Gestational surrogacy allows a couple to have their own biological child when pregnancy is not safe or possible for the woman.
Gestational surrogacy means a gestational surrogate (a woman chosen and most often known to the couple) will carry an implanted embryo full term. Once the baby is born, full parenting responsibilities are turned over immediately to the parent.
This process is typically used when the woman has medical problems preventing a pregnancy. Situations where this may be the case include:
- The absence of a uterus
- Repetitive miscarriages
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney disease
- Severe diabetes
- Heart disease
- Systematic lupus
- History of breast cancer
- History of severe pre-eclampsia
Once one of the above-mentioned disorders is identified and full fertility examinations of both the male and female have been performed, gestational surrogacy may become an option.
Unlike traditional surrogacy, the embryo will have biological ties to the intended parents and not the surrogate. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is performed using the woman’s or donor’s egg. Once fertilized with the male or donor’s sperm, it is transferred to the uterus of the surrogate.
The implanted embryo may be one from the woman’s egg and man’s sperm, woman’s egg and donor’s sperm or a donor’s egg and man’s sperm.
The surrogate may be a friend or family member of the intended parents. Fertility clinics are also able to assist parents in finding a surrogate if needed.
Potential surrogates must go through extensive physical and psychological screenings to be eligible for the process. Surrogates must be a minimum of 21 years old and within a young fertility age. They must have already had one successful birth to be considered for surrogacy. Surrogates found through an agency are typically paid for their time and services and fully covered for their pregnancy-related medical appointments and travel.