The Story of Surrogacy
The miracle science behind surrogacy pregnancy – in vitro fertilization – is already nearly three decades old. The first babies born by surrogacy are themselves now having children. Despite this passage of time many folks out there remain unsure as to the basics of surrogacy, and that’s totally okay. Today we cover these basics to tell the story of surrogacy and its place in the modern world.
Origins of Surrogacy
Allowing a woman to develop and give birth to an unrelated baby via in vitro fertilization was tossed around in theory for decades before finally becoming a reality in the late 1970s. Legal hurdles faced the procedure in some select countries but most immediately and permanently sought to either avoid restrictions or approach them conservatively. The typical surrogacy agency will play a role in roughly 80 births every year. This number is set to increase significantly as we move deeper into the 21st century. People are choosing to become parents at older ages, same-sex couples are increasingly stepping into the role of parenting, and stigmas are being eroded away by the overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
The public remains in the debate stage when it comes to opinions of surrogacy. However the number of folks who think of surrogacy as a positive for society and for individuals is growing with every year. This is believed to be in part thanks to the rising number of families to which surrogacy was vital to creating. More and more people know somebody with a child born through a surrogate and/or a woman who acted as a surrogate. Realizing the procedure provides men and women otherwise incapable of having children but nonetheless qualified to be the parents they dreamed of becoming has had a tremendous impact on the skeptical.
Realities of Surrogacy
The pregnancy is normal like any other. Morning sickness, unusual cravings, swollen feet, and all the other hallmarks of being pregnant come standard. In the previously cited Stanford study it was noted that surrogates are not impervious to emotional attachment to the child. With that said the authors go on to say that happiness for the newly created family these women helped to build eventually overrides the completely understandable bond built with the newborn.
Additionally, complications are statistically no more likely to occur than they would in traditional pregnancy circumstances
Tens of thousands of successful births by surrogacy have occurred over the last three decades. Here are just a few examples showcasing memorable breakthroughs or participants in the miracle of surrogacy:
-In 1978 Louise Brown becomes the first human born via in vitro fertilization conception. Her birth gives rise to the term “test tube baby” when referring to children born through IVF. She currently lives healthily and happily married with two children, both conceived naturally.
-2001 saw the oldest surrogate mother successfully give birth at the time. The baby was in fact the woman’s biological grandchild, a practice which has gained more traction in recent years.
-In 2009 Sarah Jessica Parker, after naturally giving birth to one child, agreed with longtime spouse Matthew Broderick to opt for surrogacy on the second go-around. The result was two-for-one in the twin births of Loretta and Tabitha Broderick.
-In 2010 Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban decided to arrange for surrogacy when having their second child together, little Faith born later that year. Kidman had already adopted two children and gave birth to one on her own before choosing to find a surrogate mother for the fourth.
-2010 saw another notable case of surrogacy make an appearance in Hollywood – this time involving Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka. The couple sought an anonymous egg donor and a separate surrogate with a history of helping same-sex families have children. The two men each contributed sperm and it’s believed the resulting twins – Gideon and Harper – each represent the genetics of one of their fathers.
-After several unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy actress Elizabeth Banks of Modern Family fame decided surrogacy was the way to go. In 2011 and again in 2013 the process led to beautiful offspring – Felix and Magnus, respectively.
The miracle of surrogacy is not something meant for every woman. There are numerous hurdles one must go through before being qualified to become pregnant via surrogacy. Rightfully so, for there’s a lot riding on a surrogate mother’s ability to successfully pull it off. The body and the mind must be prepared:
-First and foremost, aspiring surrogates must already be mothers by natural birth, currently raising the child.
-The surrogate cannot be a smoker, drink, or do illegal drugs. A variety of legal medicines are also off the table too.
-The potential surrogate must have a body-mass index within a specific ratio. Too underweight or too overweight increases the chances of a miscarriage.
-The stress and anxiety naturally associated with pregnancy is something which must be addressed. Prior pregnancy is key to helping prepare the mind for surrogacy, but the process is unique enough to warrant strong support from friends, family, and professionals. The bond between mother and child is still there, just in a different way. It’s normal to have questions, hold doubts, and be a little confused – however the sooner these issues can get to the service to be resolved, the better for everyone involved.
A Note on Celebrities and Surrogacy
Hollywood in general has a bizarre relationship with childbirth – mainly falling into trends as far as the approach is concerned. For several years the “in” thing will be to adopt, then it will shift to natural births, and then, as it is currently, surrogacy becomes the hip thing to start doing. For anybody considering becoming a parent who may be reading this – don’t base any decisions on what you see the stars doing in magazines and on TMZ. Do it for love and worry about the how based on your individual situation.
It’s hard to believe a procedure as seemingly futuristic as in vitro fertilization is turning 30. Even though surrogacy has been a reliable technique for creating a family for decades it remains an enigma to millions of people. For readers of this post at least the major questions have (hopefully) been answered.