Finding support and programs to begin a surrogacy journey can be difficult for just about everyone. Especially if your family is considered “non-traditional”.
As if struggling with infertility wasn’t enough, finding a surrogacy agency that will accept your family can be almost unheard of for some intended parents. Non-traditional family structures, like hopeful single parents and homosexual couples have been refused eligibility from many surrogacy programs throughout the world.
This refusal doesn’t come from the agencies themselves however, more often or not, it’s the governmental agencies that are keeping these families from achieving their dreams. While you’d hope that archaic laws such as these are on the out, they’re actually becoming more common. Luckily, US surrogacy programs, like surrogacy programs from ilaya, a well known fertility clinic around the world, are here to help.
1. What is Surrogacy
Surrogacy is the process by which a woman bears the child for another couple who can’t become pregnant themselves. Surrogacy indeed dates back into the biblical ages, and currently, so do some of the laws governing it.
There are two main types of surrogacy: Traditional and Gestational. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother donates her own egg for the process and is artificially inseminated with the sperm from the hopeful couple. This process, due to historical legal issues over custodial rights of the child, is largely disused in contemporary society.
Gestational surrogacy is the gold standard of most surrogacy arrangements. Making it easier for legal processes to be binding. In gestational surrogacy, genetic material from the intended parents, or from donors are combined in a lab via in vitro fertilization. The combined material is then placed into the waiting womb of the surrogate mother. Giving her no biological link to the child she will now be carrying.
Apart from biological process, there are two categories of surrogacy as far as finances are concerned. Altruistic and commercial. Altruistic surrogacy demands that the surrogate mother take no payment for her time or efforts. Although some reimbursements can be made for medical and living costs, the mother sees no actual compensation. Commercial surrogacy is one in which the surrogate will draw payment for her role.
The concept of altruistic and commercial surrogacy is hotly debated the world over. Some countries are happy to pay their surrogate mothers for their time, while others fear this may promote exploitation of poor and undereducated women.
2. Common Restrictions
Outside of laws regarding process and finance, many countries also have auxiliary laws about who is even eligible for the services. Non-married couples, homosexuals, and single parents are often left out of the legal equation.
In many countries, most eligible couples must be legally married and produce medical reasoning as to why they can’t conceive. In areas where gay marriage still isn’t legal, this leaves little hope for couples who have no medical struggles with infertility. Single parents are just as unlikely to be able to follow their dreams, as well as couples that simply cohabitate. Outside of the US, common law marriage provisions vary widely, if indeed they exist at all. Leaving anyone outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage with few choices on how to build their families.
India has recently taken this trend a step further, with a new bill requiring that infertile couples must be married for more than five years before they are eligible to participate in surrogacy programs. Foregoing the needs of young couples completely. Surrogates are required to be genetically related to the couple in need and only allows for altruistic surrogacies. Producing yet another hurdle in an already exhausting race.
Creating so many blockades to the dreams of many is bound to produce problems. Problems that have already been evident in previous situations, where the necessity and demand of surrogacy trumped much of what the laws had to say.
3. A Worrying Trend
Concerns have been raised over the new restrictive laws that are quickly gaining popularity. With desperation possibly leading more couples to seek surrogacy services that exist outside of the legislation that’s in place. The internet can serve as a back alley conduit for these arrangements, promoting the exploitation of women who aren’t qualified medically to provide surrogate services. Some who are despondent enough to volunteer for a process that they may not be medically or emotionally fit for.
These types of arrangements can spell quick disaster for all parties involved. Putting the health and wellbeing of families on the line. Restriction also gives way for cons and scams, without an avenue to pursue legal recourse should things go wrong.
Even when procured legally, these types of laws and restrictions can make it difficult, if not sometimes impossible, for families to unite their new child with their home countries. Resulting in abandonment or relocation with no other plausible options. Sadly, many of these laws have been put in place to try and quell fears associated with surrogacy tourism and exploitation, only to lead to new forms of profiteering and abuse.
4. Breaking the Mold
One nation that’s meeting these demands in a healthy and legally protected way is the US. While it may come as a bit of a surprise, after headlines exploded about the new and highly controversial abortion legislation that’s been passed, the US seems to be on track when it comes to surrogacy for all.
California has long been a safe haven for any hopeful parents seeking to expand their families. Whether they subscribe to the nuclear family model or not. In many states where surrogacy is legal, commercial surrogacy is the preferred method, ensuring that the women who opt to help are in the best position to do so and are well compensated for their roles.
Healthcare in the US, while expensive, is still of the highest standard worldwide. Allowing many physicians and researchers to push the boundaries of science to help people of all backgrounds and situations the chance at having a child of their own.
Recently, the Utah Supreme Court overruled the wording of a 2005 law that was found to be exclusionary to same sex couples. The new legislation now allows for surrogacy to just about anyone in need, ensuring that constitutional rights of all people are upheld.
So far, surrogacy programs are offered by a majority of US states, but not all of them have come on board with all inclusive programs. But the trend seems to be gaining momentum and popularity, giving more and more families of all origins the chance to conceive.