For some couples having a baby and getting the egg fertalized isn't always easy. Surrogacy can be a great option for those that still want a baby despite having reproductive challenges or other issues that make having a baby difficult. It's estimated that 35,000 children have been born to surrogacy. Even celebrities have used surrogacy as a means to grow their own families.
Celebrities like Lucy Liu, Matt Bomer, Elton John, Elizabeth Banks and Tyra Banks are just a few who have decided that using a surrogate is the best option for them.
What is surrogacy? The practice of surrogacy is when a woman who is either hired through an agency or volunteers for a close friend or family member will carry the biological child for another person or couple. There are two types of surrogacy.
The first is called traditional surrogacy where the surrogate is artificially inseminated with donor sperm that is then used to fertilize her own eggs making her not just carrier of the baby, but also the biological mother. The second option for surrogacy is called a gestational surrogate.
With a gestational surrogacy the intended parents will provide sperm and eggs that will be fertilized and artificially inseminated into the surrogate making her only the carrier of the baby or babies in some cases, not the bio mom.
How do I find a surrogate? Most people will choose to go through an agency who will match a couple up with a potential mother. The agency will handle all of the contracts and fees so that all you have to focus on is preparing for your baby. The benefit of using an agency is that there will be no legal issues because they make sure to iron all of that out.
The potential drawback for using an agency is the cost. The average surrogate contract is between $12,000 to $15,000, but once you factor in the medical cost a couple is looking at about $100,000 to $150,000.
The second option would be to ask a trusted friend or family member to carry your baby for you. But in some cases this can raise a lot of financial questions about who pays for what and potential complex legal questions.
Couples and individuals choose surrogacy for any number of reasons. Below we will explore what those reasons might be!
15 Single Fathers Who Want Babies
We talk a lot about the single woman whose biological clock is ticking. But there are a lot of men out there that hear that same loud asinine ringing in their ears "BE A DAD, BE A DAD, BE A DAD," you get it. These men are also ready to settle down and have families of their own but they haven't found that one yet.
But just as a woman can be empowered to be a single-mom so can a man. A lot of single guys are also turning to surrogacy to start families. For men the process is the same with one extra step of finding a donor egg along with the surrogate Mom or they could opt for traditional surrogacy and find one woman who will donate her eggs and also carry the baby.
14 Fear The Baby Will Be Ugly
In perhaps the most shocking reason I found during my research for this article was a Reddit user who wanted to know if it was ok to use a surrogate so that her child would have a better chance at hitting the lottery in the looks department.
This user claims she didn't hit the genetic lotto when she was born and because of that was bullied relentlessly for her looks and suffered major bouts of depressions. She feels that the only chance she has at getting a good looking kid is if she marries up so to speak, but she can't because she's not attractive.
I get the whole "I don't want to get fat thing" as mentioned above, but have we really stooped to a level so low that we would want to use someone else to carry our baby just so they're good looking? This person (and any person who shares this thinking) is looking for a guarantee in parenthood and we all know it doesn't come with that.
If they do choose to share with their child the truth birth story their child would be getting a message that we value looks and perfection above anything else and that is truly the ugly part.
13 Not Having A Womb Or Womb Won't Carry Baby To Term
For women who have endometriosis, heavy period because of fibroids, or cervical cancer a hysterectomy may be necessary. In a hysterectomy your doctor will remove your uterus, along with your ovaries and fallopian tubes. In some cases, you are able to harvest your eggs prior to your hysterectomy.
If you are able to do this but still want to be able to have a biological child the only option would be for you to use a surrogate. For some women they may still have their uterus and may be able to have no trouble conceiving a baby but because of a defect in their uterus are unable to carry a baby to term.
And sometimes because of a rare genetic malformation a woman will not have a uterus at all. This effects 1 in 12,000 women. The lack of uterus means a woman will never be able to carry a child.
12 Being Of Advanced Maternal Age
One of the most common reasons a woman will decide on surrogacy as a means to have a baby is because of her age. Some women decide to delay pregnancy early on their lives because of careers, financial stability, or finding a long-term partner. Other reasons could be that they struggled with infertility and tried too long on their own to conceive.
For those women that decide to wait to have children for any number of reasons until after their 30's they can have a harder time conceiving. For women our egg production and the quality of our eggs begins to decrease starting at the of 35.
If a woman who is over 35 finds herself able to conceive she will also have a higher risk of having a baby with some chromosomal abnormalities, she also has a higher risk for pregnancy related complications like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, premature birth or a baby with low birth weight.
For a woman over 35 that has been trying for 6 months or more to get pregnant surrogacy may be a good option.
11 Risk Of Postpartum Depression
Every woman after she has a baby goes through hormonal surges that can cause varying ranges of emotions. Lack of sleep, stress from caring for a newborn, breastfeeding and hormonal changes are all factors in the baby blues. For some women these emotional changes begin to balance themselves out after about 2 to 3 weeks.
But for some women they struggle with a bigger more clinical depression called postpartum depression. Roughly 600,000 American mothers are affected. PPD can so impact the life of mom and her family that she becomes fearful of having another baby. If you have had PPD before you have a 30% chance that you will have it again.
The fear and anxiety of that can keep families from expanding the way they want to. If a family is struggling with the reality of PPD but still have the desire to have more children, then they should consider gestational or traditional surrogacy.
10 Legitimate Fear Of Childbirth
All women who desire to have children can feel a little bit of anxiety about giving birth and pregnancy. And understandably so of course! There are so many unknowns with pregnancy. Is the baby kicking enough? What did that pain mean? Should I be doing this or that? Then there's the actual labor and delivery. And yes it can be exciting and thrilling, but it can also be incredibly terrifying.
Even for a mom like me who has given birth 4 times naturally I still get anxiety about D-day. However, some women have a real phobia of birth and pregnancy called Tokophobia. Tokophobia is a pathological fear of pregnancy and can lead to a woman not wanting to become pregnant at all. Some women who suffer from this find the very thought of being pregnant disgusting.
But suffers of this rare condition who still have a desire to be a mother, surrogacy can allow them to still experience motherhood.
9 Trauma Surrounding A Previous Pregnancy Or Birth
Not all women glow throughout their pregnancies and have the radiant skin, long lush hair, blossoming bosom and major energy bouts. Some women don't spend months planning and fretting over nursery designs, layettes and the best gear. Some mothers-to-be spend their time at countless doctor appointments and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
For someone women pregnancy and child birth is extremely difficult and traumatic. Issues like bed rest, preeclampsia, and other high risk pregnancies related complications can leave a woman feeling like a weighted down incubator and with little to no desire to every repeat the process.
If you are among the 26,000 women who have suffered from a stillbirth or premature baby the possibilities of another devastating situation occurring could also keep you and your family from having more children. For women who fear another traumatic pregnancy or birth experience they could feel that their fear prevents them from adding to their family and that if they don't carry the child themselves that will effectively be the end.
8 Infertility Problems: His, Hers, Or Both
It is estimated that about 6.1 million couples in the US suffer from infertility. The causes of infertility can range from a number of different issues like a woman being unable to ovulate, hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, poor egg health, and blocked fallopian tubes.
For some of these couples it is the man that struggles with a low sperm count or even poor sperm health. And it is estimated that 15% of these couples suffer from unexplained infertility. Typically, infertile couples have turned to IVF to get pregnant, but sometimes couples can try for years and spend thousands of dollars and still never conceive a child.
The process of IVF is not only financially draining but can also be emotionally draining. For couples who still desire to have a child that is genetically theirs they will decide on surrogacy. Many celebrity couples like Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, and Jimmy Fallon and his wife have talked about using a surrogate due to fertility issues.
7 Not Wanting To Stop Medical Treatments, Or The Physical Toll Of Carrying A Baby
Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill made headlines in 2011 when the former E! host announced that while undergoing her third IVF treatment that she had breast cancer and would be undergoing a mastectomy.
In 2012 the couple announced that they were expecting a baby via a gestational surrogate. In a series of interviews Giuliana expressed that her ultimate desire was to still have a baby, but because of the medication that she was on for her breast cancer she didn't think she would be able to get pregnant.
The American Cancer Society explains that the safety of a pregnancy is compromised after a woman has undergone radiation for breast cancer. Heart disease, kidney disease and autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis are medical conditions that can make a woman a high-risk pregnancy.
For woman who face medical conditions or are on a medication regiment that would put their health at risk if they were to stop, surrogacy is a safe and likely option.
6 Fear That Having A Baby Will Impact Her Career
In the May 2014 issue of Elle Magazine they reported the story of a woman named Mari Smith who felt her biological clock ticking and the desire to build a family with her husband. But what she did not have a desire to do is to stop working and halt the momentum she had in her career to be pregnant.
She felt that at the age of 37 she needed to make a decision quickly about her future as a mother. After getting initial pushback from her mother-in-law Mari and her husband decided that the potential $100,000 cost of a surrogate would be worth it for them to have a baby and still allow Mari to continue working.
This style of surrogacy is often called 'Social Surrogacy' and is not accepted as a "real" reason to use one. Dylan Lauren, Daughter of American clothing designer Ralph Lauren also decided that at aged 41 she wanted a baby with her husband but that she was just traveling to much to stop and focus on carrying a baby.
In April 2015 the couple welcomed a set of twins via a surrogate.
5 LGBTQ Couples Looking To Become Parents
Surrogacy is a great option for gay couples that wish to have at least one parent biologically related to the baby. It is also a good option if you live in a state that prohibits adoption for same-sex couples.
If a couple decides to go the surrogate route it ensures that at least one parent will not have to go through the legal system to be recognized as the parent and won't have to gain parental rights via adoption. Gay couples seeking surrogacy have two options when deciding. the first option would be traditional surrogacy with artificial insemination.
The second option would be using IVF, egg donation, and gestational surrogacy. Genetic research is advancing now to make it possible that in just two years a baby could have TWO biological Dad's or Mom's meaning that both potential fathers could be related to the baby.
4 Avoidance Of Weight Gain
Gaining 10, 15, 20 or even 75 pounds is just par for the course when you decide to get pregnant. Some of us take the whole "eating" for two thing and we run to the nearest food court. But some of us are very disciplined and know that whatever you put in those 9 months will take at least 9 months to take off.
But what if you are so dedicated to keeping your figure slim and tight that you don't want to carry a baby at all? Perhaps one of the most controversial reasons to opt for a surrogate is because you just simply don't want to get fat. Is there a moral objection to that?
American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that a surrogate only be used 'when a true medical condition precludes the intended parent from carrying a pregnancy or would pose a significant risk of death or harm to the woman or the fetus.' Every doctor's interpretation of that word harm is going to be different.
I'm sure there are some women out there who truly need to consider a surrogate for medical reasons and may not be able to financially do so and I would imagine that these women would be very offended and even judge a woman for using a surrogate just so she won't ruin her body.
But Her Body Her Choice right? Should it matter how a mother comes to motherhood as long as she get's there if that's her intended goal?
3 Having Previous Miscarriages
Those double lines on a pregnancy test leave you feeling full of anticipation, excitement and maybe even a little anxiety. But mostly anticipation at everything the coming weeks, months and years hold for you. However, for some women the double lines on the test fills them with a different kind of anticipation.
The anticipation of the recurrent miscarriage. Like infertility, recurrent miscarriages can be emotionally draining on a couple trying desperately for a baby. After many months and months of trying a couple finally finds themselves pregnant only to be let down a few weeks later when it results in a miscarriage.
So they try again and succeed only to eventually fail again and again. For some women they are never able to nail down an exact reason and so they are counseled to just keep trying, but these inevitable miscarriages can be more than some can bare. Before giving up completely woman should know they have another option to explore.
2 Because Adoption Isn't That Easy
Maybe you are one of the many couples that find themselves unable to conceive for whatever reason. Adoption is often mentioned to couples struggling to get pregnant as a means to an end and although there is absolutely nothing wrong with adoption it may not be the answer you want.
You may still want to look at a baby girl who shares your eyes and yours husbands dark chestnut curls. Besides, adoption isn't as easy as people would have you believe. There isn't an Amazon Prime for babies that you put your order into and BAM with 2 day free shipping you've got a baby waiting for you on your doorstep.
Adoption is also a very costly expenses and comes with it's own form of heartbreak. If you are still holding out hope for a baby that is still you in a genetic sense looking for someone else to carry your baby may be exactly what you need to do.
1 Mom And Dad Are Faced With Genetic Challenges
In some couples one or both potential parents may struggle with a genetic disorder that they do not want to pass down to any of their children. This could be something like Huntington's Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell, Muscular Dystrophy, or even certain types of dwarfism.
For these couples they would want to explore the option of a traditional surrogate. In traditional surrogacy the surrogate would be carrying a baby that would be from her eggs and donor sperm. In doing so that would mean that the baby is not biologically linked to the intended parents but it would ensure that the baby would not have any of the genetic challenges that his or her parents have.