For many people throughout the world, finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with is a major goal, but an achievable one. And should it happen, it’s natural to want to take things a step further, go from two people in a committed relationship to a new family that carries on the next generation. Most couples do this through the traditional route of a woman becoming pregnant, carrying a growing baby for nine months, then giving birth, at which point, a new family life begins.
For some couples, however, this path may be extremely difficult, or even impossible. Some women may have medical circumstances, such as a heart condition, that endanger their lives if they attempt pregnancy. Other women may have contracted a disease, such as AIDS, that would be passed onto a baby if a successful pregnancy occurs. Still others may not have a uterus present to undertake natural childbirth. Same-sex male couples and women who have their uterus surgically removed for health reasons are examples of this.
For some couples, especially those that want a newborn child, with a genetic connection to the hopeful parents, adoption may not be the best solution, but surrogate motherhood works. Surrogacy is the process by which another healthy, fertile woman agrees to have her egg fertilized, or have someone else’s fertilized egg implanted in her uterus. She then undergoes a normal pregnancy process, and nine months later, when the baby is born, she unites that child with the hopeful parents, and a new family begins.
But while it may seem simple in concept to find a surrogate mother, the reality is that the best results occur when hopeful families exercise caution and prudence and work with a surrogacy agency or even an international surrogacy agency. So what are these agencies and what do they do?
Safe & Streamlined
If a couple decides to go the surrogate mother route, this means that the search begins for the most important component, a willing, suitable surrogate mother. For couples who choose to do this themselves, this means that one of the most important tasks, screening for suitability, is something that they will need to undertake themselves. This process, though vital to a successful surrogacy, is both and resource-intensive, so couples can spend a lot of time that would otherwise have been devoted to the surrogacy itself, just trying to find a surrogate mother they feel safe with, that feels the same way about them.
A surrogacy agency takes the burden of searching, screening and facilitating, and leaves couples with just one task, choosing from already screened and qualified surrogate mothers, to pick the surrogate mother they are most comfortable with. Surrogacy agencies have both the administrative, legal, and sometimes even medical background required to ensure that every surrogate candidate presented is already a “safe” choice medically and lifestyle-wise. So couples don’t have to waste valuable time and resources in searching and verifying, they only need to make a choice that works for them.
The International Difference
Some couples, however, may choose to go beyond local surrogacy agencies and work with an international surrogacy agency. As you may have already guessed, the essential function of an international surrogacy agency is identical to that of a local one. The biggest difference is that international surrogacy agencies are located in other countries, and are focused on helping international couples to meet with surrogate mothers abroad, have those babies born outside the intended country of residence, and then return to the home country with that child.
But why would couples want to do this, rather than work with a local agency? There are a few reasons why this choice may make more sense for some couples.
In some countries, such as Germany, or even some regions, such as the province of Quebec in Canada, surrogacy of any kind is deemed illegal. This means that couples that wish to have a surrogate child in these areas have no legal right to the child, the surrogate mother is considered the only legal parent.
To avoid this legal entanglement, going to an international surrogacy agency will yield safer results.
In countries where surrogacy is legal, the surrogacy choices may be more limited because only altruistic/compassionate surrogacy is allowed. This type of surrogacy means the surrogate mother gets no additional recognition for her efforts, only the expected medical and living expenses. A compensated surrogacy, however, means that the surrogate mother gets financial recognition of her efforts, and this often results in a much higher pool of available candidates.
Some couples, preferring to maximize their choices, may choose to go to an international surrogacy agency where these options exist. Making such a choice, especially with an experienced international agency, ensures that not only are there more available candidates, there’s a wealth of experience in handling everything from the transfer of cryogenically stored egg and sperm for IVF procedures, as well as a legal framework for ensuring a baby doesn’t remain “stateless” in terms of citizenship.