Surrogacy refers to an arrangement where you, as the intending parent, enter into an agreement with another woman (the surrogate mother) to carry pregnancy for you. The arrangement is a legally binding agreement that entitles you to the resultant child as your own.
There are several reasons why you may choose to look for a surrogate mother instead of adopting a child. You may choose to look for one in a case where getting pregnant is impossible for medical reasons. You can also look for one in a case where you can get pregnant but pregnancy risks present a serious danger to your life. Like some couples, you may simply choose surrogacy as your preferred method of way of getting a child or children.
Surrogacy can either be simple or complex and it is only appropriate that you know all that is involved before you set out looking for a surrogate mother.
1. Type of Surrogacy
It is very important that you ascertain the type of surrogacy that suits you before you set out to look for a surrogate mother. There are basically two types of surrogacy;
- Traditional surrogacy – This is often referred to as straight surrogacy. It involves artificial insemination of your male partner’s or donor’s sperm into another woman’s fallopian tube for fertilization. The resultant scenario is a child who is either genetically related to both your male partner (if his sperm is used) and the surrogate mother or be genetically related to the surrogate mother (if donor sperm is used).
- Gestational surrogacy – Gestational surrogacy involves implantation of an embryo in another woman’s uterus, in which case the surrogate child has no genetic relationship with the surrogate mother whatsoever. The embryo can be created using your male partner’s sperm and your egg, using your male partner’s sperm donor egg, using your egg and donor sperm or using an embryo from a donor.
2. Form of Surrogacy
There are two forms of surrogacy that you need to consider before you start looking for a surrogate mother.
- Commercial surrogacy – This involves compensating the surrogate mother for her time and duty of carrying the pregnancy to term and delivering the baby for you. This form is allowed in some countries and states and prohibited in others.
- Altruistic surrogacy – This does not involve any compensation to the surrogate mother. You may only need to pay for the surrogate mother’s medical costs.
3. Legal Complications
It is very important that you get the right information relating to surrogacy laws that apply in your own country or state before you set out to look for a surrogate mother. This is because surrogacy is still a very controversial issue and different countries and states have different laws that guide the process. For instance, there are counties and states that outlaw commercial surrogacy but allow altruistic surrogacy and vice versa. Similarly, there are countries and states where surrogacy is not allowed.
Getting the right information on laws applicable in a country or state is very important because it makes it possible for you to look for a surrogate mother from a country or state whose surrogacy laws will favor you.
Like with surrogacy laws, the citizenship of the surrogate child remains controversial. This is simply because of the different surrogacy laws applicable in different countries and states. For instance, a surrogate child can only be a US citizen by birth if he/she is genetically related to either you or your male partner. There are also countries and states where a surrogate child is not granted citizenship simply because the surrogate mother is not the child’s mother by law. Such is automatically born without citizenship.
Surrogacy can either be affordable or costly depending on various factors including surrogacy laws applicable in any country. It all depends on the location of the surrogate mother. It can also be very costly considering that there are countries and states where adoption laws form part of surrogacy laws and you have to go through the process of adoption after the baby is born.
It pays to establish your religion’s stand on matters to do with surrogacy or assisted reproduction. This applies if you are too religious and do not wish to be viewed negatively by fellow members of your religion. This is important because it can impact negatively on you. For instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church at paragraph 2376 abhors any form of assisted reproduction.
7. Psychological Issues
Surrogacy can be a cause of psychological problems for you and a surrogate mother. You must remain alive to the fact that either of you will have some level of psychological problems long after you have had your baby. Furthermore, the mere thought that there is a surrogate mother somewhere who gave birth to your baby can cause you psychological problems. It is very important to ensure that you are psychologically prepared before you go out looking for a surrogate mother.
8. Where to Find a Surrogate Mother?
There are two ways you can find a surrogate mother.
- Family and friends – You may choose to have a friend or family member as a surrogate mother so long as the surrogate child will not be the product of incest. Although not talked about, this is the form of surrogacy that is very common in different communities around the world and does not involve any legal issues.
- Surrogate agency – You may also choose to look for a surrogate mother through a surrogate agency. This is the practice in most developed countries with established surrogacy laws that govern operations of such agencies. One benefit of looking for a surrogate mother through an agency is the rigorous medical examination and tests a potential surrogate mother is subjected to before any a binding agreement is signed.
How to Choose a Surrogate Mother?
Although you may choose to look for a surrogate mother through an agency, you still have a say on what qualities a potential surrogate mother should have. Medical experts advise that you choose a potential mother who is at least 21 years and 30 years at most. The potential mother should also have given birth to her own child or children so as not to subject her to psychological trauma long after giving birth and handing the baby over to you. The potential mother should also have undergone both medical and psychological screening.
These are some of the things you need to know about surrogacy and what it entails. There is no doubt that you may have no other option if you are unable to get pregnant and surrogacy may be the only option available. The above information should make it possible for you to find the right surrogate mother.