Infertility, old age or the absence of a partner can hinder the growing desire to become a parent. Surrogacy involves a woman agreeing to carry a child and give birth for another person or couple. The surrogate mother donates her egg and gives birth to the child as the genetic mother in a traditional surrogate arrangement. The surrogate mother is implanted with a fertilised egg during a gestational surrogacy and has no biological ties to the baby.
In cases of commercial surrogacy, the exchange of money accompanies the pregnancy arrangement. The surrogate is compensated financially for carrying and birthing a baby, whereas the intended parent(s) may be responsible for financing the entire pregnancy. A costly process, surrogacy involves medical and legal fees. The intended parent(s) may consult an agency -- which means acquiring additional expense -- to handle the essentials, such as preliminary screening procedures, maternity insurance and travel and legal issues. Both parties will have to weigh moral issues of "renting the womb," paying for a child or selling the baby, as in traditional surrogate cases.
The United States is one of the few countries in the world that permits the practice of surrogacy. Laws vary by state in the U.S. with some prohibiting surrogacy altogether and others allowing it with restrictions. For some wishing to become parents through surrogacy, travel outside the home state may be necessary in order to enter a surrogate contract. The lack of strict laws regarding surrogacy may contribute to the risk of fraud through agencies that exploit potential parents and skip out on the financial and medical obligation to the surrogate mother.
The Gift of Life
Surrogacy affords those who cannot biologically have children the opportunity to become parents and speaks volumes of surrogate mothers for the gift of giving life. Surrogacy serves as an alternative to the lengthy and highly regulated adoption process. Infertile women, homosexual couples and singles desiring to become parents may seek surrogacy as a simpler route to do so. Altruistic surrogacy agreements do not involve any monetary gain and tend to be more common among women carrying children for family members or close friends.
As the end result, the baby is the most susceptible component of a surrogate agreement. Abandonment or the chance of neither party wanting the child after birth may suddenly be an issue. The risk of surrogate mothers, specifically those in traditional surrogate arrangements, forming an attachment and demanding to keep the child(ren) may arise. If guidelines are not followed, such as those requiring surrogates to refrain from sexual intercourse until fertilisation and the onset of pregnancy are successful, paternity may come into question. This guideline ensures that the conception is in fact a result of the intended biological father.