When couples struggle to conceive naturally, they must turn to other options. Surrogacy is one possible option that involves having a third party carry the baby to ensure a healthy and successful delivery.
People use surrogates for many reasons, from medical conditions that make conception dangerous to infertility issues. This guide goes over a few important basics, so you can make an informed decision.
Type of surrogates
Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate becomes artificially inseminated with a father’s sperm. In this case, the father and the surrogate are the baby’s biological parents. With gestational surrogacy, doctors take an egg from the mother and sperm from the father and use it to perform an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure on the surrogate. In this case, both mother and father are the biological parents and the surrogate simply carries the baby.
Potential legal issues
Gestational surrogacy tends to involve fewer legal issues, since doctors take tissues from both parents involved in the process. However, state laws vary wildly and there is no federal ruling on the surrogacy process. As a result, couples who pursue this option must develop a surrogacy contract with the assistance of an attorney to ensure all parties are on the same page.
How to choose a surrogate
You can choose a friend or family member to act as a surrogate. You can also consult a surrogacy agency, which specializes in finding gestational surrogates and acts as an intermediary during the process. For example, the agency will take money you provide for the surrogate’s medical care and hold it until payment is due.
Regardless of which option you choose, quality surrogates typically have a few important characteristics. Women should receive a mental health screening to ensure they can handle the emotions that may accompany the process. They should also have given birth to a baby previously, so they know what to expect. It is also recommended that the woman is at least 21 years old.