For millions of people around the country, surrogacy has become the only viable option to become parents. Parenthood is incredibly rewarding and something that offers those struggling with conception or pregnancy the chance to finally become parents. But there are plenty of misconceptions about it, and many don’t even fully understand how it works. They may have a basic, vague idea, but the specifics are important to learn more about.
Taking the time to find out how surrogacy works, why it’s becoming so popular, and what to expect can help you make a determination as to whether or not it’s the right option for your situation. Here’s a closer look at the various aspects of surrogacy to help you get a deeper understanding of this rewarding process.
At its most basic, surrogacy works like this:
- A couple that cannot have a child traditionally due to infertility or health risks associated with pregnancy enlist the help of a surrogate mother.
- The surrogate carries the child for the couple, usually after artificial insemination or IVF creates an embryo. In most cases the child is related to one or even both of the intended parents.
- Upon birth, the surrogate mother has no rights to the child and the intended parents are placed on the birth certificate. For her work as the gestational mother, the surrogate is provided significant financial compensation.
This allows a gestational mother to gain financial stability as well as feel personally rewarded for helping a couple finally conceive a child, and lets couples finally become parents. Adoption is another option as well, but for many the rewards of surrogacy and the chance to have a child that one or more parents are biologically related to means that it’s a much better, fulfilling, and exciting experience – and one that is much more personal as well.
The Science Of Surrogacy
That’s the process in a nutshell, but what about the actual science behind it? Here’s a rundown of the main points to understand.
- Tests are done on the intended parents to determine the issues with fertility – whom is infertile, for example. Additionally, if it’s determined that conception is possible but that pregnancy poses health risks, this is noted as well.
- The surrogacy agency will harvest the appropriate biological materials. If the mother has viable eggs, these are collected. If the father has viable sperm, these are collected as well and then ‘washed’. The ‘wash’ ensures that only the strongest, healthiest sperm remain.
- Once the surrogacy is ready to start, the collected eggs and sperm are used to create an embryo. That embryo is then implanted into the womb of the gestational mother. If needed, donor eggs or donor sperm are used to complete the process. In some cases, the process doesn’t use IVF to create an embryo but instead places the sperm into the gestational mother’s body during ovulation, using her own eggs in artificial insemination. In this case, the baby will be biologically related to the surrogate and the father.
- Once the pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate mother receives ongoing medical treatment and follows the health guidelines in the contract. This ensures that the pregnancy moves forward properly.
Depending upon the situation, the child born through surrogacy may be biologically related to both of the intended parents or only one of them. In the end, however, it is legally and socially theirs. The gestational mother loses all rights to the child, the intended parents’ names are placed on the birth certificate alone, and the process is completed. That legal side of the surrogacy process is important to understand as well.
In the past, surrogacy could be a wild, unpredictable ride. Gestational mothers would sometimes change their mind at the last minute and enter into long legal battles with the intended parents. Friendships were broken, and much more. Those days are gone, and today there are very strict legal contracts used during surrogacy that guarantee the rights of everyone involved.
Usually these contracts require the gestational mother to agree to careful ongoing medical care and monitoring and for her to sign papers that give away all of her rights of the child upon birth. The papers also guarantee that she receives the financial compensation promised to her.
These legal steps have helped surrogacy become a completely legitimate and very popular path to parenthood, and it’s important that you have the right contracts signed before beginning to ensure peace of mind for all involved.
A Rewarding Journey
This is the basis of how surrogacy works from start to finish. With the right surrogacy agency helping guide you, the process can be incredibly fulfilling, exciting, and enjoyable. It’s become one of the best ways to finally become a parent after years of trying, and for those looking to become parents nothing else can match what it offers.