In law, surrogate mothering is defined as the relationship in which a woman carries and gives birth to a child that may be the biological child of one or both parents who then take legal custody of the child or adopt him/her. The first cases of this act were in the 1970’s. Since then many childless individuals and couples have used this method to have their own baby.
There are a number of ways in which surrogate mothering can work. Usually, sperm from the father is used to fertilize the egg of the surrogate mother who then carries and gives birth to the child. This is done through artificial insemination. In other cases, genetic material from both parents (sperm and eggs) is used and the surrogate undergoes an in-vitro fertilization procedure in order to conceive. It is also possible for genetic material, usually sperm, to be taken from a donor and for the substitute mother to undergo artificial insemination.
There are two types of surrogate mothering relationships – commercial and altruistic. In case of a commercial relationship, the parents pay the replacement mother for her services. They also cover the costs of all medical procedures to be carried out as part of the relationship. When the replacement mother is helping a childless person or couple for altruistic reasons, the future parent or parents cover only the medical expenses. In any case, replacement mothering is quite costly and financial assistance is usually not available.
The ethical aspects of surrogate mothering have been highly debated. Most medical professionals recommend that childless couples explore other mothers for reproduction and to consider adoption before they decide on this particular option. You have to take into account the fact that it is natural for a pregnant woman to have special feelings for the child she is carrying especially if it is her biological child.
There have been cases in which surrogate mothers have claimed rights over their child even though they had signed legally binding documents that practically terminate their parental rights. Generally, such claims are hardly ever taken to court, but you may continue having problems with the woman as your child grows. This will certainly be traumatic for everyone.
You have to weigh the pros and cons of surrogate mothering on the basis of your own individual case. In general, you can take all necessary measures to ensure that the mother and child are safe and that you will gain full custody over the infant. Indeed, everything can go well in the long term as well. However, this is not guaranteed.↑ Back to Top