Surrogacy refers to a situation where a couple, usually unable to conceive themselves, contracts with another woman to carry and deliver the couple’s child. Typically, an embryo is placed in the uterus of the surrogate for gestation and is carried by the surrogate through birth. This process may involve the use of donor sperm, donor eggs, or a procedure by which an embryo derived from the couples own egg and sperm is transferred.
Surrogacy gained world wide attention in the mid-1970s. During that time, there was a reduction in the number of children available for adoption. It was also during this time that the science of human embryology developed specialized techniques as an alternative for lengthy and uncertain adoption procedures.
Traditional Surrogacy is often called the “straight method.” In this method, the surrogate gives birth to a child with an intention to relinquish the child. The child may be a result of sexual intercourse, artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination or intracervical insemination.
Gestational surrogacy is the process of giving birth to a child by “host method.” Here, the surrogate gets pregnant through embryo transfer, not biologically and also with the intention to relinquish the child.
In altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate gets pregnant and gives birth to a child and relinquishes it without any financial reward. This is done in accordance with the agreement between parties.
Commercial surrogacy is the process in which the surrogate carries the child in her womb and gives birth in exchange for a financial reward.
A woman who bears a child for a childless couple is called surrogate mother. Usually, the surrogate mother gives up all parental rights for a consideration. Payment to the surrogate mother shall include all medical costs incurred in the process and pregnancy. There are various agencies in all states to assist couples who wish to adopt through surrogacy. Experts suggest discussing the matter with other couples who have used this method.
Surrogacy should always be done using legal, binding contracts. However, controversy concerning both the ethics of surrogate motherhood as well as the legal rights of all persons involved still prevails.