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Surrogacy - implications of surrogacy

The Private Healthcare UK guide to infertility treatment contains articles on infertility and IVF treatment which are aimed at improving your knowledge of treatments for infertility, their benefits and potential risks.


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Implications for the intended parents

Couples contemplating surrogacy may be concerned about the uncertainty of the adoption or parental orders process.  They might worry about their reaction to the child being born handicapped; and with partial surrogacy, they need to consider the implications of donor eggs or sperm or both.  They may even come to regard the child not as a release from childlessness, but a continuing reminder of their inability to produce a child without help.  Some may be concerned that they will not be able to accept the child as their own


Implications for the surrogate mother’s family


It is important that the surrogate mother’s partner is able to give his full support for the woman’s decision.  The couple needs to refrain from unprotected intercourse, which could strain their relationship.


In the event of the surrogate mother deciding to keep the baby, although she may experience guilt and other emotions associated with failure to keep to her agreement, she will clearly want the baby.  However, her partner may find it difficult to accept the child.  Also, by law, the partner is the legal father unless he can show that he did not consent to treatment.  Therefore, there may be some risk of psychological problems for the partner.


Other children of the surrogate mother need to be informed of what is happening; otherwise they may be disturbed by the disappearance of the baby after birth.


The surrogate mother’s parents may experience difficulty in understanding their daughter’s decision, and find it hard to relinquish a relationship with a baby who might otherwise have been their grandchild.



Implications for the child


Commissioning parents need to consider whether or not to tell the child of his or her origins.  Research shows that most couples that have children conceived by surrogacy decide to explain the circumstances to the child.  If they decide not to tell, they face a number of difficulties.  Surrogacy is difficult to conceal from others and if other people know about the arrangement there is the risk that the child may find out from them.  The experience of learning this way, and the discovery of deception by his or her parents, may be very disturbing for a child.  At the age of 18 the child will have the legal right to discover the identity of his or her surrogate mother. 


It is important therefore, for the surrogate mother and the intended parents to agree on a level of contact which they feel is appropriate for them.


In this guide

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