Couples who discover they’re infertile understand that there’s a grim chance of them having a baby. While the anguish of infertility can already be heartbreaking, there is another side of this problem that’s getting worse. First, the financial turmoil that goes along with an infertility diagnosis and treatment.
According to Forbes, on average, nationally, a “fresh” IVF cycle costs $12, 000. A frozen embryo transfer (FET) averages from $3, 000 to $5, 000 per cycle, and about a few hundred dollars each year for the annual storage fees of the frozen embryos. Second, for some individuals undergoing IVF, treatment does not often result in a pregnancy.
In most cases, no fertility treatment is guaranteed to work at a hundred percent success rate. The truth is that some fertility problems are more easily treated than others. And in general, as women age, especially after age 35, the probability of becoming pregnant becomes less likely. Subsequently, if pregnancy happens, there is still no warranty that the patient can carry the baby successfully to a full term.
For women who are unable to become pregnant or carry a healthy baby to term, surrogacy may offer the only opportunity for her and her partner to have a child that is biologically their own. In traditional surrogacy, the sperm of the intended father fertilizes the surrogate mother’s egg through artificial insemination.
Still, in another type of surrogacy, also known as “gestational” or “host surrogacy”, the surrogate mother carries and delivers the child that is not related to her. This usually happens when the wife of the intended parents cannot carry a child but can produce healthy eggs. This type of arrangement makes it possible for both the intended father and mother to be the genetic parents of the child. Thus, the surrogate only fulfills the role of carrying the child to term for the intended parents.
While surrogacy offers solutions to the conceptual challenges faced by an infertile couple. Surrogate motherhood is not without controversy. In the United States, the freedom to decide whether when to conceive or bear a child is highly valued and protected. Thus, several conservative religious groups are opposed to surrogacy because it redefines the traditional concept of motherhood, parenting and family.
According to Scott B. Rae, professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Biola University, surrogacy “diminishes a woman’s role in procreation”. Although not specifically mentioned in the Bible, professor Rae thinks that the act of surrogacy in order to produce a baby should be considered unethical. He added, in an interview with The Christian Post, “[in surrogacy] the woman is reduced to a “baby breeder”.
However, despite the burgeoning arguments, surrogacy is still considered legal in some countries and state. In the United Kingdom, the English law states that, at birth, the legal mother of a child born via surrogacy is the surrogate mother. If she is married, her husband’s name will also go on the birth certificate. Similarly, in Louisiana women who act as surrogates are automatically listed on the birth certificate as the mother of the child.
Ironically, with the laws governing surrogacy agreements between the intended parents and the surrogate still left unpolished, fertility clinics and attorneys say that surrogate demand is growing. One factor behind the growth, are couples considering surrogacy as a better option to bring a child into the family. Instead of adopting an infant or a child, some individuals feel strongly about having children that is genetically a part of them. Therefore, the increase in demand is attributed to the desire of prospective parents to become genetically linked to their offspring, says Christina Steinorth, California-based psychotherapist and author of Cue Cards for Life.