Those who choose surrogacy as the process for becoming parents should make sure they understand what the surrogate relationship involves. If you are thinking of using the services of a surrogate to start your family, here are a few things you should know about surrogacy.
There are Two Types of Surrogacy
Traditional surrogacy is accomplished by artificial insemination of the surrogate with sperm from the father or a donor. If the insemination is a success, the surrogate carries the baby to term. After birth, the parents receive and raise the baby. In this arrangement, the surrogate is the biological mother.
Gestational surrogacy is accomplished through in vitro fertilization. An egg is taken from the mother and is fertilized with sperm from the father. The egg is then implanted in the uterus of a surrogate who carries the baby to term. After birth, the baby is given to the parents to raise. The egg donor, in this case, is the biological mother, and the surrogate is the birth mother.
Don’t Assume You’ll Have Legal Rights After Birth
Surrogacy and reproductive technology are still relatively new concepts, and legal issues can arise. As hopeful parents, you may feel that you have gone through all the right steps to ensure that you will have a healthy baby handed over to you without any problems. However, there are no federal laws to protect parents who opt for surrogacy.
Some states may have laws, but they vary. You may be required to go through the adoption process or other legal proceedings before you can claim the baby as your own. This could take time, and in some states, a baby might end up in foster care until a decision is made.
Protect Your Family Before You Enter the Surrogacy Agreement
Even if you already know a woman you think would make the perfect surrogate, don’t rush into choosing. Before you select a surrogate, consult with an attorney who is an expert in reproductive law. Your attorney can assist you in understanding problems that could arise from using a surrogate. He or she can help you devise a plan for selecting a trustworthy surrogate and draw up a contract and other documents that will protect you during and after the process.
Even when individuals have the noblest of intentions, situations can change. It is possible that a surrogate could become attached to the baby she carries and attempt to exercise her “parental rights.”
To avoid the challenges that might come with surrogacy after the baby is born, intended parents should do everything within their power to assure that all parties are on the same page and that there will be no surprises.