How Does Surrogacy Work?
Surrogacy has been gaining some popularity lately, as more and more people are turning to it. Surrogacy is usually the option for about 12 to 15 percent of couples experiencing infertility issues, as well as others who want to have their biological children through other means for various reasons. There are health issues that prevent women from getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Infertility issues prevent couples from either getting or staying pregnant. Some even have recurrent miscarriages. There are other categories of couples who are not biologically fit to have children. For instance, same-sex couples such as two men or two women may also opt for various options to have children. Single people too, who desire to have children may opt for surrogacy.
Reasons for Surrogacy
- Abnormalities of female reproductive organs such as anomalies of the fallopian tubes and ovaries
- Male infertility issues such as problems with sperm, past infections, and congenital abnormalities of the reproductive organs
- Loss of the uterus as an organ due to accidents, septic processes, tragic cases, and operations
- Anomalies of the uterus and cervix such as abortion, curettage, endometrial defects, conization, and other surgical interventions
- Oncological diseases
- Endocrine disorders such as stress, infections, and congenital anomalies
- Anomalies that can lead to a lethal outcome such as cardiovascular diseases and heart defects
- Having experienced more than four unsuccessful IVFs
- Immunological incompatibility, such as when a woman’s immune system rejects a man’s sperm and kills it
- The desire to preserve the memory of a loved one through a child from their genetic material
- A busy work schedule and unwillingness to depart from an active life
- Unwillingness to disfigure the body with gestation and childbirth
- A woman`s inability to carry a pregnancy due to age
- Social and psychological conditions that make reproduction difficult or impossible
Types of Surrogacy
Surrogacy covers a range of options. Let`s discuss some of them.
A gestational carrier carries a pregnancy for an individual or couple using an egg that is not the carrier’s. The egg could be either be from the intended mother or a donor. The sperm may also come from the intended father or a donor. Pregnancy through gestational surrogacy is achieved through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
A traditional surrogate donates her own egg and carries a pregnancy for an individual or couple. Such pregnancy is usually achieved through intrauterine insemination (IUI) with sperm from the intended father. They could also use a donor`s sperm.
Gestational carriers are more common than traditional surrogates because a traditional surrogate donates her own egg, and she is technically the biological mother of the child. Although this arrangement works out fine for some, it can create complex legal and emotional issues for others. Some states have laws against traditional surrogacy to avoid such complexities.
How to Find a Surrogate
Friends or family members can serve as surrogates. There are also surrogacy agencies that can help you find a good match. Such agencies will screen candidates to ensure that they meet the criteria associated with the process, then cross-match your desires to find the best option for you. There are some criteria for becoming a surrogate:
Candidates for surrogacy must be between the ages of 21 and 45 years old, although the age range varies by location.
Surrogates need to have carried at least one pregnancy to term without complications but should have had fewer than five vaginal deliveries and two cesarean sections.
Surrogates should live in a supportive home environment that is confirmed through a home study.
Drug and alcohol abuse are no-nos for people who desire to be surrogates.
For every intended surrogate, there should be a mental health screening and a complete physical screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It`s not only intended surrogates that need to run tests. Parents, too, have certain requirements to meet:
- screen for infectious disease
- provide complete health histories
- have physical exams to ensure they`re fit for in vitro fertilization
- test for genetic diseases
- mental health counseling
The Surrogacy Process
Once you find a surrogate and agree on the type of surrogacy you`re opting for, you should create a legal contract and have it reviewed by legal professionals. Go through the egg retrieval process if you`re using the intended mother’s eggs or obtain donor eggs. Create embryos using the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm, then transfer embryos to the gestational carrier. Follow the pregnancy if it works, and if it doesn’t work, the intended parents and surrogate may need to go for another IVF cycle.
Benefits of Surrogacy for Intended Parents
- In most cases, gestational surrogacy gives at least one of the parents an opportunity to be biologically related to their child.
- Surrogacy gives parents who have difficulty conceiving the opportunity to raise a child from birth.
- Intended parents are involved throughout the pregnancy experience and witness many vital milestones, from the embryo transfer to their baby’s birth.
- Surrogacy gives intended parents the opportunity to form a special bond with their surrogate and her family.
- Intended parents experience fewer restrictions with surrogacy than with adoption; for instance, people who cannot adopt due to agency restrictions can opt for surrogacy.
- Because surrogates have carried other pregnancies and have a proven uterus, they have higher chances of successfully carrying a surrogate pregnancy.
- With surrogacy, the intended parents more control and peace of mind throughout the pregnancy than they would with adoption and fertility treatments.
Benefits of Surrogacy for Surrogates
- Surrogacy gives more women an opportunity to share their pregnancy journey with the intended parents and develop a strong bond all through the process.
- Surrogates enjoy a deep sense of pride and personal satisfaction from helping another family in such an incredible and life-altering way.
- With surrogacy, women who enjoy being pregnant can experience pregnancy again, even if they don`t require more children in their families.
- Surrogates involve their friends, family members, and other supportive people in the process and can set great examples of selflessness and generosity for them.
- Surrogates enjoy a strong sense of community with other women who are in difficult situations.
- All the surrogate’s expenses are paid for and reimbursed throughout the pregnancy, and she will enjoy other services throughout the process, including quality healthcare and counseling services.
Some Pregnancy Facts
- The heart grows during pregnancy — It works harder and pumps more blood for that growing baby.
- At about four months into the pregnancy, a baby begins to urinate inside of its mother.
- Due to water weight and other extra fluid, pregnant women have swollen feet.
- Some pregnant women lactate in late pregnancy at the sound of someone else’s baby crying.
- Three out of four women develop a linea nigra during pregnancy. The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that runs down the abdomen. It may or may not vanish after birth.
- Pregnant women have less oxygen in their blood, which is what makes them more forgetful.
- Humans are the only mammals who do not ingest their placenta after birth.
- A baby has all of their fingerprints by 9-12 weeks in the womb.
- Nine in ten women have a change in skin tone during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell to enable them to steer clear of foods they shouldn’t eat because of their growing baby.