Surrogacy or Surrogate mea
ns substitute. In medical
parlance, the term surrogacy
means using of a substitute
mother in the place of the
In traditional surrogacy (also known as the Straight method) the surrogate is
pregnant with her own biological child, but this child was conceived with the
intention of relinquishing the child to be raised by others such as the biological
father and possibly his spouse or partner. The child may be conceived via sexual
intercourse (NI), home artiificial insemination using fresh or frozen sperm or
impregnated via IUI (intrauterine insemination), or ICI ( intracervical insemination)
which is performed at a fertility clinic. Sperm from the male partner of the
'commissioning couple' may be used, or alternatively, sperm from a sperm donor
can be used. Donor sperm will, for example, be used if the 'commissioning couple'
are both female or where the child is commissioned by a single woman.
Also variously called "Commercial surrogacy", "paid
surrogacy", "wombs for rent", "outsourced
pregnancies" or "baby farms", compensated surrogacy
refer to a form of surrogate pregnancy in which a gestational
carrier is paid to carry a child to maturity in her womb and is
usually resorted to by well off infertile couples who can afford
the cost involved. This procedure is legal in several countries
including in India where due to excellent medical infrastructure,
high international demand and ready availability of poor
surrogates it is reaching industry proportions.
Through the use of fertility drugs and careful
monitoring, these embryos can grow to full
term babies, which are then given back to
the persons who commissioned the process,
which are not necessarily those who
originally donated the eggs and sperm for
the event. So, is surrogacy right?
We have entered a new age.
Now it is scientifically
possible for a baby to be
created in a petri dish from
the sperm of a man and the
eggs of a woman, and the
resulting embryos can be
transferred into a second
woman to gestate.
Considerations in Surrogacy
There is no legal standard for
surrogacy from state to state, or from
country to country. However, it is
almost always certain that any dispute
will be heard in the jurisdiction where
Moral and Ethical Issues
Some of the reasons all states haven't found it easy to pass
surrogacy legislation are related to moral and ethical
issues of embryo creation, fees that some see as baby-buying
(or baby-selling), and others.
A study by the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City
University, London, UK in 2002 concluded that surrogate mothers rarely
had difficulty relinquishing rights to a surrogate child and that the
intended mothers showed greater warmth to the child than mothers
conceiving naturally. Anthropological studies of surrogates have shown
that surrogates engage in various distancing techniques throughout the
surrogate pregnancy so as to ensure that they do not become
emotionally attached to the baby. Many surrogates intentionally try to
foster the development of emotional attachment between the intended
mother and the surrogate child. Assessing such studies from a social
constructionist perspective reveals that the expectation that surrogates
are somehow "different" from the majority of women and that they
necessarily suffer as a consequence of relinquishing the child have little
basis in reality and are instead based on cultural conventions and
gendered assumptions. Many surrogates form close and intimate
relationships with the intended parents. When the greatness of their
efforts is acknowledged, they recall their surrogacy experience in the
years to come as the most meaningful experience of their lives.
The Price Tag
Surrogacy isn't inexpensive. Except in the case where a
sister or friend agrees to act as a surrogate without a
fee, total costs and expenses may include the
surrogate's fee and possible expenses, lawyers' fees,
fertility specialists' fees, and fees connected with an
adoption, if that is required. Cost estimatesfor
traditional surrogacy range between $40,000 and
$65,000 and for gestational surrogacy, between
$75,000 and $100,000.
Change of Mind
As in traditional adoption, surrogates
can have a change of mind and decide
they do not want to relinquish the baby.
Depending on state law, whether there's
an agreement, and how it's interpreted
by the court, the outcome isn't
The entire idea of a child created in a test
tube and carried by an unrelated woman is
enough to drive fear into the hearts of
many while questioning the ethics of
surrogacy. The very thought conjures up
visions of science fiction movies gone bad,
or thoughts of the privileged few genetically
creating the perfect child. Is surrogacy
Ethical Issues of
What are the pros and cons of using unused embryos for medical
Is there anything wrong with disposal of unused embryos …leaving
them on the counter to unthaw and degenerate?
What if the surrogate decides to maintain her privacy?
What if the surrogate and the spouse violate the abstention clause?
What if the surrogate decides to keep the baby?
What if the surrogate with genetic ties demands to visit her child?
Is there anything wrong with a surrogate giving her unused
embryos to someone else?
Who should make a decision to unthaw frozen embryos?
Is handing over a child after delivery for a fee “baby-selling”?
Do women participate in surrogacy to save their marriage?
Is it wrong for a surrogate to abort?