Some couples, unable to have children of their own, sing the praises of the surrogate process; however, this child-granting medical procedure is not without its issues. Since its creation, this process has been marked with controversy. If you are preparing to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, consider some of the issues that have proven taxing in the past to ensure that you can avoid them now.
The Legalities of Surrogacy
While the many reports of couples having children through surrogacy may make the practice seem common, surrogacy is still a hotly contested practice in some states. As the New York Times reports, this practice is illegal in some states. In this constantly changing list of states that do not allow surrogacy, couples who wish to enter a surrogacy arrangement must do so across state lines and, often, with someone who does not reside in the state. To ensure that your surrogacy attempt doesn’t become a legal battle, you should carefully explore the laws regarding surrogacy within your state.
The Case of Baby M
The most commonly referenced legal battle in the world of surrogacy is the case of Baby M. In this landmark 1987 case, William and Elizabeth Stern fought surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead in court for rights to a child that was the product of a surrogacy attempt. This child, unlike many born to surrogates today, was the biological child of Mary Beth Whitehead, thus leading to such a contentious battle for the infant. While the Sterns did ultimately win the rights to the baby, it was not resolved until years after her birth.
Surrogacy and Biological Connections
When the practice of surrogacy was itself in its infancy, many surrogates carried children to whom they were biologically related. Now, this is almost never the case. Nearly all surrogate pregnancy arrangements today call for the carrying of a child that is the genetic product of the mother and father who entered into the arrangement. In instances where the mother does not have an egg that is appropriate for use in the procedure, a donor egg not belonging to the surrogate mother is often used.
Surrogate Mother Requirements
Women who want to give the gift of life though surrogacy must meet some requirements, reports Oprah.com. Potential surrogates must have had at least one child of their own prior to the surrogacy. They must also be both physical and mentally healthy. In most cases, these women are also required to carry private health insurance, which they use to defray some of the costs otherwise associated with the pregnancy.
While the specifics of surrogacy arrangements depend in large part upon the state in which you live, in most states surrogates and the couples seeking to enter into arrangements with them must engage in several meetings prior to the surrogacy. These individuals are often required to meet with therapists as well as lawyers to ensure that all parties are ready for the potential mental effects of a surrogacy arrangement and that the legalities associated with the arrangement are in order.