If you have decided to end your fertility treatments, you may be wondering what your next step should be. If you are still interested in parenting a child, surrogacy may be an excellent option for you. Surrogacy is rapidly becoming a popular choice amongst couples that are having difficulties conceiving or carrying a baby to term. It often gives couples the option of having a biological child of their own. It also offers the added benefit of allowing you to participate closely in your baby’s gestation and birth.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy involves having another woman carry a child for you until it is born. It is a viable alternative, particularly when you cannot conceive or carry a child on your own. During the process, your surrogate mother is impregnated through intrauterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization. She then carries this baby until it is born. Upon the arrival of your baby, your surrogate relinquishes her parental rights and gives the baby to you.
The Benefits of Surrogacy
Surrogacy can often be a wonderful solution for couples who are unable to have their own child.
- It can offer you the chance to have a baby who is biologically related to you
- It also allows you to be actively involved in the conception and growth of your baby prior to birth.
- It is often associated with high success rates
Types of Surrogacy
If you decide to pursue surrogacy in order to have a child, you will need to decide which type of surrogacy you are most interested in:
Traditional surrogacy, often referred to as straight surrogacy, is done through intrauterine insemination. Your surrogate mother will be inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, which has been washed and prepared for the best possible fertilization. This sperm will fertilize one of the surrogate mother’s eggs in order to produce an embryo. This means that, in traditional surrogacy, your surrogate mother will be biologically related to the child.
Gestational surrogacy is sometimes referred to as host surrogacy. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child, but merely acts as host for the embryo. An egg is removed from the intended mother’s ovaries and fertilized using sperm from the intended father. Sometimes, sperm and egg donors are used for this process. Your surrogate will be implanted with the fertilized embryo through in-vitro fertilization.
Finding a Surrogate
Depending upon where you live, there are different ways that you can find a surrogate mother. It is a good idea to research your country’s laws on surrogacy, as these often dictate how you are allowed to locate your surrogate. The main methods of finding a surrogate are:
- through a surrogacy agency
If you choose to find a surrogate through independent means, you will have to contact a woman who is interested in becoming a surrogate mother. Some countries allow you to advertise for surrogates, while others do not. Often, surrogate mothers are relatives or friends of the intended parents. Surrogacy centers and agencies specialize in setting up surrogate births. These agencies are in contact with women who wish to become surrogate mothers, and can help you find the right match.
Unfortunately, surrogacy can sometimes be out of the question for infertile couples because of the associated costs. You are responsible for all the pregnancy-related costs incurred by the surrogate mother. These include:
- the cost of any fertility treatments required to begin the pregnancy, which may include intrauterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization procedures
- all prenatal visits with health care providers
- the cost of delivery
- all food, vitamins, medicines, and clothing that your surrogate requires
- all supplies for your baby
Some countries allow surrogate mothers to charge a base surrogacy fee for carrying your baby. These fees can be upwards of $12,000, so it is a good idea to ask your surrogate about her prices. Other countries have made it illegal for surrogate mothers to ask for any additional compensation outside of the pregnancy-related costs. You will also need to hire a lawyer to draw up a contract between you and your surrogate.
If you use an agency to help you find a surrogate mother, you can expect to pay between $25,000 and $35,000 for their services. This typically includes legal fees and the cost of paperwork.
Surrogacy is not an easy process, and though it has its benefits, it is often complicated and drawn-out. Finding a surrogate takes time and fertility treatments required for conception are expensive and lengthy. Legal concerns are also of the utmost importance if you pursue surrogacy. You should have a contract drawn up, delineating the procedures, expenses, and legal parental rights. While many couples have had positive surrogacy experiences, it is important to note that surrogacy can be an emotionally-taxing option, and many couples find it difficult to undergo for ethical and moral reasons.