What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a procedure where a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for another couple or individual who can’t get pregnant themselves by using other methods available such as IVF and IUI. After getting pregnant, the baby is given to the intended parents, who complete all the legal formalities. The woman carrying the baby is known as a surrogate. Surrogacy is a complex process involving many legal and medical procedures.

Before opting for surrogacy, many things are to be kept in consideration and the couple or individual going for surrogacy should always seek professional advice.

Types of surrogacies

There are different types of surrogacies based on what you desire and you can always consult a medical professional before choosing which option fits you.

Surrogacy can be divided into different kinds based on genetic relationship, payment for a surrogate, where the surrogacy is completed, and who you work with.

  1. Based on genetic relationship
  • Gestational surrogacy: In this embryo is formed using the eggs and sperm from the intended parents or the donors. This type allows mothers to be related to the child, and the surrogate will have no biological link with the baby.
  • Traditional surrogacy: In this embryo is created using eggs from the surrogate itself and the surrogate mother is biologically linked to the baby. In this case, the surrogate can be linked to either one of the parents creating a genetic link between them which is not possible in the case of a donated egg and sperm.
  1. Based on payment made to the surrogate
  • Compensated surrogacy: In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is given compensation to carry the child. This typically adds to the costs of the process.
  • Altruistic surrogacy: In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother receives no compensation. The surrogate  can probably be linked to the mother and father and this also reduces the cost of the overall process.
  1. Based on where the surrogacy is completed
  • Domestic surrogacy: This type of surrogacy is completed in your country and is comparatively cheap and safe. The surrogate and intended parents can stay in contact throughout the process.
  • International surrogacy: This type of surrogacy is an option for people living in those countries where surrogacy is restricted. They can travel to other countries which are cheap for surrogacy but they have to pay the compensation.
  1. Based on who you work with, surrogacy is classified as agency or independent
  • Agency surrogacy: In this, the parents and surrogates trust an agency for all the procedures involved in the surrogacy. The agency handles all the legal and medical formalities.
  • Independent surrogacy: This type of surrogacy is usually cheaper as in this the intended parents find a surrogate on their own (someone from their friends or family). They will need only legal and medical assistance from outside.

What are the reasons for surrogacy?

Hysterectomy: Due to medical reasons, if the uterus is removed, then surrogacy can help in achieving the dream of parenthood.

Failed IVF: If the couple has failed to conceive through IVF, then surrogacy provides hope for them.

Medical problems related to the uterus: Some medical issues related to the uterus, like uterine shape abnormalities, uterine fibroids, and septate uterus make it impossible for the individual to carry the baby. Surrogacy provides an option to grow your family.

Age: After the age of 35, complications begin to increase, which increases the risk of pregnancy and makes it difficult for the couple to conceive. This surrogacy provides an option to become parents.

Same-sex couples: With the help of surrogacy, a same-sex couple can start their own family.

Other reasons to go for surrogacy include heart problems, obesity, diabetes sexually transmitted diseases, etc.

Risks associated with surrogacy:

There are some risks associated with surrogacy, you don’t need to be affected by all of them because every surrogacy process is unique. The risks associated with surrogacy may include:

  • Health issues
  • Legal issues
  • Emotional issues
  • Ethical issues

Health issues related to surrogacy:

The health issues associated with surrogacy can be the same as in the case of general pregnancy which includes soreness, morning sickness, mild discomfort, etc.

Some serious risks may include gestational diabetes, hypertension, miscarriage, slight bleeding, cramping, etc.

While becoming a surrogate, you don’t need to face all these potential risks, if you follow up on the advice of your doctor, the probability of you facing these risks will decrease.

Legal issues related to surrogacy:

Along with the potential health issues associated with pregnancy, there are some legal issues as well.

It is advised to work with a law firm-owned surrogacy program so that you will be confident in the validity of your contract; otherwise, legal issues can lead you into a messy situation.

Emotional issues related to surrogacy:

Surrogacy is not just a medical process; along with it come lots of emotional issues that a surrogate faces, which include depression during or after pregnancy, finding it challenging to form a relationship with intended parents, feeling of loss at the end of the process, and establishing a bounded relationship with the baby. These all can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety.

It is the prime responsibility of the fertility clinic to provide you surrogacy programme to prepare you mentally for the procedure and make it less stressful for you.

Ethical issues related to surrogacy:

Some people are of the view that surrogacy leads to the objectification and exploitation of women. By treating women as objects of reproductive exchange by renting wombs, which in turn leads to the thought of devaluing childbearing.

How do I choose a surrogate, and what are the legal issues associated with a surrogate?

Choosing a surrogate is a big task and a very crucial decision to make, as that woman will carry your child.

Before choosing a surrogate, there are a few specifications you need to keep in mind because your surrogate should be in great health and should live in a stress-free environment that will make the journey successful for everyone involved in this journey.

A few things to consider when choosing a surrogate include:

  • Age: An ideal surrogate between the ages of 21 and 35 with an ideal body mass index is generally the best fit for surrogacy. Though we cannot address a particular age as the best age, complications may arise with increasing age, and older women tend to develop hypertension.
  • Health status and lifestyle: Ensure that the woman going to be your surrogate is following a healthy lifestyle, like following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, not consuming alcohol or smoking, etc., and the surrogate should not have a medical history of any kind of disease.
  • Willingness: The surrogate should show willingness during the entire process, the one who participates in every process, and listens to all the details, just like the intended parents. This will make a great difference in the entire process.
  • Emotional health: Carrying someone else’s baby will take a big toll on the emotional health of your surrogate. Check on their mental health and ask them about the coping mechanisms they follow.
  • Experience: It is always nice to work with a woman who has already experienced childbirth, whether on their own or through surrogacy, as this will make them more mentally prepared and make it easier for them to understand the process.

Legal formalities to be ensured by surrogates include the following:

  • The intended couple and the surrogate ought to sign a contract that would legally bind both of them. Her spouse’s written consent is required before she signs the agreement.
  • A woman who requests or accepts to serve as a surrogate must submit to a medical examination to rule out any infectious diseases that could harm the child’s or children’s health, including STDs. She also needs to certify written confirmation that she hasn’t had a transfusion of blood or blood product in the previous six months.
  • Until the child is turned onto the intended parents or another individual by the agreement, and until the surrogate is free of any health issues arising out of surrogacy, the commissioning parent(s) shall make certain that both the surrogate as well as the child or children that she delivers are properly insured.
  • After signing the necessary paperwork, the surrogate has to register at the hospital under her own name as a patient. The surrogate mother must identify herself as such throughout the registration process and submit all required details regarding the commissioning parents.
  • To avoid any legal complications, especially in the unfortunate event of maternal death, surrogate mothers should not use or register under the identity of the intended couple for whom they are serving as surrogates.

Where can you find a surrogate?

Rules and regulations for surrogates are different in every area. There are many ways through which you can find a surrogate as per your preferences.

  • Surrogacy agencies: These organisations assist you in finding a surrogate and are experts in surrogacy. They also assist with the medical and legal aspects of the surrogacy procedure. Additionally, they can offer you emotional support and counselling while you travel this path.
  • Fertility clinics: Fertility clinics could be able to help you find surrogate choices and may even provide surrogacy programmes.
  • Online communities: Many online communities can help you find the correct match for your surrogate.
IVF Consultatnt at Vinsfertility | Website | + posts


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