A surrogate carrier is a woman who agrees to carry another couple’s child to term and through delivery. A surrogate is necessary when a woman cannot conceive or carry a child to term on her own. Women who have had insurmountable reproductive problems in the past or who have medical conditions that prevent them from being able to carry a child will need to have a surrogate if they wish to have a baby. Surrogates are also needed if male same-sex couples desire to have a child with one of the fathers serving as the biological parent. Surrogacy is nothing new, and using a surrogate carrier is a viable option for individuals who have not found success with other fertility methods.
California is considered a “surrogate-friendly” state, which means that couples are protected under the law if they choose to use a surrogate. Single parents, same-sex couples, or traditional couples who choose to adopt a child who has been born to a surrogate have rights that protect them as well as their children. The laws in California allow that the surrogacy contract be enforced once the agreement has been entered into by the surrogate and the intended parents. Although surrogacy laws may seem complicated, the rights of the intended parents are acknowledged and protected no matter what type of family unit is in question.
To be chosen as a surrogate, a woman must be in the best possible physical health. She must be willing to commit to the necessary doctor’s appointments, medical regimens, and to the amount of time needed to deliver a full-term, healthy baby. A surrogate must also agree to turn the child over to the parents whose sperm and eggs were used in the fertility process, as they are the legally recognized parents. To be a surrogate, the candidate must first pass a battery of tests to evaluate her mental, emotional and physical health to determine her eligibility.