A practice supposedly as old as the Biblical times, surrogacy has gained impetus and prominence only in recent times. In fact what was considered to be the unavoidable curse of infertility even a few decades ago can now be scientifically bypassed. You can be a parent and experience all the joys of it…and all of it thanks to surrogacy.
The First Surrogates
The modern-day surrogacy program was very much in practice amongst the American Indians way back in 1899. When a woman could not bear her own child and the tribe chief could not come up with any other solution for the couple, “sexual surrogacy” was the accepted norm. The man could impregnate another woman from the tribe in the hope of her bearing him a son. However, the man’s wife would not have any relation with that child.
Things are much easier now. And in fact, our own favorite celebs are making surrogacy a lot more acceptable for society.
Surrogacy and the Stars
Many of the hot-shot celebs from Sir Elton John to Nicole Kidman and the latest heartthrob Neil Patrick Harris have completed their families and tasted the bliss of parenthood with the help of surrogacy.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting actress Elizabeth Banks had both her sons Felix and Magnus with this option. She opines, “This experience has exceeded all expectations, taught us a great deal about generosity and gratitude, and established a relationship that will last a lifetime…”
But far away from the stardom, things are really quite difficult. The surrogate mother and the intended parents have to overcome a lot of hurdles while trying to make this arrangement work.
Surrogacy and legalities
To begin with, there is the issue of legality. In many states surrogacy is considered illegal and is banned. In fact, even in states where surrogacy is a legal practice, the process becomes a complicated one during traditional surrogacy where the intended mother has no biological links with the child and must adopt the child after birth.
Taxes, medical bills after the baby is born form a major consideration for both the parties. A thorough and in-depth review of the surrogacy laws of the particular state concerned becomes very important before you enter the surrogacy contract.
Prior to giving yourself a green signal for surrogate parenthood, consider and keep in mind the chances of pregnancy loss and risk of medical complications.
Vital aspects to consider before opting for surrogacy
The surrogate mother faces a major challenge when the time arrives for her to hand over the child to its intended parents. In many cases the surrogate mother develops such a bond with the baby that she finds it incredibly difficult to hand over the child to his parents. The practical and the emotional worlds are at conflict here.
Last but not the least the ethical questions should also be considered. Some raise questions regarding the surrogate mother ‘exploiting’ the infertile couples! Whereas others feel it is an exploitation of the surrogate’s body and taking advantage of a woman who needs money!
However, away from the controversies and the complications…surrogacy is really in fact a blessing! The overwhelming emotions may put you off track. But don’t let your heart lead the way if you are the prospective surrogate mother. A lot of things require considerations…thorough and serious considerations.
First, you need to undergo medical and psychological tests to ensure that you are fit to carry the child and then let go off the child when the time comes. No matter how prepared you are…it is a tough job!
Then there are the pros and cons of being a surrogate mother. What if the pregnancy fails or you give birth to a child with some defects? Relinquishing all rights of the child is yet another big challenge. However, on the brighter side, being a surrogate mother gives you the chance to be financially benefitted. But the joy of completing a family is perhaps the biggest prospective of being a surrogate mother.
Being a surrogate mother also calls for some serious must-do work. Find out if suddenly there is a change of heart and you want to keep the child, will you be able to do that and under what circumstances. Also, be aware of all the rights you have. Because, at the end of the day you don’t want to be an exploited woman who was deprived of her basic rights!
Should you approach an agency?
Whether you want to work via an agency or you want to work independently is another decision that will in turn decide many other aspects. Working via an agency will find for you the genuinely ‘desiring’ and responsibly capable couple; they will help you choose and undergo all the necessary medical tests! The doctor they appoint for you will take care of your medical requirements. On the other hand, if working independently, although it gives you the freedom to make your own decisions and choices… the aspect of the protection of your rights remains ‘unguarded’. Here also you need to decide how you would love to go ahead with the surrogate motherhood plan.
As for the intending parents…perhaps their list of considerations is much longer. Not everyone can use a surrogate mother. Your physical challenges must be proved before you enter into the contract. Also, you need to find out which type of surrogacy is the right choice for you.
Surrogate parenthood is also a commitment
The intended parents must also find out whether they themselves are mentally ready to let someone else carry their child. What if half-way through the pregnancy you suddenly don’t want the child anymore? Surrogacy is a serious decision and backing out in the middle is a serious breach of faith for the surrogate mother and the child growing inside her womb. Think and rethink …and think again… leave aside surrogacy being a complicated and elaborate procedure, parenthood by itself commands for dedication and commitment.
However, surrogacy is the only choice if you want to be biologically connected with the child. Another thing you need to consider is whether you need the help of an egg donor as well.
Let’s assume that surrogacy is the only option for you, here also the intended parents must go through a lot of procedures before you actually enter into the contract. Do consider the medical and legal qualifications for surrogacy. Ask yourself if you are financially strong enough to opt for surrogacy because it is quite an expensive procedure.
First, you will have to find if you want to enter into an agreement with a surrogate mother who works via an agency or works independently. Then you will have to find out if she ticks all the qualities of an ideal surrogate mother. She should be both physically and mentally capable of undertaking such a big responsibility. Ask her everything you want to be sure of. Find out if she is responsible enough to carry on with a healthy pregnancy. And when all your questions have been answered positively, it is time to draw a contract that honors the requirements of both the parties.
The entire process of surrogacy is a roller coaster ride. You need to hold onto your composure and be strong throughout the entire process, till you have the baby in your own arms. Right from choosing the reliable fertility clinic, caring for the surrogate mother, spending time with her, paying for her clinic visits and finally taking the bundle of joy in your own hands…the process is long and calls for your dedication and patience.
Surrogacy for single parents
Surrogacy can also bring the joys of parenthood to single parents especially those belonging to the LGBT community. However, in either case, the considerations should be completely different.
A single parent…can she opt for surrogacy? Will the state law allow it? And when you are alone, the decision making becomes much more difficult! But then, if every aspect gets a green signal and you really want someone to call your own “precious little thing”, surrogacy is the right choice for you.
Surrogacy for LGBT community
If you belong to the LGBT community it is of much importance to seek the help of a lawyer. Talk to him thoroughly. Find out what your options are. Parenthood is a long and challenging journey. It’s not the kind of decision you can afford to take on any whim or fancy. You have to know clearly why you want to bring a child into your life/lives and whether you’re prepared and capable of giving the child a life complete in every aspect before you enter any contract.
To all the surrogate mothers and intending parents; it is a baby that you are bringing into this world. Think it through because it is one big responsibility. For details of specific aspects do visit our related inner pages!
Let this baby bring all the happiness…all the bliss into your lives.