While many couples wish to start a family, not every hopeful family can take the conventional route of a nine-month pregnancy ending in a newborn. Some couples have serious obstacles, such as medical conditions that may make it difficult or even impossible to conceive traditionally.
Fortunately for these couples, all hope is not lost. It’s still possible to start a family, either through adoption or another method known as surrogacy, where another woman who is medically evaluated to be suitable agrees to become pregnant on a couple’s behalf. Surrogacy has become an increasingly popular option for couples that want a newborn of their own, and there are different types of surrogacy for couples to consider. But which types of surrogacy are the most popular ones?
First, let’s look at the different types of surrogacy categorized along financial lines. A common type is known as altruistic surrogacy, and this is legally permitted in many countries around the world, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It is a type of surrogacy where the surrogate mother agrees to her role as an act of generosity. She expects no reward for her act and only receives enough for living expenses and medical costs as the pregnancy progresses. Unsurprisingly, this type of generosity is comparatively rare, and so few women are willing to take up the role.
However, the most popular type of surrogacy around the world is “compensated surrogacy.” In this type, the surrogate mother receives significant financial recognition for the important role she plays. This makes the surrogacy process more expensive, but at the same time, it can make such a crucial difference to a surrogate mother’s life that many more women are willing to take up the role.
As a result of this, compensated surrogacies are much more popular with both surrogate mothers and couples because they bring far more choices and faster results to the table for those who are willing to invest.
Another category to look at is the specific medical techniques employed in surrogacy. In this case, In Vitro Fertilization, or “IVF,” is one of the most popular types of surrogacy in the world today, and that is with good reason.
For many couples, there is still a wish to have a child that is a true genetic descendant, that is, to have 50% of the DNA from each parent, just as in a traditional childbirth. Thanks to the IVF procedure, even if a couple cannot naturally conceive a child together, IVF still makes it possible for a newborn to be a true genetic descendant of that couple.
The IVF method works by taking donated sperm and eggs from the hopeful couple and fertilizing them in the lab. Once the fertilization has been confirmed, there are even options, such as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, that can screen a fertilized egg for certain diseases passed down family lines, such as sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis. Though this is an added expense, it means that a family with a history of congenital diseases passed along to children can opt to fertilize multiple eggs and screen them. The egg without the genetic disease is then used, guaranteeing the baby has the best start in life, free from the legacy of an inherited family disease.
Because of this combination of having a genetically descended child with an option to guarantee no inherited diseases, IVF surrogacy is one of the most popular types for couples willing to invest in it.
Finally, one of the most popular types of surrogacy in the world is often undertaken because it combines the desire for the previous two types, and that is surrogacy abroad in another country.
This is done for a number of reasons. For example, in the United Kingdom, only altruistic surrogacies are legally permitted, so if a hopeful couple wants to invest in a faster process with more choices for potential surrogate mothers via compensated surrogacy, they must travel to another country where compensated surrogacies are legal.
On the other end of the spectrum, cost can also be a factor. The price tag of a compensated surrogacy, especially if it is combined with an IVF procedure, can be a significant investment. This is especially true if there’s still a desire for experienced medical professionals and access to world-class facilities. However, due to currency and standard of living differences, significantly lower costs can often be attained by traveling to other countries. For example, Americans who may not be able to afford a very expensive compensated IVF surrogacy in California may achieve this much more easily in other countries.
It is important to note, however, that as popular as these types of surrogacy are, they require preparation. Perhaps just as importantly, couples should work with an experienced surrogacy agency to facilitate this process, especially if there may be citizenship legal issues from going abroad.