A surrogate mother plays the key role in childbearing for same sex or infertile couples. It is one of the most compelling issues and subjects of philosophical and political debates where childbearing is concerned. But surrogacy has paved the way for childless couples to raise their own children in a more transparent process.
Commercial surrogacy usually involves a surrogacy agency to help couples screen and pick the best surrogate mother who would match their ideals and lifestyle choices. In surrogacy, the intended parents may suggest lifestyle practices to the surrogate mother which she willingly accepts. This is what differentiates adoption to surrogacy as natural birth mothers looking for adoptive parents need not follow their advice in the pregnancy journey.
A surrogate mother is compensated for her participation in carrying the intended parents’ child where states that support surrogacy do not charge taxes for her compensation. While in adoption, adoptive parents support the natural birth mother and hope that she will decide to give her baby for adoption without any guarantees.
There are two kinds of commercial surrogacy practiced today.
The first is called gestational surrogacy where the surrogate mother undergoes IVF and the child is not genetically linked to her.
The second one is called traditional surrogacy where the surrogate mother uses her own eggs and gets artificial or natural insemination from one of the intended parents or from a sperm donor. This is not practiced as much today.
Once agreements are reached between the surrogate mother and the intended parents, and the surrogacy agency agrees to the match, lab tests and psychological assessments follow. When the surrogate mother passes the exams and proves to be healthy to carry a baby, she will undergo IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and wait until she conceives.
To be at the healthiest state, a surrogate must be 21-44 years old,has a healthy physique and a sound mind fit for childbirth. Most reputable surrogacy agencies would require potential surrogates to have her own children so she understands why she is doing it for someone else and already knows the birthing process. Ideally, she comes from a middle-class family with good education and resides in good living conditions.
The surrogate mother may be compensated for her participation but it does not equate to the journey she goes thru. It takes more than just 9 months of her life as sometimes the first IVF is not going to be successful. Sometimes it takes more than 1 attempt before she successfully conceives.
While some surrogacy is exclusive and does not require the participation of the intended parents, it is important that she has a support system to know she is not alone in the journey. Most reputable agencies today have their own support group for surrogate mothers and this is key in carrying a healthy and happy baby.
In states that support surrogacy, it is easier to process a pre-birth order wherein the intended parents are awarded the “declaration of parentage”. This enables them to bring home the child after the surrogate gives birth. Intended parents have the option to include the surrogate mother in the birth certificate. This is practiced in open surrogacy. This option is welcomed in states where surrogacy is supported. Where it is not, the adoption process is followed.
Every year, there are 9 surrogate mothers in every state who give birth in the US. They are the main reason a childless couple is able to fulfill their dreams of building a family.
Originally written for Arcalea