• A surrogate mother is a woman who has agreed to become pregnant and deliver a child as part of a contractual arrangement. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is the genetic mother to the child. In gestational surrogacy, the woman is implanted with a fertilized egg and has no genetic link to the child.

    History of Surrogacy

    Surrogate mothers are chosen by some infertile couples as a way to have a child. It has existed for centuries, although it was not legally defined in the U.S. until 1976, according to

    Requirements for a Surrogate Mother

    Surrogate mothers are usually between the ages of 21 and 40 and have delivered, and are raising, at least one child. Other requirements may include background checks, physical and psychological examinations and a contractual release of parental rights.

    Legal Status of Surrogates

    The surrogate mother is in a contractual relationship with the couple requesting the surrogacy. Many contracts define the responsibility of the mother, including behavior, during the pregnancy. This may prohibit activities such as smoking and drinking, and require attendance at medical appointments.

    Financial Arrangements

    In some states, payment to the surrogate mother is prohibited, although the requesting couple will usually be required to cover the expenses of the pregnancy.

    Legal Challenges to Surrogacy

    The contracts always requires the surrogate mother to surrender the child when it is born. Occasionally this has been challenged by women who have changed their minds. The courts have usually ruled in favor of the requesting couple.


    New World Encyclopedia

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