There are two types of surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy involves insemination of the surrogate with the intended father’s sperm, and then she ideally gives the baby to the intended parents upon birth. Gestational surrogacy occurs when an embryo is created via IVF and placed in the gestational surrogate who has no genetic relationship with the child.
What are the benefits of each type of surrogacy? What are the risks of each type of surrogacy? What are the risks and dangerous of each type of surrogacy in Canada?
Traditional surrogacy is cheaper than gestational surrogacy as long as IVF isn’t required. Traditional surrogacy can be done outside of a clinic, lowering costs. Traditional surrogacy may be informal, though it should not be done without legal advice.
The surrogate is supplying half of the genetic material, and few intended parents review her health history as diligently as they would an egg donor.
Because traditional surrogacy is too often handled outside of formal surrogacy services, the traditional surrogate lacks the same level of psychological and physical screening as well as emotional support. The end result is that the surrogate may have a much more difficult pregnancy than gestational surrogates would.
Surrogacy agreements become much harder to enforce if the surrogate decides not to abort multiples or a defective fetus. A traditional surrogate may be much more unwilling to abort extra embryos because of the genetic connection.
There is a good chance that any fertility clinic you work with will decline to work with a traditional surrogate.
Adoption of the child by a second mother in the case of lesbian couples having a child through gestational surrogacy is challenging. Gestational surrogacy is a much better choice for homosexual intended parents, whether single or as part of a couple.
When the biological mother is the surrogate mother, she takes on a risk of being stuck with the child. If the couple breaks up or backs out of the deal, the traditional surrogate may be left to deal with the child. This happened to Cathleen Hachey in 2011, a traditional surrogate mother.
Without the screening of a fertility services provider, it is harder for intended parents to make certain that the surrogate isn’t taking medication that could adversely affect the child such as anti-depressants.
Traditional surrogacy lacks the supervision of fertility services that focus on everyone’s experience, surrogates and intended parents. Without this oversight, surrogates may begin a pregnancy when it is not in her best interests whether as a matter of physical health or emotional health.
The costs of gestational surrogacy are higher with IVF, even before taking donor eggs and sperm into account. However, gestational surrogacy does give you much greater control over the results, such as genetic screening of the embryos before implantation to ensure that a genetic disorder isn’t passed on.
Gestational surrogates usually have to take more medications to receive the embryos than if artificial insemination were done.
Going through the legal process to declare intended parents the legal parents of the child and going through a second parent adoption to make the intended other the legal mother is more complicated.
Gestational surrogacy is the only option for the intended mother’s own eggs to be used to produce a child.
Gestational surrogacy means the surrogate’s health history matters, but genetic history does not. If you use your own eggs for IVF, you know your health history. If you use a donor egg, the egg donor’s genetic history is known.
Because the gestational surrogacy means there is genetic tie between surrogate and child, it is much easier for the surrogate to give the child to the intended parents. And there is far less likely to be a problem enforcing the surrogacy contract if the surrogate is not the biological mother. While Canada has had only one traditional surrogacy case where the birth mother tried to retain the child and the courts sided with the intended parents, it is simpler not to go that route in the first place and risk the best interest of the child being the unintended parent.
With gestational surrogacy, you can use already frozen embryos to begin the process immediately.
Gestational surrogacy is clearly legally defined with the declaration legal parentage and modification of the birth certificate. However, all types of surrogacy in Canada avoid problems regarding declaration of parentage before the intended parents can take the child home, as long as they are located in Canada.
Family members of gestational surrogates have fewer qualms and are more likely to support the surrogate mother, instead of seeing it as giving away a family member.
When you use a gestational surrogate and IVF, you can use a different surrogate to carry a second child and still end up with two full biological siblings. This is true whether the surrogate you used last time decides not to have another child or doesn’t want to work on your schedule. And unlike traditional surrogacy, there are no biological half siblings in a different family to worry about.