Category: Surrogate Mothers

Disadvantages of being a surrogate mother

Disadvantages of being a surrogate mother

Surrogacy is that process where the intending parents and the surrogate mother mutually agree on the process, where the mom carries and nurtures the baby for the parents in full terms. Although it is the most widely practiced methodology, but it shares its advantages and disadvantages. A couple that is unable to have a biological child can take help from a substitute mom and have children bearing their genetics. If you are looking to bear a child through surrogacy, you must be aware of the demerits as well. There are mainly two kinds of surrogacy, namely, the straight surrogacy and the host surrogacy. In the former, the surrogate mom donates her egg to develop and bear the child for someone else. However, in the latter, the mom is artificially inseminated and then she becomes the carrier of the embryo.

The process of surrogacy is complicated

Surrogacy might seem easier, but it is complicated for both the surrogate mom and the intending couple. If you wish to have a child through surrogacy, it is important to learn how complicated the process is. As an intending couple, you need to find a reliable agency to help locate a surrogate mom willing to carry the baby for you. Then, there are a lot many legal formalities involved. A contract needs to be signed between you and the mom in the presence of an attorney. Apart from this, in some of the states, the surrogacy law is not that enforceable. Thus, the surrogate mom can even refuse to hand over the infant.

Huge expenses are involved

When you talk about surrogacy, huge expenses are involved. The charges may range from $60000-$100000. Some of the expenses that need to be borne include the attorney fees, mom’s compensation payment, medication and medical bills. To tackle the expenses, you may start saving in advance. Loans can also be taken from the baking institutions.

Too much anxiety is involved

All throughout the process of pregnancy or surrogacy, the intending couple feel anxious about the entire thing. Even surrogate mom is anxious all the while. Then, it is not good to be a surrogate mom since the process is tiring and complex. The very thought of separating from the infant can be devastating. This can increase the stress level during pregnancy. A mother has to undergo huge psychological and emotional ups and downs.

Family pressure

For the mom who is ready to bear a child for some other couple, it may get difficult to convince the family members for the same. Your family, including spouse and others, may fail to understand your emotions and your urge to help others in dilemma. There can be a problem between you and the spouse.

It is time consuming

Surrogacy is extremely tedious where the mother has to devote nine valuable months of her lifetime. She puts in her full energy, effort and hands over her body to bring forth the child. A lot of legal and medical procedure is involved in it. This can again consume a lot of time.

If you wish to become a surrogate mother, you should re-consider your option. Only if you feel that you are strong enough to part with the child, move ahead.

Artificial wombs – A great invention of science

Artificial wombs – A great invention of science

Are you willing to choose external gestation if you get a chance? The legal, moral, social and ethical consequences of artificial wombs and external gestation are profound. Women just like men can have babies without even carrying the baby for nine months. Ectogenesis is the revolutionary technology whereby the human fetus grows and gestates outside the womb of the mother and in an external setting. Indeed it is qualitatively different from other reproductive technologies and from birth control. The rights and responsibilities of mothers are bound to change with artificial uterus and ectogenesis. The advent of artificial uterus is the aim of assisted reproductive technologies. They are baby machines that are fabulous substitute to mother’s womb helping the premature babies to grow and survive.

Current findings in artificial wombs

When we talk about artificial uterus, there are two most commonly cited endeavors focusing on unveiling the ways of saving premature babies, and secondly, helping the women who cannot conceive. Women who have no uterus of their own or carry a damaged uterus, they can get immense help. Researchers want to ensure proper functioning of womb outside a woman’s body. Indeed medical advancement has narrowed down the gap between fetus’ viability outside the mother’s womb and in vitro conception. When this gap is filled, no navel-less child will be born from the women.

Artificial womb: great alternative to surrogacy

The very technology of artificial uterus can assist the infertile couples to have their own child and allow a premature baby to survive. It is indeed a great substitute to surrogacy. Ectogenesis is the technique which is effective, safe and there is no need to administer alcohol and drugs. Gay couples can enjoy fantastic option where they can have their child. Then, the children born of artificial wombs are better adjusted and are also free of moms who seem to be overly invested in the kids.

The societal consequence of artificial womb

The ethical, moral and societal consequences of artificial womb are huge. The main question arising here is that what if both men and women simply contribute to the gametes for reproduction. If babies are born outside the mother’s womb or her body then what about the relationship between the mom and the baby. The very connection between a mom and baby is the source of power that mothers have in the society or rather women have in a broader context.

Helping couples to deal with infertility

Ectogenesis is fairly new innovation which is helping couples to deal with infertility issue and to have their own child. The egg being harvested from the mom is generally fertilized in the lab and placed into the artificial womb outside the mother’s body. After a period of few weeks, the fetus or embryo starts to develop outside the womb. Indeed, the artificial womb is the replacement organ to help male and female couple to develop a fetus.

The artificial womb may be connected to the body of the mother and still she can supply the oxygen and the needed nutrients to the fetus. There is also no risk of any immune reaction towards the fetus or embryo.

Artificial womb – will it really work?

Artificial womb – will it really work?

For any human to develop outside the body of a human being, a synthetic amniotic environment and synthetic uterus will be required. Embryo implantation and the very advent of artificial wombs is the attempt to improve IVF efficiency. It is a great way to help women who cannot conceive. A synthetic uterus can be used to develop fetus outside the body. It uses a technique that we may call as ‘co-culture’ in which the uterine tissue and embryo grows together. Dr. Liu grew a human embryo successfully for nearly 10 days outside the body of the human being. According to a leading developmental psychologist, the fetal environment is much more than just hormones and to formulate a holistic womb, scholars and researchers proposed that additional technologies may be required to circumvent engineering challenges being faced while creating a successful artificial womb.

The additional technologies needed to overcome the challenges

Some of the additional technologies needed to meet up the engineering challenges include reserves of the would-be-mother hormones and blood, breathable liquid, simulated movements and sounds. When all such technologies are integrated, it will permit a human embryo to get successfully implanted in the uterus. After this, the human embryo may be placed inside the artificial womb to allow the fetus to develop in full terms.

An artificial womb growing a baby sheep  

The ziplock bag strewn with the tubes of fluid and blood allowed 8 fetal lambs to grow. They almost developed as if inside the mother’s womb. Within the 4 weeks, the lungs and the brain of the fetus grew. They started sprouting wool and opened their eyes. They even wriggled and learnt how to swallow. As per the recent study, the device which helped the fetal lambs to grow may even assist premature human babies to grow normally. It is amazing to imagine a world where artificial wombs may help the babies to grow. This also relieves the mother of delivery complication. It is wonderful to imagine a world without pregnancy complication. But, one must not move ahead of data as it is science fiction to think that you may take human embryo through the early developmental process and then put that inside the machine without even considering mother as the critical element. The very point of developing an artificial womb is to allow premature babies to develop in a natural surrounding mimicking a mother’s womb. The uterus like environment allows the fetus to grow in a natural manner.

The appearance of the artificial womb

The artificial womb, appearing to be a biobag has the key elements like the clear plastic bag enclosing the fetus and protecting it from the external environment. The electrolyte solution is just similar to amniotic fluid present in the uterus. It is the way for the fetus to circulate oxygen and blood and also exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen. Prematurity is the main cause of death for the newborns born prematurely.

An artificial womb will work only when the developing fetus is offered extensive support and care. If this is not done, the babies taking birth out of artificial womb will have a host of medical conditions.

Are Neanderthal Clones a Possibility?

Are Neanderthal Clones a Possibility?

A controversial statement made by a well-known Harvard Professor has started a lot discussion around the world. This professor who specializes in genetics stated that a very adventurous woman may someday in future act as a surrogate mother to a clone of a Neanderthal baby.

The Theory

This statement was made by George Church in an interview with a magazine called Der Spiegel. He also added that it would be possible to clone a Neanderthal baby in our lifetime, he said creating a Neanderthal could be significantly beneficial to the society. He said the first step of do it is to make a sequence of the genome of the Neanderthal. This according to Church has already been done.

In the following step Church opines that the genome should be chopped into about 10000 chunks and then those should be assembled in the stem cells of humans which would eventually lead to the formation of a Neanderthal clone

The first sequence of Neanderthal genome was completed by the scientists in the year 2010.  In this study they found evidence indicating that modern human ancestors at least occasionally successfully interbedded with the Neanderthals. Another research conducted more recently suggests that Neanderthal DNA makes up about 1%- 4 % of the genomes in the modern Eurasian people

The main benefits of creating a Neanderthal clone is that it would increase the genetic diversity in the world. According to Church the risks of perishing are greater when there is lack of genetic diversity. Therefore the recreation of the Neanderthals is just about avoiding risk. .

Church’s book mainly focuses on the reinvention of the nature and human beings with the help of synthetic biology.  According to him when society is comfortable with the idea of cloning and appreciates true human diversity then the entire Neanderthal creature can be cloned by a surrogate mother chimpanzee or even by a very adventurous human female.

He stresses that he is not saying it should happen anytime soon. All he is saying is that people should not be averse to the idea right now so that this can happen in the future.

Critics:

There are many scientists around the world who think that this not scientifically possible, moreover they also state that such a situation is not ideal ethically as well. Critics point out that it is not ethical to put people in a situation where there is a possibility of getting mocked and also to be feared by others. They also state that there is a high chance that the Neanderthal babies would lack the immunity to the infectious diseases required to survive in the contemporary world.  They existed around 30000 years ago and there is not much material available to know how strong their immune systems were.

Other critics also point out that whenever clones have been made it has always had significant side effects on the surrogate mothers and also costs a lot of health hazards to the clones. So any surrogate mother of the Neanderthal baby will also have to go through a lot, which is asking a lot from a person.

Surrogate Mother at 67

Surrogate Mother at 67

Science has made tremendous growth in the last few decades. Science has particularly made major advances in the medical areas. It is therefore nothing surprising to see a child being born through a surrogate mother anymore. There are many cases of that happening all over the world thanks to the latest technological advancements. However, what would surprise the most of us is the news that a woman whose age is 67 years giving birth to her granddaughter.

The news:

Anastassia Ontou, who is a 67 year old woman has become the oldest woman in the world to become a surrogate mother when she gave birth to her granddaughter. It is her daughter’s daughter that she gave birth to. Although 67 is quite old to give birth yet, she is not the only one. In fact, according to the Guinness book of world records, the eldest person to give birth is a Spanish lady who goes by the name of Maria Del Carmen Bousada Lara. Her age was 66 when she birthed twins in 2006 at Barcelona, Spain. In a rather sad twist she left the twins orphaned when she passed away within three years of their birth. It is said that she had lied about her age at the clinic because it is not normal to give birth so late. She also claims to have paid 30000 GBP to a clinic situated at Los Angeles.  She was heavily criticized by her family member and was even called selfish by them for choosing to give birth so late, which meant the chances of her twins being orphaned early were very high.

Ontou’s Story

Anastassia Ontou Is a resident of Larissa, Greece, which is a small village at the outskirts. Her daughter, Constantina, was devastated at not being able to become a mother after she failed to be pregnant in seven attempts it was then that Anastassia offered to be the surrogate mother for Constatantina’s child. Initially Anastasia’s daughter thought that it was a crazy idea. However, with time she too was onboard to try this out. Once that was decided everything went smoothly and she birthed a 2.6 pounds little girl after undergoing a Caesarian section. Her pregnancy which lasted about seven and half months were peaceful as nothing unusual happened in that period.

Reactions and Records

Constantinos Pantos who was Mrs. Ontou’s obstetrician called her a hero. It is he who had confirmed that she is indeed the oldest grandmother to be a surrogate mother. The Doctor confessed that even he was initially apprehensive about going ahead with this and only went ahead with it after getting prior permission granted by the Larissa court. This was the first instance of the court granting an approval because of Mrs. Ontou’s age and her wish to act as a surrogate mother.

Constantinos Pantos who is Athens based doctor is now a happy and a relieved man having been able to be part of this historic birth. Both the mother and the child are healthy, and everyone in concerned is delighted. Therefore as they say all is well that ends well. From the looks of it, it indeed has ended well.

Artificial wombs to keep the premature babies alive

Artificial wombs to keep the premature babies alive

In America, scientists have invented an artificial womb where babies can be kept securely after getting an extremely premature birth at 23 weeks gestational age.

The artificial womb was created by the scientists to examine the premature lambs. The scientists got an amazing response from the fetuses who were kept in the artificial device after premature birth. The device has a similar atmosphere like mother’s womb where babies can be matured safely for one month. This was explained by the fetus surgeon Alan Flake who has also led the research. This research was printed in Nature Communications journal.

Know about the device

In the device, fetuses grow in a very normal way. The growth of the brain, lung, and heart in this biobag was absolutely normal in the lamb fetuses. Now the team of the scientists is going to try it on the premature human fetus within coming two to three years.

The researchers have imitated the atmosphere of the pregnant womb in the device to give the same atmosphere to the premature babies after getting an extremely premature birth.

Jay Greenspan is one of the most successful pediatricians has declared that the artificial womb device is a miracle of the technologies. He has also told that it was their achievement for which they were working for past decades.  

According to this, the lamb fetus had to be kept in the warm and dark room where the mother’s heart beat was played and monitored the development of the infant by the scientists. The experiment was done on the lamb fetus because lamb fetus development is almost similar to the human babies. Scientists also say that they can follow the development of the fetus in a better way through this process.

Different opinions of the researchers

Though this device has become successful on the lamb fetuses, but still it is making confusion among the scientists who are thinking whether the device will be suitable to the human fetus or not.

This device is mainly designed for the babies who born unexpectedly at 23 weeks or 24 weeks. These babies face many health issues and permanent problems if they are born so early.

According to Alan Flake, the ethical decision should be taken by balancing the chances of life and death.

Babies, who born so early use to have very low chance to survive as among them fifty percent babies survive. The survived babies often face man permanent health issues like deafness, cerebral palsy, paralysis, mental retardation and more.

According to the researchers, 30,000 babies take birth before reaching the 26 weeks of gestational age in the United States every year.

Though scientists have achieved a good response from the lamb fetus using this device another group of scientists is not finding the uses of the device ethical on the human fetuses. The scientists are showing their different aspects, and according to them, this is a sensitive issue related to a baby. The device is eliminating the light difference between the fetus and the babies as well.