Surrogate Motherhood: Alternative or Dilemma?
Conceiving a child can be a rewarding and fulfilling process for most couples, but for others, it can be arduous and frustrating. After a couple attempts to conceive a child the natural way for over a year and is not able to, usually the next step to follow is to consider non-natural methods that facilitate this process most of the time. The two most common ones are in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination. At this time couples decide which of these two methods is more convenient for them, and hope that it turns out to be successful. If none of this work the first time, couples may consider repeating them more than once. The problem with these procedures is not only that they are costly, but also tend to affect the couple in physical and emotional ways. This is the reason why some couples decide to rely on other alternatives such as adoption and surrogate motherhood as possible options to finally become parents.
Surrogate motherhood is defined as a method of assisted reproduction where a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child who belongs to another couple. The most common method to perform this procedure is to transfer an embryo that has been fertilized by in vitro fertilization and is later introduced into the surrogate mother’s womb. (Aramesh, 2009). Many couples prefer this alternative instead of adoption since surrogacy offers the parents a possible way to have a genetic link to the child, even if he or she was not raised in his or real mother’s womb. Also, parents who choose surrogacy are able to be present in the whole gestational process of the surrogate mother (Tieu, 2008). Choosing surrogacy can be a viable alternative for couples but they should also consider the ethical and emotional dilemmas that this alternative involves. Such dilemmas include the risks and effects involved in gestational surrogacy for mother and baby, the objectification of surrogate mothers by society, and the religious and moral issues that this alternative may bring.
From the moment a child is conceived, biological bonds between the mother and child are immediately created (Tieu, 2008). These bonds initiate the mother-child relationship, which will be very important in the development of the child. Surrogate motherhood does create these bonds, but they are ruptured when the surrogate has to relinquish the baby after he or she is born (Tieu, 2008). Even though the baby has the genes of his real parents, the bond that he or she created with the surrogate mother is very strong.
When a woman chooses to become pregnant, she should be aware of the risks and complications that are common during the gestational process and also the delivery of the baby. Mothers usually engage in a healthy diet and avoid the consumption of harmful substances that might affect the baby. Surrogate mothers also bear the risks of pregnancy, but do not have the natural benefit of motherhood (Tieu, 2008). As an effect, they might not be as careful and dedicated to the potential well being of the baby since they know that it is not theirs. The fact that the parents are able to be present during the surrogate’s gestational process is not enough to be completely sure that the surrogate is taking the necessary precautions.
Gestational surrogacy might also cause health risks for the baby since it involves Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). “According to a recent review, ART is responsible for approximately 50% of all multiple births worldwide, with a high risk of premature delivery. Given that gestational surrogacy involves ART, risks are pertinent to surrogacy” (Tieu, 2008). Prematurity is a large contributor to infant mortality; thus, parents should be aware of this factor before deciding if they want to undergo ART as well as surrogacy.
The health risks of the surrogate mother and the baby are not the only dilemmas that parents...