Some couples just don’t have the ability to conceive a child on their own. Even after extensive visits to fertility specialists and taking medications to encourage conception, it just can’t be done. In the past, this would mean couples would adopt if they wanted to have a child. Today’s couples, however, have another option: hiring a surrogate mother. Sperm and egg donations from the couple can create an embryo, which can then be implanted into the surrogate so a natural relative can be born. There are some pros and cons to consider on this subject, so let’s take a look at the details of surrogate motherhood.
The Pros of Hiring Surrogate Mothers
1. It allows couples to have biological relatives.
Even if one spouse is completely infertile, a direct biological relative can still be born with donations from the fertile person in the relationship when combined with donor materials. This allows a bloodline to naturally continue instead of being forced into the adoption or guardianship process.
2. It can be cheaper than a full suite of fertility treatments.
Surrogate mothers receive a salary for their efforts to successfully carry a pregnancy to term and will have all of their medical bills paid. Although the total cost to a couple may exceed $125k, that’s actually 25% of the cost of extensive fertility treatments which may or may not be successful.
3. It has a 1 in 4 success rate.
Embryos that are created from a couple or from donated items catch on for a surrogate pregnancy about 25% of the time. Not many fertility treatments can claim the same levels of success when both parties seeking fertility treatments are analyzed.
The Cons of Hiring Surrogate Mothers
1. The surrogate mother often has rights to the child.
Many jurisdictions don’t recognize the immediate parenthood rights of a couple who has hired a surrogate. Even if legal agreements are in place that say a surrogate mother must hand over the child after birth, there are jurisdictions that will still allow the surrogate to claim parenthood rights and not force her to follow the contracted arrangement.
2. There is no guarantee that a surrogate mother will follow health instructions.
Surrogate mothers are not observed 100% of the time. She may very well sneak a cigarette at night before bed or drink heavily, causing the potential of fetal harm. Although surrogates are screened extensively, there just isn’t any absolute guarantee in this area.
3. Couples may face fines or even jail time for hiring a surrogate mother.
Modern laws haven’t caught up to modern medical practices in many areas around the world. Some jurisdictions have surrogacy as an illegal practice and may put a couple at risk of a fine, jail time, losing their child to the surrogate mother, or all of the above.
Thousands of children are successfully born through surrogate mothers every year. For couples who are looking for the option of having a child and can’t do so on their own, the pros and cons of surrogate mothers can be evaluated to see if it is a potential way for an infertile couple to still have a biological child to call their own.