There are many couples and individuals who very much want children. However, for some, the process of conceiving naturally is not an option. This could be for reasons such as poor egg quality of the biological mother, a history of miscarriage, or age. In any case, the hopes of having a biological child can still be attained through a process called surrogacy.
Surrogacy typically involves implanting the egg and sperm of the child's biological parents into the uterus of a third party individual who is referred to as a surrogate mother. This woman will carry the embryo to term until the baby is ready to be born, after which the baby goes home with his or her biological parent or parent(s).
While this process has been helpful to many who would otherwise have no hope of parenthood, it is essential to locate a surrogate mother who is healthy and who also possesses certain characteristics that are desired by the biological parents.
Although the process of surrogacy seems straightforward, there are many medical and legal issues that must be adhered to. One of the most essential medical factors is to first determine what type of surrogate mother would work best in each situation.
There are two types of surrogate mothers. A traditional surrogate will go through the process of artificial insemination whereby the sperm of the baby's father is implanted procedurally into her uterus directly. In this case, the egg that is utilized is that of the surrogate. Therefore, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the child.
In another type of surrogacy known as gestational surrogacy, in vitro fertilization is used with the surrogate. In this case, eggs are harvested from the baby's intended biological mother along with sperm from the biological father and both are implanted into the surrogate mother who then carries the baby until its birth.
In locating an ideal surrogate mother, there are a number of different options. With some individuals and couples, it is preferred that the surrogate be a close friend or family member. In many ways, this option can be less complicated legally. However, it is recommended that the egg and sperm not both come from first degree relatives.
If it is determined that the biological parents will not choose a friend or relative to be the surrogate, there are a number of surrogacy agencies that can help in locating a preferable match.
This type of agency not only helps in finding the parent or parents a good surrogate mother, but they will also take care of making the legal and medical arrangements throughout the process, and collecting any fees that are passed between the biological parents and the surrogate mother. These fees may include reimbursement for the surrogate's medical expenses and other related costs.
Although there are no set regulations on the characteristics of a surrogate mother, it is recommended that she be at least 18 years of age and that she has already given birth to at least one healthy child. She must also be healthy both physically and emotionally, and thoroughly understand the surrogate process and necessary procedures.