What is Surrogacy?

The definition of Surrogacy is "Another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a couple."

The concept is as old as time, and many of the ancient writings talk about slaves and handmaidens birthing babies for their sterile mistresses.

Over time, the practice in Western society all but disappeared. However, it has resurfaced in the past few years and for couples who are unable to have their own baby and where donation is not an option, surrogacy is being considered.

There are many legal factors for a couple to consider when they make a decision to have a surrogate carry their baby. It is wise for them to investigate the implications very thoroughly before moving forward.

Questions That Demand Answers

There are several questions to consider surrounding the decision. They are questions a couple may be asked by others and questions they should ask themselves. What will friends, family, and colleagues be told?

A woman must consider how she might feel having another woman carry her baby. Perhaps the pregnancy will be multiple, with twins or triplets-how will the couple deal with it? If there are already children in the family, how will they be told of the new situation?

Children are part of the family and they need to be onside with what is going on. To withhold information from them could result in relationship problems. When the baby is born, how will the parental transition take place?

In some cases, the surrogate remains involved with the family-is that something the couple is willing to do? If the surrogate is a friend or family member, the way the child is reared could be affected.

The Traditional Surrogacy

There are two types of surrogacy. The traditional or partial surrogacy uses the egg of the Surrogate Mother and the sperm of the Intended Father. The artificial insemination can be done at home or in an IVF clinic.

In a straight surrogacy such as this, the baby is biologically related to the Intended Father and the Surrogate Mother. Even though this type of surrogacy is simpler in terms of conception, it is more difficult mentally for both the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Mother.

The Surrogate Mother will be giving up her biological child, and the Intended Mother will be receiving a child fathered by her husband and another woman.

The Host Surrogacy

A host surrogacy, also known as gestational or full surrogacy, involves using the egg of the Intended Mother and the sperm of her husband or donor sperm. This is always done in an IVF clinic.

In some cases, the Intended Father's sperm is frozen for up to six months. This method is by far more difficult in terms or conception and the chances of it taking are quite low. The process is very time consuming and stressful for all concerned.

However, the baby has no biological connection at all to the Surrogate Mother and many couples find this aspect more comfortable to handle than using the straight method.

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