There is the possibility that surrogacy may be a form of adultery. Though there are no sexual relations, there plainly is a reproductive relation with a third party outside of marriage. Surrogacy might also lead to incest of a sort. The child might marry another offspring of the surrogate mother, a child she only gave birth to or a genetic descendent. While there would be no genetic relationship, the marriage partners would be siblings, after a fashion. Finally, inheritance questions could become confounded. Does the child have any right to inherit from a birth mother or not?
Surrogacy is legal in the UK, as long as no fee, apart from expenses, is paid to the surrogate. However, it is illegal to advertise for a surrogate or for a surrogate to advertise, and it is against the law for a clinic to find a surrogate for you. Your baby will be registered as the child of the birth mum (the surrogate), whether she is genetically related to the child or not. Once your baby is born, as intended parents, you and your partner will need to establish your legal parentage. This may be done through a parental order, if one of the intended parents is genetically related to the child, or by applying for adoption.
An attorney needs to be retained to create a contract between the intended parents and the surrogate, often referred to as the surrogacy agreement. IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics require a surrogacy agreement to be in place prior to beginning any medical procedures. The purpose of the contract is to answer many of the questions that may arise during pregnancy such as who will have custody of the child if something were to happen to the intended parents prior to the birth.
Subsequently, legal service will be needed to obtain a court order declaring that the intended parents are the sole legal parent(s) and that the surrogate has no parental or legal rights or obligations. The court order will also direct the department of Vital Records to issue a birth certificate placing the intended parents’ name(s) on the certificate. Depending on the state this can be done near the end of the second trimester so that it is in place before the birth.
About 22,000 babies have been born through surrogacy in the United States since the mid-1970s, said Shirley Zager, who has worked with the Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy and started her own agency.
A relatively small number of states ban commercial surrogacy, imposing civil and criminal penalties on surrogacy brokers in particular. Michigan is probably the most anti-surrogacy state in the Union. In 1993, Michigan legislators ruled it is a misdemeanor to be party to a surrogacy contract and a felony to serve as a “surrogate broker,” with a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and five years in prison.
Commercial surrogate parenting arrangements involve monetary payments both to the surrogate and to other third parties. Depending on state laws regulating commercial surrogacy, the cost of such arrangements in the early 21st Century ranged anywhere from $20,000 to as high as $150,000 in the United States. Surrogates typically received about $20,000 with the rest of the costs being paid out to healthcare professionals, counselors, screeners, lawyers, and surrogate brokers. In an effort to hold their costs down, some intended parents have engaged in reproductive tourism, traveling to developing nations, where the total cost for a surrogate parenting arrangement ranges from $5,000 to $12,000 largely because women are willing to rent their wombs for a relatively low sum of money.
In contrast to commercial surrogacy, non-commercial surrogacy involves an arrangement where the intended rearing parents use the services of a family member or a friend. The surrogate’s compensation supposedly consists in the satisfaction she derives from giving the gift of a new human life to people for whom she personally cares.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant via embryo transfer with a child that is not biologically her own. The surrogate mother is the gestational carrier.
The Akanksha clinic is at the forefront of India's booming trade in so-called reproductive tourism — foreigners coming to the country for infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The clinic's main draw, however, is its success using local women to have foreigners' babies. Surrogacy costs about $12,000 in India, including all medical expenses and the surrogate's fee. In the U.S., the same procedure can cost up to $70,000.