For many couples, deciding to start a family is a traditional, conventional path, with a woman allowing herself to become pregnant. She carries that baby for nine months and, when the time is right, gives birth to a child and a new life together as a family begins. For others, however, circumstances and even medical issues make it challenging to conceive naturally.
Surrogacy is one of the most common and popular solutions to this, and as a result, it is used throughout the world. However, there are differing states of legality about how surrogacy can be used. Sometimes the laws vary from state to state or province to province within a single nation. But one thing that transcends all boundaries is that surrogacy requires more commitment, more time, more effort, organization, and investment than a traditional pregnancy, and that often means reaching out for help.
The Agency Challenge
Surrogacy agencies are one of the best ways for hopeful couples to make the challenge of surrogacy more efficient and streamlined. However, even the decision to work with a surrogacy agency does not mean that the process will now be fast, easy and everything will occur without issues or complications.
The majority of surrogacy agencies provide one of the most important and valuable services in the surrogacy process. They pair a potential surrogate mother with a hopeful couple on the search. Agencies offer a faster, safer way to find surrogate mothers. They introduce guidelines, standards, and specific metrics to ensure that surrogate mothers are suitable candidates with no health issues and screen hopeful couples to protect the surrogate mother herself, ensuring that everyone is safe and respected.
More Than Just The Search
A key challenge in modern surrogacy is that the medical situation has evolved to include more than just traditional surrogate processes. There was only one possible method of surrogacy in the past: having a surrogate mother use her own egg and inseminate her with donor sperm. Then the normal course of pregnancy occurred, and the baby that was born would have the usual genetic mix of 50% of the surrogate mother’s DNA from her egg and 50% of the DNA from the donated sperm. In traditional scenarios, this meant the child would have the DNA of the hopeful father in the couple.
Today, there are many more options. Some couples would prefer a child to have a traditional mix of 50% DNA from both parents, meaning that the hopeful mother’s egg and hopeful father’s sperm must both be implanted in a surrogate mother’s womb. Some specific instances of this type of implantation require retrieval of eggs that have been cryogenically stored because a hopeful mother opted before a medical procedure to have her eggs stored for use in the future.
Surrogacy agencies now find themselves in a position where much more work, organization, coordination, and other services are involved. It’s not just a matter of screening appropriate surrogate mother candidates, which is still crucial to the entire process. Now, additional concerns may need to be considered for a successful surrogacy. If the surrogacy agencies can’t assist with these needs, it falls to the hopeful couple to try and wade through the possible candidates for multiple services and hope they have made the right choice.
Now some of the factors that may need to be addressed include:
In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization, more commonly known as IVF, is the medical technique of fertilizing a donor egg in lab conditions with donor sperm, then taking that viable fertilized egg and implanting it in the uterus of a surrogate mother.
This extremely precise and complex medical procedure requires experienced medical staff to execute successfully. Finding the right medical group and scheduling the procedure can be daunting and time-consuming for hopeful couples.
In some instances, finding the right surrogate mother may necessitate leaving the country of residence to work with a surrogate mother in another nation. This is not unusual for countries where the legal status of surrogate mothers is that only “altruistic surrogacy” is legally permitted.
If the couple wishes to go with a compensated surrogacy process, where the surrogate mother receives financial recognition for her contribution, then scheduling multiple trips and returns to meet the surrogate and check in on her progress as well as be present for the birth with being required.
Another consideration from both travel or IVF procedures is the legal consequences. In some instances, different countries may not automatically grant citizenship to an infant returning from another country. It’s important to ensure that birth, citizenship, and residence laws are understood from one country to the next, with a legal expert to ensure that when the time comes, a baby that is returning to the intended country of residence will not be declared “stateless” with no citizenship or permission to enter that country.
Because of these factors, it can be crucial for surrogacy agencies to cooperate with other organizations to ensure a smooth process.