On January 21, actor Priyanka Chopra and singer Nick Jonas welcomed their first child. Although there is nothing new in celebrity kids grabbing the public attention, what attracted eyeballs, in this case, was that the couple had their child via surrogacy. Apart from the never-ending ethical debate over surrogacy, how the process works also intrigued many. Surrogacy isn’t a new method of reproduction and has been opted by several couples. Not just that, producer Ekta Kapoor, director-producer Karan Johar, and actor Tushar Kapoor have also previously had babies via surrogacy. So how does this process work? Who can opt for it? And, what are the things that must be kept in mind? To get answers to these questions, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr Vinieta Diwakar, Consultant - Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad.
What Is Surrogacy?
Couples unable to have kids, both naturally and through artificial aids for reproduction can opt for surrogacy. In this, a third party – a woman is involved, who becomes the surrogate mother. She carries the child for nine months and after childbirth gives the custody and guardianship of the kid to the couple, Dr Diwakar explained. It involves a complex medical and legal process.
How Does Surrogacy Work?
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As you already know, in surrogacy, the surrogate carries the baby for the couple. It can happen in two ways:
Traditional Surrogacy: In this, the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the child. It happens as the father’s sperm is introduced into her body through artificial insemination. Hence, the sperm is from the father and the egg from the surrogate mother.
Gestational Surrogacy: Contrary to what happens in the traditional method, ferilisation in the case of gestational surrogacy happens outside the body of the surrogate mother. Once the embryo forms, it is implanted into her body. In this, the couple can be the biological parents of the child as the sperm and egg can be taken from them. If this is not possible, donor sperm and egg are fertilised and the embryo is then implanted into the womb of the surrogate mother.
Who Can Opt For Surrogacy & Things To Keep In Mind
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Generally, couples who cannot conceive both naturally and via other methods opt for surrogacy. For that, they need their doctor’s certificate as well as the court’s order to proceed with surrogacy. Other than this, there are multiple things to be kept in mind when a couple decides to have a baby via surrogacy.
- First and foremost, get well aware of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 to avoid any legal hassles.
- It’s very important to completely be aware of the whole process.
Pregnancy is sensitive. Having a kid via surrogacy can be even more due to the legal issues involved. Hence, it’s better to make yourself aware of the nuances beforehand.
Surrogacy: Impact On Couple & Surrogate Mother
Pregnancy can be challenging for any couple. What makes surrogacy distinctive is that in this, three individuals are involved who might feel differently through the process.
Here are some tips for the couple by Dr Diwakar:
- Try to develop an emotional bond with the baby.
- Name your child and refer to him/her with that when you communicate while the child is still in the surrogate’s belly.
- You can touch the surrogate’s belly while conversing with your child.
- It’s very important to keep the surrogate mother in a positive environment as what she feels has an impact on your baby.
According to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, the surrogate should be married and must have had a child previously. This is so that she knows the whole process and the sensitivities involved. Although not her child, it might be disheartening for the surrogate to give the baby to the couple following childbirth. Proper counseling to prepare her mentally for the outcome can help her deal with it. For couples who cannot conceive through other means, surrogacy is a good option. However, it’s crucial to understand the sensitivities of the whole process as well as the legal requirements involved.
(With inputs from Dr Vinieta Diwakar, Consultant - Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad)
Photo Credit: Instagram