Surrogacy is an arrangement between a woman (the surrogate) and the parent(s) in which the surrogate agrees to carry and deliver a child. The agreement requires the surrogate to give up any rights over the child after the delivery. After delivery, parents look after and take care of the baby.
People opt for surrogacy for many reasons, one of which is when normal pregnancy becomes impossible due to fertility issues.
Surrogacy is a complex method involving a legal agreement between the parents and the surrogate, and it also involves many social and moral concerns. There are two methods of surrogacy: conventional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. The article will discuss these two methods in detail in the later sections.
Conventional Surrogacy Vs Gestational Surrogacy
Surrogacy can be of two types based on the donor of eggs. The difference between gestational and conventional surrogacy is as follows:
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What is Conventional surrogacy
- The sperm of the biological father is fused with the surrogate mother’s eggs.
- This method involves artificial insemination, i.e., the transfer of sperms of a male partner into the surrogate’s womb.
- The conventional way is less costly.
What is Gestational Surrogacy
- The sperm of the male partner and the eggs of the female partner gets fertilised inside the laboratories. Later, doctors transfer the embryo to the womb of the surrogate.
- This method involves IVF (In vitro fertilisation), which means the fusion of sperm of a male and eggs of a female outside the womb.
- The method involves more excellent financial aid; therefore, it is necessary to plan it.
Who decides to become parents through surrogacy?
Couples can opt for surrogacy under different conditions, as given below
- When the woman cannot get pregnant due to an abnormality in the uterus or complete absence, the couple can opt for surrogacy. Another condition may be hysterectomy (removing the uterus surgically) due to a ruptured uterus or complicated childbirth. Cancer of the cervix or endometrium also involves the removal of the uterus.
- A woman can opt for surrogacy if she has a specific health condition(s) that will make the pregnancy risky for both mother and child.
- If the woman has a history of multiple miscarriages, they can opt for surrogacy as multiple miscarriages will harm the parent physically and mentally.
- Age can also be an essential factor in opting for surrogacy. Having a regular pregnancy decreases significantly if the woman is in her 40s. There are chances of more complications for these mothers, such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, etc. The child can also have congenital disorders such as genital deformities, heart defects, etc. It is not entirely impossible to deliver a healthy child after 40.
What is the Pros of Surrogacy
Some of the pros of surrogacy are as follows:
- It gives hope to parents who wish to have their biological children.
- There is a link between the child and the parents of the father.
- The legal agreement will ensure future safety.
- It will create a bond between the parents and the surrogate.
- It helps the surrogate to meet her financial crisis.
What is the Cons of Surrogacy
While surrogacy is a gift to parents who cannot conceive naturally, it has some cons.
- Complications: Surrogacy involves various complex medical as well as legal procedures. It involves a written agreement between the parents and the surrogate to avoid future legal complications.
Moreover, only a well-trained medical professional should perform surrogacy.
- High Cost: Surrogacy is expensive as it involves various medical procedures. It also involves taking care of the surrogate and even paying her for her help. Thus, it is not affordable to all.
- Losing Control over things: You have to trust the surrogate mother throughout the journey. It can be mentally disturbing that you will not control the unborn child like other parents who relish their gestation journey.
Mental Health and Surrogacy
During the interview, the surrogate will regularly consult a licensed Mental Health Professional. She will help her realise whether she wants to be a surrogate. Sometimes, the surrogate might regret her decision later; therefore, it is necessary to be clear mentally if she is ready to be a surrogate. They prepare her for all the upcoming outcomes of her decision.
Moreover, the intended parents consult with these professionals who train them to process their emotions. The parents will go through several emotional cycles seeing someone else carrying their child. Thus, meeting with a professional helps them conclude by evaluating all possible conditions.
The Importance of Psychological Screening
- As a gestational carrier undergoes medical testing to ensure that she is physically well to undergo IVF. That has the best chance to carry a healthy pregnancy process; she should be ultimately a series of psychological components.
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has also recommended that gestational carriers receive psychological counselling. A responsible agency will facilitate complete mental health evaluation, including MMPI and P.A.I. psychological testing. Ideally, a surrogate can also participate in these monthly psychological support groups. Which is led by a licensed mental health professional.
- These evaluations will help determine if a surrogate mother can meet the general requirements to hold, but just as important is to be, they help her begin the grasp of full scope and commitment.
- This fact is that not all women are suitable candidates for gestational surrogacy.
Discussing the surrogacy process with a professional gives her a better understanding of the journey. Still, it also allows her to explore any questions or concerns about potential adverse effects of surrogacy that she – or her partner – may have. A gestational carrier must have her partner’s support going into the process.
Is it legal to use a surrogate?
The Indian government permits gestational surrogacy without any legal backing. However, there is no particular law that governs it. It also guarantees the right of privacy for the surrogate and the commissioning partner.
Surrogacy is a boon to those couples who wish to have their biological child. Surrogacy seems like a great option when natural pregnancy seems impossible – be it due to complications in the uterus, such as hysterectomy or abnormality of the uterus. A surrogate decides to help a friend get out of this situation by carrying their child for the entire gestation period. A surrogate can also have financial help as the parents willingly help the surrogate clear-off her debts. The surrogate and the parents must consult the mental health professionals before getting to any conclusion. The mental health professional will allow them to decide whether they are ready for it.