Responsible Surrogacy

Information regarding the ethical aspects of the process

Under another topic, we discussed the medical and non-medical considerations with respect to termination of pregnancy. However, there are, of course, economic consequences to this act as well, whether it being a miscarriage or induced termination (for medical reasons or other). The considerations in this context differ greatly, with regard to the stage in which the pregnancy ended and the circumstances. In most surrogacy agreements, the surrogate receives monetary compensation throughout the process and she will most likely remain with at least part of the promised compensation. We believe other issues should also be taken into account in such cases:

  • In many cases, the surrogacy agreement was signed a few weeks (or even months) after the successful embryo transfer. This means that if there is a medical problem or a miscarriage before this stage, there is no legal document that guarantees the rights of the surrogate and any compensation. This is particularly important because the likelihood of miscarriage decreases with gestational age, implying that the beginning of the pregnancy is a critical period in this context.
  • During pregnancy, there are period that are more difficult and others that are not. For many women, the first trimester is more difficult that the second trimester, for example. Therefore, even if there was a miscarriage after a few weeks of pregnancy, which seemingly “just started”, it is not safe to assume that the surrogate encountered few difficulties.
  • Sometimes miscarriages (and more so termination of pregnancy) involve pain, medical complications and risks to the surrogate. This should also be considered in determining the compensation in case of unsuccessful pregnancies.

It is difficult to determine clear guidelines that define what compensation a surrogate will receive for any possible outcome when signing the agreement. Each case must be examined individually. In any case, we recommend raising the matter with the surrogate at the beginning of the process. We suggest that parents remain aware of the surrogate’s hardship in case of an unsuccessful pregnancy, despite the many difficulties they themselves feel in that situation. This is particularly important in cases where the contract was to be signed several weeks after the start of pregnancy – and there is great temptation to avoid compensation for the surrogate who experienced a miscarriage in early pregnancy.

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