Have you noticed that of late, many celebrity couples in Nigeria have been going for Surrogacy. It is to help put on a smile on the faces of many couples, especially women who are looking for the fruit of the womb.
It now seems to be the preferred choice of many celebrity couple. What is Surrogacy you may ask? Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.
People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wishes to have a child. Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.
In surrogacy arrangements, monetary compensation may or may not be involved. Receiving money for the arrangement is known as Commercial surrogacy. The legality and cost of surrogacy varies widely between jurisdictions, sometimes resulting in problematic international or interstate surrogacy arrangements.
Where commercial surrogacy is legal, couples may use the help of a third-party agency to assist in the process of surrogacy by finding a surrogate and arranging a surrogacy contract with her. These agencies often screen surrogates’ psychological and other medical tests to ensure the best chance of healthy gestation and delivery. They also usually facilitate all legal matters concerning the intended parents and the surrogate.
Surrogacy may be either Traditional or Gestational, which are differentiated by the genetic origin of the egg. Gestational surrogacy tends to be more common than traditional surrogacy and is considered less legally complex.
A traditional surrogacy (also known as partial, natural, or straight surrogacy) is one where the surrogate’s egg is fertilised in vivo by the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm. Insemination of the surrogate can be either through natural or artificial insemination. Using the sperm of a donor results in a child that is not genetically related to the intended parent(s). If the intended father’s sperm is used in the insemination, the resulting child is genetically related to both the intended father and the surrogate.
In some cases, insemination may be performed privately by the parties without the intervention of a doctor or physician. In some jurisdictions, the intended parents using donor’s sperm need to go through an adoption process to have legal parental rights of the resulting child. Many fertility centres that provide for surrogacy assist the parties through the legal process.
Gestational surrogacy (also known as host or full surrogacy) was first achieved in April 1986. It takes place when an embryo created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology is implanted in a surrogate, sometimes called a gestational carrier. Gestational surrogacy has several forms, and in each form, the resulting child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate:
·The embryo is created using the intended father’s sperm and the intended mother’s eggs;
·The embryo is created using the intended father’s sperm and a donor’s egg;
·The embryo is created, using the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm;
·A donors embryo is transferred to a surrogate. Such an embryo may be available when others undergoing IVF have embryos left over, which they donate to others. The resulting child is genetically unrelated to the intended parent(s).
The embryo implanted in gestational surrogacy faces the same risks as anyone using IVF would. Preimplantation risks of the embryo include unintentional epigenetic effects, influence of media which the embryo is cultured on, and undesirable consequences of invasive manipulation of the embryo. Often, multiple embryos are transferred to increase the chance of implantation, and if multiple gestations occur, both the surrogate and the embryos face higher risks of complications.
Gestational surrogates have a smaller chance of having hypertensive disorder during pregnancy compared to mothers pregnant by oocyte donation. This is possibly because surrogate mothers tend to be healthier and more fertile than women who use oocyte donation. Surrogate mothers also have low rates of placenta praevia / placental abruptions (1.1-7.9%).
Children born through singleton IVF surrogacy have shown to have no physical or mental abnormalities compared to those children born through natural conception. However, children born through multiple gestations in surrogate mothers often result in preterm labour and delivery, resulting in prematurity and physical and/or mental anomalies.
INDICATIONS FOR SURROGACY
Opting for surrogacy is often a choice made when women are unable to carry foetus on their own. This can be for a number of reasons, including an abnormal uterus or a complete absence of a uterus either congenitally (also known as Mayer-Roakitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome) or post-hysterectomy. Women may have a hysterectomy owing to complications in childbirth such as heavy bleeding or a ruptured uterus. Medical diseases such as cervical cancer or endometrial cancer can also lead to surgical removal of the uterus. Past implantation failures, history of multiple miscarriages, or concurrent severe heart or renal conditions that can make pregnancy harmful may also prompt women to consider surrogacy. The biological impossibility of single men and same-sex couples having a baby also may indicate surrogacy as an option.
In gestational surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate mother, who is often referred to as a gestational carrier. Instead, the embryo is created via in vitro fertilization (IVF), using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors, and is then transferred to the surrogate.
According to recommendations made by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a gestational carrier is preferably between the ages of 21 and 45, has had one full-term, uncomplicated pregnancy where she successfully had, at least, one child, and has had no more than five deliveries or three Caesarean sections.
The International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics recommends that the surrogate’s autonomy should be respected throughout the pregnancy even if her wishes conflict with what the intended parents want.
The most commonly reported motivation given by gestational surrogates is an altruistic desire to help a childless couple. Other less commonly given reasons include enjoying the experience of pregnancy, and financial compensation.
Having another woman bear a child for a couple to raise, usually with the male half of the couple as the genetic father, has been referenced since ancient times.