With our society seeing more and more surrogate-mother arrangements, this is bound to come up in conversation at some point.
We know what you're thinking: I will so never be talking about this. But it's back in the news with the most recent celebrity couple to have a baby via surrogate. Prior to them, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelsey Grammer, Elizabeth Banks, Dennis Quaid, and Angela Basset all had babies using surrogate mothers. So you never know.
Here's what you do need to know. There are two kinds of surrogate arrangements. Traditional surrogacy, where the mother is the genetic mother of the baby, usually comes about through artificial insemination of some kind. Gestational surrogacy, the kind most celebrities have, requires the planting of an embryo created using egg and sperm from the parents, and a surrogate mother to carry the child. This kind are also probably commercial surrogacies, since the woman carrying the child us paid more than just medical expenses.
But here's where you can really impress your friends, by knowing this, as stated by the lawyer who runs the Fertility Team at Lester Aldridge LLP:
"In English law, the woman carrying the child is the legal mother. It does not matter if the woman is carrying the child as part of a surrogacy arrangement or has no biological link to the child; whoever gives birth to the child is the legal mother.
Additionally, if the woman carrying the child is married, her husband is automatically treated as the legal father, regardless of whether he intends to be or has any biological link to the child.
This position can cause a great number of legal problems for couples trying to conceive by alternative methods. Having already had to experience medical and emotional difficulties, as well as the expense of the surrogacy process, a legal process must also be undertaken before they can be considered the legal parents of the child conceived with their gametes.”
So there you have it. You can now hold a conversation and advise a friend! (Just make sure they're clear that you're not a lawyer, you only play one on TV. Well, unless you are, of course.)