and I’m just not sure yet what’s going to happen with them.  I think we have to keep hoping and praying.

Okay.  And what are some of the other states that surrogacy is legal in?  I know Colorado is a good example.

Going back to our first podcast together, we talked about traditional surrogacy versus gestational surrogacy, and traditional surrogacy is much less common.  And when you say surrogacy nowadays, it’s interchanged with gestational surrogacy, which is when the surrogate has no biological connection to the child.  So when I say this, I’m referring to gestational surrogacy.  It’s now legal in 48 of the 50 states.  Traditional surrogacy is not.  It’s much less states.  I don’t even know offhand because it’s just so rare nowadays.  But really, any state is okay to move forward in, I would say, with the exception of Louisiana and Nebraska.

Exciting!  So what are your tips for our listeners who are considering this option to begin moving forward?

I would say balancing becoming informed with going into a rabbit hole and spiraling because there’s so much to know.  So really trying to make it digestible.  I offer a free surrogacy e-book that anyone listening is welcome to download.  We can have it listed in the show notes for everybody, how to access it.  And then also learning about, like, the costs, thinking about the relationship you might want to have with your surrogate, just starting to think through some of these points is really valuable so that when you’re in the middle of the journey, it can go much more smoothly and efficiently.  And I think also just to end it with being patient with the process.  It’s not a quick one, but it’s definitely so beautiful and so worth it.

Yes, and as you mentioned it’s not a quick process – what is the average time that a family would work with you or that the whole planning process would take in getting matched with a surrogate, for example, and even in being able to afford it?  Like, if this is something that a couple is just in the early stages and want to begin planning with a consultant like yourself and saving – I feel like there are so many different categories it could go.  Once you have your match, how long does that take?  And then once you’re in the planning phase, how long is that stage?

I think with the planning phase, it’s really about how long it’s going to take until the intended parents feel comfortable moving forward in terms of affording it, whether they need to wait and apply to some grants and see what happens or look at financing.  I think that can definitely play a role.  Once you’re matched, the process tends to move on the quicker side.  I would say once you’re matched, an embryo transfer can tend to happen within three to six months.  So you’re looking at anywhere from a 13- to 16-month journey.

That’s quick.

Yes, and I would say surrogacy in general, from thinking about surrogacy to baby, would probably range from a year and a half to two years, depending upon how quickly it takes to match, how quick different parts of the journey go.  There’s always a range on how long it takes to get through the legal process or IVF creation or just the different steps that are involved, and that plays a role in the overall timeline.

Thank you for explaining all of this, Jessie!  I am excited to share your download with our listeners, as well.  I appreciate you offering that.  How can our listeners connect with you?

You can always send me an email at  Also, my website has a landing page where you can book an initial complementary consultation if you’re getting started on your journey, whether it’s that you’re ready to move forward or you’re just deciding and feeling overwhelmed, I’m here for you.  And I also would suggest if you’re on social media, I post a lot of really valuable tips and reels, and that is also @surrogacysimplified, as well.  You can follow me there.

Yes, you’re on LinkedIn, Instagram.  Any other social spots?

I’m on the others, but I’m most active on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Same.  Agreed.  Well, thank you!  It was great to chat again, and I look forward to working with you in Michigan, Jessie!

Yes, likewise!


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