For the majority of couples thinking of starting a family around the world, having a baby is just a matter of investing some money in the future, and planning for the pregnancy. The pregnancy itself is usually just a process of no longer using birth control and letting nature take its course. However, for other couples, the act of becoming pregnant is a huge challenge, and for some, it may be insurmountable. For couples that face this challenge, surrogacy is a solution that keeps the dream of a family alive. But who is surrogacy appropriate for? When is it not necessarily advisable?
The Other Alternative: Adoption
First, the question of adoption versus surrogacy needs to be explored. Adoption is always an option for people around the world, so why not simply go with adoption over surrogacy? As always, the decision to have a child is a deeply personal one, and every hopeful family will arrive at a different answer for what is right for them. Adoption is one alternative open to all, but it is not the only one, and it is not always the appropriate one.
Adoption is an act of generosity, choosing to take on a child, sometimes from another country, with no parents, in need of love and support. Of course, this also means that hopeful families are, to a certain extent, at the mercy of circumstance. The boys and girls are of different ethnicities, different ages, and from different countries. This, offers much less control in the outcome, and for some hopeful parents, it also has a critical deficiency; no genetic relation from parent to child.
The Medical Risk
For some people, a normal pregnancy is no longer feasible because of age, or some other medically related reason that endangers a child. An older mother is a prime example of this. The older a woman gets, the more strain and medical risk she puts on both herself and a baby in attempting to become pregnant at an older age. So if a couple decides to have a child again at a very late stage of life, this puts the mother and child at enormous medical risk, possibly even endangering lives.
In other cases, there may be medical conditions aside from age that pose similar risks. A heart condition, for example, means that a woman may be advised against undertaking a natural pregnancy, because the demands of the pregnancy mean an increased risk of blood clots, or even stroke, meaning a woman endangers her life in this venture. Other conditions, such as having the AIDS/HIV virus, mean that there is a direct threat to a developing baby, as he or she will have the virus passed on, and be born with the same condition.
In some cases, a couple wanting to have a child may be facing a medical impossibility. Some women, as an example, have had uterine cancer, and, as a medical necessity to save their lives, have had their uterus surgically removed. That means for these women, it is now biologically impossible for naturally become pregnant and give birth to a child.
Then there are the cases of same-sex couples, where two men would like to have a child of their own, but of course, since neither man has a uterus, they cannot have a naturally born child. In these cases as well surrogacy provides a solution.
The Genetic Component
At its heart, surrogacy is the only solution for hopeful families that would like to have a newborn child that, more importantly, has the desired the genetic characteristics, even though natural childbirth may not be feasible. Only the surrogate motherhood alternative provides the solution to this need.
With surrogacy, the hopeful couple can, if need be, have their own sperm and/or egg harvested for use in in vitro fertilization. These sperm/egg samples can be collected from the hopeful family, on request, or, if the samples have been previously collected and cryogenically preserved, they can be requested from the storage facility and sent to the appropriate lab for the fertilization process.
A Complex Procedure
For people who are considering surrogacy, it is a very promising technique that often yields successful, happy results, but it is one that is also not entered into lightly. As with the decision to have a child, the decision to go with a surrogate mother requires planning, commitment, and an investment of psychological and financial resources.
It also means finding the right surrogate mother, who will volunteer her body and her time to make a couple’s dream come true and give birth a child to join a new family. This is why it’s so important to make sure that all the steps are done correctly. This is a task made much easier when hopeful families find the right organizations, with the experience and services to take the process from start to finish.