When choosing between the two types of surrogacy, traditional surrogacy may be an appealing option to many hopeful parents.
Traditional surrogacy — in which an intended parent’s or donor’s sperm is paired with the surrogate’s egg — can appear to be an easier route, at least at first, due to its lower cost. While this is a completely understandable advantage, a deeper dive into the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy reveals it to be a troubling choice for many.
The other option for intended parents pursuing surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. This type of surrogacy — when sperm and egg from the intended parents or donors create an embryo carried by the surrogate — has many safeguards in place that traditional surrogacy does not, which is why it is the preferred surrogacy option of nearly all professionals today.
If you are considering surrogacy as a family-building option, here’s what you need to know about the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy.
The Legal Risks of Traditional Surrogacy
Starting a family is an emotional process. It holds the potential of your hopes and dreams. It’s easy, and totally natural, to get lost in the feelings of it all. But when you are considering something like surrogacy, you have to realize that starting a family is also a legal process.
And, when considering the legal process of traditional vs. gestational surrogacy, there are clear risks in the former.
The foremost concern that legal professionals have with traditional surrogacy is that, because of how the process works, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child. Since it is her egg that is used in the fertilization process, the child is technically her baby until consent is signed over to the intended parents. This leaves the door wide open for potential disruptions. It also adds another legal step, as intended parents sometimes need to complete a post-birth adoption once the surrogate has signed away her parental rights to the baby.
Should the surrogate become attached the baby she is carrying, the traditional surrogacy process leaves the legal option on the table for her to keep the baby. This is a serious risk.
A secondary concern, which is rooted in the same issue of biological relationship between surrogate and baby, is that the surrogate has much more power to make medical decisions during the surrogacy process without consulting the intended parents. Ideally, this is a cooperative partnership. However, traditional surrogacy allows the surrogate to go in her own direction, if she chooses to do so.
Additionally, you should know that because of these factors and others, some states have outlawed traditional surrogacy. Many surrogacy professionals will not perform traditional surrogacy, even if it is legal in their state.
The Emotional Risks of Traditional Surrogacy
The legal process does not erase the emotional aspects of family building. The two run side-by-side. After considering the legal risks of traditional surrogacy, it’s important to be aware of some emotional risks, too.
As stated above, the most concerning legal risk in traditional surrogacy is the surrogate’s biological relationship with the child. The most volatile emotional risk stems from the same fact.
If you’re an intended mother, you will be working through a lot of feelings during the surrogacy process. Jealousy is often one of those feelings — and traditional surrogacy can make it much worse.
It is fairly common for intended mothers to struggle with feelings of jealousy when the surrogate has a biological connection to the baby, while the intended mother does not. These feelings can sour the intended-parent-surrogate relationship, which can in turn be detrimental to the entire process. A good surrogacy involves a solid relationship, and traditional surrogacy can make that more difficult.
The emotional risks for the surrogate are also increased in traditional surrogacy. Anyone who offers to be a surrogate is doing something wonderful and does not have any intention of keeping the baby. However, by maintaining a biological connection to the baby, the surrogate is at a much higher risk of struggling with feelings of strong attachment. Of course, this is natural when you are carrying a child who is biologically yours.
Gestational surrogacy mitigates this emotional risk, while traditional surrogacy amplifies it.
How Gestational Surrogacy Can Reduce Risks
Gestational surrogacy is the preferred option for nearly all professionals. In some states, it is the only legal option. There are several distinctions that make the gestational surrogacy process safer for everyone involved, from a legal and emotional perspective.
In gestational surrogacy, the egg used for fertilization is either given by the intended mother or an egg donor. The potential downside to this is that it is more costly, and it can take more time. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Gestational surrogacy gives the intended mother the opportunity to be biologically connected to her baby — a connection many mothers cherish.
Because of this process, there is no biological connection between a gestational surrogate and the baby. Gestational surrogacy mitigates the risk of the surrogate changing her mind and wanting to keep the baby. Since the surrogate has no biological connection, there are no parental rights to argue over.
Additionally, removing this risky aspect of traditional surrogacy creates a better environment for the intended parents and surrogate to develop a healthy relationship — unburdened by complicated emotions.
For these reasons, among others, American Surrogacy only offers services for gestational surrogacy. It is our belief, and the overwhelming belief of all surrogacy professionals, that gestational surrogacy offers the safest path both emotionally and legally for everyone involved.
Contact American Surrogacy Today
American Surrogacy can be your partner in the gestational surrogacy process. We would be honored to support you as you fulfill your dream of becoming parents.
Contact us today or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information and to start your gestational surrogacy process.