What is a Surrogate Pregnancy?
A surrogate pregnancy is a formal arrangement that arises when a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child for another couple. Surrogate pregnancies can occur in three forms: a traditional surrogacy, a gestational surrogacy, or a commercial surrogacy.
In a traditional surrogacy agreement, a woman is pregnant with her own biological child, but the child was conceived with the intent of giving it over to be raised by another party. The surrogate parent, in the traditional sense, is therefore the woman who gave birth to the child. Although the child is given to another party to be raised, the biological mother maintains surrogacy. In this form, the child may be conceived via artificial insemination or impregnated via intra-cervical insemination.
In a gestational surrogacy, a female is used a host to birth a child. The female is implanted with an embryo to which she is not connected to. The woman then carries the child until pregnancy. Following birth, the gestational carries turns the child over to the biological mother (the woman who gave her embryo) or to the adoptive parents. In the case of adoptive parents, the embryo was donated. This arrangement is referred to as a commercial surrogacy; the carrier of the child is compensated for delivering the child. If the carrier is not compensated for delivering the child, the arrangement is referred to as an altruistic surrogacy.
The legal aspects surrounding surrogate pregnancies are complex and for the most part, unsettled. The majority of countries possess a default legal assumption, where the woman giving birth to the child, is regarded as the child’s legal mother. In some jurisdictions, however, the intended parents may be recognized as the legal parents following the birth of the child.
The majority of states in America issue pre-birth orders through local court systems, which place the names of the intended parents on the legal birth certificate before the baby is deliver. In other states, however, the possibility of surrogacy is not recognized or is prohibited.