Surrogate Mothers

Surrogate mothers allow the infertile to have children

By Sarah Leavitt, Medical Research EditorLast modified: October 03, 2011

Surrogate Mothers

Surrogate mothers grant others the gift of children.

Surrogacy is an emotional topic that includes more than the surrogate mother and the expecting parents. Surrogate mothers can subconsciously become emotionally attached to the child they carry and become emotionally fraught when they must give the child to the legal parents. A surrogate mother with previous children must also consider the impact of surrogacy on her family.

Surrogate mothers must be in good physical and emotional health. A woman whose medical problems may interfere with the success of a pregnancy cannot become a surrogate mother. Furthermore, if a pregnancy will risk the life of the female, she cannot become a surrogate mother.

A surrogate mother must pass a number of physical examinations to ensure she is healthy. Studies have recently shown that obese or women with BMIs greater than 35 have lower success rates with implantation. It is important for surrogate mothers to be healthy in order to optimize the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

Surrogate mothers are usually between the ages of 18 and 35. Most clinics will not allow women over the age of 35 to be a surrogate mother. In addition, many clinics recommend surrogate mothers to have already completed a pregnancy of their own. Prior experience with pregnancy ensures that surrogate mothers are familiar with the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy as well as proves the woman’s ability to give birth.

Commercial surrogacy
is the term applied to a surrogate mother who receives compensation for her services. Commercial surrogacy is banned in many locations, such as the United Kingdom. Most surrogate mothers volunteer for altruistic reasons, labeling their cases as altruistic surrogacy. Couples usually cover all the costs of pregnancy and medications for their surrogate mother.

The surrogacy procedure can differ based on who provides the eggs and sperm. Some surrogate mothers use their own eggs for fertilization. In this circumstance, the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child. Surrogate mothers can also be gestational, or without any biological connection to the child. In gestational surrogacy, the eggs and sperm are provided by either the intended parents or by donation and the surrogate mothers is merely the carrier of pregnancy.

Couples are usually very involved with the pregnancy and the surrogate mother’s progression; although this relationship varies under different circumstances.  

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