Deciding to start a family is never an easy decision, but for some couples, even before the child is born, there are already huge challenges that have to be addressed. This is what some hopeful families face if a traditional pregnancy is not safe or possible.
For some, allowing a woman to become pregnant and give birth to a child nine months later carries too much risk or is no longer medically viable. If a woman has a heart condition or is beyond the recommended age for bearing a child, then undertaking pregnancy puts her life and the unborn baby at risk. If a woman has been diagnosed with uterine cancer, then to save her life and prevent cancer from spreading, a hysterectomy procedure surgically removes her uterus, preventing her from naturally conceiving for the remainder of her life.
While adoption is one alternative couples in this situation, the other, often more preferable solution is surrogacy. But surrogacy comes with many extra considerations that need to be addressed.
The Surrogate Effort
If a couple unable to naturally conceive does not want to adopt a child, then surrogacy is the only real alternative. This is where another woman who has been medically diagnosed as fit, lives an appropriately healthy lifestyle, and has previously safely given birth, agrees to become pregnant on behalf of the hopeful family. Once the baby is born, a new life can begin for the child and the hopeful couple as a family.
However, choosing the route of surrogacy involves the cooperation of different groups. It can sometimes even require many kinds of expertise if the decision has been made to work with a surrogacy agency abroad. But with surrogacy now widely practiced worldwide, why would any hopeful family need to look beyond their own country to work with a surrogacy agency?
Laws, Choices & Quality
There are three primary reasons for couples to look at surrogacy beyond their country of residence.
The first is about the legal status of surrogacy. In the 21st century, surrogacy is now a well-understood, widely practiced technique. However, not every country permits surrogacies to occur in the same way. Some countries, like France and Germany, have banned surrogacy, so couples there have no option to use it at all. Other countries, like Canada, permit “altruistic surrogacy.” This means that the surrogate mother is donating her time on a volunteer basis and gets no financial recognition in return.
This is where the second reason often comes in, choices. Compensated surrogacies, unlike altruistic ones, allow for significant financial recognition of a surrogate mother’s role. As a result, many more suitable surrogate candidates are willing and available to take on the role in places where compensated surrogacies are permitted. This gives couples much more choice than countries where compensated surrogacies aren’t permitted.
A final factor is the economics and quality of surrogacy and medical care. Affluent couples in less developed countries may desire a higher standard of medical care, such as in first-world nations. Going to a surrogacy agency abroad can afford a better standard. This higher standard may even be cheaper in some cases if another country besides the United States is chosen. Georgia in Eastern Europe, for example, has access to world-class facilities, but American dollars and other currencies go a much longer way here than in the US for an equivalent level of quality care.
The Need For More Vendors
As hopeful families move to work with surrogacy agencies abroad, this can sometimes require extra coordination between different services. Unlike a traditional pregnancy, this isn’t just a matter of a mother-to-be taking care of herself for nine months with the help of an obstetrician then visiting the hospital when it’s time to give birth.
Aside from working with a surrogacy agency to find a good match with a surrogate mother candidate, other suppliers and vendors now become important at different stages of the process. The many potential suppliers of products and services may include:
Travel & Accommodations
Regular trips to the surrogate country are required, and a place to stay while there. Since it’s not feasible for most couples to move to the surrogate country for the fertilization procedure and then take up residence there for the entire pregnancy, periodic trips must be scheduled.
Biological samples such as cryogenically preserved eggs or sperm are required for in vitro fertilization (IVF) requires highly specialized and experienced medical transportation. The samples must be delivered both physically intact and at a certain temperature to ensure viability when the time comes for fertilization.
The IVF procedure requires specialized labs to supervise fertilization. Further facilities may be needed if there is a desire to genetically evaluate the fertilized eggs and ensure that no congenital diseases like Down’s Syndrome or cystic fibrosis have been inherited from one of the donors if there is a family history.
As can be seen, working with a surrogacy clinic abroad is possible but requires more cooperation between organizations.