Gestational Surrogacy: aka Gestational Surrogacy vs. Traditional Surrogacy, Surrogacy Via In Vitro Insemination, Gestational Carriers,
What is it?
Gestational surrogacy is a surrogacy option that couples or women can use to have a baby whereby embryos are created using In Vitro Fertilization or IVF. This is an expensive procedure where the embryos of IVF are transferred into a donor or surrogate woman’s uterus, even though she is unrelated to the donating woman.
Gestational surrogacy is usually an option for woman that do not have a fertile or “functioning” uterus meaning they are not able to carry a pregnancy to term. Woman may also elect gestational surrogacy if they may have medical problems that would prevent them from carrying a pregnancy to term but want a genetically related baby. Women may also elect a gestational surrogate when they have attempted IVF using their own bodies but have failed to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term.
Often gay couples also elect gestational surrogacy. The woman that produces the egg has to undergo the IVF cycle. A gestational carrier will have to take hormones to prepare her uterus for conception and to carry the fetus or embryo to term.
The day of the transfer the surrogate receives embryos that have been prepared during IVF. These embryos often have the highest odds of conception. They are placed directly into the uterine cavity. Several embryos may be transferred, depending on many factors including the age of the woman that produced the eggs and the quality of the embryos produced.
The number of eggs that conceive may depend on the age of the woman providing them. Success rates may vary up to 75% or more, with babies carried to term in over 60% of cases.
Alternatives to Surgery
Alternatives to gestational surrogacy include traditional surrogacy, which is far less expensive and more popular. Parents can also elect to adopt a child which does not involve any surgery at all and may be a much less painful process for all parties involved, but not always.
Experiencing problems with fertility always presents many challenges to all parties involved. It is important you carefully decide which option is best for you and your intended family. Make sure you consider all of your options and weigh the pros and cons heavily before you decide which choice will make the most sense for you and your family.
It may help to review your fertility choices with more than one organization or potential surrogate before you decide which option makes the most sense for you given your current status, wants and desires.
Before the Operation
Prior to the operation the carrier or surrogate will prepare her uterus for conception and for pregnancy by taking hormones including progesterone and estrogen. Medical screening tests are also carried out prior to the procedure to ensure both the gestational carrier and the donor is in good health so that both parties are protected. Both parties may also be screened for mental health to be sure that they are capable of living up to the demands of treatment and expectations following delivery of the child and the expected ups and downs associated with the process of gestational surrogacy
The surrogate will have to sign documents showing the biological donor will be the intended parent not the gestational carrier.
After the Operation- At Home
Most surrogates will sign away their rights to the child shortly after or immediately following delivery. Some will not ask to see the child especially if you arrange for gestational surrogacy abroad. Make sure you have legal documents drafted ahead of time that outline the exact procedures to follow pre and post delivery. This will help you in the long run and help relieve any tension or uncertainty following the birth of your child. Emotions often run high following the birth of any child so having your legal paperwork in order will be one less complication to deal with during this emotionally rewarding yet sometimes volatile time.
There are many potential pitfalls with IVF. It is not a guarantee of a successful pregnancy and delivery. Often IVF attempts are not successful and they are very costly. Many women will have to take fertility drugs to ensure successful conception and this can lead to the birth of multiples, so you should be prepared for this option. Also, there is always the possibility of genetic birth defects or other medical problems that may surface however if you are the donor and the egg is yours you should be fully aware of these when the baby is born.
Emotions often run very high following the birth of a baby. Sometimes the gestational surrogate may be dealing with many mixed emotions following the birth of the baby especially as they come down from the high levels of hormones circulating in their body following pregnancy and delivery. This can lead to emotional outbursts or postpartum depression. Keep this in mind. They may need medical care following delivery of the baby to cope with these feelings.
Many parents find gestational surrogacy an ideal option for conceiving a biological child if they are not able to carry a pregnancy to term. This form of surrogacy is not always available in all countries, so you may have to shop around to find someone willing to participate in the process in order to conceive your biological baby.
Estimated Costs for Gestational Surrogacy
The cost of gestational surrogacy is much higher than traditional surrogacy and varies widely depending on many factors including the mother’s age and the country in which the surrogate lives. Below you will find some estimates of the cost of gestational surrogacy in the U.S. and abroad.
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