When people meet, fall in love and decide that this is the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with, there may come a time when two people aren’t enough, and that couple is ready to start a family and rear the next generation. However, while many couples take the next step of allowing the woman to become pregnant and give birth to a child, not every couple can take this option.
Some couples may find that there are medical considerations that prevent safe, natural childbirth. A woman with a heart condition, for example, may endanger her life with the rigorous demands a pregnancy makes. A woman that has had her uterus surgically removed to fight cancer, or a same-sex male couple, are medically unable to give birth to a child since a uterus is required for natural, biological childbirth.
For such couples, either adoption or surrogacy is the answer. But if a couple wants to have a newborn child of their very own, that shares some of their genetic characteristics. Surrogacy is the only real solution. But how does it work? These are the steps.
Picking The Type Of Surrogacy
The first step in surrogacy is deciding the kind of surrogacy that is appropriate for a couple. This falls into two basic classes, with two types of financial outcomes.
Traditional surrogacy is when a surrogate mother’s egg is used for fertilization, and artificial insemination from a donor, normally the hopeful father, is used. In this scenario, the baby born will have a 50% genetic connection to the hopeful father.
Gestational surrogacy is where an egg and sperm undergo a lab supervised fertilization, and then that egg is implanted in a surrogate mother. Most commonly the egg and sperm belong to the hopeful family, though other donors can be used. Here, the child is, in the genetic sense “traditional” in that he or she will have the genetic traits of both hopeful parents, just as if childbirth occurred in the hopeful mother.
In terms of financing, two types of surrogacy exist. A compassionate surrogacy is one where the surrogate mother volunteers, and receives no type of financial recognition. Her living expenses and medical care are, however, paid for by the hopeful family. With a compensated surrogacy, not only are living and medical expenses covered, but the surrogate mother gets paid for her significant role.
Once you know what type of surrogacy you’d like to undertake, the next role is finding a surrogate mother. Depending on where you live, the selection may be more limited based on what types of surrogacy are legal. Places, where compensated surrogacy is legal, tend to have more available candidates than places where only compassionate surrogacy is legal.
Surrogacy selection can either take place with the couple looking for a mother, or, for a much easier, safer experience, using a clinic or agency to find a suitable candidate. This means that the agency takes it upon themselves to screen for the appropriate qualifications, such as good health, previous successful birth experience, and a healthy lifestyle.
Once a surrogate mother has been found, interviews have been conducted, and everyone is in agreement and satisfied with the negotiations, a contract is normally drafted and signed to ensure that everyone’s rights are clearly laid out and legally verified.
Once things have been settled, it’s time to move on to the actual fertilization process. If it’s a traditional pregnancy, the hopeful father—or some other donor—will give a sample of sperm for use in artificial insemination. If it’s a gestational pregnancy, both hopeful parents will have to have samples collected for use in the In Vitro Fertilization process.
When the pregnancy has been confirmed, it’s now time for the surrogate mother to do her work. This means that over the next nine months, she takes extra care of herself. Exercises, a healthy diet, appropriate vitamin supplements, and a positive lifestyle, with no consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs are all required here.
As time passes, the surrogate mother will get occasional check-ups from doctors, and once the time is right, delivery occurs and the baby is born.
Once the child is born, the usual medical check-ups occur to ensure health, and the baby is now united with his or her hopeful parents. The only thing that may be left, especially if travel to another country was involved for the surrogacy, is ensuring the proper legal status of the child.
Some countries require certain actions to be taken about a child’s legal status, otherwise, if parents return to their country of residence with a new baby, and it’s revealed the child is the result of surrogate birth, the child may be deemed “stateless” and not granted any citizenship. Families that choose to use surrogate motherhood clinics in countries like Georgia can take precautions to ensure this doesn’t happen, and that a child can safely return to the country of origin with no issue.