Having another woman bear a child for a couple to raise is recorded in history. Babylonian law and custom allowed this practice and infertile woman could use the practice to avoid divorce, which would otherwise be inevitable.
One well-known example is the Biblical story of Sarah and Abraham, a nomadic Hebrew couple unable to conceive. Sarah offered her Egyptian slave Hagar as a surrogate, but later drove her away from the camp when Hagar became disrespectful during the pregnancy. Hagar fled to Egypt, where an angel told her that her son Ishmael would become a leader amongst the Hebrews; she subsequently returned to Sarah and Abraham.
Many developments in medicine, social customs, and legal proceedings worldwide paved the way for modern surrogacy.
1870s–It became common practice in China for couples to pay for an adopted son. All ties to the biological family would be severed, and the child would become an heir and full member of the adopted family.
1930s–In the U.S., pharmaceutical companies Schering-Kahlbaum and Parke-Davis started the mass production of estrogen.
1944–Harvard Medical School, professor John Rock broke ground by becoming the first person to fertilize human ova outside the uterus.
1953–Researchers successfully performed the first cryopreservation of sperm.
1971–The first commercial sperm bank opened in New York, which spurred the growth of surrogacy into a highly profitable venture.
1978– Louise Brown, the first test tube baby, was born in England. She was the product of the first successful in vitro fertilization procedure.
1980–Michigan lawyer Noel Keane wrote the first surrogacy contract.
1985–a woman carried the first successful gestational surrogate pregnancy!
Shared Conception is proud to be a forward-thinking agency who strives to make families happy, fulfilled and complete. As we inch towards the end of 2013, it seems fitting to look back on the root of our beginnings. You know the old saying, “You can’t move forward without looking back.”