An increasing number of couples are considering surrogacy for their next pregnancy, and it’s not just for same-sex couples, as the recent example of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West proves.
The celeb power couple opted to have their third child, who they later named Chicago, by surrogate mother after Kim’s difficult previous two pregnancies, and their story is also a good demonstration of how surrogacy mediation can help prevent problems from arising later.
With the world’s media understandably interested in finding out more about the woman who acted as surrogate to carry the couple’s baby, an agreement drawn up at the start has been instrumental in keeping some of the details under wraps.
Why use a surrogate?
In a recent survey, Marie Claire and SurveyMonkey asked 2,000 women about fertility and becoming parents, and found:
- Over a third of 18 to 35-year-olds have struggled to conceive or have lost a pregnancy.
- Only 24% consider ‘the right partner’ to be the most important factor when having a baby.
- Nearly as many (23%) of Millennial women say they would consider surrogacy.
Using a surrogate can overcome problems with carrying a baby to full term, can be an option for same-sex couples, and can even be a lifestyle choice for those who cannot take nine months out during pregnancy.
What is a surrogacy agreement?
If you decide to use a surrogate, it is essential to clearly frame the surrogate’s role from the outset in a legally binding agreement, and this is where a surrogacy agreement or surrogacy contract is required.
This is a written agreement that clearly describes certain aspects of the surrogacy process, for example:
- What is expected of the surrogate?
- What remuneration will they receive?
- What will happen after the birth?
- What is the contingency plan if anything goes wrong?
- Are there any other limitations – e.g. non-disclosure?
You can think of it as similar to a prenuptial agreement entered into before a marriage – in both cases, it is a way of establishing a framework in advance for the relationship you will have during and after the process.
How can surrogacy mediation help?
Surrogacy mediators are not afraid to tackle the difficult aspects of such an arrangement – for example requiring the surrogate to agree to zero access once the child is born – in an area that is still considered taboo by many couples, even including some who go through with surrogate pregnancies.
By making such arrangements upfront, you reduce the risk of problems later, which means the pregnancy and the following parenthood is more likely to be a positive experience all around.