Surrogacy on the upswing?
This morning I read two articles from two very different parts of the world.
The first article, Dealing with a childless marriage, came from The Times of India. According to this publication, (no author is mentioned), couples facing a childless future are encouraged to consider the effects stress has on conceiving, and recognize when professional counseling can be beneficial, especially if infertility is the issue. Then, as can be expected, the A-bomb gets dropped after the third paragraph:
Adoption is a boon for a parentless child, but more often than not, adoption proves to be a blessing for the couple who is adopting. Anuradha Talwar, 35, who adopted a child after six years of marriage says, “After we adopted Niharika, a curtain of sorrow was lifted from our lives. Earlier, we were resigned to the fact that we would always be miserable and unhappy.”
"Adoption is a boon". A business boon, indeed... especially since every business must have a target audience, and when it comes to adoption, is seems as though that audience is often infertile, and/or wanting more children.
However, a not-so-new trend seems to be making media headlines these days, as well. Today, news about surrogacy comes from Canada. According to the article, N.B. surrogate helps complete Island family, surrogacy has benefits adoption doesn't.
"We knew we wanted at least two (children). That was our intention but, after Chelsey was born, it didn't look like that was going to happen," Trevor says.
"It was a difficult ordeal. There were a lot of mixed emotions at the time. We had a beautiful baby daughter but, at the same time, Tricia (lost her ability to carry another child)."
About a year later, Tricia started to research their options as far as adoption and surrogacy.
"(Adoption) is a great system but, after looking into the time span of waiting for four or five years and all that, we just didn't know if that was what we wanted," Trevor remembers.
Seems the waiting-period is what gets people down and disinterested with the adoption-option... so off to the fertility clinic couples will go.
Later in the article, readers learn how surrogacy operates with this one particular Canadian-based agency. First the surrogate mother gets to choose the couple for which she will carry, then the type of contact during and after (pregnancy) is agreed upon, and once all is peachy, all partners enter a legally binding contract. What I found surprising is how some surrogacy agencies, (like those in India) will pay the mothers to give birth but not emotionally attach, while this featured agency follows a different policy... one that mimics a good old-fashioned adoption-plan and procedure:
The agency is paid a fee for matching the surrogate with the prospective parent(s). The surrogate receives no payment but her legal and medical costs associated with the pregnancy and also accommodation and travel costs to, in this case Toronto, for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.
So now, in my mind, things get a little tricky, like a crazy roller-coaster ride, because how many average Joes and Janes know what fertility treatments do to a person... to a couple? As one who had friends take the IVF route, I know it was not easy, especially for the woman taking so many hormones, hoping desperately she will conceive (but not too many).
According to the happy-surrogacy-story, set-backs did take place. Even though the infertile couple had to do their part with the fertility specialist, so did their non-paid "gestational carrier"... and still that mutual effort was not enough, at first.
"Even though there was nothing wrong with my eggs, I too had to go on fertility (drugs) and all that because they wanted the best chance in order for us to conceive," Tricia says.
"So I went though all the same medication as did our gestational carrier to get her body ready to accept (embryos). Plus I had ultrasounds along the way that she did herself to (check the eggs' status)."
The egg-provider in this story produced only four eggs, and not all the eggs were strong. Next round, she only produced three. Lucky for the paying couple, one of those fertilized eggs did produce a baby that was delivered by induction that following April. [My favorite part of the surrogate-story was how the "gestational carrier" was treated before and after delivery... all according to plan.]
They were in constant contact with their gestational carrier, who kept them informed of all the little details, such as doctor's appointments and other pregnancy milestones that add up to big memories for parents-to-be.
"Everything and anything she sent our way and really and truly we don't feel like we missed out on anything," Tricia says.
Once Sophie was weighed and cleaned she was placed in her parents' arms, according to the birth plan that had been made up by their gestational carrier beforehand.
At the end of the article, the reader learns 18 months later the young family still keeps in touch with, and I quote, "the woman who volunteered to help bring their child into the world."
Here's my question(s) for discussion: had that woman... that gestational carrier... been paid, like the fine folks working at the fertility clinic, would she still have gotten monthly updates on the baby she helped create? At what point is that relationship supposed to end? Is this surrogacy, or an open adoption, done through a fertility clinic? Last but not least, if surrogacy becomes more popular, does this mean orphanages around the world will be seeing less and less very young "orphans" available for adoption?