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What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy involves using one woman’s uterus to implant and carry the embryo and deliver the baby for another person or couple. Unlike traditional surrogacy, a gestational surrogate mother is in no way biologically related to the baby or surrogate babies she carries. The woman that carries the pregnancy is called the surrogate, “surrogate mother” or “gestational carrier”. She is merely the carrier of someone else’s biological child.

It is most often done utilizing IVF (in vitro fertilization) but is sometimes done with intrauterine insemination (IUI). This form of surrogacy is becoming increasingly popular, as advances in the success rates of IVF grow.

Now it is not only possible, but quite feasible that an infertile couple is able to still have their own biological children. Sometimes, a gestational surrogate and an egg donor will be used together, instead of a traditional surrogate.

This form of commercial surrogacy also has the most laws that favor it, as the states in the United States that recognize gestational surrogacy recognize the intended parents as the legal parents of the child, making it impossible for a surrogate mother to suddenly “change her mind” at birth.


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.

How is gestational surrogacy performed?

1. An appropriate surrogate is chosen and thoroughly screened for infectious diseases.

2. 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.

3. The patient is stimulated for IVF with medications to develop multiple eggs.

4. The surrogate is placed on medications that suppress her own menstrual cycle and stimulate development of a receptive uterine lining.

5. When the patient’s follicles are mature, an egg retrieval procedure is performed to remove eggs from her ovaries.

6. The eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with her partner’s sperm.

7. The embryos develop in the laboratory for 3-5 days.

8. Then, an embryo transfer procedure is done which places the embryos in the surrogate mother’s uterus where they will hopefully implant.

9. The surrogate delivers the baby.


10. The baby goes home from the hospital with the “genetic parents”.
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