Many couples around the world suffer from infertility. Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after months or years of unprotected sex. It is common in modern society and can be caused by various factors, including age, lifestyle choices and medical conditions. There are several treatments for infertility available, including drugs, surgery and assisted reproductive technologies (ART). However, for some couples, these treatments are not successful, and they may turn to surrogacy as a way to have a child.
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a process by which a woman agrees to become pregnant and carry a baby to term for another person or couple. The resulting child is then legally and emotionally attributed to the intended parents rather than the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother chosen should be physically capable of carrying a baby to term, as well as psychologically stable, and should be in good health.
In the United States, surrogacy is governed by state rather than federal laws. Different states have different requirements for entering into a surrogate parenting agreement. In many cases, however, courts do not enforce surrogacy contracts due to concerns about the rights of the surrogate mother or psychological issues.
The eligible age of the surrogate should be at least 21 years old, and some clinics impose an upper age limit as well; it is also preferred that the surrogate has had at least one successful full-term pregnancy. If there are known or suspected genetic problems with either the egg donor or sperm donor, it is important to clarify this in the contract between all parties.
Types of Surrogacy
- Traditional surrogacy: In this method, the surrogate mother uses her own egg and the intended father’s sperm to conceive the child. Therefore, she and the intended parents are biologically related to their baby. However, after delivery, the surrogate mother has no legal rights to the child and hands the baby over to the intended parents.
- Gestational surrogacy: Here, the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child; she conceives with artificial insemination or through an embryo transfer from a donor. Therefore, the surrogate and the intended parents must use some form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). In most cases, the surrogate mother will be given fertility drugs to help her prepare for pregnancy. Once she becomes pregnant, she will typically have regular checkups with a doctor to ensure a healthy pregnancy. The baby will be born via C-section, and the surrogate mother will then relinquish custody of the child to the intended parents.
Are There Risks Involved in Surrogacy?
- Pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and premature labor: These complications pose a risk to both the surrogate mother and the baby.
- Birth defects or other health concerns for the baby: Another concern with the process is that if the surrogate mother has any health problems during her pregnancy, this could potentially be passed on to the baby.
- Premature birth or C-section delivery: The surrogate may have a premature birth that can make it difficult for the baby to survive, or she may require a C-section delivery, which can be risky for both the mother and child.
- Loss of the baby: Like any other pregnancy, there is a risk of loss. However, the risk is increased for surrogate mothers who are older, who have had multiple pregnancies or who smoke during pregnancy.
Factors to Consider before Using a Surrogate Mother
Before you decide to use a surrogate mother, there are many factors that you should carefully consider. These include:
- Finding a surrogate mother who is right for you: You’ll want to find a surrogate who is healthy, physically and emotionally capable of carrying a baby, and has a good support system.
- The costs: This process can be expensive, so make sure you have enough money saved up to cover the costs.
- The risks: There are some risks associated with surrogacy, so you’ll need to be prepared for those.
- Your relationship with the surrogate mother: You’ll need to be sure you’re comfortable with the surrogate mother and that she is someone you can trust.
- Legal contracts and surrogate laws in your state: Surrogacy-related laws vary from state to state, so be sure that you are abiding by the laws where you live. Also, you will need to make sure you have a valid contract in place with the surrogate mother that will be enforced by the court.
Using a surrogate is an option for couples who cannot conceive independently or who may be unable to carry a baby because of age or other factors. Because there are many benefits and risks involved in surrogacy, you need to consider all your options before making a decision.