Surrogate motherhood is one of many forms of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) that have developed in response to the increasing number of individuals/couples who find themselves unable to conceive a child on their own. Surrogate motherhood involves the services of a woman who agrees to carry/gestate a child with the intention of surrendering that child to the intending/commissioning couple upon the birth of the child. The demand for surrogate motherhood is created by a diagnosis of female infertility, although a woman need not be infertile in order to employ the services of a surrogate.
Factors that have contributed to the popularization of surrogate motherhood and other reproductive technologies are both medical and social in nature. A diagnosis of infertility is defined as the inability of a heterosexual couple to produce a pregnancy after one year of regular intercourse, that is,unprotected intercourse. The social factors that have contributed to the rise in the rates of infertility and that have resulted in an increase in the demand for reproductive technologies are the trend toward later marriages and the tendency for growing numbers of women to delay having children until later in their reproductive years. With advances in reproductive medicine, couples who would not have been able to reproduce in the past are now able to have children who are completely or partially genetically related to them.
Surrogate motherhood has come a long way in the history of surrogacy. From rarely spoken of traditional surrogacy’s of centuries past, to family members acting as surrogate carriers and commercial surrogacy of today, the road has been longhand many miracles and hardships have been faced along the way. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the history of surrogacy in the next 20,50 or 100 years. Normally surrogate mothers are of two types.
1). Traditional surrogate: The surrogate mother is also the biological mother. The surrogate is inseminated (usually artificially) with the intended father’s sperm.
2). Gestational surrogate: Both the egg and sperm of the intended parents are joined and the pre-embryo(s) are placed into the surrogate who will carry and deliver the child. The gestational surrogate has no genetic link to the child.
Surrogates are rewarded for helping an infertile couple realize their dreams of becoming parents. They are also compensated, and in addition, all legal, medical, maternity clothes, child care (if necessary), transportation and other costs related to the arrangement will be paid by the intended parents.
It is very crucial decision to decide about surrogate mother for both intended parents and for surrogate herself. Surrogate has to go through stringent selection process. When it is about surrogate and a baby, no compromise is made. A lot depends on the approach, thought process, medical condition of the surrogate that is selected. Surrogate must love to be pregnant.
Every step is planned, designed and standardized for all potential surrogates. They are initially counseled and educated about the surrogacy program and the responsibilities it carries along with. Following are the few requirements that a surrogate has to fulfill before entering into any surrogacy contract.
1. Detailed Interview (verbal & written): surrogate has to go through a detailed set of investigations regarding her education, family life, financial conditions, her need to become a surrogate and many more.
2. Psychological analysis: She has to pass a psychological screening by a mental health professional to uncover any issues with giving up the baby after birth. This is carried out to make sure she is ready to become a carrier and is comfortable with the arrangement.
3. Reliable support system from family, friends, and work environment: It is equally important that surrogate has the support of her family, husband and friends. It is necessary to know whether she is doing it on her will or she is forced to become surrogate because of the financial benefits..
4. Investigations / screening for surrogate: Once a surrogate is decided she has to go through lots of test. It is advised that a surrogate have a complete medical evaluation and pregnancy history to assess the likelihood of a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Screening for infectious diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, cytomegalovirus, and hepatitis B and C is also done. Surrogates also need screening for immunity to measles, rubella, and chickenpox. A medical procedure to visually "map" the normal structures of the uterus is also advised. This is to evaluate the potential to carry a pregnancy.
5. Background Investigation: This is done to know whether surrogate or her family has any criminal records. It is also done to validate the information, the surrogate has provided.
6. Age limit: the surrogate has to be between the age of 21 to 35 years.
7. The surrogate must have already given birth to at least one healthy baby so she understands first-hand the medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth and the emotional issues of bonding with a newborn. Surrogate should not have experienced any major pregnancy complications in her previous delivery.
8. Surrogate shouldn't be prone to any kind of unwanted habits like smoking, drinking or drugs. It is also seen that she is not used to excessive caffeine.
Once the choice for the surrogate is narrowed down the final step is to make and sign the surrogacy contract. It is important to remember that intended parents are selecting a surrogate and the surrogate mother is also choosing you. Both the parties are ready to sign the contract. Pay special attention to the details of the surrogacy contract, to make sure it includes everything that has been agreed upon, including the fee. To protect your rights as parents-to-be and the rights of the child you're hoping to have, hire an attorney well-versed in reproductive rights. The attorney can write a surrogacy contract. The contract should clearly state the obligations of the surrogate mother and the parents-to-be. Such a legal contract may help if legal issues arise after birth. Along with any financial arrangements, a surrogate contract outlines agreements about all possible outcomes of the pregnancy, For instance, what will happen if a multiple pregnancy, such as the birth of triplets, occurs. Once this phase is complete, the contract will be signed by all parties and all the surrogates payments, if she were to become pregnant, are deposited in an account to make sure all payments to the surrogate are promptly and accurately made. This summarizes some of the primary duties of the surrogate mother.
An enterprise known as reproductive outsourcing is a new but rapidly expanding business in India. Clinics that provide surrogate mothers for foreigners say they have recently been inundated with requests from the United States and Europe, as word spreads of India’s mix of skilled medical professionals, relatively liberal laws and low prices of medical services and surrogate mothers.
Commercial surrogacy, which is banned in some states and some European countries, was legalized in India in 2002. The cost comes to about $25,000, roughly a third of the typical price in the United States. That includes the medical procedures, payment to the surrogate mother, which is often, but not always, done through the clinic, plus air tickets and hotels for two trips to India (one for the fertilization and a second to collect the baby).
Surrogacy is an act of love, but also a financial transaction, that brings people together like this. In India surrogates do it to give their children a better education, to buy a home, to start up a small business, a shop, to repay their debts and to have a better lifestyle. It is two people who are helping out each other. There are no firm statistics on how many surrogacy’s are being arranged in India for foreigners, but anecdotal evidence suggests a sharp increase. Under guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, surrogate mothers sign away their rights to any children. A surrogate’s name is not even on the birth certificate. This eases the process of taking the baby out of the country.
The clinic, known more formally as Rotunda — The Center for Human Reproduction based in Mumbai India is one such clinic that offers customized surrogacy and affordable surrogacy packages to people of all nationalities. All couples including lesbian and gay couples and even single men and single women can avail this facility to fulfill their dream of enjoying parenthood.