When a couple finds it impossible to conceive and give birth to their own baby even after trying out all the cutting edge technologies in the infertility clinics, the only option left for them will be to go for surrogacy. Surrogacy in simple terms refers to the process of utilizing the uterus of another woman to complete the growth process of an embryo under an agreement entered into with the surrogate woman and intended parents of the child. In general surrogacy can be classified into four categories.
Traditional surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy a father’s sperm is artificially inseminated in a surrogate mother and she then carry’s the baby in her womb till she gives birth to the child. In this case she is the biological mother of the child. A donor’s sperm can also be used in traditional surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy: In gestational surrogacy the mother’s egg is harvested and is fertilized with the sperm of the father and the embryo is placed in the uterus of the surrogate mother. The surrogate woman carries the embryo and gives birth to the child. In this category of surrogacy the surrogate woman has no ties with the child. In United States of America the gestational surrogacy is less complicated as both the parents are biologically related to the child. About 750 babies are born is US every year under the category of gestational surrogacy.
Commercial surrogacy: In commercial surrogacy the surrogate mother is given ample compensation by the intended parents for carrying their child in her uterus. Commercial surrogacy is legal in India.
Altruistic Surrogacy: In altruistic surrogacy no financial help is given for the surrogate woman who carries the child in her uterus for the intended parents.
In India surrogate mother is not considered as the legal mother. Her rights over the child and her obligations to the intended parents will be detailed in the surrogate agreement. Such child will be considered as the legal child of the intended parents and will have all the privileges, rights and inheritance of a naturally born child.
Why surrogates are used: For women who do not have a uterus or for women whose uterus have been removed by hysterectomy and for women with heart diseases where pregnancy may lead to serious consequences the only solution to have a child of their own is to go for surrogacy. Similarly for couples who cannot go for adoption due to their age or due to the sexual orientation or marital status surrogacy is the last resort they can depend upon.
Requirements of a surrogate woman:
- A surrogate woman should have completed the age of 21.
- Should be a woman who has already given birth to a child so that she knows the risks of pregnancy and the emotional bonding with the newborn.
- Should have undergone a screen test before a mental health practitioner to assess her mental capacity to disown the child after the delivery.
- Should have under gone all test to confirm medical fitness regarding HIV and other STDs
- Should be willing to sign an agreement regarding her responsibilities during the pregnancy and the relinquishment of all right over the baby after its birth.