Definition of Surrogacy:
Surrogacy is the act of a woman, altruistic by nature, to gestate a child for another individual or couple, with the intent to give said child back to his parents at birth.Surrogate mother is a woman who bears a child for another person, often for pay, either through artificial insemination or by carrying until birth another woman’s surgically implanted fertilized egg. Surrogacy is a highly complex process, and there are many important steps to ensure that both parties make the best decisions – including extensive counselling, psychiatric assessment and independent legal advice.
Types of Surrogacy:
Traditional surrogacy refers to the process where a woman uses her own eggs and is artificially inseminated with another man’s sperm (not her husband or partner). The surrogate carries and delivers the baby, and then gives the baby to the intended parents. The surrogate is not considered the baby’s mother.
2. Gestational Surrogacy:
Gestational surrogacy refers to the process where a woman is impregnated through in vitro fertilization using another woman’s eggs and another man’s sperm. The surrogate carries and delivers the baby, and then gives the baby to the intended parents (usually the egg donor and sperm donor). Gestational surrogacy is usually favored over traditional surrogacy because the surrogate is not biologically related to the baby.
Who is eligible for surrogacy?
What is my chance of having a baby with surrogacy?
It is quite difficult to determine a success rate for surrogacy, as many factors are relevant, including:
- the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant
- the age of the egg donor (if involved)
- the success of procedures such as IUI and IVF
- the quality of gamete provided by the comissioning couple.
The age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects chances of pregnancy.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Surrogacy
Surrogacy is appealing for a number of reasons:
- Infertile couples can have the biological children
- Women with health issues that prevent carrying a child to term have a viable option for childbearing
- Same-sex couples can have biological children
- A woman that wants to be pregnant but doesn’t want to raise the child can be a surrogate
- Friends and family members can help infertile couples start a family
- In open surrogacy, the child benefits from having an extended family
Disadvantages of Surrogacy
Like everything in life, there are downsides to surrogacy including:
- Medically invasive process for the surrogate; the process may also take a long time
- Emotional stress and anxiety
- Guilt on the part of the surrogate
- Legal problems if the surrogate doesn’t surrender the baby
What to Look for in a Surrogate
The majority of the time couples pick family members or close friends to act as surrogates to their children. Other couples decide to hire surrogates through agencies. In either case, here are some things to look for when choosing a surrogate:
- Between the ages of 21 and 38
- Have had a previous uncomplicated pregnancy and birth
- No current or history of sexually transmitted diseases
- Healthy; no chronic medical disorders
- Average weight and height
- Non-smoker; lives in a smoke-free environment
- Does not use illegal drugs
Surrogacy is a complex issue and the laws that govern this alternative method of reproduction are equally complicated. The laws attempt to address issues related to the process itself, parental rights of the adoptive parents, the biological mother’s rights, and the actual adoption procedure.
On the one hand, legal complications can emerge that hurt all parties involved.
- What happens if the intended couple decide that they do not want the child born.
- What happens when intended couple split during the process of surrogacy.
- Surrogate mother decides to keep the baby herself.
- What happens if the intended parents expire during the period of surrogacy.
- What happens if the surrogate mother has medical complication or dies due to obstetric complication.
On the other hand, surrogacy is sometimes the only way couples can have biological children. This is especially true when it comes to same-sex couples. Many people consider procreation to be a human right and attempting to restrict how a child is brought into the world can be seen as infringing on that right.
To be sure, there are a lot of issues that must be considered. For example, does biology decide who the legal parents of a child are? Or does a contract supersede nature? When deciding whether to hire a surrogate or become a surrogate mother, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about these matters. This can prevent a lot of legal problems and heartache down the line.
The Surrogacy Process
Navigating the surrogacy process can be challenging. Here are step by step instructions to help couples get through the process.The surrogacy process can take up to 18 months to complete.
Choose a surrogate mother
Anyone can act as a surrogate. Most couples choose women close to them like friends or family members. However, many couples work with an agency that will match them to appropriate surrogates. This latter option can be more preferable because many agencies prescreen women, saving couples the trouble of doing it on their own.
Here are a few tips for choosing a surrogacy agency:
- A large agency will walk couples through the entire process from start to finish. They will provide advice on a wide range of topics including legal, insurance, and financial. However, service from a large agency is not cheap.
- A small agency can get the job done a lot cheaper. However, they may not have as many services available. Couples may need to chip in and do some of the leg work.
- Couples can search for surrogates on their own. While they will save money, they must also conduct background checks, draw up contracts on their own and complete all the other tasks on their own. This can be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting. Couples will also have very little recourse if things go wrong.
Choosing Legal Counsel
If a problem arises between the couple and the surrogate (or agency), legal guidance will be needed to fix it. Chose a legal team that has vast experience in surrogacy law. Lawyers draw up contracts and vet any and all agreements. All parties should have at least one meeting where everyone talks about what is expected of them and set up boundaries.
Choose a Medical provider
Surrogates will need to go through a number of medical and psychological screenings. Take time to search for a competent medical professional. Interview the doctor to ensure they have knowledge and experience needed to ensure a successful pregnancy.
How Much Will Surrogacy Cost?
There are many factors associated with the surrogacy process, so it is difficult to come up with an average cost that couples can expect to pay.
The amount a couple pays the surrogate is one such variable. Friends or family members may not charge a couple to carry their children, but a professional surrogate can charge depending on the socioeconomic status.. Additional fees may be charged for carrying twins or triplets, or for cesarean births. Surrogacy affects the carrier and her quality of life directly, so it is understandable that she would want to be compensated adequately for the risks she is undertaking and the lifestyle changes she must make. Its important that all the fine details of payments are made with the surrogate mother and included in the agreement.
There are certain expenses that couples may be required to pay in addition to the surrogacy fee. These include:
- Life insurance for the carrier’s family
- Lost wages
- Health insurance
- optional( nutritional supplementation)
Couples will also be responsible for paying all pregnancy related medical expenses. It is important to note that surrogacy may not be covered by health insurance plans. It is best to consult with your insurance provider for their policies regarding this type of assisted reproduction.
Surrogacy medical costs may include:
- Medications for fertility
- Acquiring and preparing sperm
- Treatments for improving sperm count and/or quality
- In-vitro Fertilization
- Transfer of frozen embryos
- Cost of antenatal visits and investigations.
- Cost of delivery.
Surrogacy Agency Fees
There are agencies that specialize in matching couples with surrogates, but they often charge a hefty fee. However, most won’t send a bill until after the first trimester of the pregnancy. U may avoid these fees if u directly contact the physician or search youarself a surrogate mother.
Surrogacy is not without its legal challenges. It is always a good idea to obtain legal assistance for these matters, particularly if the surrogate will be using her eggs (thus having a genetic connection to the child) for the procedure.
Paying for Surrogacy
There are a variety of ways couples pay surrogacy expenses. Some pay for everything upfront and then wait for delivery of their child. Others pay as the bills come due, and still others pay when the baby is born. It is critical to hammer out payment details at the outset to avoid legal complications. Additionally, money should be placed in escrow which will provide protection against fraud and other issues.