How far would you, go to help a family member or perhaps a friend with fertility problems? With 1 in 7 couples in the UK suffering some problem conceiving on their own, the help that their family or friends can give could be vital. So what can you do to help those who need your help to feel complete in their lives?
If a couple you know are having difficulties conceiving because of the man’s sperm, would you be prepared to help them out? There are sperm banks where it is possible to acquire sperm to use in artificial insemination, but many people do not like the idea of an anonymous donor, and would prefer somebody they know to donate the sperm. Many sisters would be prepared to ask their husbands to supply the sperm as their bond is so close, but would you be prepared to do this for a friend? Knowing the donor can bring with it legal issues like child maintenance and visitation rights. This is a great way to help somebody, but you need to consider the ramification very carefully.
Another way to help a couple you know is to donate an egg to a woman who has trouble forming an ovum, perhaps because of a genetic disorder or even Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Egg donation by a friend or family member accounts for around 5-10% of donations, and is a popular choice because of genetics. If the egg goes to a sister it is your families DNA and your egg donation would mean the child carrying on the family’s genes. If you donate to a friend they will know your physical and mental attributes, and would hope they would carry through. Again you would face the ramifications of your identity being known, but this is a choice that seems natural to many couples and their families.
Carrying a child from conception to birth is challenging for most mothers, and to do it for a family member or friend is an incredible sacrifice. For nine months you will carry somebody else’s child, and will be exposed to all the health issues that come with being pregnant; not to mention the birth itself. This is the ultimate way to help somebody have a child, and one that you would need to feel mentally able to cope with. Many surrogates find it difficult to give up the life that has blossomed inside them, leading to complications that were not considered before. A gestational surrogacy will take many of the carrier’s rights to a child away as the child has no genetic bond to the surrogate, and is probably the best way forward.
Donating a Child
In many societies a parent may actually donate a child to a wanting mother, which is usually seen as a way to give the child a better life. In the rural villages of Thailand for instance, a mother may give a child, that will grow up in poverty, to a family member who cannot have her own child but could give a good life to any child in her care. Often in these circumstances the child will know her true parent, but it is just as likely that this arrangement is never mentioned again. To give up your child in such a fashion is not simply about helping a family member or friend, this is something that will give a child a better future.