In 1976, the first legal agreement between a set of parents and a surrogate mother was reached. This agreement gave the couple legal guardian rights of the child carried to birth by the surrogate mother. Until that time period, there was no legal option for couples unable to have children to become parents aside from adoption. Today, thousands of babies are born to surrogate mothers each year. Couples considering surrogacy must consider the pros and cons involved in this important decision.
Pro: Alternate Option For Childless Couples
For couples who are unable to bear children or cannot take the risk due to health issues, surrogacy provides an alternative method of becoming parents. Before the availability of surrogacy, couples who could not have children had to go through the adoption process, an experience not suitable for everyone. Surrogacy provides another choice for childless couples.
Con: Long Process
Regardless of the method chosen, couples who decide to go the route of surrogacy for pregnancy should plan to wait much longer than the standard 9-month pregnancy period for the baby to arrive. Couples will need to spend time researching surrogacy options, find the right surrogate mother and then wait for the fertilisation process to succeed. This process may take several years.
Pro: Surrogate Mother Benefits
Surrogacy provides surrogate mothers a number of benefits, such as the opportunity to help an otherwise childless couple experience the joy of parenthood. This also gives women who are responsible with their bodies and overall health an opportunity to make money.
Because of the complicated process of surrogacy, the cost is high; as of 2011, fees range from £26,000 to £65,000, according to Adoption.com. Couples must compensate not only the surrogate mother, but also must plan to finance all medical fees, agency fees and any legal fees that arise during the process.
Pro: Biological Connection
Although adoption allows a couple to experience the joy of parenthood, there is no biological connection in the process. For some couples, the desire to combine genes and create a child of their own plays an important role, and this is where surrogacy comes in. Couples have multiple options for conception. They may either donate the male sperm and use the surrogate mother's eggs, or combine the sperm and egg of the couple in a process called in vitro fertilisation.
Con: Surrogate Mother Concerns
Choosing a surrogate mother is challenging for couples, as it is possible that, over the course of the pregnancy, the surrogate becomes attached to the baby and has trouble giving it up. This is especially problematic if the couple chooses not to do in vitro fertilisation, meaning the surrogate mother is the provider of the egg and is biologically connected to the baby. The female partner may also become jealous over the surrogate mother for getting to experience the motherhood process in a way she is unable to.