Surrogate mother: pros and cons
Before diving into the anticipation of a happy future with a baby in your arms, you need to clearly imagine all the difficulties that you will have to face, as well as weigh your capabilities to overcome them. Therefore, the obstacles will be listed first, and then the advantages of surrogacy.
We recommend first of all write out all the weighty advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy for your couple and compare them with the list in the article. This will help you better predict risks and more accurately calculate your budget.
Cons of surrogacy
For clarity, we will now select the list of cons of surrogacy:
- High cost of the method;
- Lack of guarantees of success;
- Legal insecurity;
- Negative emotions of the expectant mother (belittling her role);
- Distortion of the perception of the surrogate mother by the future father;
- Rejection of surrogacy by society.
The services of surrogate mothers are not available in every country for childless couples: in a number of countries (Austria, Germany, France) this practice is illegal, in others (some states of the USA) it is legal, but it costs a lot of money without a guarantee of the result. There are countries (UK, Canada) where surrogacy is available on a non-commercial basis. But this does not mean an opportunity to save money: the absence of a childbearing fee is more than offset by the cost of medical and legal services. Thus, the first and most significant disadvantage of surrogacy is its cost.
The second thing you should know is that not all reproductive centers offer guaranteed programs. This means that you will have a limited number of embryo transfer attempts. And if they turn out to be unsuccessful or the pregnancy is interrupted (this happens for some unknown reason, even in absolutely healthy women and high quality embryos), you will have to start all over again and pay for a repeated cycle. It is costly both financially and psychologically. Therefore, pay attention to reproductive clinics that offer guaranteed programs. They involve payment of a fixed cost in exchange for the birth of a child. That is, all procedures will be repeated as long as it takes to achieve pregnancy and a successful delivery. Such programs, in particular, are carried out in Ukraine.
When selecting clinics with which you plan to cooperate, ask about the total cost of one cycle and, just in case, multiply it by 2-3 (on average, three IVF attempts are required to achieve pregnancy). Find out what other services you need, whether they are included in the cost of the service or must be paid separately, ask for the exact amounts. Also consider the cost of living in the country of your reproductive trip – clinics rarely provide guest service.
The third problem of surrogacy is the imperfection of the legislation. In most countries, despite the signing of an agreement between a woman carrying a child and his biological parents, in the event of a dispute, the court will side with the surrogate mother. That is, despite the biological relationship with the couple, if the surrogate mother wishes to keep the child for herself, she will have such an opportunity. Future parents are completely protected from such an outcome, for example, in Ukraine.
To protect yourself as much as possible from the prospect of being left without a child and without money, cooperate with clinics that have their own base for surrogate mothers. As a rule, these will be psychologically prepared women who understand their role with high altruistic motivation and interest in the fee.
The next few disadvantages of a psychological nature are the alienation of the expectant mother in the case of using a donor egg, the feeling of being a “non-mother” due to the bearing of a child by another woman. A shift in roles in the perception of the future father is also possible – he may begin to perceive the surrogate mother as the real mother of his child. As a result, the family will have to test its strength. In order to minimize the tension of negative psychological experiences, all participants in the process are recommended to visit a psychologist throughout the program.
The help of a psychologist is also relevant in cases of unsuccessful IVF in order to neutralize the feelings of future parents like “This is the end. We will never have a child! ”
Psychological support will also help you to more easily survive possible misunderstanding and condemnation from the side of society, and sometimes from close people. If you don’t feel strong enough to withstand the pressure, you can resort to simulating pregnancy with an overhead belly.
We are done with the presentation of the disadvantages, we pass to advantages of surrogacy.
Pros of surrogacy
The list of advantages of surrogacy is as follows:
- The opportunity to become parents in the presence of medical contraindications or the diagnosis of “infertility”;
- The possibility of giving birth to a genetically related child;
- Economic benefit;
- The opportunity to become parents in the next year from the date of applying for the service.
- Cohesion of the family, a sense of its completeness.
- Realization in a new social and biological role.
The first and the obvious surrogacy advantage is that you will have a child! It doesn’t matter what was the obstacle, infertility or medical contraindications for pregnancy. This is a chance for all couples who dream of becoming parents. The surrogate mother already has experience of successful natural delivery, which means that it will be easier for your child to be born. Considering that the highest quality embryo was chosen, you can count on the good health of the newborn.
The second surrogacy advantage is an opportunity for infertile couples to become parents of a genetically related child, if the woman has high-quality eggs. This point is very important for most clients of reproductive centers. Otherwise, they could simply adopt a child without parental care.
In the lists of pros and cons of surrogacy there is also a paradox: for all its high cost, the method is sometimes still cheaper (and more reliable) than the treatment of infertility in a couple. Different forms of infertility have different medical predictions, but the most important thing is time. If we are talking about the use of oocytes of the expectant mother, then the earlier they are used, the higher the quality of the embryo, which means the higher the chances of successful IVF and the birth of a healthy child.
Treatment for infertility can take several years and result in a simple loss of fertility. And this is a very weighty reason, immediately after the diagnosis is made, to think and weigh again pros and cons of using a surrogate mother. Thus, the third benefit is saving time and money.
The psychological experiences of participants in a reproductive program are not only negative and disturbing. Along with anxiety, the family is in happy and anxious anticipation, making plans, preparing for new parenting roles. This can serve as a powerful factor in uniting your family, and will help to safely overcome the crises of the first years of the life of the long-awaited baby.
It is highly recommended to maintain close contact with your surrogate mother, accompany her to an ultrasound scan, participate in her life, and also be present at delivery. This will help you feel more involved in the process of pregnancy and childbirth, and taking the newborn in your arms in the delivery room is the strongest trigger for launching the maternal instinct. Therefore, the fourth advantage is the strengthening of the family, the gradual involvement of the couple in new social and biological roles.
Weigh carefully all pros and cons of surrogacy, supplement the list with your thoughts. Only with the complete picture in front of you, without harboring illusions and realizing all the possible pitfalls, is it worth making a decision about applying for a service.
The next part of the article is addressed to potential surrogate mothers. Here will be considered pros and cons of using a surrogate mother from the point of view of a woman carrying a child for other people.
Surrogate mother pros and cons: surrogate mother’s view
A surrogate mother is a full participant in the reproductive program, which means that her interests and problems must be taken into account, and the woman must be informed about all pros and cons of surrogacy personally for her. As in the previous chapters, let’s start with the cons.
The main threats to surrogate mothers boil down to several points:
- Threat to life and health during gestation and delivery;
- The risk of child abandonment by biological parents;
- The risk of psychological trauma when transferring a newborn to his parents.
Each pregnancy is unique: even an absolutely healthy woman can carry two pregnancies in a completely different way. There is always a chance of miscarriage, especially before 12 weeks. And if an early termination of pregnancy causes some recoverable harm to health, then a late miscarriage can be life-threatening. Of course, this happens extremely rarely, but the probability is still not zero.
She has also to be prepared for possible manifestations of vitamin deficiency such as decaying teeth or hair loss. After childbirth, gynecological and other problems are possible: although repeated childbirth is easier in most cases, it also has its own risks. There is always the possibility of prolapse of the uterus, urinary incontinence and other unpleasant consequences. Perhaps health issues are paramount on the list advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy. A woman should soberly assess her health status, consult with her doctor and specialized specialists before entering reproductive programs.
Not only future parents are legally vulnerable, but also the woman carrying their child. In some cases (more often when a sick child is born or is injured during childbirth), the biological parents may refuse to take the child. And here a difficult situation arises: in the eyes of the court, the legal representative of the newborn is the woman who carried and gave birth to him. Lack of genetic relationship may not be taken into account. And then, most likely, custody of the child will be left to the surrogate mother and alimony from the biological father will be assigned. She can forget about receiving a fee.
The way out is cooperation with clinics, where all controversial issues are maximally described and fixed in the contract. However, even this may not be 100% protection. And this is the second major risk factor in the series pros and cons of surrogacy.
Despite having her own child / children, compulsory psychological training and support throughout the entire reproductive program, a woman carrying a baby remains at risk of becoming attached to him. And here two options are possible: she should get ready for exhausting litigation if she does not find the strength to part with the+ child, or for psychological trauma of varying severity, if the baby is passed on to biological parents. To reduce the likelihood of such incidents, it is necessary to work with a psychologist before, during, and after pregnancy.
The two main positives about surrogacy are the ability to improve the life of your family through high fees and the satisfaction of the altruistic need to make the childless couple happier. Both factors create a win-win situation, each side getting what it needs. An indirect situational plus can be identified – the enjoyment of the state of pregnancy in those women who easily carries it and note the positive effect of hormones on their body.
This is how the list “surrogate mother pros and cons” looks like through the eyes of a surrogate mother. She, like future parents, has something to think about. In the event that a decision is made to participate in a surrogacy program, there is a universal and, perhaps, the most important advice for all participants – choose clinics with a good reputation and good feedback. Knowing exactly about each step in the program is a good prerequisite for its successful completion.