What Is the Definition of a Surrogate Mother?

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The definition of a surrogate mother is a woman who bears a child, either her own or another couple's, with the intention of giving the child to someone else to raise. Find out how surrogacy can be altruistic or compensated monetarily with information from a psychologist and counselor in this free video on surrogacy.

Part of the Video Series: Family & Parenting Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Reka Morvay. I'm a psychologist, and I'm going to talk to you about the definition of a surrogate mother. Surrogate motherhood means that the mother who bears the child -- so the woman who gets pregnant and gives birth to the child -- does so with the intention of giving that baby up for other people to raise. There are a number of different kinds of surrogacy. The simple method of surrogacy is when a mother is impregnated with her own biological child from...with the sperm of a man. And after she brings this pregnancy to term and has the baby, she gives over this child for that man or that couple to adopt. The other form of surrogacy is when a woman is implanted with a fertilized embryo -- a fertilized egg -- from another couple. So this child is not her biological child at all, and she is the gestational mother. And she carries the pregnancy to term and she gives birth to the baby and then gives up the baby to be raised by the couple. There are also...in another aspect, there is altruistic surrogacy. So if a woman does this out of the goodness of her heart because she wants to give up her baby for adoption to a couple who, perhaps, cannot have children. And then there's also commercial surrogacy when a woman receives monetary compensation for performing this service. Now, the legal standing of surrogate motherhood varies by jurisdiction, so you would have to check whether surrogate motherhood is actually legally allowed wherever you live.

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