What is the meaning of surrogacy? What exactly is surrogacy? The answer will be different for every person
What is surrogacy? What does it mean? The answer to these questions will be based on how surrogacy touches a person. What surrogacy means and represents to intended parents and surrogate mothers will depend on their own experience. For each person surrogacy meaning can be different, and also, it can differ from a legal and process point of view.
What Is the Definition of Surrogacy?
Let´s start with the basic definition:
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definessurrogacy as “the practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.”
Nevertheless, within that basic definition, there are different ways to understand it.
Depending on how surrogacy affects a person, what it means to them will change.
What Surrogacy Means for Intended Parents
Prospective parents look at this method of assisted reproduction as their last option to having a biological child. These people tend to spend thousands and thousands of dollars going through IVF and fertility treatments, before realizing that their last option to have a biological child is through surrogacy. Thismove, from infertility to surrogacy, is a really big step.
At that point, discovering that they will need a surrogate mother to carry their baby and become parents can be an extremely emotional choice. Why? Because this process can give them the parenthood experience they have been dreaming about, however, it won’t allow them the pregnancy experience they may have wanted.
People who are childless or have problems getting/staying pregnant are often looked down upon. For them, this assisted reproductive technology is the way for them to break the shame and stigma that comes from not having children.
This form of assisted reproduction means prospective parents can finally realize their dreams of having a complete family. It’s a gift that a selfless woman gives to some intended parents who, otherwise, are unable to have their own child or children.
How Do Intended Parents See Surrogacy?
- A totally exhaustive psychological and medical screening process
- A challenging process of finding the right surrogate mother
- Sharing the joys of the pregnancy the surrogate mother is going through
- Key milestones such as doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and childbirth
- The happiness of bringing their newborn home
This journey creates an intimate bond between the surrogate and intended parents. After all, the surrogate helps them to have their family while the intended parents forge a lasting, honest bond with the surrogate.
What Surrogacy Means for a Surrogate Mother
Surrogacy can be altruistic or commercial and even if a commercial process is pursued, surrogacy goes beyond money. Many surrogate mothers do it to help a childless couple or individual become a family. It’s a selfless act to commit their time, effort and body to help intended parents. Some surrogates do it because they love the feeling of being pregnant, even when they have their own family established. For them, it’s a sense of achievement and pride, as well as bonding with intended parents.
How Do Surrogate Mothers See Surrogacy?
What does it actually mean to become a surrogate mother? There are several steps to this process, such as:
- Going through in-depth psychological and medical screenings
- Deciding the amount of the surrogate mother’s compensation
- Meeting with intended parents to find the right ones
- A sense of responsibility of carrying a child for someone
- Pregnancy risks and side effects
- Childbirth process
Surrogacy comes across as a complicated process, but it’s one that many surrogates are glad to undertake. Each surrogate’s surrogacy meaning will be different and it will be based on her own experience, which is why it’s important a prospective surrogate mother knows about the pros and cons of the process before committing to it.
What Surrogacy Means to the Rest of the World
How people see surrogacy now could and will change in time.
Ever since the surrogacy process began, it’s been a controversial topic, though it´s a common option for intended parents (after dealing with infertility or same-sex people) to create their family.
With more children being born out of the surrogacy process, how surrogacy is seen is going to change. These children will see that their parents went through a challenging process to ensure they were born. The story of their birth will be a matter of pride for them and their children. They’re bound to share their stories with others, leading to more and more discussions about this process.
The only surefire way to raise awareness of this process is to understand it and then educate others about it.
What Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy Means
When it comes to the types of surrogacy processes, there are two main types:
Traditional Surrogacy (TS) –The surrogate is artificially inseminated with the man’s sperm, carrying the baby and delivering so the intended parents can raise it. As a traditional surrogate, the surrogate is the baby’s biological mother, as it was her egg that the father’s sperm inseminated. Of course, donor sperm may also be used.
Gestational Surrogacy (GS) – This is based in the in vitro fertilization technique, where the intended mother’s eggs are fertilized with the intended father’s sperm and the embryo put inside the womb of the gestational surrogate (also an egg donor and/or sperm donor may be used). The surrogate, who has no genetic connection with the child, will carry the baby until the day of birth. A gestational surrogate (also known as a gestational carrier – GC) is known as a birth mother. The biological mother is the one whose egg was combined with the sperm to fertilize the egg.
What Surrogacy Means from a Legal Point of View
Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman (called surrogate) agrees to become pregnant and deliver a baby for someone who cannot have children (called intended parents). However, even if the definition is not complex, the legal aspects surrounding this process are challenging and surrogacy laws differ widely from one country to another in two main aspects.
- Are surrogacy agreements enforceable, void or prohibited?
- What is the parental rights recognition process for the intended parents (pre-birth order, post-birth order or adoption)?
One would assume that a surrogate mother has no legal recourse to an intended parents’ baby. However, parental rights after a surrogate mother gives birth are not always guaranteed. Still, the law is trying to catch up with reproductive technology and changing the way “parent” is defined.
As it currently stands, in the US there are no federal laws regarding surrogacy and state laws can vary significantly. Some states require intended parents to go through the adoption process to attain legal custody of their child. With other states, the intended parents must make a “declaration of parentage” before birth, so they don’t have to go through the adoption process. In Canada, there is a federal law (AHRA) that governs surrogacy. However, each province has its own regulation creating differences in the process and legal requirements.
Prospective parents should employ the services of an attorney experienced in reproductive law to help them protect their rights to the child. This attorney can draft the surrogate contract to ensure each person’s role is clearly laid out. The contract can be used to address any legal issues that could arise after the child’s birth. It also deals with potential issues that could occur during the pregnancy such as dealing with multiple babies, children with disabilities, etc.
When you hear the word “surrogacy” relating to delivery and pregnancy, you can be quite sure the surrogacy definition that applies is the first one of this post, however it’s not so straight forward to answer ” What is surrogacy? ” because, as you can see, the meaning can vary depending on how this process affects individuals.
The following webs provide additional information for people interested in pursuing a surrogacy journey:
What actually happens in surrogacy? ›
In gestational surrogacy, an embryo is transferred to a woman who has agreed to carry the pregnancy and deliver the child. The embryo may have been created from sperm and/or oocytes from the intended parents or donor gametes. Surrogacy arrangements are characterized as altruistic surrogacy or commercial surrogacy.What are the 3 types of surrogacy? ›
There are many forms your surrogacy can take: gestational or traditional, compensated or altruistic, independent or agency-assisted, domestic or international.Are surrogate babies biologically yours? ›
In gestational surrogacy, the preferred and more common modern surrogacy method, the answer is “no.” Gestational surrogates are not biologically related to the babies they carry at all.Do surrogate babies get DNA from mother? ›
Does a surrogate mother transfer DNA to the baby? Some women worry that, even with an intended mother's or donor's egg, there could be a transfer of DNA. This is a totally natural assumption to make. However, the truth is that there is no transfer of DNA during pregnancy in a gestational surrogacy.How much does a surrogate cost? ›
The average cost of surrogacy can range from $190,000 to $230,000 depending on the individual arrangements. In states like California, where surrogates are in high demand, the cost may be slightly higher. Legal requirements and the costs of other services can also vary from state to state.Who feeds the baby in surrogacy? ›
Most babies get top feeds but in cases where the biological mother is keen to breastfeed, lactation can be induced. What is required is a long term study, with paediatricians on board, to follow up on the surrogate baby's health status.”Do surrogates pass anything to babies? ›
The short answer is – no. All babies, no matter the nature of their conception, have the genetic material provided by the parents. Therefore, the surrogate mother contributes little or none of the genetic material.Can a surrogate carry a baby with a different blood type? ›
Therefore, the surrogate mother does share blood with the baby. As an aside, a surrogate mother's blood type does not matter during the surrogacy process or pregnancy, either. The surrogate mother can be a different blood type than the baby or the intended parents.Can surrogacy choose gender? ›
Surrogacy provides additional biological options for intended parents, including gender selection.How many babies can a surrogate have? ›
As a surrogacy agency, we adhere to guidelines set forth by medical professionals in our field. The standard that we follow is that a surrogate candidate cannot have more than 5 prior pregnancies to become a surrogate for a 6th and final pregnancy.
Can a baby look like the surrogate mother? ›
No, the baby will not look like a gestational surrogate. A baby born through surrogacy process will have a combination of physical characteristics (looks) of the egg and sperm provider since the baby's DNA only comes from the egg and sperm used to create the embryo, and not the surrogate.Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? ›
Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? Surrogates are paid as they achieve specific milestones during the surrogacy journey. If you experience an unforeseen event like a miscarriage during your surrogacy journey, you will be compensated up to that point.Can a surrogate be a virgin? ›
In most cases, no — you cannot become a surrogate without a previous pregnancy. Any safe and secure surrogacy journey requires certain things of both parties. For surrogates, this is proof they can carry a pregnancy safely and successfully to term and give birth to a healthy child.What is the cheapest surrogacy in USA? ›
How much does surrogacy in the USA cost? Surrogacy costs range from $120,000 to $150,000 for an agency program in the United States. 'Independent Surrogacy' can cost as little as $75,000, but can be difficult to manage. 'Assisted Surrogacy' journeys can cost about $99,000 with most agency services included.How much do surrogates get paid per child? ›
At California Surrogacy Center, the average surrogate mother compensation is somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000. This is for first-time surrogate mothers, as repeat surrogate mothers typically get paid between $53,000 and $83,000 (including benefits).Is surrogacy cheaper than adoption? ›
Regarding the average cost of each process, expect to pay around $30,000 for a traditional adoption. Surrogacy is more expensive and can range from $100,000 to $150,000, depending on various factors.Do surrogates do skin to skin? ›
Bonding with a baby born through surrogacy doesn't start and end at birth or is achieved solely through skin-to-skin contact. Here are a few ways you can bond with your baby before he or she is even born: Talk to your baby in your surrogate's womb.Do surrogates meet the parents? ›
They can meet in person, or they can communicate over the phone or via email, etc.). Throughout the surrogacy, the surrogate and share information on the child's development. If everyone is comfortable, the intended parents can be present for the ultrasound screenings and for the child's birth.How much DNA does a surrogate mother share with the baby? ›
A fairly common question that people have is whether the baby will share the DNA of the surrogate mother. The short answer is – no. All babies, no matter the nature of their conception, have the genetic material provided by the parents. Therefore, the surrogate mother contributes little or none of the genetic material.What can disqualify you from being a surrogate? ›
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) ...
- Preeclampsia. ...
- Unhealthy BMI. ...
- Gestational Diabetes. ...
- Endometriosis. ...
- Multiple C-Sections. ...
- Other Underlying Health Conditions. ...
- No Previous Children.