In the past adoption was the only alternative for infertile women who wished to have children. Advances in technology however have created new options for women who have a defective uterus or defective ovaries. Two alternatives that are gaining popularity are straight surrogacy and host surrogacy. In straight surrogacy, or traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is impregnated with the sperm of the intended father by way of artificial insemination. In these cases, the surrogate mother not only carries the child but is genetically linked to the child as well. She however relinquishes her role of social mother to the intended mother. In host surrogacy the intended parents produce an embryo through in vitro fertilization, which is then transplanted into the surrogate mother who develops and gives birth to the child. In host surrogacy the surrogate mother is not genetically linked to the child, however she is the child’s birth mother. In either case once the baby is born the surrogate mother is to turn the baby over to the child’s legal parents. The alternatives of surrogacy have created a variety of both benefits and problems for those involved as well as raising a number of questions for society as a whole.
Surrogacy has added a great deal of confusion to the already complicated problem of determining who the “real” parents of a child are that began with adoption and egg and sperm donations. It is no longer as simple as who is genetically related to the child or who gives birth to the child, but rather is greatly determined by circumstance. Genetically a child may have only two parents however the child can have in essence three mothers, or two fathers: a genetic mother or father who donated the egg or sperm, a surrogate mother who carried and developed the child, and a mother or father who raises the child. Surrogate motherhood often requires legal involvement because of the complexity of the question of who the “real” parents are. Before being...
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