What is Surrogacy: Everything there is to Know about Surrogacy
Children are a gift from God. They light up our lives with their innocence and paint the world in colors that we've long lost the ability to see. They are precious and ensure the continuity of the human race. As Pandit Jawaharlal aptly said, “Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow.”
Different methods of gaining a child
Having a child is an option. While many adults choose to live a child-free life, others crave to become parents. In the latter case, natural births are the most popular methods of gaining kids.
However, not everyone can go down this route of childbirth due to various reasons. These include there being hazardous conditions in the mother’s womb for the embryo, the reproductive organs being infertile in either of or both the couple, the adult choosing to be a single parent or numerous other factors that prod the to-be-parents to look for other options.
The most popular choice for those who cannot follow the path of natural birth is to adopt. However, several parents prefer to have their genetics passed down to their children, much like it would be in case of a natural birth. Taking this into account, the parent chooses to opt the method of surrogacy.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a method through which a woman bears a child for parents who are unable to produce children of their own in a natural way. This practice of surrogacy gained international attention in the mid-1970s when there was a reduction in the number of children available for adoption and with the increase in specialization techniques in human embryology.
There are two ways in which this is practiced. Traditional surrogacy involves the artificial insemination of the husband’s sperm to impregnate the surrogate mother. Gestational surrogacy involves in vitro fertilization in which the wife’s ova and the husband’s sperm are fertilized outside the body before the embryo is implanted in the surrogate mother’s womb. She then carries the child through the period of pregnancy until birth and thereupon gives up all parental rights.
It was in the late 1700s that the first case of artificial insemination was recorded. John Hunter, a Scottish-born surgeon, impregnated a woman with her husband’s sperm leading to a successful pregnancy. One of the first cases of modified artificial insemination was performed by American physician William Pancoast in 1884.
The process has evolved in technique over time. The basic procedure is to obtain semen from the husband or a donor and inject it into the woman (either the parent or the surrogate) in the midst of her menstrual cycle. The technique has been noted to be reasonably successful in achieving pregnancy.
Test-tube conception, otherwise known as In vitro fertilization (IVF), is the procedure in which the mature egg cells are removed from the woman and fertilized outside the body with the man's sperm. The fertilized embryo is then inserted into the uterus of the woman (either the parent or the surrogate) who then carries the child to birth.
The first successful birth of a human child through IVF was carried out in 1978 by British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and British medical researcher Robert Edwards.
This method of having children has been criticized on the grounds of morality, ethics and religion ever since it was first developed. There are also a number of issues associated with surrogate motherhood. These include the rights of all individuals involved in the process, should anything go awry, and the matter of payment which, in an extreme case, implies that the child is treated as a commodity.