Surrogacy has been practised since the ancient times of Abraham and Sarah, according to several academics. When Sarah was unable to conceive naturally, she enlisted the help of her handmaiden, Hagar, to carry her and Abraham’s child. According to Hindu legend, Balram, Devaki and Vasudev’s seventh child, was born in the womb of Rohini (Vasudev’s first child) to protect the infant from being slain by Devaki’s brother Kamsa.

Since then, the term “surrogacy” has become commonplace. Yet, in many nations, the practice is either prohibited or frowned upon. Many individuals are uninformed of the surrogacy’s evolution and the timing of events.

History of surrogacy

The first successful surrogacy – 1970’s

In the United States, the first successful surrogacy arrangement happened in 1976. Elizabeth Kane, the surrogate mother, bore a child for a couple who were unable to conceive owing to a medical problem. The infant was created by artificial insemination with sperm from the intended father and an egg from a donor.

This surrogacy arrangement was revolutionary at the time since it demonstrated that a woman could bear a pregnancy on behalf of someone else. It offered up new options for couples dealing with infertility or other reproductive issues.

With this achievement, surrogacy drew more attention and interest from couples looking for alternate means of family formation. Unfortunately, the legal and ethical difficulties surrounding surrogacy were not entirely resolved at the time, and was still a controversial practice for a long time.

The first legal traditional surrogacy agreement – 1980

The first reported incidence of conventional surrogacy under a formal arrangement occurred in 1980 in Michigan, USA. The arrangement was between a married couple who were unable to create a child owing to the wife’s medical condition and the wife’s sister, who acted as a surrogate and conceived a kid using her own eggs.

The couple and the surrogate signed a legal agreement outlining the details of the surrogacy relationship, including the surrogate’s compensation and obligations, as well as the intended parents’ rights and responsibilities. The agreement also addressed custody, visitation, and medical care problems.

This legal surrogacy agreement established an important precedent for the practice of surrogacy by demonstrating that a surrogacy arrangement may be carried out under explicit and legally enforceable conditions. Yet, it highlighted ethical and legal concerns regarding using a surrogate’s own eggs, as well as the possibility of surrogate abuse or coercion.

Surrogacy laws and regulations have developed since then to address some of these issues, and gestational surrogacy (in which the surrogate carries an embryo made using the intended parents’ or donors’ eggs and sperm) has grown in popularity. Yet, the legal and ethical concerns surrounding surrogacy remain complicated and contentious, and vary greatly between countries.

The Baby M case- 1986

The Baby M case was a historic court case in the United States in 1986 involving a failed surrogacy agreement. The case included a couple, William and Elizabeth Stern, who were unable to conceive a child owing to Elizabeth’s medical condition. They engaged into a surrogacy deal with Mary Beth Whitehead, who consented to bear a child using her own eggs and William Stern’s sperm.

The surrogacy pact was informal, with no attorneys or legal contracts involved. Once Baby M was born, Whitehead refused to give up custody, claiming she had changed her mind about the agreement. The case proceeded to court, and a protracted legal struggle developed over custody and other issues.

The case presented a number of complicated legal and ethical concerns regarding surrogacy, including whether surrogacy agreements should be legally enforced and whether it was preferable for the kid to be reared by its original mother or by the intended parents.

In the end, the Sterns won the case, and Baby M was put in their custody. The case had a significant influence on surrogacy legislation in the United States, resulting in the adoption of clearer legal norms and laws governing surrogacy arrangements.

The first legal compensated surrogacy arrangement- 1980

The first compensated surrogacy deal was made in the United States in 1980, and a woman named “Elizabeth Kane” became the first compensated surrogate mother. She earned $10,000 for a successful and healthy birth.

This first compensated surrogacy arrangement took place without a legal agreement, resulting in legal challenges and controversy over topics such child custody and parental rights. But, it also established a significant precedent for the practice of surrogacy, proving that surrogates may be compensated for their services and opening up a new path for infertile couples to have a child.

The first successful gestational surrogacy-1985

The first successful gestational surrogacy occurred in the United States in 1985. The method involved implanting an embryo generated using the intended parents’ eggs and sperm into the uterus of a surrogate mother who was not genetically linked to the kid. According to the Disease control and prevention, over 18,000 infants were born between 1999 to 2013.

The successful delivery of a healthy kid via gestational surrogacy was an important milestone in the area of reproductive technology because it indicated that couples who were unable to conceive normally may have a genetically related child via surrogacy.

Since the first successful gestational surrogacy, the technique has grown in popularity and acceptance across the world. However, the legal and ethical issues surrounding surrogacy remain complicated.

Johnson V Calvert case- 1990

Johnson v. The Calvert case was a landmark legal case in the United States that helped to establish the legal rights of gestational surrogate mothers and intended parents. The case went on from 1990-1993

A surrogacy agreement between a married couple, Mark and Crispina Calvert, and a surrogate mother, Anna Johnson, was at the heart of the case. Due to medical concerns, the Calverts were unable to produce a child and got into a surrogacy agreement with Johnson, who became pregnant with an embryo generated using the Calverts’ eggs and sperm.

Notwithstanding the conditions of the surrogacy arrangement, Johnson felt emotionally connected to the unborn child throughout the pregnancy and decided she wanted to keep the kid for herself. The Calverts filed a lawsuit to gain custody of their child, and the case ultimately made its way to the California Supreme Court.

The court accepted the legitimacy of the surrogacy arrangement and confirmed the intended parents’ rights to be recognized as the child’s legal parents in its verdict. The court also acknowledged Johnson’s emotional relationship to the kid, but ultimately found that she had no legal claim to custody under the terms of the surrogacy arrangement.

The California Supreme Court became the first state high court to rule that gestational surrogacy contracts do not violate state law or the Constitution as a result of the Johnson v. Calvert case. California is now considered one of the most surrogacy-friendly states.

Surrogacy’s growth overtime

  • 2006:Maria Del Carmen Bousada Lara, 66, was the first woman to get IVF therapy, becoming the oldest woman to give birth.
  • 2008: Jacilyn Dalenberg, 56, became the oldest surrogate in 2008 when she gave birth to her granddaughter.
  • 2012: In 2012, the world’s 5 millionth IVF baby was born.
  • 2019: Mangayamma Yamaratti, 74, became the oldest woman to deliver a child through IVF in 2019.
  • 2020: The Nevada Surrogacy Insurance Law, the first of its type, is passed, prohibiting insurers from withholding maternity care coverage because the insured member is a gestational carrier.

The above article covers all the instances of the surrogacy and the legal cases revolving around it. it is apparent that the technique has been evolving ever since the procedure has shown to be useful for many intended parents. As technology advances, it is certain that surrogacy will be employed by a growing number of individuals in the future.

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