Surrogacy involves using one woman’s uterus to implant and carry the embryo and deliver the baby for another person or couple.
It is most often done utilizing IVF – in vitro fertilization, but is sometimes done with intrauterine insemination.
The woman that carries the pregnancy is called the surrogate, “surrogate mother” or “gestational carrier”.
Who should be treated with gestational surrogacy?
It is usually done for a woman who has had her uterus removed but still has ovaries.
She can provide the egg to make a baby, but has no womb to carry it.
Using her eggs and in vitro fertilization technology, IVF, she can utilize a surrogate mother to carry the pregnancy (her own genetic child).
A surrogate is also sometimes used for cases where a young woman has a medical condition that could result in serious health risks to the mother or the baby.
It is also done sometimes in couples with recurrent IVF implantation failure.
However, success is much more likely using IVF with donor eggs and the infertile woman’s uterus compared to using the infertile woman’s eggs and a surrogate.
Egg quality problems are common, but uterine problems are far less common.
Several Forms of Gestational Surrogacy
The term gestational surrogacy describes several variations in surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy uses In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to create an embryo using the ova/eggs from the prospective mother or donor and sperm from the father or donor that is then implanted in a surrogate.
This allows the intended parents to have a genetically related child. Parents use gestational surrogacy for several reasons, such as inability of the mother to carry a pregnancy safely and successfully, of the parents to produce ova/eggs or sperm, or of the mother to implant an embryo.
Our agency has two gestational surrogacy programs that use in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques.
How is gestational surrogacy performed?
An appropriate surrogate is chosen and thoroughly screened for infectious diseases.
Consents are signed by all parties. This is an important step in surrogacy cases. All potential issues need to be carefully clarified, put in writing and signed.
The patient is stimulated for IVF with medications to develop multiple eggs.
The surrogate is placed on medications that suppress her own menstrual cycle and stimulate development of a receptive uterine lining.
When the patient’s follicles are mature, an egg retrieval procedure is performed to remove eggs from her ovaries.
The eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with her partner’s sperm.
The embryos develop in the laboratory for 3-5 days.
Then, an embryo transfer procedure is done which places the embryos in the surrogate mother’s uterus where they will hopefully implant.
The surrogate delivers the baby.
The baby goes home from the hospital with the “genetic parents”.
Gestational Surrogacy Using Mother’s Ovum / Egg and Father’s Sperm
The most common version of gestational surrogacy uses the intended mother’s ovum/egg and the father’s sperm, with a surrogate carrying the baby to term. This requires the mother to be able to ovulate and produce viable eggs.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques are used to retrieve the wife’s eggs that are subsequently fertilized by the husband’s sperm. The resulting embryos are transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.
Because the baby is genetically related to both parents, they do not usually need to go through the stepparent adoption process. In some states, parentage can be established prior to birth, and the wife’s name is listed as the mother on the baby’s original birth certificate.
Our IARC attorney and director counsels parents on how to establish parental rights in this type of gestational surrogacy and connects them with attorneys in their home state when needed.
Gestational Surrogacy Using Donor Ovum / Egg or Sperm
Another form of gestational surrogacy uses a donor’s ovum/egg. This is used when there is poor quality because of illness or advancing age or the woman is unable to carry a pregnancy.
Parents can select from many ovum/egg donors; the egg is fertilized with the father’s sperm (or in some cases a donor’s sperm) and implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate is unrelated to the child, although some states may require the mother to adopt the child.
Our agency will connect prospective parents with competent attorneys who can advise about the laws regarding adoption in the parents’ home state so that the birth records reflect the intentions of the parents.
Children Born Through Gestational Surrogacy Are Not Related To The Surrogate
In both types of surrogacy, the gestational carrier is unrelated to the child. We have found that this approach works best for the surrogate, the parents, and the child. However, we also facilitate traditional surrogacy, in which the father’s sperm is implanted in a surrogate who uses her own eggs.
This option is less expensive, as it requires no medical fertility treatment. Our attorney-director handles the adoption process required to give the mother parental rights and cancel those of the surrogate.
We work with parents to develop programs like these and others that meet their needs and pocketbooks.
- Success rates for surrogacy IVF procedures vary considerably.
- The age of the woman providing the eggs is one critical factor.
- In general, pregnancy rates are higher than with eggs from infertile women.
- Some programs are reporting delivery rates of over 50% per transfer for gestational surrogacy cases (using eggs from women under about age 37).
Our IVF pregnancy success rates
Cost for a surrogate IVF cycle
- Our cost for surrogacy (with own eggs) is $5000 more than our price for IVF
- Our costs for IVF
- There are other costs involved with surrogacy including:
- Legal fees
- Costs for psychological counseling
- The cost of the surrogate mother