The Definition Of Surrogacy
Surrogacy is defined as follows: “One woman (host mother or surrogate mother) carries a child for another as the result of an agreement which is made before conception that the child should be handed over after birth. The couple wishing to have the child are called the commissioning couple.” The definition is quite to the point and void of emotion. It many places, surrogacy is legal and growing in frequency.
What Makes A Couple Choose Surrogacy?
However, as with any story, there are two sides to the surrogacy tale. There is the side of the surrogate and there is also the side of the commissioning couple, particularly the mother-to-be. Many couples long for children and find, after years of fertility treatments, they are unable to conceive or carry a child of their own. Some have decided that adoption will fill their need and they bring children into their home that way. Others want to have a child that is, at least partially, biologically their own child and decide to use surrogacy to fulfill their desire.
Straight Surrogacy Vs. Gestational Surrogacy
In straight surrogacy, the host mother uses her own egg and is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the intended father. The baby then has a biological connection to the surrogate mother. Host surrogacy, also known as full or gestational surrogacy, uses the egg of the intended mother and the sperm of the intended father or an egg or sperm donor if necessary. The embryo is then implanted into the womb of the surrogate mother using IVF. There is, in this case, no biological tie between the surrogate mother and the baby. This method is the preferred way to have a surrogate birth, despite the fact that it is very costly and difficult to perform.
There are legal implications to surrogacy and there are also emotional implications to be considered before undertaking this journey. It is a very complex issue and deserves time and focus to be sure everyone is emotionally and psychologically ready to proceed. Surrogacy provides a unique option for infertile couples and it differs from adoption because it offers a couple a genetic link to their child, either from both parents or at least from one.
It Involves More Than “We Three”
There are more people involved in a birth by surrogacy than just the couple and the surrogate. There are families on both sides of the equation and very often other children to consider. Children need to be prepared for what is about to happen, and they need to have their questions and fears addressed. How are they going to be informed? There is also the family and friends of the commissioning couple as well as the surrogate who will have plenty of questions as well. How will these people be made aware of the decision?
Emotions And The Intended Mother
While the intended father will have emotions and thoughts about the surrogacy, the intended mother will have even more. She will have to be very honest about her feelings concerning the pregnancy and birth. If the surrogacy is partial, using the egg of the surrogate, how will she feel about another woman having her husband’s child? Will contact be maintained with the surrogate mother? Will the child grow up knowing who the circumstances of his birth? If it is a gestational surrogacy, will she be able to cope well living a pregnancy vicariously?
These and many other questions are important to consider and work through. The rewards are huge. The cost may be just as big.