Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of gestating and giving birth to a child for others to raise. She may be the child's genetic mother (the more traditional form of surrogacy), or she may be implanted with someone else's fertilized egg (gestational surrogacy), as this trend started since the first artificial surrogate mothers in Europe or the U.S. back in the 1960s.
There is a tendency now to limit the term 'surrogacy' to only mean gestational surrogacy, i.e. those services where both ovum donation and gestational carrier services are done together.
Who chooses surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproduction.
In some cases it is the only available option for a couple who wish to have a child that is biologically related to them. Changing attitudes towards illegitimacy have led to fewer women having to go through the difficulties of international adoption. The choices for childless couples were made easier by two men who joined forces in the early 1980's. An attorney named Noel Keane is generally recognized as the mastermind behind surrogate motherhood. However, it was not until he developed an association with a physician named Warren J. Ringold, MD in the city of Dearborn, Michigan that the program was suddenly perceived with much more legitimacy. Prior to the association of these two men, couples were doing their own artificial insemination procedures with items such as turkey basters.
Dr. Ringold agreed to perform all of the artificial inseminations, and the clinic grew rapidly thus catching the eye of Morley Safer and "Sixty Minutes" in the early part of 1981. Even though Keane and Ringold took a great deal of criticism from the more conservative elements of the press and politicians, they eventually prevailed and were instrumental in the passage of laws that protected the entire concept of surrogate mothers. They went state by state seeking political acceptance. Now less then 25 years later, the idea of a surrogate mother is totally acceptable for most people. More importantly laws protecting the contractual relationships exist in almost every state. Although Mr. Keane died a few years ago, he and Ringold remained close friends and associates until the end and Dr. Ringold remains very proud of his role in advancing this very important area of reproductive science.
Research carried out by the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University, London, UK in 2002 showed surrogate mothers rarely had difficulty relinquishing rights to a surrogate child and that the commissioning mothers showed greater warmth to the child than mothers conceiving naturally.
- Surrogacy UK - The organisation formed to support and inform anyone with an interest in surrogacy within the UK
- Personal Accounts of Surrogate Mothers & Intended Parents
- A video on how money, science, and politics play a role in the issue of surrogacy in the United States
- Surrogacy - the issues
- An Online Community of Surrogate Mothers, Intended Parents and Egg Donors
- A Virtual Meeting Ground for the Surrogacy Community
- ‘Knowing’ the Surrogate Body in Israel by Dr. Elly Teman