What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the arrangement by which a woman conceives, carries and delivers a child for another couple or individual. This woman is known as a surrogate mother or a gestational carrier. The gestational carrier enters into a legal arrangement that declares she is not the mother of the child she is bearing, and she contractually surrenders the child or children to the intended parents who will treat the child as their own.
Who uses a gestational carrier?
Some of the common situations we see where a gestation carrier is needed are:
- A woman who has the physical inability to carry a child
- A woman has a medical condition that could result in serious health risks to the mother or the baby
- A woman with recurrent IVF implantation failure
- Male same-sex partners
The intended parent or parents arrange gestational carriers, most often, due to the physical inability to bear a child such as absence of a uterus. There are other severe female infertility factors, which can make surrogacy the only option for having a child. In some cases there are severe medical diseases, which preclude pregnancy or delivery. A woman who has had her uterus removed but still has her ovaries can use sometimes use her own eggs and a gestational carrier, thus having her own genetic child.
Another increasingly common use of gestational carriers is by males – usually gay couples – who wish to have a baby with a gestational carrier. In these arrangements, sperm may be provided, when possible, by the intended parents. Obviously, an egg donor is needed. Donor sperm or even donor embryos may also be used.
There is a vast range of complex possibilities. All involve the use of IVF and there is no genetic link between the carrier and the baby.
What is the difference between a gestational carrier and surrogate?
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the genetic mother. In this case, the surrogate is inseminated by artificial insemination at the time of her ovulation. The connection for a traditional surrogate is more difficult to break emotionally and legally. This is one reason we prefer to use a gestational carrier who is not also providing her eggs.
How does a gestational carrier give up a baby she has carried?
The gestational surrogate uses psychological techniques to distance herself emotionally from the child. The contact between the intended parents and the gestational carrier is heavy during the pregnancy and immediately after. The arrangements that are made for contact with the gestational carrier after birth vary according to the particular situation.
Because states vary in their approach to surrogacy, couples need to engage experts with knowledge of prevailing laws. Georgia happens to be a surrogacy-friendly state. Pathways Fertility is well-versed in using gestational carrier’s for many different situations. We offer access to specialized attorneys, psychologists, and other professionals needed for this process.
Contact us if you have any questions or think you may be a candidate for using a gestational carrier.
Click here for a Fact Sheet from the Patient Education Website of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.