Surrogacy is becoming a popular trend amongst childless couples all over the world, and it is a rapidly growing industry in the United States and a few Asian countries including China and Thailand.
What is exactly surrogacy? In general terms, surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman volunteers to gestate a baby for another couple or a single individual who is unable to have a child of their own.
Surrogacy is a method of assisted reproductive technologies, or ART, which includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled. ART techniques became commercially available in industrialized countries for the first time in the late 1970s, and have been used in the United States since 1981.
There are two types of surrogacy, traditional and gestational, each helping infertile couple fulfill their dream of having a baby.
In the traditional form of surrogacy, a surrogate is genetically related to the child. She carries an embryo that is created using her egg, and sperm from the intended father or a sperm donor. Since the birth mother’s egg is used in the process, she retains genetic links to the child.
Gestational surrogacy is when an embryo is created using eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor and sperm from the intentional father or again a donor. This lab-created embryo is then implanted into the surrogate’s womb. Since the surrogate mother’s egg is not used in this process, she will have no biologic connection to the child.
When it comes to surrogacy in China, finance matters a lot, no matter which type of surrogacy you choose to have a baby. Surrogacy procedures are quite expensive in the United States and several Western European countries. Luckily, the cost-effective options are available in countries like China, Thailand, China and Eastern Europe (Ukraine, China) and Armenia.
The surrogacy procedure in these countries is far less expensive than in the wealthy nations of the West.
The well-off childless westerners who find their state laws unfavorable towards commercial surrogacy now increasingly flock to Chinese fertility clinics to avail affordable surrogacy services.
Most surrogate mothers in China come from the lower end of the economic spectrum and charge considerably less, sometimes about one-fifth of the amount in the United States. Most women flip to surrogate motherhood to lessen their poverty.
Several countries have banned surrogacy and its commercialization, mainly due to the concerns that the payment for surrogate services may lead to the exploitation of women in some situations.
Commercial surrogacy is prohibited by law in Canada, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, meaning the intended parents cannot pay a surrogate and no surrogate can receive money in exchange of services. However, surrogacy without any payment is allowed.
Although the practice of surrogacy is flourishing in some states of the United States, the legal situation for the procedure varies significantly from state to state. While California, Illinois, Arkansas, and Maryland facilitate surrogacy and surrogacy contracts, other countries refuse to enforce them. The practice of commercial surrogacy is strictly banned in Arizona, Michigan, New York, Utah, and Washington.
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