A surrogate pregnancy is an option for couples with fertility problems or who cannot carry a baby to term. A woman carries and delivers the baby for the couple. Surrogacy comes with many pros and cons for both the couple and the surrogate mother. Learning all the aspects of surrogacy helps a couple decide if it is the best option.
Traditional and gestational surrogacy are the two types used. In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used with the male donor’s sperm. A gestational surrogacy occurs when another woman’s fertilized egg is placed in the surrogate’s uterus. The egg might be that of the woman who will parent the child or from an egg donor if the mother’s eggs aren’t an option.
Each state has control over the legality of surrogate pregnancy and surrogacy contracts. Only a handful of states allow and uphold surrogacy contracts, and some of those states have restrictions. For example, New Jersey and Washington only allow uncompensated surrogacy agreements, while Illinois only allows gestational surrogacy. Other states prohibit or even punish parties involved in a surrogacy agreement. A lawyer or agency specializing in matching surrogates with couples can help you determine the legal restrictions in your state.
Finding a surrogate mother is the first step. Some agencies help couples find a surrogate, while others find their own surrogates through acquaintances or online. If the couple is using their own egg and sperm, a round of in vitro fertilization produces an embryo. This embryo is then implanted into the selected surrogate. The embryo might not implant and result in a pregnancy. Often, the procedure takes three or four tries and even then might not be successful. Either a contract outlining the arrangement or an independent adoption takes place to assign parental rights to the couple.
A surrogate pregnancy is often quite expensive, depending on the arrangement. An independent adoption is generally more affordable, at around $15,000 according to BabyCenter. In 2001, a contract set up through an agency could top $40,000. The couple may also need to pay for the prenatal and delivery costs, in addition to the fees.
While surrogacy expands the options for couples facing fertility issues, it can also bring up some problems. The couple has less control over the pregnancy and the decisions the surrogate makes during the pregnancy. The surrogate mom might also struggle emotionally when the baby is born. If no clear laws are established in the state about surrogacy, the couple might have a legal battle should the surrogate change her mind about the agreement.