The process of using a surrogate mother involves a woman carrying a baby to full term for a couple or person who either has chosen not to or cannot themselves. This practice has become more acceptable and widespread with several high-status celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Tyra Banks and Elton John opting to use a surrogate for their own children.
There are two types of surrogacy, traditional surrogacy whereby the surrogate mother is artificially inseminated with the donor’s sperm, making her the biological mother of the child. There is also gestational surrogacy whereby the surrogate has an already fertilized egg implanted within her with an IVF treatment which has a 75% success rate, making her the carrier of the child but not its biological mother. Of course, each person or couple will have their own motivation for hiring a surrogate, however, the following are some important and common reasons.
Single Father Wanting a Child
We have to consider that not everyone lives or wants a traditional lifestyle or family unit with a mother, father, and children. In the same way that single mothers can turn to sperm donors in order to have a baby, single fathers can find an egg donor and a surrogate to carry his child.
Unable to Carry a Child
For women who are medically unable to carry a child, surrogacy provides a service that allows them to still have a family. If it’s a case of a woman having had a hysterectomy, if she harvested her eggs beforehand, she can still have a biological child. Alternatively, the surrogate can donate her egg.
Advanced Maternal Age
Women who have chosen to delay having a child for their career, financial stability or to find a long term partner may find that they struggle to conceive, especially if they have begun to enter the menopause or perimenopause phase of life. Surrogacy provides an option for older women who want to have a family alone or with a partner.
Fear of Miscarriage or Postpartum Depression
Women who have experienced postpartum depression with their first birth have a 30% chance of experiencing it again with their second, which can elicit anxiety and fear of becoming pregnant again. Additionally, those who have had even one miscarriage could have concerns about experiencing it again. It’s a painful loss that can leave emotional scars on the mother. Using a surrogate would enable the mother to have a child without fearing these consequences of pregnancy and childbirth.
The inability to conceive is a common problem, with an estimated 6.1 million couples in the US alone dealing with some form of infertility. IVF is often the first thing couples try when struggling with infertility, but if the treatment consistently fails a viable option is using a surrogate mother.
Inability to Take Time Away from Career
There’s no doubt that pregnancy takes emotional and physical sacrifices. It usually requires a woman to take time off from her career in order to rest, prepare for the new baby, and care for it once it’s born. Some career-driven women choose to use a surrogate mother when taking time off would jeopardize what they’ve built professionally.
For LBGTQ men or women in same-sex relationships or relationships in which they are unable to conceive, a surrogate provides them with the opportunity to have a family without having to adopt. There are a number of different options available to LBGTQ couples, depending on whether they wish to donate sperm, the egg or both.