etting Pregnant and Assisted Reproduction: Surrogacy
Surrogacy is a form of alternate or assisted reproduction that enables a couple that is unable to carry a child to be biological parents. While one of the main advantages of surrogacy is that it is a unique way in which to become parents, one of the disadvantages of surrogacy is that it can also bring with it certain psychological, legal and personal concerns for the intended parents, as well as financial concerns regarding surrogacy costs.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a process in which a woman carries a couple’s child to term. There are two types of surrogacy:
- gestational surrogacy: in this surrogacy process, the couple is the biological parents of the child. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is used in order to combine the egg and sperm to form an embryo. The embryo is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus for gestation; in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child.
- traditional surrogacy: in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is the genetic mother of the child. Insemination combines the sperm of the intended father with the egg of the surrogate mother. The embryo is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus where conception occurs.
In surrogacy, a contract is established between the intended parents and the surrogate mother and a fee is agreed upon so that the surrogate mother must carry and deliver the infant. Upon delivery, full parental rights are bestowed to the intended parents.
A surrogate mother can be a friend or relative of the couple or she can be a surrogate mother recruited through a surrogacy agency.
There are a variety of pros and cons associated with surrogacy. For couples with fertility problems, surrogacy is sometimes the only way for one or both individuals to be the biological parents of the child. However, there are a variety of concerns associated with surrogacy, including the following:
- psychological: one concern for intended parents in surrogacy is whether or not the surrogate mother will begin to form a strong emotional attachment to the developing fetus and want to change her mind about giving up the baby. In order to minimize this risk, surrogate mothers must undergo psychological testing prior to their acceptance in a surrogacy program.
- legal: surrogacy is an often complicated legal process due to the issue of parental rights. As such, it is imperative that a couple consult with an attorney who specializes in surrogacy cases.
- personal: despite the drawing up of a contract, there are often issues surrounding surrogacy over which a couple does not have full control. For example, there may be differences in opinion between the intended parents and the surrogate mother with regard to how to manage pregnancy, labor and delivery; conflict can also arise with regard to genetic testing and how to address any problems with the pregnancy.
In addition, the intended parents also generally pay for travel costs; a fee must also be paid to the surrogate mother and in cases when it is used, to a surrogate agency.
On average, surrogacy costs in the United Kingdom is £12 535 to £25 000.