Families come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are alike. Just the same, there is no one-size-fits-all way to build a family. Everyone is on their own unique journey, and there are many remarkable, rewarding pathways to parenthood available to you. One of these is surrogacy.
Surrogacy is not uncommon (celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Sarah Jessica Parker have used surrogates) and can be a fantastic option for many couples and individuals. But it can also be a difficult process that requires specialist medical and legal expertise. In this article, we will explore the benefits of working with a surrogate mother in more detail.
With the right team by your side, surrogacy can enrich your life with the greatest gift of all: a child.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which a woman – the surrogate – carries a baby through to birth on behalf of a couple or individual. After birth, the surrogate returns the baby to his or her intended parent or parents.
There are two types of surrogate mothers: traditional and gestational.
What is a traditional surrogate?
A traditional surrogate is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm – she is the baby’s biological mother. The surrogate carries the baby until birth, after which he or she is returned to the father and father’s partner.
In a traditional surrogacy arrangement, donor sperm can also be used.
What is a gestational surrogate?
A gestational surrogate becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this arrangement, the surrogate is not the biological mother of the baby. Instead, eggs are gathered from the intended mother or an egg donor and fertilized with sperm from the intended father. This embryo is then placed into the uterus of the surrogate.
Which is more common?
Gestational surrogacy is more common in the United States, as it poses less legal complexity than traditional surrogacy. Around 750 babies are born every year using a gestational surrogate.
Why use a surrogate?
Families, couples, and individuals may choose to pursue surrogacy for several reasons.
If you are a woman, you may use a surrogate mother because:
- You have uterine issues. The uterus is an incredible organ, but some women have medical roadblocks that prevent them from carrying a baby to full term.
- You have a pre-existing health condition. Beyond uterine issues, other medical conditions can make carrying a baby extremely dangerous – if not life-threatening. Those living with heart and kidney issues, for example, may find surrogacy to be the safest option.
- You have had a hysterectomy. Women who have had cervical or another type of cancer requiring a hysterectomy cannot conceive and carry a child naturally.
- Your previous pregnancies were traumatic. Women who have been pregnant before and experienced serious problems throughout might choose surrogacy to protect themselves and their babies.
Surrogacy is also a popular alternative family planning journey for other couples and individuals, including:
- People that cannot adopt a child because of their marital status or age.
- LGBTQ+ couples that cannot have a child because of logistical reasons. In these instances, surrogacy has several benefits. For example, a gay man can be the biological father of his child.
Whether or not surrogacy is the right choice for you and your existing family will depend on your unique situation. The process can be a psychologically taxing one, and everyone’s surrogacy story unfolds in its own way. We understand this, and that’s why our team supports you every step of the way, from the initial application through to delivery and beyond.
Is surrogacy legal?
Laws surrounding surrogacy differ from country to country. In the United States, commercial surrogacy is legal in some states, including California.
In the UK, Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium, surrogacy is permitted where the mother is either unpaid or only paid for reasonable expenses.
In France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and other countries, all forms of surrogacy are banned.
Because of the legal complexities associated with surrogacy, it’s important to work with an experienced clinic that follows both medical and legislative best practices. That way, you can rest easy knowing your family is in safe and capable hands.
The benefits of surrogacy
There are many benefits awarded to families that have been created in this very special way. These include the following:
- Surrogacy offers the potential for one or two of the intended parents to be related to their child biologically.
- Surrogacy gives parents the opportunity to raise their child from birth.
- The intended parents can be involved in the pregnancy and, in some cases, be present for exciting milestones throughout the journey.
- The intended parents can, if everyone agrees, form a meaningful relationship with the surrogate mother and her family.
- People that peruse surrogacy may face fewer limitations than those that choose adoption.
- The intended parents can rest a little easier when using a surrogate, as the surrogate has undergone extensive medical testing and many have carried babies to full term in the past. This increases the likelihood of success.
These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on who you are, your personal challenges, and what you hope to achieve, surrogacy may offer other advantages over other alternative fertility treatments and pathways.
How to start your surrogacy journey
We understand that embarking on your surrogacy journey can be filled with excitement and unknowns. We are here to offer you knowledgeable support services from our state-of-the-art Beverly Hills clinic.
Our team of surrogacy experts can guide you through every step of the process, offering expert advice on all things medical and legal. Our services are client-tailored, and we can facilitate and oversee surrogacy agreements that use an egg donor, sperm donor, or IVF technologies to help you build the family you’ve always wanted.
We don’t discriminate against different ages, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientations, or marital status. We believe that a world-class surrogacy experience can be life-changing, and whoever you are, we are ready to make your family dreams a reality.
Reach out today to schedule an appointment or ask any questions you may have.