Issues to consider when weighing a gestational carrier pregnancy
While all surrogate pregnancies can be fraught with ethical, legal, and emotional challenges, here are some questions to consider when a close friend or sibling becomes a gestational carrier (when the intended parents provide both egg and sperm for the embryo):
ª Are you comfortable entering a legal contract, addressing such issues as parental rights and financial liability?
ª Do the spouse and/or children of the gestational carrier fully support the arrangement, and understand the risks involved?
ª If a severe birth defect is discovered in utero, do you both agree on whether to abort or not? And do you feel comfortable admitting to your friend or sibling if you disagree?
ª If using IVF reproductive technology and multiple embryos survive, would you be willing to reduce the number?
ª Who will make the key medical decisions during the baby’s delivery? And if there is a life-threatening complication, whose health takes precedence — the carrier’s or the baby’s?
ª Is there an expectation that the gestational carrier will be named godparent of the baby? And if the intended parents happen to die in an accident during the pregnancy, who will raise the baby?
ª Will the parents feel an overwhelming indebtedness to the gestational carrier afterward?
How might that affect the relationship?
ª Will it be hard for the carrier to move on from her role in the birth, as she continues to spend time with the baby’s family, and watches the child grow up?
Source: Julianne Zweifel, clinical psychologist and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and current chair of the mental health professional group within the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.