THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A SURROGATE MOTHER
It is only natural that a surrogate mother should be serious and responsible as she would take care of another person’s child for nine months. However, this is not always the case in practice, and it is not always possible to check how exactly the surrogate lives and behaves. This may lead to serious problems, since the surrogate mother’s way of life has a great influence on the child and, therefore, on its further destiny.
Certainly, the contracts that are concluded with a surrogate mother impose full responsibility of the surrogate for her behaviour during the pregnancy. Unfortunately, however, not all such cases can be identified. For example, if the surrogate mother smokes during the pregnancy, there’s probably no way to ensure that she doesn’t. However, smoking during pregnancy can lead to serious respiratory complications in the baby or even to cardiovascular complications. However, the causes of such birth defects are not always traceable.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ADJUSTMENT OF THE CHILD
It is not often that both supporters and opponents of surrogacy think about how a child born by a surrogate feels or will feel. Certainly, many parents prefer not to tell their baby that he or she was born to another woman. However, this does not guarantee that the child will not find out sooner or later that he or she has been born by a surrogate. This can lead to serious psychological problems, up to and including confusion as to who is the real mother: the biological mother or the surrogate?
THE SURROGATE’S FAMILY
In those countries where surrogacy is legally allowed, it is very important that the surrogate’s husband has a clear idea of what his wife is going to do. In such cases, the legislation stipulates that the surrogate’s husband has to sign his consent for his wife’s participation in the programme. This is because surrogacy in one way or another affects not only the surrogate mother herself but her entire family. The pregnancy itself may become a serious challenge as the woman will require special care and constant attention. Besides that, in the final stages of child birth many biological parents insist that the surrogate mother should be admitted to the clinic or at least live close to the place where she will give birth. This means that the surrogate mother will have to separate from her family for a while. Some biological parents even make arrangements with the surrogate mothers to live in a rented house or flat for some time, which allows the surrogate mother to avoid unpleasant rumours and allows the biological parents to monitor her condition.
The interests of the surrogate mother’s children are also affected because they will have to somehow explain why their mother is carrying a child they will never see.
Certainly, the legislation protects the interests of the surrogate mother and the interests of the biological parents, but no legislation has yet been so well developed with respect to surrogacy that it could solve all the problems that may arise. This is what a contract between the surrogate mother and the biological parents is for, which spells out all the obligations and rights of the parties. It is very important that such contracts are made only by professionals.
Surrogacy agencies usually have lawyers dealing with such issues and help settle disputable points and conclude a contract that would fully protect both the surrogate mother and the biological parents. In particular, the law has never provided for a simple question of what will happen to the child if the biological parents divorce for some reason. Also the question of what the surrogate mother should do if by some tragic accident the child’s biological parents die has never been settled by law. It is for such cases that there are lawyers who are in charge of drawing up a contract for a surrogacy programme. They are designed to resolve all these contentious issues before they arise so that both parties are fully assured of a successful outcome of the programme.
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