Having a child of your own is a wonderful achievement, giving many people a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. However, for some people, bearing a child seems very dangerous or impossible to do. Couples may have tried to have a baby for years, opting to take rather conservative methods or pursue other approaches that still failed. Eventually, they will be led to another option that’s more technological in nature, and that is surrogacy.
On the other side of the fence, though, there is another person who could be interested in pursuing surrogacy for another objective–to help people who want to have children. These are the people who are interested in becoming surrogate mothers. Since this aspect could be financially rewarding for someone, it has become a viable option to pursue in this day and age.
But how does surrogacy work? What are the essential things to consider when planning to take this approach? In this article, you will learn what surrogacy is and what it entails. It could be a useful reference guide for either the aspiring parent or the would-be surrogate. Get to know the fundamentals of this reproductive technology.
1. Definition of Surrogacy
Surrogacy pertains to an arrangement between two parties, where a woman is meant to bear the child of another person or a couple. The woman who agrees to participate as the carrier of the child is called the surrogate mother. With this assisted reproductive technology, willing women or surrogates can participate in surrogacy in exchange for monetary compensation as the whole transaction is supported by legal agreement and documents.
But why do people consider surrogacy? Some possible reasons why people opt for this arrangement are the following:
- Pregnancy is risky or too dangerous for the supposed child-bearer or intended mother.
- A male couple or a single man wants to have a child.
- It is medically impossible for the intended mother to get pregnant.
2. How Surrogacy Works
The Sensible’s surrogacy guide explains that surrogacy works in simple steps. The process begins with the donation of viable sperm and eggs, followed by the laboratory-assisted conception of embryos or in vitro fertilization, and then transferring the readied embryos to the surrogate mother.
If you are considering surrogacy, it is vital to know all your options first. One crucial thing to discover is how to choose an available clinic worldwide. It is recommended that you work with a qualified agent to let you know about how the whole process of surrogacy works. Aside from knowing these clinic-related steps, an aspiring parent or a couple should look for a qualified surrogate, then arrange parental rights in the local courts.
But which type of surrogacy would you pursue? There are two types to choose from, namely:
- Traditional Surrogacy: This is the type of surrogacy that many people know where the surrogate mother becomes pregnant in a traditional way or via artificial insemination. It means conceiving a baby using the surrogate mother’s egg. In this process, the surrogate mother still has a genetic connection to the baby.
- Gestational Surrogacy: This type is where the surrogate mother carries a baby that was conceived using the sperm and egg of the intended parents. It means that the gestational surrogate doesn’t have any genetic link to the child.
3. A Woman Can Become A Surrogate For A Friend Or Family Member
Surrogacy laws differ by state. Generally, a woman can accept a gestational surrogacy for a friend or a family member. This means you can carry and bear a child for your friend or family member without any legal relationship. It is also understood that you will not be the child’s legal mother.
You can provide surrogacy to a person close to you as a lifelong gift of parenthood. Because of the established love and sense of trust between the intended parents and the surrogate, parenthood could be less stressful when done this way.
Here’s how to become a surrogate mother for a loved one or a friend:
- Decision-making And Preparation: First and foremost, being a surrogate or asking a friend or family member to become a surrogate mother for your child is a major life decision for everyone concerned. That’s why all parties have to decide whether it is the right action to take or not. For interested surrogate mothers, the first thing they need to do is recognize and work out the possible emotions they will be experiencing when carrying these babies that will not be theirs.
- Consider And Address All Legalities: The gestational surrogate mother and the family member or friend wanting to become a parent must meet with their respective lawyers to make sure that the coverage of all legalities in the contract or legal agreement is comprehensive and beneficial for both parties. The contract should lay out the possible risks involved in the pregnancy, the financial compensation arrangement, and both parties’ expectations. Included in these expectations is establishing the intended parents as the baby’s biological parents.
- Medical Process: Once all parties have signed the legal contract, in vitro conception will start, and the embryo transfer process to the surrogate mother will begin. Fertility treatments will be provided to the surrogate mother prior to the embryo transfer, and rest is required for a few days. Pregnancy continues with the successful implantation of the embryo until the baby’s heartbeat is heard.
- During The Pregnancy: The surrogate mother needs to receive full support from the intended parents for a healthy pregnancy as agreed on the contract. During the second trimester of the surrogate mother’s pregnancy, the intended parents can already obtain a pre-birth order to establish their status as the child’s legal parents.
- Post-pregnancy: If the surrogate is a stranger, the intended parents can bring home the baby after the birth and immediately establish a child and parent relationship. Those who became surrogate mothers for a friend or family member should happily hand over the baby to the parents as specified in their contract. In this type of set-up, the child may be informed of the surrogate mother’s role in the birth process because of her close ties with the parents. Of course, this decision of letting the child know about the surrogacy depends entirely on the parents.
4. Becoming A Gestational Carrier
Medical organizations like the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the European Society of Human Reproduction provide universal recommendations for a woman who aspires to become a gestational carrier. It would be helpful to study these details for anyone who wishes to pursue this course of action.
In general, they are recommending the following:
- A woman interested in becoming a surrogate should ideally be between 21 and 45 years old.
- The prospective surrogate should already have had one uncomplicated and full-term pregnancy.
- The prospective surrogate should also have had at least one child to become a qualified gestational carrier.
Surrogacy is an innovative assisted reproductive technology, helping aspiring parents to experience parenthood. Surrogacy laws vary from one state to another, so careful planning and decision-making are essential to make it work. All parties should know their responsibilities, legal implications, and expectations within the whole surrogacy process to avoid future problems. Once everything has been addressed, the process will be much smoother and satisfying for both the intended parents and the surrogate mother.