There are innumerable cases of infertility around the globe, causing many relationships to go through turmoil. Women may especially feel dejected if they are unable to have a baby naturally. Thanks to today’s technology, there are advanced treatments available to deal with infertility. One such popular method is surrogacy. It involves opting for a gestational carrier, who will bear a child for you under a legal agreement.
What is a Gestational Carrier (Surrogate)?
A gestational carrier is a woman who voluntarily bears a child for you under a legally signed agreement. The carrier does not contribute to the biological factors of your baby, but simply acts as a medium to carry the foetus for a full term of pregnancy. She provides a nurturing environment to your baby in the form of her uterus for a normal pregnancy period of 40 weeks. The eggs and sperms used to create the embryo are extracted from the biological mother and father through a treatment known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). This embryo that is formed in a laboratory is implanted into the uterus of the gestational carrier.
Who Can Opt for Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is usually a way for couples where a woman is unable to conceive or carry a baby in her womb for a full-term of pregnancy. There could be different reasons behind it, such as her uterus may have been surgically removed due to issues like fibroids, uterine cancer, endometriosis etc. There are other cases where the uterus of the mother is intact, but it is not functioning properly due to problems such as scarring or infections. Such couples can seek the help of a gestational carrier who would give birth to their baby.
Choosing a Gestational Surrogate
A gestational carrier is chosen only if she has a healthy body. She is thoroughly checked for any type of communicable diseases before making an agreement with her. The carrier is tested for Herpes Simplex Virus, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, HIV-2, HIV-1, CMV and Toxoplasmosis. It is vital to ensure that none of these mentioned diseases get transferred to the baby. A lot of testing precedes the final step such as physician evaluation, uterine evaluation, written psychological screening etc.
Advantages/Pros of Surrogacy
Good alternative for infertile couples:
It allows parents to have a child of their own with the same genes inherited from them and all other biological factors.
It is confidential and protected:
One does not need to worry about the surrogate mother getting mentally attached to the baby as it is a legal agreement between you and the surrogate mother. You can be sure about the confidentiality being duly maintained, and you need not worry about societal pressure.
Disadvantages/Cons of Surrogacy
Making the decision of letting another woman carry your baby is a big thing. Establishing the fact that you won’t be able to bear your own child, puts all the expectations on the gestational carrier who will do the job for you. There are times that the embryo inserted into the carrier’s uterus is not able to develop properly; causing the test to fail and you having you go through the process again and again. This often entangles you in a web of emotional turmoil which can be hard to deal with.
It takes a lot of time to find the right woman who is willing and healthy to bear your baby. A couple may also need to go through many legal procedures before they can attain all the parental rights. Only couples with high perseverance should opt for this method. Also, be ready to shell out a lot of money if you opt for this method. You not only have to pay for your own medical expenses (when the sperms and eggs are extracted), but also pay for the treatment and all the additional charges of the surrogate mother.
Remember that opting for surrogacy is a procedure that requires a lot of patience. You need to be well-versed with all the pros and cons of your decision. It is important that you and your partner thoroughly discuss the procedures, possibility of complications, and take some expert help to be well-prepared. It also involves a legal agreement and you need to be aware of all the legalities involved in the procedure.