Surrogacy as an alternative

The path to child happiness with a "surrogate mother

In the USA, there were a total of 18,400 surrogate pregnancies from 1999 to 2013, according to the US website of mysurrogatemom.com. This alternative for realising the desire to have a child is experiencing ever-increasing demand. In many countries and in Germany, surrogacy is prohibited, which is why more and more people are turning to countries such as Ukraine, the USA and India to fulfil their desire to have children. Especially among homosexual couples, singles and couples with an unfulfilled desire to have children, this possibility is receiving more and more attention. Even famous personalities, such as Elton John or Sarah Jessica Parker, have fulfilled their desire to have a child with the help of a surrogate mother.

What is a surrogate mother?

A surrogate mother is a "surrogate mother" who makes herself available to go through a pregnancy and birth for another couple (order parents). The child is given to the "order parents" after birth. Surrogacy is basically divided into two forms.

In gestational surrogacy, fertilisation of the egg takes place with the egg and sperm of the two "ordering parents". The child is thus genetically linked to the ordering parents and the surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the child. Another form is traditional surrogacy. Here, the surrogate mother's eggs can be fertilised with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donation. However, eggs from a selected egg donor can also be used. With this procedure, the child is only half genetically linked to the "intended parents". In practice, gestational surrogacy is favoured.

What are the requirements?

The ordering parents must undergo some checks and tests (e.g. blood and hormone tests) beforehand. The compatibility of the surrogate mother and egg donor is determined on the basis of the blood group and the rhesus factor. In order to be able to give birth to a healthy child, there are some requirements for the surrogate mother. She should have a healthy lifestyle, be physically and mentally healthy, be between 18 and 35 years old and have given birth to at least one child of her own. During pregnancy, the surrogate mother is contractually obliged not to consume drugs or alcohol. At the same time, close medical care is provided.

Selection of the surrogate mother

In most cases, surrogacy is managed by an agency. Here couples have the opportunity to choose suitable surrogate mothers or egg donors from a catalogue. As a rule, contractual conditions are agreed with the agency and the surrogate mother (e.g. transfer of the child after birth).

What is the legal situation with surrogacy?

In Germany, surrogacy is prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act and the Adoption Mediation Act. For example, surrogacy is permitted in Russia, Thailand and the USA. There are very different regulations and laws on this topic all over the world.

For example, surrogacy is prohibited in Germany, but it is possible to use this alternative abroad. It is important to note here that the recognition of parenthood and the entry regulations can lead to legal hurdles. For these reasons, comprehensive counselling in advance is important.

What does surrogacy cost?

The cost of surrogacy varies greatly from country to country. According to babygest.com, surrogacy in the USA costs around 80,000 - 240,000. In the Ukraine, the costs are around 50,000 - 80,000 €. The total costs usually consist of the costs for the artificial insemination, the agency, the legal representative, the compensation or the expenses of the surrogate mother, additional treatments and miscellaneous (e.g. travel, lawyers, etc.).

A distinction is made between commercial and altruistic surrogacy. In commercial surrogacy, the focus is on paying the surrogate mother and in altruistic surrogacy, only an expense allowance is paid, as the surrogate mothers want to do something good when they make themselves available and this idea is in the foreground.

To reduce the exploitation of women, there are countries where only altruistic surrogacy is allowed. Nevertheless, the share that surrogate mothers receive is usually only 10-30% of the total cost.

From our point of view, surrogacy is a possibility to realise the wish to have a child. However, due to the legal situation, we see challenges in fulfilling the wish to have a child. We are critical of this alternative to having children, because it often involves the exploitation of women in developing countries. Another aspect, from our point of view, is the physical and psychological strain (hormone therapy, pregnancy, etc.) that the surrogate mother puts herself through voluntarily or out of financial need.

This article is a rough summary of the topic of surrogacy. We will cover this topic in more detail with checklists and our P4B check.

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