Types of Surrogacy Seema and her husband were eagerly awaiting for their fertility test reports to be out. The couple had been yearning for a baby for the past 10 years of their marriage. Surely a long wait for someone who loved children more than anything in this world. But alas their hopes were shattered when the attending gynecologist informed her that though she was capable of conceiving, her womb was not fit enough to carry on with the pregnancy.
Hearing the same she felt all dejected, but only until her gynecologist suggested an alternative that could still allow her to experience the joy of becoming a mother – ‘Surrogacy Arrangement’.
Surrogacy is defined as an arrangement for intended parents to enjoy parenthood albeit using the womb of another woman. Such a woman is known as the ‘Surrogate mother’. Surrogacy has formed a medium that has helped many couples realize their dream of becoming parents.
Types of Surrogacy
There are two main types of surrogacy – ‘Traditional’ and ‘Gestational’.
Here the surrogate mother is impregnated with the sperm of the father by the process of artificial insemination. The surrogate mother then carries on the pregnancy and the baby post-birth is given to the intended parents. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child, as the egg belongs to her, while the sperm is of the intended father. In traditional surrogacy, the sperm used can also be from that of a donor.
Here the intended parents are the genetic owners of the baby, as the surrogate only bears the child which is formed from an embryo fertilized using the egg and sperm of the intended parents. Furthermore, gestational surrogacy can also be carried out where the intended mother cannot produce an egg, and hence a donor egg is fertilized with the sperm of the intended father and then implanted within the womb of the surrogate mother.
Again, in case the intended father is unable to produce enough good-quality sperm, donor sperm can be used to fertilize the egg from the intended mother and then implanted within the surrogate mother’s womb. If both the intended parents are reproductively handicapped, the surrogate mother carries a donated embryo for bearing the child. In all of the cases, the surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child.
Commercial and Altruistic Surrogacy
Speaking furthermore, surrogacy is further classified based on the financial gains involved for the surrogate mother. This involves two types – ‘Commercial Surrogacy’ and ‘Altruistic Surrogacy’.
Here the surrogate mother gets a compensation fee for her involvement. The compensations given involve all the medical expenses right from medications during pregnancy, routine checkups, scans, and also other miscellaneous expenses such as travel allowances, etc. In commercial surrogacy, a surrogate is generally a person who is neither related to the intended parents nor known by them before the arrangement is done. The involvement of the surrogate mother is only till the baby is delivered and given to the intended parents.
In an altruistic surrogacy, the woman acting as the surrogate does not look for any financial gains in the arrangement. Therefore, no personal compensation is involved in any of the expenses incurred. However, if the intended parents wish, they can still compensate for the pregnancy out of their wish. Here the involved individual in the surrogacy arrangement is either the intended parents or a friend and hence is someone who is well known by the reproductively challenged couple.
Who all opt for surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an option for many couples who face issues with regard to conceiving, which may be due to infertility of either of the involved or certain genetic conditions, diseases, or cases wherein the woman cannot carry on the pregnancy for the entire term.
Surrogacy has also been an option for couples who are unable to achieve parenthood due to a multitude of factors, individuals who wish to be single parents, same-sex couples, etc.
Ethical issues concerning surrogacy
The way the entire procedure looks simplified, the underlying complications with regards to the ethical concerns are exactly the opposite. Some of the ethical issues that might arise in surrogacy include
- The money tag that is put forward by the surrogate mother or even the organization that is assisting in the entire agreement can be crucial. This can again make the intended parents question the consciousness of the surrogate mother involved in the agreement.
- Since, birthing a child involves a very emotional aspect, commercialization of this natural boon is considered anti-natural by many.
- The compensations which are given to the surrogate by the intended parents can also be used illegitimately or the expenses put forth by the surrogate could be deceiving.
- The surrogate mother might deny giving away the baby to the intended parents after delivery.
Legal issues surrounding surrogacy in India
Surrogacy is a complex aspect that has many contradictions surrounding it, which in their own way are quite diverse in nature and also unsettled. While many countries consider the woman who gave birth to the child as being the legal mother,
There are still others who give the rights to the intended parents of being the legal bearers based on the fact that the surrogate mother has consciously given them the rights. Our country is one among such few which bestows the legal rights of the baby to the intended parents.
Commercial surrogacy in India
India is becoming a promising destination for commercial surrogacy. This is due to the relatively low cost involved in this process in comparison to the world.
Also, the laws about the ownership of the child and process with regards to citizenship and many others are quite flexible in India. Also, Indian clinics have become quite competitive not only concerning prices but also the service panel offered and are emerging to be reliable in hiring and retention of the Indian females who act as surrogates.
Surrogacy is surely a boon for many couples who yearn to have their own child. But love can never have borders or biology and there are many innocent orphans yearning for the love and affection of a family. Considering adoption over surrogacy not only adds joy to a child but can also be a contributing factor to the society and community at large.