Dictionary meaning of “Surrogacy”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary explains:  the practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.

What is surrogacy?

It is very much clear from the dictionary definition of surrogacy that it is a process wherein a surrogate mother carries an embryo in her womb to give birth to a baby. The sole purpose of going through this process is to giving the baby to the intended parents or an individual. It is usually done through a contract, agreement or arrangement or verbal understanding.

The first baby pseudonym Baby M was born on March 27, 1986 out of such an agreement.  And, it became a controversy not only in the USA but also in the entire world. The questions arisen out of this surrogacy were of the parenthood and the custodial rights of the child.  As a result of the dispute, New Jersey Superior Courts and later the Supreme Court of New Jersey were invoked for delivering the justice.

Since then many scientific advancements have taken place relating to surrogacy and the laws enacted in different countries suiting to the respective social and cultural environment.

Why should you choose surrogacy?

You and your spouse should be opting for surrogacy if you are unable to carry a successful pregnancy.  The possible reasons could be:

  • If you have had repeated miscarriages
  • If carrying pregnancy is a threat to your overall health
  • If your uterus does not function normally or is absent. This malfunctioning  or absence could be either since birth or hysterectomy
  • If uterus is either abnormal or absent but ovaries are functioning properly
  • If pregnancy attempts through infertility treatments like in vitro fertilisation(IVF) have failed repeatedly
  • If you are into a same-sex partnership

Types of surrogacy?

Now we know that in surrogacy, a surrogate mother carries an embryo (the earliest stage of a baby) until a grown baby is delivered by her for the intending individual or a couple. The question arises where does the embryo come from?   If we know this, it will not be difficult to distinguish the types of surrogacy. An embryo is the result of a female egg and a male’s sperm unification and then fertilization of the egg in the process.  So, it is now clear that a female’s egg is fertilized with the male’s sperm. The two types of surrogacy have originated from the sole factor: Who will be contributing eggs and sperm?

Traditional Surrogacy

While performing Traditional Surrogacy, the surrogate is the egg donor as well, besides carrying the pregnancy. She is generally impregnated using intrauterine insemination, better known as IUI.

In the intrauterine insemination procedure, the fertility expert takes out sperm of the biological father and transfers them into the surrogate’s womb. After this, the fertilization takes place in a natural way.

Thus, if a child born using traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the biological mother of the baby born. The traditional surrogacy is generally used when the intended or desiring mother’s eggs are not usable.

Gestational Surrogacy

Ever since the first birth of a first baby with gestational surrogacy in 1985, the gestational surrogacy is gaining popularity. Even celebrities are using surrogacy to attain parenthood.  Which celebrities have used surrogates?

In gestational surrogacy, surrogate’s eggs are not used at all. Thus, the child born of this arrangement is not biologically related to the surrogate. The embryo in gestational surrogacy is developed by using both the biological father’s sperm and the biological mother’s egg of the intended couple using In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process.

In the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process, it takes about 3-5 days for an embryo to develop in the laboratory.  Once it is developed, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. After the successful implantation of the embryo, the surrogate carries it until it is grown as a baby and is delivered.

12-steps towards Gestational Surrogacy:

  1. A suitable surrogate is chosen
  2. She is examined thoroughly against her overall health and contagious ailments
  3. All potential issues that may crop up in future are understood and clarified
  4. Once all the points have been clarified, everything is placed in a written contract, also called consents, agreement or arrangement. The written contract is signed by all involved parties and witnesses thereof
  5. The patient is enthused for IVF using medicinal procedure so as produce multiple eggs
  6. The surrogate is suppressants to restrain her own menstrual cycle and arouse growth of a uterine-friendly lining
  7. When the patient’s eggs mature in follicles, they are retrieved from her ovaries using an innocuous surgical procedure
  8. These eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with her partner’s sperm
  9. The embryos start developing in the laboratory and it takes about 3 to 5 days for readying them for transfer
  10. After this, an embryo transfer procedure is undertaken by the fertility experts for implanting in the womb of the surrogate mother
  11. The surrogate delivers the baby; Congratulations!
  12. The baby goes home from the hospital with the “genetic parents”.

Success Rates

There are several factors that impact the success of In Vitro Fertilization process.  It is interesting and worth reading: IVF Success Rates.

Issues relating to the surrogacy?

  • Traditional surrogacy is different from that of gestational. But the good news is that both are equally safe.
  • Before the surrogacy process is started, the surrogate is examined against her overall health. If the tests are not satisfactory, it is advisable to choose another surrogate.
  • If the intending woman’s ovaries are functioning properly but the uterus is absent, her eggs can be used to be implanted in the surrogate mother. In that case, the intending woman would have to undergo a medicinal procedure so as to produce as many eggs as possible.
  • When the embryo is grown into a baby, the surrogate will undergo the usual procedure for delivery of the child.
  • The intending parents are blessed and enjoying the bliss of parenthood…Congratulations!
  • Surrogate Mother & IVF