With the legal case of Baby M, the use of surrogacy as a means of becoming a parent was catapulted into the spotlight. While most of the cases involving surrogates are not splashed all over the tabloids, it does involve a bit more than other forms of resolving fertility issues. Surrogacy is definitely something that you and your partner must be willing to tackle head on.What's Involved
Surrogacy is a case in which another woman actually carries and gestates a baby for you. She may be inseminated with your husband's sperm or with sperm from a donor. Another term for the surrogate is a “host uterus.”
The term “host uterus” suggests that the woman may or may not be genetically linked to the baby. Indeed this is true. If you have undergone surgery to remove your uterus or your body cannot sustain a pregnancy to term or deal with the stresses of pregnancy, you may not be able to conceive or carry a baby to birth. Using a surrogate and the procedures of in vitro fertilization, you can have a child who genetically belongs to you and your partner, without having ever given birth. The baby comes from your egg and your partner's sperm, even though your uterus was unable to sustain a pregnancy.
You could also have a child that is genetically related to one of you but not the other. For example, your egg may be used and not your partner's sperm, or vice versa. This form of treatment has many different variations, depending on what your fertility and medical needs are.The Legalities
The costs for this procedure vary widely depending on all of the medical procedures and legal proceedings needed. In addition to the regular medical costs of any infertility procedures like IVF, IUI, or ICSI, you will also be expected to pay for the medical expenses that your surrogate mother incurs, like prenatal care and the costs of giving birth.
Some programs offer additional compensation to the surrogate. She may be compensated for living expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so on. This all depends on where she lives and what has been agreed upon previously.
You will usually have a contract with the surrogate that spells everything out in detail, not just finances. You may want to include issues like who can attend the birth or what, if any, contact she will get to have with the baby after birth. You might spell out what happens in case the fertility procedure produces multiples. There are many legal issues to consider.
Remember that while you may be nervous about the process, most of the time everything goes very smoothly. Women choose to be surrogates because they are kind, generous women who wish to share with you the gift of parenthood. Talking to your partner or even the agency or support group can be a good way to work through any worries that you may have about a surrogacy.
Using a surrogate uterus can require taking a great leap of faith. You must let another woman carry around your baby for nine months. You must trust her to take care of her body, get her prenatal checkups, and eat right. This can be a lot for you to bear. Be reasonable if you do not feel this is something you can tolerate.