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‘Surrogates’ exactly means ‘to act in the place of’. Surrogacy involves two women, where one woman carries and gives birth to another woman’s child. Surrogacy or gestational care is the process of bearing the fetus by the surrogate mother with the intention of bearing the child for the sake of a couple. This concept has been designed especially for those couple who have not been successful in their attempts to become parents in spite of multiple treatments undergone for having their own(genetical) baby.
1. Gestational surrogacy or IVF- is a general method of surrogacy, when a childless couple engages a woman called as “surrogate mother”. She will be depended to bear an embryo formed by the fertilization of intended mother’s egg and intended male partner’s sperm by IVF procedure. The child inherits the genes of both intended parents, where the egg of the intending mother is fertilized in vitro with the sperm of the male partner through an IVF procedure.
2. Natural or Traditional surrogacy – here the “surrogate mother” carries an embryo which is produced as a result of fertilization of her own egg and the sperm of the child planning male, so that the child carries genes of surrogate mother and male partner. It is mainly useful when the intended woman has some genetic malformation that is liable to get transferred to the baby or her eggs are infertile. The sperms of the intended male partner are inseminated into surrogate mother by way of Intra uterine insemination (IUI) or IVF procedure is done.
An insight into the procedure:
The surrogate pregnancy is treated with precautious extra care and various tests are done time to time for the immediate and timely detection of any complications related to pregnancy. The menstrual cycle is made to match the genetic mother and the surrogate mother by adjusting both of their menstrual dates by oral contraceptive pills and then according to the doctor’s decision, hormonal injections are administered or relevant pills are given to the genetic mother. The patient is closely supervised everyday and USG is done time to time.
In the same way, the surrogate also receives medication and injections. The egg retrieval of intended mother is done just at the time of ovulation and parallel to that, the genetic father’s semen sample for IVF is obtained, and fertilized in the lab, after which the resultant embryo is transferred into the womb of the surrogate making appropriate use of ultrasound scanning.
The surrogate is given the necessary medication after the transfer of the embryo into her womb and the pregnancy test may confirm the positive presence of the fetus, 15 days later and progressively, the parents are informed about the progress of growth of the baby by providing the Ultrasound pictures and other lab reports of the fetus.
Probable risks due to surrogacy:
On deciding to go for surrogacy, the childless couple may face certain social and ethical issues, may undergo a lot of emotional complexes associated with surrogacy, therefore, the resolution of obtaining a child through surrogacy must be taken only after knowing the pros and cons of the process, including the legal procedures, so that they do not face complications regarding the child’s owning in future.
Benefits of surrogacy:
- Surrogacy can be a boon to the childless couples or single women who would like to have a child and are capable of producing eggs, but the female has permanent dysfunction of the uterus or has any deformities in the uterus and is not able to carry the baby full term
- Couples and single women have certain barriers in conceiving and have problems in carrying fetus till delivery and would like to have a child genetically related to one or both parents
- When a Gay male couple look forward to grow a child with genetic link to one of the partner
Guidance for medical travelers:
Regardless of the nature of surrogacy, in India most of the types of surrogacy may be possible. This is not the case with all the countries, as some of them do not allow the commercial type of surrogacy, where the surrogate mother is hired for carrying out pregnancy.
Medical travelers should ask for the opinion of a number of related people for judging their decision, clear all the doubts about the method and have legal contracts to protect the rights and responsibilities of the parents, surrogates, and intended child. They should confirm the safety and good standards of medical practice before assigning surrogacy.
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