A surrogate mother is one who lends her womb to an infertile couple so that they can have their own baby.
There are two types of surrogate mothers. Traditional surrogates are those who are artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. She then carries the baby and delivers it for the parents 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 for a traditional surrogacy.
The other type is a gestational surrogate. A gestational surrogate is different from a traditional surrogate. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a technique where the eggs from the mother can be harvested and fertilized with sperm from the father. The embryo is then placed in the womb of the gestational surrogate. A gestational surrogate has no genetic ties to the child. That’s 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.
In the U.S., gestational surrogacy is less complex legally. That’s because both intended parents have genetic ties to the baby. As a result, gestational surrogacy has become more common than a traditional surrogate.
Women who have a clinical problem in getting pregnant, those have had their uterus removed due to medical reasons, those with a serious medical condition that makes their getting pregnant risky etc. may opt for surrogacy. Those of an advanced age, single marital status, or alternate sexual orientation can also make use of surrogacy to enjoy parenthood. Many gay men and lesbian women can opt for a traditional surrogate to become parents.
A surrogate mother can be someone from the friends or family of the couple. This however raises legal issues. Surrogacy is costly and involves legal issues about parental rights. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine accepts certain family ties as acceptable for surrogates. It generally discourages surrogacy, though, if the child would carry the same genes as a child born of incest between first-degree relatives.
A surrogate has to have a complete medical evaluation and pregnancy history to assess the likelihood of a healthy, full-term pregnancy. She should be screened for infectious diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, cytomegalovirus, andhepatitis B and C. Surrogates also need screening for immunity to measles, rubella (German measles), and chickenpox. The cost of surrogacy for hopeful parents can range from $80,000 to $120,000.
- Link of interest: Website American Fertility Association
This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.