Single & hot to tot pop wannabes in surrogate grab
By Susannah Cahalan , NY Post , April 13, 2008
|Mommies are out, baby daddies are in.
As a surge in surrogate births sweeps the country – up 28 percent in the past five years – baby-loving city bachelors are getting into the act, finding egg donors, providing sperm and paying surrogates to give birth to their offspring.
James Shrybman, a surrogacy lawyer in Dickerson, Md., advised about 10 bachelors last year. Such clients were once “non-existent,” he said.
New Jersey lawyer Melissa Brisman has helped at least five city men through the process in the past year.
One of them, Dr. Will Zangwill, a 60-year-old Upper East Side psychologist, had just ended a two-year relationship with a girlfriend when a pal suggested he try having a child on his own.
“I always knew I wanted kids and I always just assumed it would happen,” said Zangwill. Surrogacy “just seemed so obvious,” he said. “I jumped at the opportunity.”
He brought home little Marissa 11 months ago.
The single men who go through the process “are usually very successful men from metropolitan cities and are older – around 47 to 55,” said Brisman.
The price of the process can easily reach $90,000, with $15,000 to $27,000 of that paid to the surrogate mother. Since it’s illegal to compensate surrogates in New York, the deals are signed – and the births takes place – out of state. Many choose Pennsylvania for its flexible laws.
For Zangwill, the process of finding a egg donor and surrogate mother took about six months, far quicker than most cases.
A fertility-doctor friend introduced him to Brisman, who runs a reproductive-law firm in Park Ridge, NJ, that coordinates several hundred surrogate births a year.
Brisman hooked Zangwill up with an aspiring actress and UCLA graduate from California – the egg donor. An egg typically costs $20,000. Under Zangwill’s contract, when Marissa turns 18 she can contact her biological mother.
Finding a suitable surrogate was more difficult. The screening process entailed background checks, psychological exams, poring over medical details of prior pregnancies, and social-worker visits.
Zangwill found his match in Shelly, of Pennsylvania. She was implanted with his sperm and the donated egg, and he accompanied her to every doctor visit save one.
He said he and his surrogate had a great relationship.
“I didn’t want this to be about picking up a package at the end of nine months,” he explained.
Shelly gave birth at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital – with Zangwill watching, his heart beating “120 miles per hour.”
He stayed in a “nesting room” for two nights, where he was taught how to care for his newborn.
Unmarried attorney to the stars and “Factory Girl” producer Richard Golub recently joined the parental parade – he has a 9-month old boy born from a surrogate.
Another unmarried man, Gerry Capo, a 39-year old oncologist who lives in Midtown, decided he wanted to have a baby after his relationship to a longtime boyfriend dissolved.
“I have everything, a great practice, a great house, great friends. Now I want to share it,” he said.
After a disappointing experience with an unsuitable surrogate, he found an Illinois woman.
“I’m beside myself,” he exclaimed.