There’re not many things in life better than becoming a parent. Giving birth to another human is beautiful and gracious in so many ways. But, unfortunately, not every couple can experience the joy of it. Depending on many factors, pregnancy is not an option for some women. So, nontraditional ways of raising kids come into play.
Although in vitro fertilization and adoption are popular practices in Western culture, they’re not the only two options for people who can’t have a child on their own. Nowadays, lots of couples opt for surrogacy. They arrange for someone else to bear their child for them. In some ways, this is still subject to taboo, so we’re willing to take you through the ins and outs of this topic step by step.
What Is Surrogacy?
Essentially, surrogacy is an arrangement between two sides where one accepts to bear a child for the other. The biological mother can agree to do it for lucrative reasons, but that’s not mandatory. Couples who are willing to give this option a chance often look for carriers linked with surrogacy agencies.
In theory, this concept is fairly simple, and it revolves around two basic types. A couple who can’t have kids arranges for a third person to get impregnated by the intended father’s sperm, and once she gives birth to the baby, they take it into care. Impregnation can happen either naturally or artificially. People often refer to this as a traditional surrogate option.
On the other hand, there’s also a gestational surrogate option. First achieved in 1986, this practice calls for an in vitro fertilized egg cell to be placed into the surrogate mother. This means that the baby and the carrier have no genetic connection.
But unlike adoption, the legalities of surrogacy vary from place to place. Different countries and cultures view this idea differently and have specific laws that apply to it. Unfortunately, this often causes international problems. Some people even travel to surrogacy friendly states to realize their dreams of becoming a parent.
Why Is It a Good Option for Couples?
Who is surrogacy for? Surrogacy is a good option for unfortunate couples or single people who can’t have kids naturally. No matter if we’re talking about traditional or gestational surrogacy, the idea of helping people get their offspring is pretty noble. Sure, adoption is great too, but some people simply want their biological kids, and that’s where the pros of surrogacy lie.
Reasons for being unable to have kids vary from person to person. Both men and women can be at the root of the problem, and that’s perfectly okay. Finding a surrogate woman is a normal option nowadays. Moreover, intended parents can choose to either have a gestational or a traditional surrogacy carrier, depending on their liking and medical options available.
On the other hand, surrogacy is also an option for single people. For various reasons, some just don’t end up in a relationship. Therefore, having kids isn’t possible. These people also tend to turn to surrogacy agencies, looking to donate their genetic material to the carrier of their liking. Options are many, which means they can choose to donate their sperm or find someone else who’ll do it for them.
Furthermore, another group of people can benefit from this practice — LGBT people. As you know by now, to have kids, you need two opposite genders in the mix. That’s why gay and lesbian individuals either become sperm or egg donors for their surrogate children. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option everywhere because of various laws and cultural stigmas that surround LGBT.
What Is the Surrogacy Process?
It’s important to decide if surrogacy is the choice for you before you begin the process. If it seems complicated and legally exhausting, you should maybe consider adoption. But if you’re keen on having biological offspring, keep in mind the following.
Firstly, you have two main surrogacy options — employing a traditional or gestational carrier. The first one means your child will be related to their surrogacy carrier. On the other hand, gestational means that the carrier will only be the host of a laboratory fertilized egg cell placed in her womb. The second option is more common nowadays, and it makes the child 100% related to intended parents.
Agencies, Attorneys, and Carriers
Next up, someone needs to carry the pregnancy. You should contact a surrogacy agency, and with their help, find the person you see fittest to carry your future child. You should consider their looks, age, mental and physical illnesses background, ethnicity, religion, etc., to get the best possible match.
And although these checkpoints might seem offensive to some, they’re key to getting what you want. Contacting an agency and finding a surrogacy attorney will ease the process. You’ll need both to get all the legal things done the right way and finally have a child of your own.
How It’s Done
Once you have signed your contracts, you’ll be ready for the fertility clinic. There, the intended mother or the egg donor will receive medication for egg stimulation. Afterward, the eggs will be fertilized by donor sperm in a laboratory process of creating an embryo. And once that’s done, the eggs will go into the carrier’s womb for the pregnancy to begin.
Later on, medical screenings and check-ups will become more and more common. That way, the doctors will oversee how the process is going. And if everything’s fine and how it should be, you’ll become a proud parent in about nine months.
The Legalities of Surrogacy
The legality of surrogate pregnancies varies across the globe. Some countries completely disallow it, some approve of it, while others find only altruistic cases justifiable. For example, the United States, Russia, and Ukraine are all famous for approving commercial surrogacy.
So in case you’re living in America, the process isn’t that complicated. But once you find the agency and the carrier, you’ll need to introduce lawyers into the mix. Both sides — the intended parent/parents and the surrogacy mother — will need to sign contracts with one another to ensure themselves of all legal and mutual requirements.
These contracts include optional payment, risks, and so on. And once fertilization is over, the intended parents’ attorney will make sure parenthood rights are clear. That’s pre-birth order, and it’s usually done during the first trimester. It allows you to have your name on the baby’s birth certificate and to decide over their medical state in the future.
Unfortunately, a common issue with surrogate parenthood is citizenship. For example, for a baby to be a U.S. citizen, it requires one or both biological parents to be American. That means that couples where both the male and female aren’t capable of reproducing can only have a U.S. citizen child if the surrogate mother is American. These unfortunate cases sometimes leave a baby without legal citizenship.
It’s easy to see why people often refer to surrogacy as a complicated and long process. The bureaucracy behind it can sometimes be pretty overwhelming. But if you fully commit yourself to having a surrogate child, these formalities won’t be a problem. Doing things the right way will allow you to realize your dream once and for all.