Surrogacy And Donors
A surrogate is a woman who agrees to carry a pregnancy until full term, usually in exchange for payment, and to then hand the baby over to its legal parents after delivery. Donor sperm and eggs are an alternative means of becoming pregnant for infertile couples, even though the baby resulting from the pregnancy is not the biological child of one or perhaps even both of its parents.
The legal regulations governing surrogacy vary from state to state in the USA. You should consult a legal expert in this field if you are considering surrogacy as a method of having children.
What follows is a short summary of some of the issues surrounding surrogacy, which are dealt with on these pages:
How to find a surrogate - do you use a registered list of potential surrogates who have been vetted and approved by the authorities? Do you advertise in the newspaper (it has been done!)? Is it wise to accept a friend or relative who has volunteered for the job?
How to compensate a surrogate - do you pay a monthly salary? Do you pay large sum after the birth and the handing over of the baby? Who is responsible for pregnancy-related expenses (health care costs, maternity clothing, etc)?
How to conceive a surrogate pregnancy - will the surrogate be the baby's biological mother? Should you use an embryo conceived from one of your own eggs and your partner's sperm? How will insemination or embryo transfer take place?
How to draw up a surrogacy contract - how do we ensure that all parties to the agreement fulfill their obligations? What happens if the surrogate mother decides to keep the baby? What are the child's rights in the future? Will he be able to contact the surrogate mother if he wishes to?
How to bond with a surrogate baby - does having a surrogate child feel the same as having your own child? What happens if one partner doesn't feel the bond? How will a surrogate child interact with siblings who are biologically related to both parents?
Talking to your child about the surrogacy - if, when and how to explain to your child how he was brought into the world?
Sperm donation has been a method of conceiving pregnancy for many years already, but egg donation is increasingly used as way of helping a woman to have a baby. In both cases, one or more of the parents who bring the child up will not be biologically related to the child. Here are some of the issues associated with sperm and egg donation which are dealt with on these pages:
How to find a sperm donor - do you go to a recognized sperm bank or use a private donation from a friend, relative, or even someone you contact via the internet? What are the potential health risks, if any, associated with private sperm donation? If you use a sperm bank, can you specify the race or physical features of the sperm donor you want to use? What are the costs of finding and using a donor?
IUI or IVF - how do you plan to use the donor sperm? If you opt for artificial insemination, will this be carried out at a fertility clinic or will you try to do it in the privacy of your own home? Will you use the donor sperm in conjunction with IVF treatment in order to increase the chances of conception?
Legal implications of sperm and egg donation - increasingly, children born of sperm donor pregnancies are being granted the right to learn the identity of their biological father when they turn 18, so what are the implications of this for you and your family? Do the biological parents of sperm or egg donor children have a legal right to be involved in the children's lives?
Emotional issues - How do you talk to your child about the way in which he was conceived? How does this knowledge affect donor children? Do parents have difficulty bonding with a donor pregnancy baby?
Egg donation - how does egg donation work? Is it possible to store eggs for future use? Where can egg donation be carried out?