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RaMa Mama - Doula Share of the Month: Surrogacy: How, Why, and What is It?...

Surrogacy comes in two different forms - surrogates and gestational surrogates. It involves intended parents (or a single parent) and a woman. Intended parent(s) are the ones who will be considered the official family of the child being born. A surrogate is a woman who is both carrying and giving birth to a baby for another person or couple. The traditional surrogate uses her own eggs with the intended father's sperm to get pregnant. A gestational surrogate uses the eggs and sperm from the intended parents to get pregnant. In both cases, IVF (in vetro fertilization) is used to create an embryo in a lab from the egg and sperm, which is then transferred to the surrogate's uterus.

The question we hear the most on this topic is - why do families choose a surrogate instead of having the baby themselves? Infertility is one of the main reasons why parents choose surrogacy. Whether it is because of age, low sperm count, endometriosis, or a plethora of other health reasons, some couples simply cannot conceive a child on their own. Other couples may be of the same sex, post-menopausal, have deep-seated emotional trauma from a past birth, don't want to adopt, are on heavy medications, choose to be a single parent, or simply want to use a surrogate instead of having the physical experience of being pregnant and giving birth in their own bodies. Whatever the reason, this is a big choice to make and it has some challenges that come with the great blessing of a new baby.

There are agencies that match intended parents to surrogates, and there are also friends or family members in their lives that choose to help out the intended parents and make a sacrifice out of Love. Either way, these are human beings and emotional entities that are involved. There can be surprising emotional complexities in these relationships. Once the surrogate is chosen, they have to also qualify for the job. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the ideal surrogate is healthy, between 21 and 35 years old, has only had between 1 and 5 pregnancies and full-term healthy deliveries, have no more than three cesarian births, have a healthy weight, have a stable family, and have emotional support. They all go through extensive background searches, and they have to have a medical evaluation, including psychological screening. There are also legal contracts that must be signed before the IVF begins to makes sure that the baby goes to the intended parents, the surrogate gets paid, and all of the various scenerios that could manifest in this type of birth have been addressed. This is not something that anyone enters lightly.

All families have their own pathway of creation. The rainbow of possibilities is what creates the great tapestry of life. Whatever the reason, whomever the person/people involved, when Love is guiding the way, there will always be Divine grace and beauty. We have known many families who have chosen surrogacy, and each has their own story and experience. The bottom line is that Love found a way to bring them to their child. We pray that there is less judgement in the world and more opportunities to learn, grow, and expand in the way that we perceive our reality. All things are possible with the power of Love.

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