Understanding the Basics of Surrogacy

A woman who carries a child to term for another individual or couple is known as a surrogate. She must meet medical criteria to ensure she is healthy enough to carry a child.

It includes screening for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitis B and C. In addition, she should be healthy and maintain a stable weight throughout pregnancy.

How Do Surrogates Work?

What is a surrogate? A surrogate is a woman who agrees to carry a child to term and then deliver it to the intended parent(s) or parents. In traditional surrogacy, the intended father’s sperm is fertilized with the surrogate’s egg through artificial insemination. The embryo is then implanted in the surrogate’s uterus, and she carries the pregnancy until birth.

Gestational surrogacy, in which a surrogate has no genetic connection to the child she is carrying, is the most popular form of surrogacy in the United States. Gestational surrogates are most commonly used by heterosexual couples who cannot conceive naturally. However, it is also a viable option for gay men and can be a solution for women with cancer treatments that leave them infertile.

A surrogate must undergo extensive medical and psychological screenings before being approved to become a gestational carrier. She must have a history of healthy pregnancies and a strong desire to help people who cannot conceive. Often, surrogates are friends or family members who want to help a loved one. However, they can also be strangers or acquaintances who agree to be surrogates because of their compassion for others and love for children. Regardless of who they are, it is crucial for both surrogates and intended parents to have legal counsel during the process.

How Does a Surrogate Carry a Baby?

Surrogacy is an excellent option for those who cannot have biological children due to fertility issues or health concerns. It involves a woman (surrogate) conceiving and carrying a child for a person or couple who will be the child’s parents after birth (intended parent/s).

The most common type of surrogacy is called gestational surrogacy. In this case, the future mother and father (or a donor) provide their eggs through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and these embryos are then implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate will not have any genetic ties to the baby because her egg was not used.

Occasionally, traditional surrogates will use their eggs and become the child’s biological mother; however, this is less common because it can be more complicated. Suppose you are interested in becoming a traditional surrogate. In that case, it is essential to consult with an attorney or health insurance agency to ensure that your plan includes pregnancy and delivery coverage.

Some people, including some Buddhist community members, have opposed surrogacy because they feel that it places the surrogate in a position of subservience and that trading in sentient beings, such as human beings, is exploitation. However, many other Buddhist thinkers argue that the practice is ethically permissible if the surrogate chooses to help someone else build their family and is not doing it for financial gain.

What Is a Surrogacy Agreement?

A surrogacy agreement is a legal document that outlines the expectations of everyone involved in the process. It includes compensation details for the surrogate and a mutual understanding of parentage and custody. Surrogacy agreements also set forth other essential provisions, including health insurance information for the surrogate and her family members, a trust or escrow account for expenses, communication guidelines during the pregnancy, and procedures in the event of unforeseen risks and liabilities that may arise.

While contracts are not the most exciting part of assisted reproduction, they are essential to ensure that all parties have a solid foundation to work from. 

What Are the Legalities of Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a selfless act that can be emotionally and physically challenging for both parties. It requires a robust and caring individual who wants to help two people become a family. Surrogacy is not for everyone and should only be undertaken after careful deliberation and consultation with medical and legal professionals.

A legal contract is at the heart of every surrogacy arrangement. The surrogacy agreement describes the responsibilities and expectations of both the surrogate and intended parents, including compensation. A lawyer must review the surrogate agreement and the underlying case for potential legal issues. It is why many surrogates and intended parents choose to work with an experienced surrogacy match agency.

Another aspect of surrogacy that can be complicated is the law surrounding parental rights. Many surrogates and intended parents develop meaningful bonds during the year-long process that can last a lifetime. It is a rare opportunity for both parties to experience the joys of childbirth, and many women find that being a surrogate is a life-changing experience.

Surrogacy can take several forms, from traditional surrogacy to gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her egg and is considered the genetic mother of the fetus. While this type of surrogacy is rarely used today, it is still legal in some states. In gestational surrogacy, the fetus is created artificially using either the intended parent’s sperm or their own or donor sperm and eggs.

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