Can a surrogate mother keep her child?

While surrogacy proves to be a boon for many childless couples, the sensitivity of the issue cannot be denied! A surrogate mother after all, does carry the baby in her womb for the whole nine or ten months, feeling the baby’s every small movement, nourishing the baby with nutrients from her body, assisting in its development. It is therefore inevitable that a bond of some sort would form between the surrogate and the baby.

This bond is possibly stronger when the surrogate actually is the biological mother of the baby as in the case of traditional surrogacy. However, the question that arises in every situation is that of the surrogate overcoming this bond to hand over the baby to its parents. What about then? What happens if a surrogate mother decides that she does not want to give up the child?

surrogate mother and child
Change of mind

As the surrogate mother, it is important to understand that surrogacy is a sort of partnership that is entered into keeping a single goal in mind. There is a couple who are unable to have a baby of their own, and you are carrying their baby for them. Therefore all such doubts regarding your inability to sever the ties should ideally be dealt with prior to conceiving.

After all it would be grossly unfair to give the intended parents hope, and then refuse to hand over their precious bundle of joy. Therefore, before you sign up to become a surrogate always ask yourself if you are indeed cut out for this sort of thing.

On the part of the parents, it would save you a lot of misery if you first interacted with your intended surrogate and see just how passionate she is about helping you. If she is in it for the two of you, then she probably is the one. And while she will want to continue to have some connection with the child post birth, she will accept that the child is yours.

But you do find yourself in the uncomfortable position when:
  • Either you are the surrogate who is reluctant to give up the baby, or
  • you are the intended parents who suddenly realize that your surrogate is less than keen,
What do you do now? Maybe shedding a little light on the actual rules would help.  

A view on whether the mother can actually keep her child.

Surrogacy isn’t the same as adoption – there the baby is yours but you decide you do not want to or cannot bring up the child on your own. In that case you choose to give your child up for adoption, but you retain the right to decide till you have handed the baby over.

In the case of surrogacy, of course, the parameters are a little different. While it may be mentioned in your contract that the baby needs to be handed over to the intended parents at birth, this in itself is not legally enforceable. However, in this respect it must be mentioned that in most states or countries where surrogacy is a legally accepted practice, the rules are such that at birth the baby is registered as the legal child of the intended parents. Therefore the surrogate mother’s right to the baby already stands relinquished.

In this situation, if examined in a court of law, the verdict would still be in the favor of the intended parents and not the surrogate mother.  

The bottom line then is that, a surrogate mother can possibly keep the baby if the intended parents are convinced to let her. In this case they willingly relinquish their rights. On the other hand, of course, when a woman decides to be a surrogate, she should ideally have already put all such concerns to rest.
As the surrogate mother, you are possibly giving the intended parents the greatest joy of their lives. By choosing to keep the baby, you would actually be shattering their dreams. Instead find peace and happiness in having completed a family!

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