Parenthood is not always the same as one may have envisioned it to be. It becomes even more difficult for the people who have carried the heavy burden of infertility for a long time. Such people always have one door left to knock which will open for sure. There are a lot of reasons which make it impossible for a person to carry a pregnancy. These reasons can be different for different individuals like the uterus can be absent or compromised, there can be a chronic health condition a person is suffering from, etc. Surrogacy is also a great option for people who belong to the LGBTQ community to experience parenthood. In such cases, one of the partners known as the intended parent (who has a genetic tie with the child) makes a contract with a surrogate who then carries the pregnancy as a part of the deal.
Types of Surrogacy:
There are mainly two types of surrogacy arrangements;
Traditional Surrogacy: In this arrangement, the surrogate has a genetic tie with the child she is carrying. The surrogate mother receives the sperm of the male intended parent via artificial insemination. This arrangement is not recommended as much as the gestational arrangement due to the legal reasons associated with it.
Gestational Surrogacy: In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate has no genetic tie or linkage with the child that she carries. The intended parent undergoes IVF i.e., In-vitro Fertilization, providing both the egg and the sperm to create the embryo which is later transferred into the surrogate or the gestational carrier. In some cases, the egg or the sperm can also be taken by one of the parent(s) and another gamete from a donor. A donated embryo can also be used in this process where none of the intended parents will have any genetic link to the child. Birth mother is the name given to such a surrogate who gives birth to the child. The biological mother, however, is the woman whose egg was fertilized.
The surrogacy process consists of the following steps:
- Decide if surrogacy is right for you: The first step in the surrogacy process involves a logical, clear, and logical consideration of why you need to go for surrogacy. One should know that surrogacy can be a long and emotional ride for both the intended parents and the surrogate as well. Before moving ahead with surrogacy, couples should make a list of its pros and cons and discuss them, research the surrogacy laws, and they should talk to several surrogacy professionals in order to understand if surrogacy would be the right option for them.
- For Potential surrogates: Becoming a surrogate can really prove to be an extremely fulfilling life decision. Along with this fulfillment, come to a lot of challenges. Surrogacy needs you to deliver a full commitment to a family for nearly a year. During this tenure, you will be undergoing a lot of medical and psychological assessments and processes, bearing and overcoming all the challenges associated with pregnancy and labor all just to carry a baby that is not yours. In spite of all this, many women agree to face these challenges as they believe it is one of the most righteous things to do. Surrogacy provides you with the exceptional chance of giving the most precious gift of parenthood to individuals who would be unable to experience it without your help. You can reach out to a surrogacy agency in case you are uncertain or if you need to know more about being a surrogate.
- For Potential Intended Parents: There are a lot of reasons why a couple needs to opt for surrogacy in order to grow their family. Mostly surrogacy is opted for by couples who have been struggling with infertility, if they are members/ members of the LGBTQ community or if someone wants to expand their family by being a single parent. Although, before getting on with the surrogacy process, you really need to learn about the risks and benefits involved with surrogacy and make sure that you are truly ready to show full commitment to the process. You can reach out to a counselor or a specialist if you or your partner are facing any kind of struggle with the decision.
- Get ready for surrogacy: Once an intended parent and the potential surrogate have decided to commit to the surrogacy, then they need to have a clear determination of their goals and wants of the surrogacy and the sort of surrogacy professional to work with. This is all done based on the rules mentioned in the surrogacy act passed by the government, for example, if someone is about to undergo surrogacy now then they will have to follow the recent law i.e., surrogacy act 2021
Surrogacy Agency: They provide all the surrogacy services that you will be needing from finding a suitable surrogate to screening along with proving the needed support and counseling.
Surrogacy Attorney: These are required for completing the legal work related to surrogacy. Other than that, these don’t have any role in surrogacy services.
- For potential surrogates: After you have come to the conclusion that surrogacy is the right choice for you, you will have to consider a few factors and then decide a few things based on their circumstances. You should consider the following things:
- If you know the intended parents already or if you will be needing a surrogate agency to find a match
- The kind of surrogacy you will be having
- Whether you would be working independently or with a surrogate agency.
The above considerations will be really helpful for you when you need to determine how your surrogacy should look like and hence, help you in developing a better plan. If you have decided to work along with a surrogacy agency, you will be working in close proximity to a surrogacy specialist who will be helpful in adding extra details to your surrogacy plan (also known as a surrogacy agreement), starting from the kind of relationship that you will be having with the intended parents depending on your comfort and accord. You will be matched with intended parents based on the information that you have put in your surrogacy plan.
- For potential intended parents: Once, you have reached this stage, you will start creating a surrogacy plan for yourself which will be consisting all of your goals and preferences related to your surrogacy. Your surrogacy plan will depend on the following factors:
- Whether you will be having a gestational or traditional surrogacy.
- Whether you will be needing donor eggs or sperm
- Whether the surrogate is known to you or introduced by a surrogacy agency
- Your goals related to the surrogacy
Once, important factors like the kind of surrogacy and surrogacy agency and attorney have been determined, you will then get going with the screening process to meet the qualifications of the intended parents needed by the surrogacy agency. This screening process will include home assessment, criminal records (if there are any), etc. After the screening process is completed and you have been approved by your surrogacy agency, you will move to the next step i.e., finding a surrogate mother for the intended child.
- Finding the right surrogacy partner: This is one of the most crucial steps of surrogacy as this majorly decides the fate of the surrogacy. This includes finding the right surrogacy partner for the delivery. If you have already found a surrogacy opportunity, you now only need to fulfill the legal requirements with the help of a surrogacy attorney. The match will be selected based on the preferences you have made in your surrogacy plan.
- For Potential Surrogates: Being the surrogate mother, you will have a say in deciding the kind of intended parents you want to work with and also, the sort of relationship that you would want to have with them. The agency coordinates the meeting or a talk between both parties depending on their wants and preferences and then, if the parties would like to work with each other, the match is then made official by initiating a legal contract between the parties. You can decide the intended parents you would like to work with based on the following factors:
- Sexual Orientation
- Race, etc.
- For Potential Intended Parents: Based on your surrogacy plan, your surrogacy specialist will provide you with a list of surrogate options to choose from. She/He will do this with the help of photos, videos, etc. Once, you have found a suitable person as your surrogate, a meeting will then be arranged with them which will allow you to get to know them better. Once, you have met with the person and like them, you will then move on to the next step of the surrogacy process.
- Fulfill the legal requirements: This step comes to play after the intended parents and the surrogate have decided to move ahead with the surrogacy. In this step, a legal contract is drafted to make the surrogacy official. Each party will make sure that their legal interests are represented and protected by their respective attorneys in the contract.
- For Potential Surrogates: Your attorney will discuss all your legal rights with you in a one-on-one discussion. It will be made sure that necessary things like compensation in case of risks are also included in this contract. Once, the contract has been signed, you will start receiving an allowance every month for covering the expenses/ costs granted/ established in the contract.
- For Potential Intended Parents: Here also, the attorney will clear all the legal rights of the intended parents in a one-on-one discussion along with the possible risks and compensations involved in the deal agreed by both parties. Once the contract gets signed, the next phase will begin i.e., fertilization, and then the phase of pregnancy. Once, the first trimester gets over for the baby, your attorney will now work with you to ascertain you as the legal parents of the baby which also makes you able to make medical decisions for the baby and this also allows you to put your names as the parents in the birth certificate of the child. This step is called pre-birth order which marks the baby as legally yours.
- Fertilization and Embryo Transfer: Medical procedure will now start, after the contracts have been signed by both parties, in order to prepare for the embryo transfer. In embryo transfer, medications will be given to the one whose eggs are to be used, whether it is the intended mother or an egg donor. These eggs then get fertilized in laboratory conditions so that an embryo gets created which is later transferred to the surrogate. The surrogate will then receive fertility treatment before the embryo transfer and during the time of delivery. After the pregnancy is found/ certified to be a healthy one by the surgeon (by checking the vital signs like heartbeats), then the surrogate will now begin receiving the payments decided as base compensations along with a monthly allowance. Along with this, the surrogate will also receive prenatal care which will extend up to the time of delivery.
- For Potential Surrogates: You will be prescribed fertility medications prior to the embryo transfer in order to increase the chances of success. When it is the right time for implantation, the fertilized egg will be placed in your uterus and the implantation will be done. One should not have to be fearful about this as this is a quick and painless process that does not even require medication. Although, you may need to be at the fertility clinic for a few hours in order to make sure that the process does not get hindered. You will then have to rest for a few days and after a few weeks, you will have to return to the fertility clinic so that a pregnancy test can be performed, and the pregnancy can be confirmed. You will have to share your pregnancy journey with the intended parents though.
- For Potential Intended Parents: You should know that the medical procedures involved in the process are dependent on various factors, whether you are using eggs from a donor or from the mother herself. If either you or your partner is the one whose eggs are to be used in the surrogacy, then you should know that you will first be given medications to produce eggs, and then, at the right time, these eggs will also be retrieved using a minor retrieval procedure. After these eggs get harvested, they are fertilized using sperm from either the intended father or a donor. The embryos are then firstly incubated and then after assessment, transferred into the uterus of the surrogate.
Welcome the newly born: Once, you get done with the lengthy process of surrogacy and the baby is about to be delivered, we suggest that you stay by the side of the surrogate mother as this is often a memorable moment for both you and the surrogate. Once that baby gets born, the surrogate is then discharged from the hospital. Mostly the surrogate and the intended parents often form a great bond after this which keeps them in contact forever and they can continue this friendship if they wish.
There are not a few, but many advantages that are associated with surrogacy. These advantages are:
- Biological connection with the child: We all know that it is very important for some parents to share genetics with their children. This can be achieved with the help of gestational surrogacy and hence, the intended parents can make a decision on which source to get the sperm and egg from that are used to make the embryo in the IVF process. Parents can, therefore, use their own gametes and hence, stay the biological parents of the child as well, along with being the intended parents. If there is any problem in one or both of the intended parents or if the couple is homosexual then, the gametes can be taken from donors also so as to create healthy embryos that can be then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate who carries the pregnancy ahead.
- High rates of Success: Because this pregnancy is being carried by a surrogate, the person eligible to be a surrogate would be one whose reproductive capability is good and someone who can easily carry the pregnancy. This really increases the chances of success, and this is the same reason why surrogacy is a successful method of getting pregnant as the baby gets an optimum and healthy environment to grow inside the surrogate.
- Involvement in the journey: It is easy for the intended parents to be a part of the whole surrogacy process, all thanks to the legal agreement, as they can attend the doctor’s appointments and be present during the baby’s delivery which are very crucial and memorable landmarks of the pregnancy process.
Legal Peace of Mind: As we have already discussed, the surrogate and the intended parents enter into a legal contract that has all the duties and responsibilities mentioned for the involved parties. This makes surrogacy an enjoyable ride as there is not just a burden to a single party but makes sure that there is a holistic division of responsibilities among the individuals.
Like every other thing in the universe, surrogacy also has a few disadvantages associated with it along with numerous advantages. The two of the major surrogacy disadvantages are:
High Cost: Surrogacy is an expensive procedure as it includes many factors which pile up and make it very expensive. Various costs like the medical expenses, fees of the program, compensation for the surrogate get piled up and hence, make it an unaffordable treatment for some people. Therefore, one must have a strong sense of determination and logic when opting for surrogacy. The intended parents should, hence, be ready for the heavy financial bills coming their way on this journey of surrogacy.
Involved Complications: One may have to undergo complicated IVF processes after they get done with the gestational surrogacy. Such processes along with being costly, may take a lot of your time and even then, can be unsuccessful.
Surrogacy is nothing less than God’s work as it is nothing less than a miracle. What pleasure must a couple feel when they get to know that there is still a chance for parenthood left for them? Someone who has ever longed to be a parent in their life only knows the kind of sadness that gets filled in their life with the lack of a child. The cost of infertility always seems to be less than the surrogacy cost when we ask such people. All thanks to surrogacy, even couples who could have never been parents otherwise in their life, also got to enjoy the gift of parenthood. You just need competent medical help that stays by your side and someone who goes the extra mile just to make your dream come true. Ours is not just the best surrogacy centre in Delhi NCR but the entire India.