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The History of Surrogacy: How Surrogacy Has Evolved

To many, surrogacy may seem like a revolutionary idea. While this holds some truth in that the legality and medical advancements are ever-changing, the fact of the matter is that surrogacy has been around for thousands of years. Ever since people have been reproducing, surrogacy has been an alternative, helpful way of doing so.

Traditional surrogacy is a relatively straight forward process, requiring a fertile man and a fertile woman, which made it an effective way of childbearing throughout human history. In fact, the bible cites an ancient instance of traditional surrogacy. Sarah, who was infertile, requested that her handmaiden, Hagar, carry her husband, Abraham’s, child.

While traditional surrogacy has been practiced for ages, gestational surrogacy was developed much more recently. In 1978, the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) baby was born. Just five years later, the first baby from an egg donation was born. The combination of these two innovative technologies resulted in the emergence of gestational surrogacy, which was first performed in 1985 and has grown exponentially in popularity over the past 20 years.

In 1986, surrogacy encountered its first real legal question when a traditional surrogate, upon giving birth to the child, decided that she wanted to keep the child. A two-year-long legal battle between the surrogate and the intended parents eventually resulted in the IPs retaining custody. As surrogacy continued to grow, this landmark case, referred to as the Baby M case, sparked many legal questions surrounding surrogacy in many countries around the world, and today, commercial surrogacy is legal in most U.S. states, and a handful of countries including India, Russia, and Ukraine; however, intended parents from countries where surrogacy is illegal may travel abroad to legally have a child through surrogacy.

Even more recently, several surrogacy records have been reached including in 2011 when the oldest-ever surrogate mother, 61, whose daughter is infertile, carried her grandchild. She was the second grandmother to carry her grandchild in only a few years.

Surrogacy has helped start families for centuries. It has developed from a rarely documented occurrence thousands of years ago, to a rapidly growing and viable option for having children.

To find out more about becoming a parent through surrogacy, or to set up a consultation with our team, visit www.sharedconception.com.

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