Surrogacy is a family creating option that involves a couple who cannot bear children for themselves, who enter in agreement with a woman who will carry their child until the baby’s birth. This is not the usual way one is accustomed to approach family creation, but it is an option available for those parents who choose to go forth with Surrogacy.
To answer the question, “Whose baby is it?”, when speaking of Surrogacy, there are certain points that musts be clarified:
What constitutes a family?
In this day, the traditional family has changed. In essence, a family is constituted as such where there is a legal adult who brings ups children underneath the same roof. The adult can be either couples or a single adult who wishes to bring up a child or children. Children can either be genetically related to the adult that raises them (grandparents, aunts, and brothers… sisters… etc.) or not. The adult or adults and the children as a unit are considered a family.
What is a father and a mother?
Biologically speaking, a child’s mother and father are the people whose sperm and egg were combined to develop into a baby. Emotionally speaking, the parents are the people who raise a child. The parents may or may not be those who provided their genetic material for the child, but they are the ones who provide care throughout the child's development into adulthood.
What is parenthood?
To parent a child means providing the child with a housing, food, education, and an environment in which the child will grow. This is a key component for adoptive parents, and foster parents. In traditional cases, as well as in Surrogacy, the biological parents are the ones who parent their child, but in nontraditional cases, biological parents are not the ones who bring up their child.
Traditional Family Creation
Traditionally, a man and a woman conceive a child. The woman becomes pregnant, and during her pregnancy many traditional activities ensue, such as baby showers, getting the baby room ready, so on and so forth. The due date is getting nearer and the hospital bag is right beside the door, the baby is born, birth certificate is processed, and the baby is brought home.
The clear components are all there. The father is the man who impregnated the woman with his sperm. The mother is the woman whose egg was fertilized by the father’s sperm. The baby develops within the mother’s uterus and is birthed by her. There is no question as to who the baby belongs to as well as under who's roof the baby will live, hence to his or her name on the birth certificate.
Family Creation through Adoption and or Foster Care
Adoption is another way in which a family can be created. The adult or adults that choose to have a child through adoption, bring to their family a child that was birthed by its own father and mother. Although adoption can occur between family members, the biological parents of the adopted child are usually unknown to the adoptive parents. When the child is adopted, the adoptive parents modify the child’s birth certificate to provide their adopted son or daughter with its new family name. The biological parents are out of the picture, and the adoptive parents become the child’s father and mother.
Family Creation through Surrogacy
What sets Gestational Surrogacy apart from other family creating options is that the woman who births the child has no genetic relationship with the child. There is an emotional bond with her, because the baby grows inside her, but there is no genetic bond whatsoever. The baby’s genetic composition comes from the parents’[M6] gametes. The embryo is created in a laboratory instead of the mother’s body. Once the embryo is made, it needs a womb to develop. When the mother cannot carry the child in her own womb, the parents hire another woman’s womb. She is a Gestational Carrier, because she will carry the baby through the baby’s gestational period until birth. The embryo that will develop into a child is composed by the mother’s egg and the father’s sperm. The names on the birth certificate will belong to the mother and father, not to the Gestational Carrier.
Answering the original question, ”Whose baby is it?” when speaking of Surrogacy: it is the same as a traditional pregnancy. The mother and the father are those whose genetic material are in the baby’s makeup. The Gestational Carrier carries the child as it develops within her womb. She serves as someone who brings family moments to life, by birthing the child or children, and converting Intended Parents into Parents.
The Gestational Carrier will carry the child but she knows that the baby is only under her care throughout the pregnancy. How she will relate to the baby after birth is something that she must agree upon with the Intended Parents. Omega Family Surrogates has a great team that supports the Gestational Carriers throughout the process, with a profound understanding of their commitment and their purpose. Emotional support is provided by the Omega team, as well as the Gestational Carrier’s family throughout the pregnancy, so that the she feels good and can deal with the emotional aspect of the Surrogacy Journey.
We thank all those selfless, amazing women who choose to give to others by taking care of the baby for the term of the pregnancy. Thank you!