Surrogacy – A dilemma which in recent times has gripped nations over the world in a fashion which seems to be like the question “To be or not to be”. With different nations having different perspectives of the issue it is important not to focus on this as a worldwide issue but rather as a nation/region wise one.
The reason in particular for which surrogacy is made illegal in most countries is primarily due to religious concerns. As we have seen with a wide majority of other issues, when the religion card is played most of the other issues suddenly seem to take a back foot. This we can say from the surrogacy laws in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria etc where any form of surrogacy is considered illegal.
What is important to note is that a lot of countries have specific surrogacy laws for particular types of surrogacy. So what are these types?
Surrogacy is basically classified into 2 types -: Altruistic and Commercial forms of surrogacy.
Altruistic form of surrogacy is one where the surrogate mother is paid only for the particular expenses related to the pregnancy and not for the process of surrogacy itself whereas commercial surrogacy allows the surrogate mother to be paid in cash or kind for the process.
A lot of countries such as The UK, Belgium, Netherlands etc. allow only the altruistic form of surrogacy to be practiced. Recently about a year back even India has decided to ban the commercial form of surrogacy and switch to allowing only the altruistic form.
New Zealand has a funny law though that bans altruistic form of surrogacy and only legalises a commercial form. While you have countries such as the US that does not have a particular firm stance on it and the laws vary depending on the State. Most states though allow both forms of surrogacy to take place.
So why do we have such varied laws? Why do countries have such a varying stance on the issue? Well for one a lot of countries believe surrogacy is not a natural means of parenthood. What most countries suggest is adoption, or some countries such as Saudi Arabia even go a step further and suggest medical procedures for curing infertility rather than surrogacy.
Surrogacy is mainly sought after by couples in which either or both of them are infertile, want to be single parents, gay/lesbian couples. In these scenarios the various procedures of surrogacy such a external surrogacy, IVF etc seem like a god send for the parents.
These procedures have varying costs and depend on the country in which the treatment is sought.
The procedures in the USA cost on an average $100000 while the same procedures in India cost about $47350. India and USA are the two countries with the most number of surrogacy cases and also the places where most people travel to, to find surrogates.
Apart from these two even Mexico,Thailand, Russia and Ukraine are considered as hubs for surrogacy.
Surrogacy is performed in various methods depending on the requirements of the client. Traditional surrogacy is one where the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother. The other form of surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor. The egg is fertilised through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.
Hence once people decide the form of surrogacy that they want to undergo, the location of their choice is decided based upon their budget to perform the process.
From sources it is clear that The USA is considered to be the main location to travel to because of a firm legislation on surrogacy as well as its long history. People feel it is much safer there than anywhere else.
Countries such as India and Thailand offer surrogacy but the lack a proper legal framework puts people in two mind. India however is coming up with a legal framework on surrogacy but that is one which will close doors on gay as well as single parents.
Surrogacy is an important decision that is to be taken by the potential parents and all these are all the points are to be taken well into consideration before choosing the procedure as well as location.
–Abhijit Krishna Menon
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