A simple definition of surrogacy is that one woman will carry a child that ultimately will be given to another person or couple. There are several types of surrogacy, and before embarking on this course, the couple involved should find out all they can about all of them. Surrogacy is an expensive process, both financially and emotionally, and all parties concerned should be fully aware of all the pros and cons of surrogacy before starting the procedure. The people who will ultimately get the child are referred to as the intended mother and father.
Traditional surrogacy involves the eggs of the surrogate mother being fertilized by the sperm of the intended father. This will be done by intrauterine insemination (IUI) or by in vitro fertilization (IVF), and the success rate will be the same as would be expected from normally fertile people. In the case of traditional surrogacy, the woman who carries the child is the biological mother.
Gestational surrogacy is a much more expensive and complicated procedure. In this case, the eggs from the intended mother must be gathered, fertilized with sperm, then implanted using in vitro fertilization into the womb of another woman, the surrogate mother. The woman who carries the baby is not the biological parent of the child, she shares no genetic material with the fetus. Gestational surrogacy is more difficult to accomplish because the cycles of both women must be synchronized, and this is usually achieved by the use of various medications. In effect, the intended parents are simply ‘borrowing a uterus’ for the duration of the pregnancy.
Most women who act as surrogate mothers, carrying a child that they know they will have to give up to the intended parents, do so for a fee. At times, a family member will act as a surrogate mother out of affection, but in most cases, payment must be made. The price tag associated with surrogacy is usually between $75,000 and $100,000. This includes all the agency fees, the doctor’s fees, and the fee that will be paid to the surrogate.
Because of the notoriety surrounding some surrogacy cases, there are now legal restrictions in place in some states. Be sure that you check the laws of the state in which you live to understand exactly what will be your rights if you decide to use surrogacy to have a child. Some couples will use the service of a commercial surrogacy agency to provide a surrogate mother, while others will find private ways to find one. Regardless of the way chosen, both the intended parents and the surrogate mother will need legal representation, each should have their own lawyer. Whether using an agency or working privately, a contract will be needed so that all the terms and conditions are understood and agreed to.
The decision to use surrogacy can hardly ever be an easy one, considering the costs involved and the potential for legal problems. When starting on a surrogacy program, it is probably best to use a reputable agency. These agencies will screen the surrogate mothers beforehand not only for health issues, but also to be certain that the surrogate will be emotionally able to give up the child when it is born.