A pair of adorable twin boys smiles brilliantly at their parents, who now can't remember life without them. In a hospital, after nine long months, a family eagerly awaits the arrival of a new little life. A young woman stares in amazement at the positive result on her pregnancy test ... and the first call that she wants to make is to the baby's parents. These few glimpses tell stories that thousands of families have experienced as the result of surrogacy.
Surrogacy as a route to parenthood has significantly increased in recognition recently. Although surrogacy has been a family-building option for nearly 30 years, it has gained further prominence through celebrity surrogate relationships. Celebrities such as Joan Lunden (two-time surrogacy parent and publicized surrogacy advocate), Kelsey Grammer, Cheryl Tiegs, Deidre Hall, and Angela Bassett have generated more public interest for this reproductive alternative. Surrogacy has even hit mainstream TV, the popular TV show Desperate Housewives' Gabby and Carlos Solis have enlisted the help of a surrogate (their maid, Xiao Mei).
Advancements in infertility research and reproductive medicine have paved the way for surrogacy as an alternative means of creating a family. For those struggling with infertility or certain medical conditions, women who have had a hysterectomy, or even same-sex couples, surrogacy can open up a significant opportunity. Many couples who previously believed parenthood outside of adoption was unattainable can benefit from a surrogate.
Types of Surrogacy
While there has been much publicity on the topic in general, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what surrogacy is and how it can be accomplished. There are two basic types of surrogacy. The first is traditional surrogacy, in which the intended father's sperm is used to artificially inseminate the surrogate mother.
Originally, all surrogacy was conducted through artificial insemination. As reproductive technology developed, gestational surrogacy became a new option. In this process, the egg and sperm of the intended couple are combined to create embryos. Through in vitro fertilization, the embryos can then be implanted into the surrogate mother's uterus. If the intended mother is unable to provide her own eggs, a donor's eggs may be used. In gestational surrogate relationships, the surrogate mother has no genetic ties to the child.