Viktoriya Zayeva, MA-MA medical centre head physician, speaks on subtleties of surrogacy.
Surrogacy takes its roots from the ancient times B.C. According to an Indian fresco, a certain deity transported a child, who later on became a Great Hero, from a simple lady’s bosom into the queen’s one.
Nowadays surrogacy has been available for infertile couples for more than 15 years already. Surrogacy saw its first success only in 1989 – that’s the year when the first surrogate child was born. The English Ethics Committee was unwilling to accept the fact that an infertile woman needed her relative’s help – she had her sister’s and her sister’s husband’s embryo transferred into her womb.
That’s why there are so many related people and close friends among those women who have agreed to bear another person’s child.
Of course, it is desirable that a candidate surrogate should be younger than 35 and have one child at least.
Who seeks for surrogates’ help then?
Sometimes surrogacy is the only way for women who have had problems due to previous operations to have their own child. That’s why the uterus may be sometimes ablated because of myoma or delivery bleeding and so on.
Quite often women with uterus deformations as well as those suffering from serious illnesses that might interfere with the successful pregnancy process also have to think about hiring a surrogate.
Above all, there are women who have had good embryos transported in their own womb, but it wouldn’t help.
Surrogacy is forbidden in many countries for religious reasons in particular. Russia has it spelt out in the Family Code. The thing is that in accordance with the Russian Law the surrogate mother is entitled with the right to determine her child’s destiny. That is, according to this legal article, the mother can keep her child and you can do nothing about that (Family Code from 12/08/1995, IV, Chapter 10, article 51, position 4, part 2). The intended parents are awarded with the right to the baby only after the surrogate mother gives it up (article 52, same document). As for the medical details of the process, they are not clearly spelt out yet.
As you can see that from the text above, surrogacy involves several people: intended parents and a surrogate carrier. The surrogate might have a family of her own and have some obligations before her relatives. That is why though being agreed upon by the two parties, that decision can be changed. And the law stipulates such a scenario as possible. It happens so that the ‘clients’ have changed their mind to have a common child and then the pregnancy has to be interrupted. Another problem is that of finding a completely healthy woman. According to statistics, about half of surrogates have minor health problems. Unfortunately, you can never exclude aggravation of some chronic diseases and even another illness due to the weakness of immunity system during the pregnancy period.
According to statistics, such a method is as (and even more) efficient in achieving pregnancy as IVF. That is about 30% of cases. It has been observed that embryos have a way better implantation into the surrogate’s uterus, it often results in a multiple pregnancy. It’s evident that such a pregnancy is a high-risk one. It might seem strange, but healthy selected surrogates run the risk of having an extrauterine pregnancy (2%).
The extent to how carefully that pregnancy will be taken care of influences the baby’s future, its mental and physical health. As you understand, when bearing the baby, the surrogate mother might become attached to it. Thus, she might be extremely unwilling to give her child to the intended parents. Nevertheless, certain surrogates repeat surrogacy programmes sometimes. It’s evident that some of them are driven by financial interests.
It’s worth mentioning that all the participants of a surrogacy programme have to overcome lots of problems, those of psychological character first of all. Conception and pregnancy progress are quite money-consuming, and they require changes in an individual’s lifestyle. One shouldn’t impose too much pressing on a surrogate because it might result in a lack of confidence on her part. One should keep in mind that the surrogate’s maternal instinct can be so strong, and distrust to the intended parents so high that she might doubt their ability to take good care of the baby upon delivery. Sometimes genetic parents have a full confidence in the surrogate and help her only financially without demanding that she should account to them that she follows the doctor’s prescriptions and advice.
All these people deserve great amount of respect, admiration and help.