So what is Surrogacy? Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child for another person(s) who is or will become the parent(s) of the child.
People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wish to have a child. Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.
In surrogacy arrangements, monetary compensation may or may not be involved. Receiving money for the arrangement is sometimes known as commercial surrogacy. The legality and cost of surrogacy varies widely between jurisdictions, sometimes resulting in problematic international or interstate surrogacy arrangements.
If you’re a woman, you may consider a surrogate for several reasons:
- Medical problems with your uterus
- You had a hysterectomy that removed your uterus
- Conditions that make pregnancy impossible or risky for you, such as severe heart disease
- You may want to think about surrogacy if you tried but couldn’t get pregnant with a variety of assisted-reproduction techniques, such as IVF.
- Surrogates have also made parenthood an option for people who might not be able to adopt a child, perhaps because of their age or marital status.
There are two approaches to surrogacy, traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy, are differentiated by the genetic origin of the egg and the sperm.
Traditional surrogate: It’s a woman who gets artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. She then carries the baby and delivers it for you and your partner to raise. A traditional surrogate is the baby’s biological mother. That’s because it was her egg that was fertilized by the father’s sperm. Donor sperm can also be used.
Gestational surrogates: A technique called “in vitro fertilization” (IVF) now makes it possible to gather eggs from the mother, fertilize them with sperm from the father, and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. She doesn’t have any genetic ties to the child because it wasn’t her egg that was used. A gestational surrogate is called the “birth mother.” The biological mother, though, is still the woman whose egg was fertilized.
ONLY GESTATIONAL SURROGACY IS LEGALLY ALLOWED IN INDIA.
Are there any Risks associated with Surrogacy?
The embryo implanted in gestational surrogacy faces the same risks as anyone using IVF would.
- Often, multiple embryos are transferred to increase the chance of implantation, and if multiple gestations occur, both the surrogate and the embryos face higher risks of complications
- Surrogate mothers also have low rates of placenta praevia / placental abruptions (1.1-7.9%)
- Children born through singleton IVF surrogacy have shown to have no physical or mental abnormalities compared to those children born through natural conception. However, children born through multiple gestation in surrogate mothers often result in preterm labour and delivery, resulting in prematurity and physical and/or mental anomalies.
After overcoming many obstacles, the surrogacy (regulation) bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha in 2019. The bill, if passed by the Rajya Sabha, will ban commercial surrogacy and narrow the pool of surrogate mothers to close relatives of the interested couple. But there are certain loopholes that need to be addressed, which should, in fact, have been taken care of before the Lok Sabha cleared it.
As per the bill, the surrogate mother should be a close relative of the couple intending to have a child, a married woman with a child of her own, she must also be between the age of 25 and 35 and must not have been a surrogate mother before. Such strict criteria will narrow the chances of finding a surrogate mother. Evidently, finding a close relative within the stipulated age bracket will be the toughest job. There will also be instances when couples will not find close relatives willing to be a surrogate mother. Then, a willing candidate could be either unmarried or outside the stipulated age bracket.
Whether you’re considering surrogacy or becoming a parent through surrogacy, you may have questions along the way. With many experienced surrogates and parents via surrogacy, we’ve helped families navigate their journeys successfully, and have answered almost every question out there!