It’s natural for many couples to decide that the next phase of their life together should be starting a family. Unfortunately, not every couple can easily follow the conventional path of a woman from becoming pregnant and giving birth to a baby nine months later. Medical circumstances, for example, can make pregnancy either extremely high risk or even impossible due to past surgery.
This doesn’t mean, however, that couples must accept a life without family. There are age-old alternatives, such as adoption, where a child without parents gets new legal guardians from another couple. And then there is surrogacy. But while surrogacy is a popular choice, that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its considerations that may make it unsuitable for some couples.
Here are some of the potential cons of surrogacy or negatives that need to be considered.
The Big Difference
Surrogacy differs greatly from adoption in that adoption is about taking in a child who has already been born and ranges in age anywhere from newborn to teenager. Surrogacy, on the other hand, is about a woman medically evaluated to be suitable for a safe pregnancy to agree to become pregnant for the benefit of a hopeful couple. Once the baby is born, the infant is then introduced to the new parents so that life as a family can begin.
Surrogacy is popular with hopeful couples that specifically want a newborn of their own. However, it provides additional benefits that adoption can’t, such as using the In Vitro Fertilization technique, or IVF, to allow a hopeful couple to use their own sperm and egg for fertilization, implant that into a surrogate mother, and then have a baby that is a true genetic descendant of both intended parents, just as with conventional childbirth.
Here, however, is where certain variables have to be considered.
Not For The Impatient
Compared to adoption, surrogacy can be a long-term process. In some cases, it may even take years.
There are many reasons for this, but availability is a chief concern. Surrogate pregnancies cannot occur unless a woman as a potential surrogate mother candidate is available. Depending on the country a couple lives in, surrogacy may not even be permitted at all, such as in France or Germany. But in other countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, although surrogacy is legally permitted, it is a specific type known as “altruistic surrogacy.”
This type of surrogacy requires that a surrogate mother volunteer her time and body out of sheer generosity. In other words, aside from some expenses paid to cover living and medical costs during pregnancy, she gets no other financial remuneration. Understandably, to undertake this effort on behalf of someone else takes someone with a rare quality for charity. In these countries, far fewer women are willing to volunteer their time and body to such a venture.
Because of this, couples in some countries may face long waiting times before they can find and work with a surrogate mother candidate willing to represent their interests. Of course, there is a solution for this, but that is another consideration, which is:
For faster results, “compensated surrogacy” may allow hopeful couples to find an available and willing surrogate mother candidate in a shorter timeframe, but only if they are willing to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. As may be inferred from the name, compensated surrogacy means the surrogate mother receives significant financial recognition for her service to a hopeful couple. Because the amount may be life-changing for some, this greatly expands the number of women willing to take on this role.
However, this is only allowed in those countries where compensated surrogacy is legally permitted, and this is where additional costs may come in for hopeful couples. Now, the extra investment of a travel budget may have to be added. If the couple does not wish the additional expenditure of paying a surrogate mother, as well as having to travel, these costs will give pause for thought.
An additional major cost is if the hopeful couple wants a “traditional family” in the sense that the child is a direct genetic descendant. As appealing as the idea may be, the IVF procedure is also expensive. Additional costs weigh in if either person in the relationship has a familial history of inherited diseases such as sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, as the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis procedure that can prevent this transmission is another additional cost.
In theory, surrogacy can be the solution to some couple’s problems, but the types of surrogacy you are interested in can have a huge impact on whether surrogacy is feasible within your means. You must carefully consider your resources and what you are willing to invest, then see if that is still compatible with your family goals. Surrogacy often requires a lot of time and money.