The term surrogacy is used when a woman carries a pregnancy and gives birth to a baby for another woman. Opinion on the morality of surrogacy is divided. Surrogacy is legally accepted in some countries such as UK as a treatment option for selected groups of patients. However, surrogacy is still not allowed in many countries. Legislation governing surrogacy varies between countries and even in same country such as the USA, where policies vary between states. Religious attitudes to surrogacy varies. Roman catholic and Anglian Christian do not accept surrogacy because it is contrary to the unity of marriage. Islam forbids surrogacy (pregnancy should be the fruit of a legitimate marriage). Surrogacy is not forbidden in both Jewish and Buddhist .
Surrogates can be divided into natural surrogates and IVF surrogates.
IVF surrogacy (gestational carrier) – full surrogate
This is where a woman carries a pregnancy created by the egg and sperm of genetic couple. The carrier is not genetically related to the child.
Natural surrogacy (traditional/straight surrogate)
Here, the surrogate is inseminated with sperm or may be the egg donor for the same couple, from the male partner’s of an infertile couple. The child that results is genetically related to the surrogate and to the male partner but not to the commissioning female partner.
There are several groups of patients that natural and IVF surrogacy may be advised to.
IVF surrogacy is helpful in following conditions:
- Women whose ovaries are producing eggs but they do not have functional uterus this could be because they have had a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) performed due to cancer, severe hemorrhage or ruptured womb, or they were born without a uterus. This is by far the most common indication for IVF surrogacy.
- A woman whose uterus is malformed or damaged and is incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term, may be recommended IVF surrogacy.
- Women who suffer from medical problems such as diabetes, heart and kidney diseases and in whom a pregnancy would be life threatening. However, their long term prospect for health is good.
- Repeated miscarriages where the causes of miscarriage have been fully investigated, may also suggest IVF surrogacy treatment.
Traditional surrogacy is helpful in:
- Women who have no functioning ovaries due to premature menopause ( some may argue that the best option for these patients is egg donation).
- A woman who is at risk of passing on a genetic disease to her offspring, may opt for traditional surrogacy.
- As with IVF surrogacy, women who suffer from medical problems such as diabetes, heart and kidney diseases and in whom a pregnancy would be life threatening may select traditional surrogacy if their long term prospect for health is good.
- is the type of surrogacy where a woman agrees to be a surrogate mother to bear the child of the intending parents for substantial financial gains.
- is the surrogacy in which a woman agrees to bear the child for the intending parent on for Compassion and urge to help a woman to become a Mother. there are no financial gains but there treatment cost and other medical fees are provided by the intending parents along with some compensation for the loss of employment if any. Women may become a surrogate may do so for compassionate reasons to help a sister, daughter or friend. Commercial surrogacy is permitted in the United Kingdom, but ALTRUISTIC surrogacy is accepted and allowed.
The recent development with the introduction of the ICMR ( Indian Council of Medical Research), the regulatory authority for ART in India, regulations,
Surrogacy for Gay and Lesbian partners is not permitted in India.