There are many legal issues that surround surrogate mothering. Since parenthood in general is a highly emotional issue, lawyers are involved in the process, thus ensuring that both the adoptive mothers and the surrogate mothers understand the agreement. This keeps surrogate mothers from claiming rights to the child once he or she has been born.
Sometimes the couple or individual who are seeking a child will offer to pay the surrogate mother for her help. This is called a commercial contracted motherhood agreement. This payment is usually between $10,000 and $20,000. Sometimes when the surrogate mother and the adoptive parents know each other, there is no fee.
Beyond the compensation differences, there are two major differences in types of surrogate mothering. Traditional surrogacy is the process whereby the surrogate mother becomes pregnant via the biological father. The adoptive mother has no biological connection to the child. Gestational surrogacy refers to surrogate mothering where the gestational mother is impregnated via in vitro fertilization of the fertilized egg of the adoptive mother. In this case, the surrogate mother has no biological connection to the child. Most of the time, the couple seeking the child are the biological parents. Sometimes egg or sperm donors are used.
There are many emotional and ethical issues surrounding surrogate mothering. If in vitro fertilization is used, there will be some fertilized eggs that are lost. Many consider this the killing of human life. Often the surrogate mother will feel an emotional connection to the baby she is carrying, whether or not it is considered hers. She may have trouble relinquishing the baby after going through the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. This is why legal counsel is so important. That being said, however, most surrogate pregnancies end without any problems for either party involved. As long as all of the expectations are known at the onset of the process, both parties are usually satisfied by the outcome. Some may be concerned that the mothers receiving a child will not show as much love and care to the child as they would if they had carried the child. But in reality, mothers who turn to surrogacy are usually desperate to have a child, and as such are even more emotionally attached to their child than traditional mothers. It is important, however, that both the birth mom and the receiving mom and dad have emotional support through the process. There are several support organizations to help parents who choose this option.