This article discusses surrogacy processes in India. Here's a step by step guide on everything you need to know about surrogacy.
Have you heard of the song, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage’? Well, if you are in love, and you do wish to get married (or not, because that’s okay too) what about having a baby? What if you can’t? Our society has not been great at accepting women with health issues which prevent them from being pregnant or even allowing a single parent wanting to have biological children. As sad as that is, on a positive note, we live in an advanced technological era where even if you can’t have the baby yourself, surrogacy has time and again proven to be a safe and affordable alternative for any couple or a single parent wanting to have biological children.
So what does the process of surrogacy involve?
A surrogate mother carries a pregnancy for another couple through the method of assisted reproductive technology. While there are two types of surrogacy, gestational and traditional; gestational surrogacy is more common and legalized in most countries. Gestational surrogacy implies that the surrogate carries a pregnancy where the gametes, fertilized through in-vitro fertilization would belong to the intended parents or donors. On the contrary, in traditional surrogacy, the egg belongs to the surrogate and the sperm would belong to the intended father. This enhances legal and emotional implications.
With the legalization of surrogacy in India in 2002, the law has brought a beam of hope for many. But what exactly are the procedures involved in surrogacy? We have it all laid down for you to ensure a smooth way forward to welcome a tiny member into your family.
Let’s sit down, take a breath and ask ourselves: is surrogacy the right choice for us? Being an intended parent can involve an amount of emotional upheaval which could last for months and a certain commitment to financial investment. Moreover, the Indian Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill states that only an Indian heterosexual couple who have been married for at least five years are allowed to undertake surrogacy in India. Therefore, remember to talk to your partner and your doctor, research on the surrogacy laws and bills of country, and measure the pros and cons that would work out for you. Yes, it does sound like a lot but it's only to ensure a few safety protocols. But, trust that it’s gonna be worth it.
2. Preparation for surrogacy
As only altruistic surrogacy is allowed since the passing of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 on December 19, 2018, the second step would be to have a close family member who is willing to be a surrogate for you. Furthermore, the intended couple ought to register with a surrogacy clinic after which, they would have to provide with the necessary documents such as:
- Certificate of Infertility by the District Medical Board
- Order of Court regarding custody and parentage of the child
- Insurance of the surrogate mother and the child
3. Drafting a legal contract
Next, the intended parents, as well as the surrogate mother, would be required to hire attorneys respectively to ensure a legal framework in place. Once the terms are arranged, the medical process can take off after the contract is signed.
The further legal process takes place after the first trimester when your attorney will draw up a pre-birth order to establish you as the legal parent of the child. Make sure to follow these protocols as they are only in place to ensure a safe and secure journey for you, your partner, your baby and the surrogate mother.
4. In-vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
Once the documentation is in place, the medical expert would start with the egg retrieval process which involves using either fresh eggs or frozen, subjected to the availability of the intended mom. In case of a fresh surrogate transfer, the cycle of the surrogate and the intended mother is synchronized with oral contraceptive pills or progesterone pills. After a successful process of in-vitro fertilization, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate mother.
Again, let’s remember that implantation through IVF is subjected to odds and we must not be disheartened if it is unsuccessful in the first attempt. Another IVF cycle could be as easily pursued. Ideally, this should not extend beyond 3 times for the same couple.
Once a heartbeat is confirmed after a few months of the implantation, you can be assured of a normal IVF pregnancy.
5. Welcoming your child
It is finally the time when you welcome your little one into your world. You could be allowed to witness the birth of your child, subjected to the consent of the surrogate mother.
A few points to remember:
As already stated, a surrogate mother does not have any parental rights over the child(ren) and the birth certificate of the child(ren) bears the names of the intended parents. The intended parents ought to accept the custody of the child(ren) despite any abnormality.
Departing from a child that a woman carries in her womb for nine long months can be quite difficult and hence, it is important to understand the emotions that are involved and extend a humanistic approach at all levels.
If the surrogate is a close family member, it is helpful to remember that the child(ren) would come to know her and therefore, it is wise to sort out any possible complications that may arise beforehand.
Surrogacy involves a selfless act of bringing joy and hence, there must be a plan in place that would make the process as smooth as possible.