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What you need to know when opting for surrogacy

With Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas just announcing the birth of their first child through surrogacy, it's important to know what surrogacy exactly is

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 22, 2022 6:20:31 pm
surrogacyHere's all you need to know about surrogacy (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Opting for surrogacy, or the practice by which a surrogate mother becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children, (as per Merriam-Webster Dictionary), can be tricky. For starters, there are several legal issues that need to be kept in mind. Having said that, it is fast emerging to be a viable option for couples who cannot conceive due to fertility issues, miscarriage or a risky pregnancy.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are the latest to opt for surrogacy who recently announced the birth of their first child, apparently born this January, though the exact date is unknown.

The couple shared a heart-warming message on their respective social media welcoming their child on Friday.

“We are overjoyed to confirm that we have welcomed a baby via surrogate. We respectfully ask for privacy during this special time as we focus on our family. Thank you so much.”

Celebrities like Karan Johar, Tusshar Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan etc have also opted for surrogacy in the past.

Here’s all you need to know about surrogacy.

Types of surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy

A surrogate is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the father. She then carries the child full term and delivers it for the couple. In such a case, the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child. In situations when the father’s sperm cannot be used, a donor sperm can also be used. This is traditional surrogacy.

Gestational surrogacy

There is also gestational surrogacy, wherein eggs from the mother are fertilised with the father’s/donor’s sperm and then the embryo is placed into the uterus of the surrogate, who carries the child to term and delivers it. In this case, the biological mother is still the woman whose eggs are used, while the surrogate is called the ‘birth mother’.

According to WebMD, in the US, gestational surrogacy is less complex legally as both intended parents have genetic ties to the baby. As a result, gestational surrogacy has become more common than traditional surrogacy. About 750 babies are born each year using gestational surrogacy. “Gestational surrogacy is more prevalent in Indian IVF centres,” said Dr Nishi Singh,  director HOD (Department of Infertility and IVF), Prime IVF, City: Delhi and Gurugram.

Further, such type of surrogacy is further classified into  two types of arrangement

Altruistic surrogacy

“Altruistic surrogacy is when the couple invites a surrogate to live with them – she can be known or unknown – and they bear all her expenses,” she mentioned.

Commercial surrogacy 

Commercial surrogacy involves paying the surrogate mother for bearing the child, and has been banned in India for various reasons, added Dr Singh.

What to keep in mind while selecting a surrogate?

Dr Kshitij Murdia, medical director, Indira IVF, Udaipur said that it is important to make sure that the surrogate mother is healthy and ideally between 21 and 35 years old.

*Other than general fitness levels such as blood pressure, sugar levels, thyroid, etc., one should check for the mental health of the surrogate.
*It is also advisable that the surrogate should have already given birth to one healthy baby before.

How is surrogacy different in the US as compared to India?

While commercial surrogacy is banned in India, the criterion is that the surrogate should be at least married once and should have her own child. She should be between 25 to 35 years of age and a close relative of the couple opting for surrogacy. As per the latest surrogacy regulation bill, in effect from January 25, 2022, the primary idea is the prohibition of commercial surrogacy and there will only be altruistic surrogacy, wherein except for the medical expenses and the insurance cover of the surrogate, no other charges or expenses are covered by the intending parent, said Dr Rana Choudhary, consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist and reproductive Medicine (fertility) Specialist, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai.

“The age of the surrogate is now between 25-35 years, and she can act as a surrogate only once in her lifetime, earlier it was thrice,” said Dr Choudhary.

Earlier commercial surrogacy was practised quite rapidly in India and the charges would run to anywhere between 15-30 lakhs, stated Dr Choudhary. “The whole purpose of this is to protect the interest of the surrogate so that she is well taken care of and is not exploited during the process of surrogacy,” he added.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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