Some couples seal their commitment to each other by rearing a child that will complete their family. Unfortunately, not all couples are capable of conceiving effortlessly or going through a pregnancy journey with ease. Because of this, some resort to surrogacy after several times of failed attempts in conceiving a child or failing to go through a complete pregnancy journey. This article will shed light on how surrogacy works, as well as its challenges and benefits.
Surrogacy in Brief
Surrogacy is the process of assisted reproduction intended to help couples who want to have a child but cannot do so due to various types of issues such as infertility. In this process, the couple will need to work with a surrogate mother who will carry their child for them until birth. In this way, they will be able to grow their family when they are restricted from doing so on their own.
Types of a Surrogate Mother
There are two types of surrogate mothers who can carry the child that will complete your family. The first one is the traditional surrogate who gets to be artificially inseminated with the sperm of the father. In this case, a traditional surrogate is the baby’s biological mother because it was her egg that was fertilized by the sperm of the baby’s father. Nevertheless, a donor’s sperm can also be used to fertilize the egg of a traditional surrogate mother.
On the other hand, gestational surrogates, or birth mothers, merely carry the embryo formed by the egg of the mother and the sperm of the father into her uterus. This is made possible through the process of in vitro fertilization or IVF. From the time that the embryo has been implanted until birth, the gestational surrogate will then tend to the needs of the fetus growing inside her. However, it should be emphasized that a gestational surrogate doesn’t have any genetic ties to the baby because her eggs weren’t used for the embryo.
When is surrogacy a viable option?
Surrogacy may prove to be a viable option in instances wherein the woman who wants to bear a child has medical problems with her uterus. Even women who had a hysterectomy, or the process that involves the removal of the uterus, can also consider surrogacy if they still want to have a child. In some instances, women who have underlying medical conditions, such as severe heart disease, also consider surrogacy because their condition makes pregnancy not only risky but in other times, almost impossible.
Surrogacy can also become the best option for people who cannot adopt a child due to their age or even their marital status. For gay men who wish to have a child of their own, surrogacy is also an option but they may have to seek the help of a traditional surrogate. In this case, they will need to use their sperm to fertilize the egg of the surrogate through artificial insemination.
Finding and Choosing a Surrogate
When you have already made up your mind about surrogacy, you may find that you have several options when it comes to finding and choosing a surrogate. For instance, you can consider seeking the help of your family and friends in case one of them is willing to carry your child for you. In this way, you will be able to avoid the high cost of surrogacy, as well as the complex legal issues that may come with it.
On the other hand, you can also consider engaging with a surrogacy agency to help arrange a gestational surrogate for you. They will also be the ones responsible for collecting fees from you that will get passed to the surrogate as necessary while she is carrying your child. The seasoned professionals behind the IARC surrogacy agency suggest that you only engage with reputable agencies though, to ensure that you will be paired with a surrogate who is at least 21 years of age or older. They will also ensure that the surrogate has already given birth to at least one healthy baby. In this way, you are guaranteed that the surrogate already understands the risks and complications of pregnancy and childbirth firsthand.
Surrogacy agencies will also most likely have the surrogates undergo a psychological screening conducted by mental health professionals. In this way, they will be able to uncover any issues that the surrogate may have when it comes to giving up the baby they have carried after birth. Also, when you work with a surrogacy agency, you and the surrogate will be bound by a contract that establishes your responsibility to the surrogate such as prenatal care.
Benefits of Surrogacy for Hopeful Parents
Surrogacy has various benefits for hopeful parents such as the opportunity to complete families, particularly those who have struggled with infertility in the past, as well as those with medical conditions making pregnancy risky. It also paves the way for genetic connections, enabling parents to maintain a biological relationship with their child. In some instances, the parents even establish a close relationship with their surrogate during the process.
With surrogacy, hopeful parents are involved in the process, particularly in the prenatal care of the surrogate mother. This ensures that they are present during important milestones such as embryo transfer and birth. Rest assured that a high percentage of surrogacy is successful. This is backed by a proven track record of surrogates carrying healthy pregnancies.
Challenges of Surrogacy for Hopeful Parents
While surrogacy can prove to have various benefits for hopeful parents, it doesn’t go without some challenges. For instance, the process can be quite complicated because of the complex medical procedures as well as surrogacy laws which can sometimes be overwhelming. For this reason, it is important to only engage with reputable and reliable surrogacy agencies for your overall well-being.
Surrogacy can also be quite expensive due to the number of people and services required to complete a successful surrogacy journey. The process may also require you to let go of some control, trusting your surrogate to carry your child for you. Because of this, you may also need to consider that this path to parenthood may not be the best fit for everyone.
Benefits of Surrogacy for Surrogate Mothers
Surrogacy benefits not only intended parents but also surrogate mothers even if they may have varying reasons to go through with the process. For one, surrogacy can be a quite rewarding gift because it takes a compassionate person to become a surrogate. Most surrogates choose to carry a child for another couple as a means to give back. Nevertheless, surrogates are fairly compensated in exchange for their year-long commitment to the hopeful parents, as well as the many physical and emotional demands that pregnancy may bring forth.
The process of surrogacy can also help surrogate mothers experience the pregnancy journey because more often than not, surrogates enjoy being pregnant. Surrogates also enjoy a sense of community, developing close bonds with their fellow surrogate mothers who are either carrying a child or who have already given birth. The great part is that surrogates are also legally protected because before the process even begins, they need to enter a binding contract that clearly outlines the responsibilities of the hopeful parents towards them during their entire pregnancy journey and childbirth.
Challenges of Surrogacy for Surrogate Mothers
With all the benefits of surrogacy for surrogate mothers, there are also a couple of drawbacks that you need to consider if you are thinking of carrying another couple’s child. For instance, being pregnant is physically demanding. In this case, in addition to the typical body changes that you will undergo for being pregnant, you will also be subjected to various screenings and appointments, as well as fertility treatments among others.
Apart from being physically demanding, surrogacy can also be emotionally challenging for surrogates. Pregnancy in itself is already stressful but it can be much more so when you are carrying someone else’s child. For this reason, surrogates may even need to undergo counseling services for more additional support during the process. Finally, surrogacy also requires a significant time commitment because of the various screening processes and treatments as well as meetings with intended parents. There is also the legal and medical process that will likewise take most of your time. More often than not, the entire surrogacy is a year-long process that you need to commit your time to.
There are several ways to help you conceive a child if you are committed to it, such as surrogacy. However, you need to make sure that you are deeply familiar with the process and that you have weighed the pros and cons of this process carefully and accordingly. This means that you should also consider various factors for you to determine whether this is the right parenthood path for you and your partner or otherwise. Rest assured that while it can be quite challenging, surrogacy can be quite rewarding particularly when you slowly realize your dream of becoming a complete family.