When people get together in a lifelong marriage or other partnership, it’s only natural to want to take the next step and begin a family. Unfortunately, not everyone is in the position to simply have a mother become pregnant, carry the child to term, and then give birth to a baby to raise. For some, there are fertility issues for the male, for others, it may be the female who is medically at risk of giving birth to a child, and for others, such as a woman that has, for medical reasons, had a uterus surgically removed, pregnancy is no longer possible.
This is why alternatives exist, such as choosing to adopt a child in need. However, for those that still want to have some kind of family, genetic line that’s passed on, there is surrogate motherhood. Surrogacy is a process where another woman agrees to receive a fertilized egg and then uses her uterus to naturally carry the baby to term for nine months, safely give birth to the child, and then unite that child with the hopeful parents.
If that sounds like a big role, with much responsibility, it is. And that’s why meeting a surrogate should be one of the most important things that a hopeful family does. However, before we get into the importance of meeting a surrogate, let’s first look at the types of surrogacy, since this can play a big role in the type of meeting that occurs with a surrogate.
Traditional surrogacy is where a surrogate herself is the key donor of the egg that is used in the development of a child. This can occur in one of two ways. The surrogate may be someone that the hopeful family knows very well, such as a close friend, or even another family member. In this situation, there is already a lot that is known about the surrogate as a person, so there’s no introduction phase, so much as making sure that the surrogate herself is fully aware of the roles and responsibilities that she must play during this time.
In other instances, however, the surrogate may not know the family for which she is acting as a surrogate. This may mean that she is carefully screened by a third party, such as an agency. It also means that there may be much more scrutiny of her medical records, genetics, and even lifestyle, and so a meeting between the family and surrogate is important to establish a relationship.
The biggest consideration with traditional surrogacy is the extent to which medical screening will be used. If it’s a family member or friend, for example, there may be some reluctance to engage in extensive medical and genetic screening due to established relationships and trust, whereas going through an agency or another service may mean far less hesitation in getting as much medical peace of mind as possible.
With this type of surrogate motherhood, the surrogate candidate is providing her uterus as a safe, natural environment in which a baby can grow. She is not, however, providing her own egg for use in fertilization. This may mean that the mother may use her eggs, perhaps already frozen and in cryobank, or have her eggs harvested when required. In some cases, a completely different woman will be used for egg donation, and, once the egg has been fertilized in vitro, that egg will then be implanted in a surrogate.
In this case, the surrogate is still pivotal to the success of the pregnancy. However, her genetics aren’t so much of an issue. With a traditional surrogate, if there is a history of any kind of genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis, or Down’s Syndrome in the family, there is always that risk that these genetic disorders may be passed onto a child. However, with gestational surrogacy, it is the surrogate mother’s overall health and lifestyle that take the priority, and not so much any genetic factors.
The Meeting Matters
For something as crucial as carrying a child to term, under no circumstances should a hopeful family treat this like some typical business product or service. A woman that agrees to carry a child to term is undertaking an enormous responsibility, and she deserves the full attention the prospective family that is looking for at surrogacy for a solution.
For both professionalism, ethics, courtesy, and even peace of mind of the family, it is very important to meet the surrogate mother and establish some kind of relationship. This is not, after all, like having a waiter or salesperson you are unhappy with at some place of business, where you only have to tolerate an unsatisfactory experience for a few minutes. You must be sure and secure in your choice of a surrogate. That’s why meeting a surrogate, after careful selection from a trusted service, is an important part of a successful surrogate motherhood experience.