Surrogacy is a very controversial subject. Some religious organizations forbid their members from participating in surrogacy, no matter how desperate they are to have a child. Whatever the reason that couples might consider surrogacy, they must carefully weigh the pros and cons before proceeding. There are different factors that people who are considering surrogacy have to go through, from the time to decide whether they would go forward with it, to choosing the surrogate mother, the procedures involved, the fees required and the overall time frame. Each of these factors has its own pros and cons.
Deciding on Surrogacy
Surrogacy makes it possible for childless couples to have a child with genes from either one or both of them. This is why couples often choose surrogacy over adoption. Surrogacy is a viable option for couples when one is infertile, when the woman may be fertile but unhealthy to bear a child, or for gay couples.
One of the disadvantages of surrogacy is the potential emotional and psychological roller-coaster rides couples go through. Furthermore, they also have to deal with trying to convince family members and close friends that this is the right thing to do. The couples may take a while to assess their situation and consider all the factors before they can make their final decision, which can take a toll on their daily lives.
Choosing a surrogate mother, whether through a surrogacy agency or someone they know, is a tough decision to make. Finding an agency they can trust, interviewing surrogate mothers and checking on their backgrounds and references can be a grueling process. After all, once the baby is conceived, it is not easy to just back out should they have a second thought about their choice. However, once they make a choice and proceed with surrogacy, knowing that soon after the baby arrives they will become parents becomes an advantage on its own. Another advantage is a lifelong relationship they can build with the surrogate mother, which can be beneficial to the child once born.
There are also some pros and cons the surrogate mother should consider. The pros include monetary rewards if this is her main source of income. A surrogate mother known to the couple may feel contentment knowing she is helping them become parents. Some of the cons for the surrogate mothers would be dealing with a lengthy and medically invasive process and the feeling of attachment to the child, making it harder to let go.
Traditional surrogacy is one of the options that couples can choose. In this process, the surrogate mother provides the egg and the male partner would be providing the sperm. Fertilization occurs in the laboratory and, at the right time, the surrogate mother will carry the fertilized egg until it is time to give birth. This is advantageous for couples where the woman has health issues that becoming pregnant would be life threatening. Another advantage is that there is still a biological connection to the couple since the male provided his own sperm. One of the cons includes emotional attachment of the surrogate mother to the baby in her womb, especially since the egg came from her. Another disadvantage is that the female partner may feel some jealousy knowing that the baby did not partly come from her.
Gestational surrogacy is another option to consider. Most couples would prefer this because the surrogate mother is not the supplier of the egg. The man’s sperm and the woman’s egg go through a process known as IVF, or in vitro fertilization. The surrogate mother receives the fertilized egg through implantation. The advantage of this procedure is that the surrogate mother is less likely to have an attachment similar to traditional surrogacy since she is merely a carrier and not a donor. The disadvantage mainly lies in the medically invasive procedure, which can be painful for the surrogate mother.
Surrogacy fees include medical fees, agency fees, fees paid to the surrogate mother, fees to purchase the needs of the surrogate mother, legal fees and adoption fees. Surrogacy can put many couples through financial hardship. In addition, medical insurance may not cover the fertilization process and certainly would not cover the delivery by the surrogate mother. In 2009, the average cost of surrogacy ranged from $25,000 to $100,000. Some costs may be tax-deductible. To be certain, couples should consult with a tax adviser. If a family member offers to do it for free or for a minimal cost to cover the hospital charges only, the price is greatly decreased.
Calculating the time frame for couples does not only start from the actual pregnancy stage. Time spent on researching options, numerous attempts at fertilization and waiting for the baby to arrive all add up. Moreover, if you also add the time it takes most couples to save enough money and go through the legal process of adopting the child later, the process may take several years. The advantage through it all is that in the end, no matter how long and tedious the process is, they will finally become parents.