A woman can sign an agreement of surrogacy if she is ready to get pregnant and deliver a child for another couple. As per the agreement signed by that woman, she can either be a biological mother, wherein she gets inseminated by artificial methods, or a gestation mother, where her uterus is used for bearing the embryo of another couple. In either case, she has to agree to surrender the child to the couple soon after its birth and that she will not exercise any parental rights over the child. Though many women agree to this in initial stages, either for the want of money or to help an infertile couple have a child, many complications, both emotional and physical, arise.
One of the most commonly occurring complications in surrogacy is due to the changes in the lifestyle of the surrogate mother. She has to quit smoking, alcohol consumption, and risky activities like ski diving or scuba diving, which might endanger the fetus' life. These changes are compulsorily imposed as per the legal contract agreement.
Although the surrogate mother agrees to relinquish the baby to the couple, she could have developed a strong personal bond with the infant throughout her gestation period. This might make her emotional, and she might refuse to surrender the baby to the couple as agreed upon. According to the surrogacy laws in states like Ohio and California, a judge issues an order establishing the genetic parents as the legal custodian soon after delivery in surrogate cases. This makes the surrogate mother loose all her parental rights, and she cannot file cases seeking legal custody or even visitation rights.
But, in the case of the surrogate being the biological mother, her rights to claim parenthood gets strengthened. But, these laws vary from state to state, and the legal issues also change accordingly. This relinquishment may also create long-term psychological problems in the mother and the infant. This might be worse in the cases of traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate mother’s egg is used.
Problems Related to Abortion
Miscarriages in the surrogate method of pregnancy are common, as artificial insemination or embryo transfer is done. Couples have to pay for all expenses of medications and fee for the surrogate mother. In the case of miscarriages, surrogate mother will keep the money received so far. Sometimes, abortion is dictated due to the formation of multiple fetuses. But, the legal aspects cannot force a surrogate mother to undergo abortion. She may refuse to get the fetuses aborted. Similarly, no law can force her to carry out the pregnancy full term in the cases of multiple fetuses. She may abort if she does not intend to deliver multiple infants, and the agreement cannot bind her in these contexts.