Motherhood has been always described in countless wonderful ways. It is the happiness of bearing a child and loving it to the extent of giving up on your own desires. Some say that motherhood is letting your heart walk out for the rest of your life. But the sad reality tells us that not every woman can be a mother by physically bearing her own child. So there are people known as surrogate mothers, who carry the pregnancy for them.
Surrogate motherhood happens when a woman carries a child for the entire period of surrogate pregnancy and then gives it to another couple. The child and the surrogate mother may or may not share any genetic link, since there is an option to implant the embryo in the surrogate mother’s womb. For the same reason as not all women can bear a child of their own, it also goes that not all women are qualified to be surrogate mothers.
There are laws and policies that you need to abide by for surrogacy intentions. It is important to know them for legalities, especially since the views regarding surrogacy are different from state to state, and the rights of the surrogate mother vary as well. The American Surrogacy Center describes the policies though, giving an overview of the laws involved and a helpful website for the public, www.surrogacy.com. For instance, California generally allows the contract made under mutual agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate. But they also use the Uniform Parentage Act to address isolated cases that arise from surrogacy agreements. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular and influential surrogacy cases, the Johnson v. Calvert case, was settled in California in 1993.
If you are planning to be or to hire a surrogate mother, here is the list of the fundamental requirements that will be checked:
- You should be in a healthy physical condition.
- You should be more than eighteen years of age.
- You should not be a patient of any sexually transmitted disease.
- You should be a non-smoker, and you should also be living in a smoke free environment.
- You should be psychologically prepared and ready to go through a series of physical and psychological tests.
- It is better if you have a partner who can act as an emotional anchor, and in case the surrogate has a partner he also has to go through physical and psychological tests.
- The most important requirement according to most surrogacy agencies is that the woman should not go through the process only because of the pay and financial gains, because being a surrogate is not a means of living or profession for any matter. Therefore, you should be financially stable.
Once you decide that you would like to be one, you can contact a surrogate agency who will administer the background physical and psychological tests in order to ensure that their clients know that you - as the person who will carry their baby - come from a good family and have healthy habits. The surrogate agency will match a couple for you and arrange for a meeting of both parties, where you can meet the parents and they can meet you.
From the couple’s perspective, it depends if you want the surrogate mother to be a relative, friend, or someone you trust to carry it out for you. Many surrogate arrangements are also done through agencies matching up intended parents with their wanted volunteers for surrogate parenting. These agencies also help in managing complex medical and legal aspects involved. Usually, a contract has to be made to ensure that the parties involved get what they expect from the whole deal. Most of the time, these contracts are made to ensure that the surrogate mother’s compensation, medical expenses, insurance and payments are covered. In this way, decision-making and surrogate mother costs becomes easier, transparent and legal.