There are diverse reasons that someone may consider surrogacy. Sometimes, an infertile woman has an abnormal womb or no womb, preventing a successful pregnancy. Sometimes, health conditions such as a heart problem may prevent a traditional pregnancy. There are also cases in which a single man or two homosexual men wish to contract a surrogate parent.
There are several types of surrogacy. The most common type, known as the Straight method, is that the surrogate is pregnant and plans to permit others to raise the child. Conception may happen via artificial insemination with fresh or frozen sperm. Sometimes the sperm donor is the intended father of the child. Another type of surrogacy is the Host method, also called gestational surrogacy. In this scenario, the surrogate is impregnated through an embryo transfer with a child for whom she is not the biological parent. Altruistic surrogacy is an instance in which the surrogate receives no money for her services, other than having her medical and maternity expenses met. Commercial surrogacy is an arrangement in which a gestational carrier receives money to carry the child in her womb. Educational surrogacy is a legal term referring to adults who are appointed to act as a parent to a child with special needs.
Although the stereotype of surrogacy is the sensationalized version of wealthy couples hiring poor women in third-world countries to carry their babies, often surrogates are relatives of friends of the intended parents. There are cases, however, in which some intended parents don’t interact with the surrogate other than to make legal arrangements.
The All About Surrogacy website (see Resources below) lists the essentials of a surrogacy contract. Most contracts include a base fee. Disbursement typically occurs before the baby is born. Many contracts include clauses for an insemination fee, a fee to compensate for invasive procedures, an allowance for maternity clothing, a monthly allowance for incidental expenses, a fee for carrying multiples, an additional fee if a cesarean delivery is required, a premature birth allowance and an allowance for child care. Other miscellaneous fees may include insurance co-pays, insurance premiums, transportation costs and legal costs.
For most surrogacy situations, the surrogate agrees to transfer all legal rights pertaining to the baby upon birth. Some surrogate parents may end up involved in the child’s care-giving. Some surrogate parents may attempt to rescind their side of the agreement and retain the right to care for the child. Some intended parents make legal arrangements to have their names appear on the child’s birth certificate.
In 2008, comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler collaborated on a film exploring the challenges and successes inherent in surrogacy. “Baby Mama” was not a smash hit at the box office, but it did does present a multidimensional view of what happens during surrogacy.