There's no shortage of surrogate mothers these days. But, with so many different fertility treatments available, who really needs a surrogate to become a parent?
Surrogacy has been around since Biblical times, unlike IVF. But gestational surrogacy, a situation in which a woman is pregnant with a baby who is not genetically related to her, is relatively new. Traditional surrogacy, in which a woman carries her own baby by the intended father with the sole intention of surrendering it, is still around as well, and surrogates can be found from all over the world (with varying costs).
When would a couple, or a single person, need to consider surrogacy in other to have a baby? Here are some more common scenarios: There may be no intended parent available who has a uterus. This could be because of a hysterectomy, where a woman's uterus was removed for medical reasons, or because the intended parents are gay men. The intended mother could have uterine abnormalities that make carrying a pregnancy to term impossible. The mother could have other medical problems that would enable her to get pregnant and stay pregnant, but at the cost of severe health complications. This is the case with severe heart problems, for instance. The intended parents have tried fertility treatments to get pregnant, and are resorting to using a surrogate mother after they failed.
In the case of gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries the baby, but is not also the egg donor (which is an uncomfortable euphemism for "biological mother"). Usually, the intended mother's eggs are used, but when this is not possible due to age or because the intended parents are both men a separate egg donor will need to be used. Gestational surrogates are commercially available in some states, like California. Other options include asking a relative to act as a surrogate, or going abroad to countries like India or the Ukraine to find a surrogate.