Many people who want children can't have them for various reasons. As a solution to this problem, these people sometimes choose surrogacy. A surrogate is a woman you hire to become pregnant with your child, carry it to term, and deliver it for you.
Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy
In traditional surrogacy, a couple or single parent hires a surrogate to carry the baby to term using the egg of the surrogate mother and the sperm of the intended father or donor. In gestational surrogacy, the egg comes from the intended biological mother and not the surrogate mother. In both cases, the egg is fertilized outside of the womb and then implanted into the surrogate.
Biology of a Child Carried By a Surrogate
A child conceived from traditional surrogacy will inherit genes from the surrogate mother and the intended father or donor. A child conceived from gestational surrogacy will not have a biological link to the surrogate mother. The child will receive its genes from the woman who provides the egg and the intended father or donor.
Surrogacy involves a contract between you and the surrogate mother you have chosen. The surrogate mother agrees to carry the child. In exchange, you and the intended father, if applicable, agree to compensate the surrogate mother. You and the surrogate will agree to the financial terms of the arrangement and include this in a written contract between you.
Generally, the intended parent or parents agree to pay the medical expenses of the surrogate and any additional expenses related to the pregnancy. You may also agree to pay the surrogate an additional sum of money in exchange for her agreement to act as a surrogate for you. Payment can be made on a set schedule over the course of the pregnancy, on a per-trimester basis, or at the time of birth.
Custody of the Surrogate Child
The surrogacy agreement is based on a written contract that all parties should honor. You and your spouse are generally considered to be the parents of a child born from surrogacy. Sometimes, especially in the case of traditional surrogacy where the egg of the surrogate is used and the surrogate is the biological mother, parenthood is contested by the surrogate mother. In gestational surrogacy, the biological link between you and the child helps strengthen your parental rights.
An Assisted Reproduction Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding surrogacy and other kinds of assisted reproduction is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a family lawyer.