Is the Baby Related to the Surrogate? 4 Questions You Have
Surrogacy is a complex and emotionally charged process that involves a woman carrying a baby for intended parents who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves. As with any unique family-building route, there are numerous questions surrounding genetic relationships, blood connections, and DNA inheritance. In this comprehensive guide, we will address these common queries and provide you with a deeper understanding of the surrogacy process.
Questions about Genetic Relationships
The frequent inquiry regarding surrogacy often revolves around the definition of the baby's genetic connection with the surrogate mother and whether they share her genes. The response to this question relies on the definition of the surrogacy method being employed.
In cases of traditional surrogacy, which is less common due to legal and emotional complexities, the definition stands that the surrogate mother is biologically linked to the baby. She utilizes her own egg, along with sperm from a donor or an intended father, to form the embryo. Consequently, the genetic definition ties the traditional surrogate to the child. However, it's important to emphasize that traditional surrogacy is often treated legally more akin to adoption.
Conversely, gestational surrogacy, the favored and more prevalent approach today, has a different definition in that it lacks a genetic connection between the surrogate and the baby. In this process, an embryo is established through in vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing eggs and sperm from donors or the intended parents. Subsequently, the resulting embryo gets transferred to the gestational surrogate's uterus for gestation. Thus, based on the genetic definition, the gestational surrogate isn't genetically related to the baby.
Ultimately, the definition of the genetic relationship between the surrogate and the baby hinges on whose eggs and sperm are employed in creating the embryo.
Questions about Blood
Some individuals wonder if surrogate mothers share blood with the baby or if they must have the same blood type. It is important to differentiate between the literal concept of blood and familial relations.
In terms of familial relations, gestational surrogates who are matched with intended parents outside of their family are not "blood" relatives to the babies they carry. They have no biological connection to the child. However, in any pregnancy, including surrogacy, blood, oxygen, and nutrients are transferred to the baby from the pregnant woman through the umbilical cord. The surrogate's blood type is inconsequential, as many genetic mothers and their children have different blood types.
Before embarking on the surrogacy process, thorough medical screenings are conducted to ensure the surrogate does not have any communicable diseases that could be passed to the baby in utero.
Questions about DNA Inheritance
DNA inheritance is a topic that often confuses individuals contemplating surrogacy. It is crucial to understand that genes, which are created by DNA sequences, are inherited from the two individuals who contribute their genetic material to create an embryo.
Regardless of whose uterus the embryo is gestated in, the genetic material only comes from the individuals who contributed the egg and sperm. It is similar to how kissing or donating blood does not result in the recipient inheriting the DNA of the donor. Therefore, even when an embryo is carried by a surrogate, it does not acquire the surrogate's DNA.
Questions about the Physical Appearance of the Baby
Many wonder if a baby born via surrogacy will resemble the surrogate mother or the intended parents. The baby's physical appearance is primarily influenced by the genetic contributors of the egg and sperm used to create the embryo.
If the surrogate is a traditional surrogate who contributed her own egg, then it is possible for the baby to resemble her. However, if the surrogate is a gestational surrogate, meaning another woman's egg was used, the baby will not look like the surrogate.
In cases where the intended parents contribute the egg and sperm, the baby is more likely to resemble them. However, there is no guarantee that a child will look like their genetic parents.
If an egg and sperm donor were used to create the embryo, then the baby's appearance will be influenced by those two individuals. Therefore, it is the genetic contributors of the egg and sperm who determine the baby's physical features, not the surrogate who carries the baby.
Who Are the Child's Real Parents?
When discussing the relationship between surrogates and babies, it is essential to consider who the child's "real" parents are. Biologically, the two individuals who contributed the egg and sperm are considered the genetic parents. However, in terms of familial bonds and parenting, the individuals who raise and love the child are considered the real parents.
In cases where intended parents require the assistance of egg or sperm donors, the child may be genetically related to one or neither of them. However, the use of donor eggs does not diminish the importance of the intended parents' role in raising the child. Adoption serves as evidence that a child's "real" parents are the individuals who provide care, support, and love.
Surrogacy, like other non-traditional family-building routes, follows the same principle. The individuals who actively participate in the child's life and fulfill the responsibilities of parenting are considered the real parents.
Embarking on a Surrogacy Journey
If you are considering surrogacy or wish to learn more about the process, it is crucial to seek guidance from a surrogacy professional. They can provide comprehensive information on the legal and emotional aspects of surrogacy, help you understand the genetic relationships involved, and guide you through the journey.
To get started, you can reach out to surrogacy professionals who specialize in assisting intended parents and surrogates. They can provide the necessary resources, support, and expertise to ensure a smooth and successful surrogacy experience.
Understanding the genetic relationship between surrogates and babies is crucial for anyone considering or curious about surrogacy. While traditional surrogacy involves a genetic connection between the surrogate and the baby, gestational surrogacy severs the genetic link. The DNA of a surrogacy baby is solely derived from the individuals who provided the egg and sperm used to create the embryo.
The physical appearance of a surrogacy baby is influenced by the genetic contributors, rather than the surrogate. Ultimately, the individuals who raise and love the child are considered the real parents, regardless of genetic connections.
Embarking on a surrogacy journey requires careful consideration and guidance from professionals in the field. By utilizing the resources available and seeking expert assistance, intended parents can navigate the complexities of surrogacy with confidence and create a loving family.