Surrogacy is not new to mankind anymore, as many women around the world agree to be surrogate mothers for monetary gain. Most parents go for it because they have fertility issues and need help in having their own babies. It is not so common in Nigeria, but some couples have consented to it. Surrogacy involves a woman agreeing to carry a baby for nine months for someone else. After the birth of the child, the birth mother gives sole custody to the intended parents.
Surrogacy has difficult legal and medical steps that must be met before it can happen. It is very paramount to be aware of the processes involved in surrogacy. In addition, there are usually many people involved directly and indirectly in the process of surrogacy and every one of them should be made aware of what they are getting themselves into before kick-starting it.
There are different types of surrogacy and a good knowledge of each will not only help the surrogate but also the intending parents to choose the one with minimal risks and costs depending on the body physiology of the parties involved. Surrogacy is not one-for-all. A surrogacy professional is someone with both the theoretical and practical technical know-how of the subject and can help choose the process that is right based on what is desired by the involving parties.
The various types of surrogacy that currently exist are discussed below.
In this case, the surrogate mother provides her own egg and gets artificially inseminated with the father's sperm, either through Vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination. The surrogate mother carries the baby full term (nine months) and delivers the baby for the parents. This type of surrogacy comes with some legal and emotional struggles because the surrogate mother is genetically related to the baby she is carrying in her womb. This kind of surrogacy is best for parents who wish to cut costs and cannot find egg donors.
Over the past 30 years, traditional surrogacy was the only available method, but gestational surrogacy has now become more popular in recent years than traditional surrogacy. It allows parents to be biologically related to their child and it also helps eliminate some of the legal and emotional struggles that come with a surrogate being genetically related to the child she is carrying. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique is used whereby the sperm of the man is made to fertilize the egg of the woman in-vitro after which the fertilized egg is implanted into the womb of the surrogate mother. Several trials might be required before getting successful fertilization and implantation.
The surrogate mother carries the baby until birth. The surrogate mother and baby do not have any genetic ties because it was not the surrogate's egg that was used. This allows both the father and the mother to have genetic ties to their baby.
This involves the surrogate mother receiving monetary payment or material benefits for agreeing to birth a child. This type of surrogacy is not legally allowed in some countries, as it is illegal to pay a third party to arrange for a surrogate parent.
The surrogate mother does not receive any monetary payment for agreeing to be a surrogate mother. This is allowed in some countries. Some states abroad allow reasonable payments of the surrogate's medical expenses.
Who Might Needs A Surrogate Mother
The costs, paperwork, and emotional rollercoaster related to surrogacy in many instances might be overwhelming. Hence, only those who have the determination and the capability might opt for the technique. The following are those that might be in need, not necessarily want, surrogacy;
- Any woman who tries to get pregnant and could not, might want to try a surrogate mother with a variety of assisted reproduction techniques, such as "In Vitro Fertilization" (IVF).
- Parents who cannot adopt a child because of their age or sexuality can also try surrogacy.
Finding a Surrogate Mother
There are several ways to find a surrogate mother;
Through Surrogacy Agencies
A surrogacy agency helps you find the right surrogate mother that is fit and healthy, and an arrangement is made. The agency collects the fees that are paid to the surrogate, such as paying for their medical expenses.
Sometimes parents who are in need of a surrogate mother ask their friends to opt-in as their surrogate mother. It can be controversial, but because of the high cost and the difficult legal issues, it raises every time, a trustworthy and loyal friend can be easy to manage.
How To Choose A Surrogate Mother
The following are recommended guides that have been put together by professionals and experienced folks in the subject of surrogacy:
- A surrogate mother that is of legal age to birth to a child should be chosen. The recommended age is 25. At this age, the reproductive structure is fully developed and at the optimum functioning capacity.
- A woman who has given birth to, at least, one healthy baby comes highly recommended. This is because such a woman already has an experience of childbirth and the medical risks associated with carrying a pregnancy. Experience, they say, remains the best teacher.
- The surrogate mother should undergo a psychological evaluation by a mental health professional to uncover any mental issues that may want to prevent her from giving up the baby after birth to his or her intended parents. It is important for her to think carefully about the physical and emotional implications of carrying a baby for a parent.
- Always sign a contract stating the responsibilities and roles of the surrogate mother in pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth. Alot can go wrong if there is no agreement or a drafted contract of any sort.
Final words on using a Surrogate Mother
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says surrogates should get a medical exam to check that they are likely to have a healthy and full-term pregnancy. They suggest that surrogate mothers should get tested to check for infectious diseases such as hepatitis B & C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, syphilis and cytomegalovirus. Surrogate mothers should always get tested to make sure they have immunity to chicken pox, measles, and German measles. They should also undergo a medical procedure to check if they can actually carry a pregnancy for nine months.
Being A Surrogate Mother
Offering to carry and birth a baby for someone else is a very big and tedious responsibility. Before a woman decides to become a surrogate mother, she should understand the processes involved and know her rights as a surrogate mother.
Thank you all for reading.