Types of surrogacy
There are two types of surrogacy — traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate mother is artificially inseminated, either by the intended father or an anonymous donor, and carries the baby to term. The child is thereby genetically related to both the surrogate mother, who provides the egg, and the intended father or anonymous donor.
A Traditional Surrogate acts as both egg donor and surrogate. Traditional Surrogates are impregnated by a process called intrauterine insemination or IUI. A doctor transfers sperm taken from the intended father and transfers the sperm into the uterus of the surrogate so that natural fertilization can take place. Traditional Surrogacy creates a genetic link between potential parents & Surrogate mother, that’s why this type of surrogacy is merely chosen by the infertile patients. By using traditional surrogacy, the surrogate acts as both an egg donor and a actual surrogate as well, and she is impregnated with semen from the intended parents or any Sperm donor.
This process is completed by using a process known as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).Therefore, with traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also called the biological mother of the child.
Traditional surrogacy is more controversial than gestational surrogacy, in large part because the biological relationship between the surrogate and the child often complicates the facts of the case if parental rights or the validity of the surrogacy agreement are challenged. As a result, most states prohibit traditional surrogacy agreements. Additionally, many states that permit surrogacy agreements prohibit compensation beyond the payment of medical and legal expenses incurred as a result of the surrogacy agreement.
Most surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics require surrogates to meet the following general qualifications:
a. Be in good physical and mental health;
b. Have carried and delivered at least one child;
c. Have had pregnancies that were all free of complications and were full-term;
d. Be less than 43 years of age (some clinics will accept older woman in certain circumstances; others have younger age cut-offs for all surrogates);
e. Be in a stable living situation; and
f. Not smoke or abuse alcohol.
In the past few years surrogacy has seen an increase in utilization, especially among very prominent social figures. Sarah Jessica Parker and Ricky Martin have both recently had children through surrogates. Will their happily ever after stories be the ones to change the negative public perceptions that have dominated the media for the past three decades? Or, are these stories simply highlighting the ways in which surrogacy can be seen as stratified reproduction, a technology only available for the wealthy? Both of these celebrity stories showcase how positive surrogacy can be for different people facing different realities of infertility. While this may be a step towards acceptance for surrogacy as a viable and accepted form of reproduction, there have been other stories featured recently within the New York Times emulating Baby M, reinforcing negative perceptions once again.
Based on available statistics, which are quite incomplete due to a lack of reporting regulations, about 1,500 to 2,000 surrogate/contracted babies are born per annum in the United States (Ali and Kelley 2008, 44). In addition, several thousands more are born each year as the result of a surrogate arrangement in a wide-variety of nations worldwide. Australia, Canada, and Brazil report numbers at least as large as those reported in the United States (Covington and Burns 2006, 371); and in India, where commercial surrogacy was legalized in 1992, poor women are recruited to gestate what may amount to hundreds (more likely thousands) of babies for couples throughout the world .
The medical risks of surrogacy
There are certain medical risks involved with surrogacy. These risks are similar to those that may be experienced with all other methods of assisted reproductive treatment. These may include:
Effects on the child born as a result of the treatment – IVF treatment has a greater chance of producing multiple births, which increases the chance of a premature birth and a baby that is below the normal birth weight.
Effects on the egg provider – there can be reactions to fertility drugs, including hot flushes, feelings of depression or irritation, headaches and restlessness. There is also a small risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) occurring, which can cause stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and faintness. This condition is extremely rare.
Effects on the surrogate – there are the usual risks associated with any pregnancy and birth. These risks are increased with the age of the surrogate.
Celebrities for Surrogacy
Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri had a surrogate baby, AbRam, in May 2013.
Nicole Kidman and her husband, singer Keith Urban, had their second child through surrogacy in 2011.
Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao had a son via a surrogate mother in 2011.
Sohail Khan and wife Seema had their second child through surrogacy in 2011.
Elton John and his partner David Furnish had a son using a surrogate mom in 2010. This year they had another surrogate baby, also a boy.
Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame and her husband, actor Matthew Broderick, had twin babies through surrogacy in 2009.
Robert De Niro and his wife Grace Hightower had a baby girl via a surrogate in 2011. De Niro and Hightower were 68 and 56 respectively at that time.
First Case of Surrogacy
The first "official" legal surrogacy agreement was enacted in the mid-1970's with the child who was referred to as Baby M. The same lawyer who brokered this agreement went on to found the Infertility Center, a company that arranges hundreds of surrogate births every year.
During that same time frame, surrogacy made the national and international news with the world's first "test tube" baby, Louise Joy Brown. Although this was not technically a surrogate mother situation, this event did pave the way towards what is now known as gestational surrogacy – a practice that is used today for implanting both sperm and egg in a laboratory to later be placed into the surrogate mother's uterus.