Surrogate mother is the woman who gets pregnant on behalf of a couple where the woman, for various reasons, cannot gestate.
Basically, it is a classic effort of IVF, in which ovarian stimulation, ovulation and egg fertilisation are normally done, embryos are created but the embryo transfer is done instead of the woman giving the genetic material, i.e. the other eggs, to another woman, the surrogate mother.
Very often there is confusion between surrogate motherhood and egg donation. Egg donation uses the genetic material of the donor, the fertilisation is done by the sperm of the spouse, and the embryos are placed in the womb of the spouse, who will conceive them. In surrogate motherhood, the genetic material, that is, the eggs, belongs to the spouse, and the embryos created are implanted in a “foreign” to the couple uterus.
The surrogate motherhood is in a position where the woman is unable to safely carry out a pregnancy. This may be due to:
- women ‘s health problems, such as heart failure, kidney failure, a history of malignancy that may be exacerbated by possible pregnancy, etc.
- in the absence of a uterus, either congenital (by birth) or acquired (e.g. due to hysterectomy).
- congenital abnormalities of the uterus that cannot be corrected surgically and lead to either repeated conception failures or recurrent multiple miscarriages.
The process of surrogate motherhood is defined by a specific legal framework that safeguards both the surrogate mother and the couple and the rights of the child born with this process. In Greece it is compulsory for the Court of Justice to authorize the transfer of the embryo to the surrogate mother.