Surrogacy is an arrangement, usually supported   by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to give birth for another person or people, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth. People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically not possible, when pregnancy risks are dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a  male couples wish to have a child. Surrogacy is considered as one of many ART procedures. Altruistic surrogacy generally refers only to those preparations in which the surrogate does not receive compensation for her services

Altruistic Vs Commercial Surrogacy

In surrogacy arrangements, monetary satisfaction may or may not be involved. Receiving money for the preparations is known as commercial surrogacy. The legality and cost of surrogacy varies widely between countries where it is banned sometimes travel to a sovereignty that grant it. In some countries, surrogacy is legal only if money does not interchange. Where commercial surrogacy is legal, couples may use the help of third-party agencies to assist in the process of surrogacy by finding a surrogate mother and align a surrogacy contract with her. These agencies often screen surrogates’ psychological and other medical tests to certify the best chance of healthy gestation and delivery. They also usually simplify 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 oocyte (egg). Gestational surrogacy tends to be more regular than traditional surrogacy and is considered less legally complex.

Traditional Surrogacy:

A traditional surrogacy (also known as partial, natural, or straight surrogacy) is one where the surrogate’s egg is fertilized by the intended father’s or a donor’s sperm.

Gestational surrogacy:

Gestational 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, occasionally called as gestational carrier

Indications of surrogacy:

There can be for a number of reasons like, an abnormal uterus or a complete absence of a uterus either congenitally (also known as Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome) or post-hysterectomy. Women may have or suggested by physician to a hysterectomy due 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 (Hysterectomy). Past implantation failures, history of multiple miscarriages, or concurrent severe heart or renal conditions that can make pregnancy harmful may also cause women to consider surrogacy. The biological impossibility of single men and same-sex couples having a baby also may indicate surrogacy as a choice.

Types of surrogacy according to financial compensation:

Commercial surrogacy:

 Commercial surrogacy definition, the term generally refers to any surrogacy preparations in which the surrogate mother is compensated for her services beyond reimbursement of medical expenses.

Altruistic Surrogacy:

The replacement of commercial surrogacy , in which a woman volunteers to carry a pregnancy for intended parents without receiving any monetary compensation in return is altruistic surrogacy.

What is altruistic surrogacy?

Altruism is defined as “unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others” — a quality that all surrogates arguably must hold to make the physical and emotional sacrifices demanded by surrogacy.

However, the term “altruistic surrogacy” generally refers only to those preparations in which the surrogate does not receive compensation for her services beyond reimbursement for medical costs and other reasonable pregnancy-related expenses. Many of these agrrements are between family members or close friends. The alternative to altruistic surrogacy is commercial surrogacy, in which the surrogate is properly compensated for her time and energy, the sacrifices she makes and the many physical and mental challenges she faces throughout the surrogacy process.

How does altruistic surrogacy work?

The surrogacy process is usually the same for altruistic surrogacy as it is for commercial surrogacy. However, most intended parents in altruistic surrogacy prepares the work with surrogates they already know. Because of the incredible selflessness required of altruistic surrogates, many of the women who volunteer their gestational services for their siblings, children, or other close family members or friends.

These preparations are known as “identified surrogacy” because the intended parents and surrogate have already found their match before start working with a surrogacy professional. Identified surrogacy puts intended parents and surrogates a few steps ahead in the surrogacy process and get rid of the need for an agency’s matching services. However, it is highly recommended that intended parents and identified surrogates work closely with a surrogacy professional throughout the process to complete the necessary legal and medical requirements, and to provide the surrogate any support she need.

Altruistic surrogacy cost :

Altruistic surrogacy is usually less expensive than commercial surrogacy because the intended parents do not compensate their surrogate. Despite these savings, there are still several important services and professionals involved in the altruistic surrogacy process, as well as many variable expenses that can crash the overall cost of the surrogacy.

Here are some of the services and fees that may be applicable to altruistic surrogacy preparations:

  • Medical expenses, together with the embryo transfer or artificial insemination, fertility injections, and labor and delivery costs
  • Sperm and egg donation fees if required
  • Legal practitioner fees
  • Mental health counseling expenses
  • Additional fees, together with maternity clothing and travel costs to transport her to and from appointments
  • Agency fees(if its commercial surrogacy)

Between the surrogate and intended parents, altruistic surrogacy can be a positive experience with many benefits for intended parents. However, there are also some obstacles with altruistic surrogacy to keep in mind before entering into this type of surrogacy agreement.

Advantages and disadvantages of altruistic surrogacy:

PROS:
  • Altruistic surrogacy is commonly less expensive than commercial surrogacy because intended parents do not pay their surrogate.
  • Altruistic surrogacy is legal in many U.S. states and countries where commercial surrogacy is banned, making it a more widely available choice for intended parents.
  • Intended parents pursuing an identified altruistic surrogacy may feel relaxed and stronger sense of trust throughout the pregnancy because it is being carried by a close family member or friend.
CONS:
  • Most of the altruistic surrogates are close friends or family members of their intended parents. Intended parents who are not able to get surrogates should find a match with an altruistic surrogate through an agency’s matching services.
  • Altruistic surrogates may feel underappreciated or even make use of those times, and friends and family members may feel pressured to enter a surrogacy arrangement in which they do not receive compensation. These situations could potentially have a negative clash on the intended parents’ relationship with the surrogate.
  • Intended parents may feel less in control of the surrogacy when the surrogate is not economically satisfied; for example, some intended parents may feel uncertain to make specific requests of the surrogate because they are not paying her in change.

A selfless commitment

Under the right circumstances, altruistic surrogacy can be an incredible and valuable experience for everyone involved. For intended parents, it is a sensational and selfless gift and a more cost-effective way to grow their family. However, it is also important to think about the future complications that could arise before entering into an altruistic surrogacy agreement with a friend or family member.

Surrogacy is a life-altering experience for everyone involved, and intended parents should be aware of the future long-term impact this form of surrogacy could have on their relationship with the friend or family member who carries the child for them. Surrogates and intended parents should look for counseling services before and during the surrogacy process to ensure this is the best choice for them.

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