Surrogate Motherhood and Technology
Surrogacy: The Technology
Reproductive technologies have a lot to do with the theology of the family. One aspect of reproductive technology deals with the issue of pregnancy for profit. This concept is known as surrogacy, and it is used for procreation. Ten to fifteen percent of married couples are unable to have children of their own.1 A surrogate mother is a woman who carries the child, usually for an infertile couple. Surrogacy has been around for a long time; it dates back to biblical times. The concept of surrogacy is old, yet it remains one of the most socially controversial solutions to infertility.
Regardless of this advancement in technology, surrogacy is less desirable. The cost of surrogacy is extremely high and the outcome is often unpredictable. Surrogacy is seen as a last resort due to the process being extremely complicated. The process involves many individuals including, the infertile couple, doctors, the surrogate agency personnel, the surrogate and her family. Finally, an underlying reason to avoid surrogacy is because of the cultural beliefs-the technology of surrogacy is a direct interference with nature. Surrogacy leads to many divergent perspectives and opposing viewpoints about ethical and legal issues, some positive and some negative, which will be discussed later.
Surrogacy can be practiced in three different ways, but there are two types of surrogacy. These two types are known as traditional and gestational. In traditional surrogacy, the commissioning father's sperm is injected into the surrogate mother. In other words, the surrogate mother is artificially inseminated with the biological father's sperm. Often times, if the sperm count is low, sperm from a donor is used. In either case, the surrogate's own egg is used; hence, she is the biological mother of the child. A second type of surrogacy is referred to as gestational surrogacy. In in vitro fertilization (IVF), the surrogate mother is not genetically tied with the baby. Both commissioning parents are the genetic parents. When performing IVF, the eggs and sperms are taken from the mother and father and fertilized in a petri dish. The resulting embryo is surgically implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mother. This method is extremely expensive and requires the mother to have an intact ovary. A third way surrogacy can be practiced is, if the commissioning mother's eggs are not viable, having an egg donor "harvested" with the father's sperm. This embryo is then implanted into the surrogate mother.
The Procedure and the Law
The procedure for becoming a surrogate mother is complex. The individual undergoes several tests including Hysteroscopy/HCG, a test that determines if the fallopian tubes are clear along with the size and shape of the uterus, pap smear to check if the uterus is healthy, and much more. Before moving on to fertilization, the surrogate must know...